The Greener Muscle

Me and my brother at my dad’s funeral

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24

This eulogy was written and given by my brother, Michael Green, Jr at my dad’s funeral.

Michael Kevin Green

(September 7, 1938 – July 16, 2021)

Eulogy

“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to the Lion’s Den.” If you were around DCs Archbishop Carroll High School in the 70s and 80s, you would be familiar with that iconic opening line at the school’s football games. Being the football P.A. announcer was one of many roles my father served in during his 33 years at the school, which has the Lion as its mascot.

Now, I won’t pretend that there is anything too profound in a comment from a high school sporting event, but I think it is useful to parse that sentence a bit. It includes a friendly salutation – “Good afternoon,” and a greeting which respects the dignity of the audience members – “ladies and gentlemen.” The latter part, however, with references to the Lion’s Den and the Fighting Lions, hints toward the competition that was about to ensue – this was, after all, a football game, which features the battle of wills and the defending of boundaries.

In a way, that combination frames a challenge that every man seeking virtue must confront. How do I strike the right balance between being kind, respectful, and thoughtful of others, with the need for fortitude and a willingness to fight, when necessary, to defend boundaries, especially ones that protect what is true, good and beautiful?

In facing this challenge, my father had a certain indescribable strength – a particular combination of backbone, moral fiber, intensity, and conviction. For the remainder of my remarks today, and for lack of a better term, I will simply refer to this attribute as “The Greener Muscle.”

In its overdeveloped strength, the Greener Muscle, when deployed in the context of daily family life, could sometimes bring humorous results. In one frequently told family story from the early days of my parent’s marriage, dad was able to fix a leak in a pipe under the kitchen sink. With problem solved, he proudly showed my mother his handiwork…before then deciding the pipe required just one more turn of the wrench… to make sure it was fully fixed. With that extra turn, Dad stripped the pipe, sending an explosion of water all over the kitchen, and necessitating a call to the plumber.

On another occasion, when I was 15, I requested dad’s assistance just prior to my first varsity football game. The team tradition was for all players to wear black cleats in games. Originally unaware of this, I had purchased white cleats, but was instructed by our coach to make sure they were black by the time of the first game. As a procrastinating teenager, I waited until the day before the game to alert my dad to this problem. Not to worry, as the next day, my cleats were blacker and shinier than those of any player on the field…so much so that I noticed some of the black coloring rubbing off on the uniforms of other players as we unpiled after a tackle. It seems that Dad had painted the shoes, not with black shoe polish, but with Deluxe Black Tree Wound Sealer and Grafting Compound.

The Greener Muscle could also reveal a sort of manly force of will that breaks down complexity  and replaces it with simplicity. This could sometimes be awe inspiring for young men being coached or mentored. Here, I’ll repeat a story told at my Father’s retirement party by one of his former baseball players. It seems the team had been struggling with its hitting and, at batting practice one day, many of the players were speculating about the type of bat it would  be best to use…a lighter bat? a heavier bat? a thick handle or thin handle?…At that point, Coach Green called for the end of such discussion, grabbed the nearest bat, stepped up to the plate himself and motioned for the pitcher to throw…and sent a whistling line drive up the middle…he then grabbed a different bat and delivered another scorching line drive on the next pitch…this sequence continued on through 7 or 8 different bats, with the same result each time. He concluded this demonstration with the comment “Gentlemen, it’s not the bat that matters, it’s the man holding it.” The team’s batting struggles ended immediately.

Sports stories such as these are great conversation pieces, but it is important to note that the Greener Muscle did extend far beyond sports to more important matters, such as chivalry and moral boundaries. In my life, I’ve never had to spend even ten seconds worrying about my father’s loyalty and fidelity to my mother. As an illustration, there was an occasion when my parents, having secured a babysitter for us children, attended a party in our neighborhood. Well, it was the 70s, and at the party, a proposal was made to play a particular game. Without going into detail, let’s just say that the game was risqué and inappropriate for married couples. Upon learning of what had been proposed, my father immediately called across the room to my mother “We’re not playing that game, Bunk!,” and the two of them soon departed. I was not there, but I am sure you could have heard a pin drop in the room. My dad did not give a hoot about being popular or whether anyone was comfortable or not. There was a moral boundary that wasn’t going to be crossed on his watch, even if he was the only person in the room who was going to take that stand. The authentic masculinity displayed here has always stuck with me.

Happily, the knowledge that marriage and family were always going to come first with our dad gave the rest of the family a strong sense of security, and a platform for the joy of family life. It was in this context that the Greener Muscle could be tender, playful, and loving. For Dad, celebrating, even after a big sports victory, did not mean hitting the bars with the boys. It meant rounding up the family and heading to Ledo’s Pizza…it meant picnics and boat trips in Annapolis after he had umpired a Navy baseball game…it meant a week at the beach in June,  when school had just let out, when rates were a little cheaper, and when water temperatures provided for, as he liked to say, a “cooling dip”…it meant anniversary  trips to Williamsburg, site of their honeymoon in 1962, with my mom…it meant Thanksgiving dinners with the Carr family…it meant family reunions at the Cammack Farm…it meant gracious and joyful get togethers with the O’Donoghues, Ferrises, Skinners, and Blums on the occasions of our weddings…as the years went on, it meant trips to Notre Dame, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park…and family happy hours at Bethany Beach, often joined by the Ferrises…throughout all of these happy memories, it was always a sign of my dad’s love and affection if he had a nickname for you…there would be way too many to mention here, so I’ll just stick with the ones in the immediate household…Bunkie, Tea, Jen Bird, Sus, and Frot… 

Ultimately, the Greener Muscle, which by its nature was never going to come up short, attained the highest form of charity…that of sacrificial love. Catholic school tuition was paid, even while was providing for a family of six in affluent Montgomery County, MD on a very modest teacher’s salary. To press the point further, I’ll ask you to indulge me in one more  sports reference. My father coached the Carroll baseball team to the Catholic League Title in 1973. He was 35 years old – still a very young man. He could have continued coaching at that level for another two decades or more. If he had, there may have been more league championships, and possibly additional notoriety for my father as “local legend” of sorts in the coaching ranks. But, he didn’t go that route. Instead, he stepped down from the Varsity high school level. The reason? To be more available for his children. His coaching acumen was instead used to train and guide Elizabeth in track and cross country, to coach Jenny, and later Susan, in basketball, and me in CYO Baseball. We had a father who was very present and engaged in our lives, playing a critical role in our formation. So, while he did not get his name in the local sports pages as often as he could have, his choices brought abundant blessings:

4 children in faithful Catholic marriages, 13 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren (with another on the way!)

I will pause here and acknowledge that my father was human, and was not perfect. He could be stubborn, at times anxious and pessimistic, and, well, hard on liberals…As Catholics, we are not supposed to presume salvation or immediately canonize the deceased, so I will ask everyone here to continue praying for the repose of my father’s soul.

With that said, I’ll just offer my own limited, temporal perspective. It’s been said that the surest way to get yourself to heaven is to take some else by the hand and lead them there. In his life, this is what my father did for my mother, my sisters and I, and likely for countless other extended family members, friends, colleagues, and students. He has indeed struck a wonderful balance between kindness and courage. He has shown us the love of God the Father. It turns out that, amidst the all the strength and force of will, the underlying foundation of the Greener Muscle was a simple goodness, borne from solid formation in the Catholic faith.   

So, with a fond farewell, and on behalf of everyone here, I’ll say Thank You Dad for everything. We love you, and will only hope that our Greener Muscles can be half as strong as yours.  

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The Way

Risen Christ appearing to the Blessed Virgin Mary – Jacques Stella 1640

Brothers and sisters: In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:13-18

I have been thinking a lot about the path to spiritual maturity that the church fathers spoke of, the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive way and reflecting on the above passage from Saint Paul.

This passage tells us that Jesus abolished enmity, something that was established as a curse in Genesis.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15

You may remember if you have been following my blog I wrote a post about this enmity called, Holy Hatred.

But after reading the above passage from Saint Paul, it left me wondering about the enmity Jesus abolished. And it seems to me that we ultimately should end up in a place where we know no hatred. But it is a place we have to travel too, by passing through enmity. Passing through enmity is a walk to crucifixion where by your human will is nailed to the cross so God can divinize you. It is the unitive way.

Through the cross, putting enmity to death by it. Ephesians 2:16

The problem with our world though is we want to skip to not hating without going through the cross. Never having learned to hate sin and the devil we end up hating what is good, following a path of universalism, accepting all sin. The spiritually immature person who wants to love, ends up with a twisted sense of what love is floating in a universal cosmos of undefined nebulous chaos that actually invites destruction. One that says all paths of spirituality are equal and denies that Jesus is the Way.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

The church fathers knew better. Would that we would only listen.

A soul that truly loves God must learn first to hate sin, hate the devil – which is where our enmity is placed, so that we can continue on the path to union. It is part of the process. And by this hatred we must think of hatred as an emphatic rejection of all things unGodly, which the devil is.

When one tries to skip that part, the part where we hate sin and the devil, the devil convinces you that you are your sin and that you cannot be separated from your sin. There are only two places this train of thought from the devil can take you. One is to a place of pride whereby we proclaim that God loves all, even our sin, and we defy what was revealed to us by God Himself about sin. We march in the streets telling God He is wrong and we tell those who disagree that they are the ones who are hateful, forcing acceptance of sin at all costs. The other place the devil takes you is to hatred of yourself. The enmity was placed on earth by God, it has to go somewhere. When we don’t know how to properly walk the path, it ends up eating us alive interiorly and the result is despair. It is the pendulum swing of pride and despair.

But the soul who is open to God and his revelation will first learn to hate properly. This soul will experience Holy Hatred and can separate who God made them to be from the sin that they have committed. This soul will have a realization, and illumination, that sin is evil, the devil is flinging temptation at them, and they will make an effort to stop. To hate, to reject, that which keeps them from loving God to the fullest. They will go to confession and they will receive the Eucharist in a state of grace. They will have enmity towards sin and the devil. Thus, Jesus and His Mother, crush the head of Satan who has been, from the beginning, trying to steal, kill and destroy that soul. This is part of the purgative way.

This experience will be a cross that they carry, rooting out sin after sin. Along the way it will hurt. Letting go of things we loved more than God, it is a suffering. Letting go of fear. Trusting that God has our best interests at heart, it takes an act of the will. It takes moving beyond the things that make us feel good.

There are two personifications of evil. One is the devil himself who rejected all that God made good. The other is Christ on the Cross, who was put there not of his own doing, but because of our evil. One is twisted and defiled, the other is actually beautiful. Every time we choose not to sin, we go to confession, we receive communion in a state of grace, we gravitate more towards the beauty of the cross and away from the darkness.

Since enmity was originally a curse, it wasn’t part of what actively God willed for us. But because of the free will of fallen angels, God took what they turned dark and brought into the world and He made it Holy. This is because God works all things for the good of those who love Him. When we properly order our holy hatred towards the powers and principalities that tempt us to fall, we journey on a path to the cross of letting go of our earthly desires, so that, in the end we can be filled with heavenly desire.

Along this journey we learn to hate the evil we commit, the devil who tempts us to it, and ultimately, hopefully, we ourselves get crucified, rooting out all evil from within us. This means then that love is the ultimate desire and we have moved to where we love Christ on the Cross more than we hate the devil. It isn’t enough to hate evil, we must love good. In the end the devil is God’s creation and we can see what could have been. True Love is a higher calling. Love really does overcome all, as long as the path towards it is properly understood. God can only lift up those who are willing to walk this Way.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is where resurrection happens. A soul becomes a Saint and enters the unitive way. It is here that love grows stronger than hatred. A soul is lifted to no knowledge of evil and loves the way that God loves. Here we desire the bloodied Christ on the Cross for ourselves and our own soul, more than we hate the devil because we have passed through and stared at that which separated us from God. We have stared at our own sin and we chose to leave it and to love. We totally embrace the cross. And God’s healing grace pours into us, repairing all that was done. It is why a crucifix should be hanging in every church. It shows us the path to true love that God works within our own soul. Having learned to hate properly, God can elevate us to a higher love. Our human will gets crucified and we get filled with the love of the Divine Will.

I had a moment in the chapel the other day where I had this realization. I was praying for my dad. I had all kinds of feelings. My dad’s suffering was so much, his care so hard. It was then that I thought Jesus felt all these things. He let me know he felt, anger, sorrow, despair, isolation, loneliness. He felt it all on the cross.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

He sat in those feelings and faced them, all that he experienced in His human will. Because He was God, all He experienced was because of us and our sin. It is what we did to Him. And He chose to stay on this path anyway. He chose to stay on the cross. Thereby handing his human will over to the Father, leaving nothing but the Divine Will. He chose to love anyway despite all of that.

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.  Luke 23:46

What would the world look like if we all chose to love like that? If we let God take our sin to the cross and fill us with the Divine Will. Thus we can understand now what Saint Paul meant when he said;

that he might create in himself one new person in place of the twoEphesians 2:15

No longer is the human will tempted to fight the Divine. Nothing is left but the Divine Will, which is all goodness and perfection and knows no evil in it.

The Saints who walked this path often speak of the devil as an annoyance, a gnat, think Saint Catherine of Siena. This is because they have been lifted past hatred into the heavenly realm. But they all walked the path of crucifixion. They denied the “feelings” of their human will, and chose the cross willingly, thereby choosing God first. It is the unitive way.

These Saints understand that everything God created was out of love. All the angels, even those who fell, were made from God’s love. Hell exists because of Gods love. Hell will be for eternity because God doesn’t know how to stop loving. That there are those who chose to reject the love doesn’t make God stop loving. These Saints know this and love like God loves. It is almost incomprehensible, but for the mystery of faith and of the Trinity, we can know it to be true.

One thing to know about this path, especially in todays world, is that it feels like persecution. Many run away, many deny Jesus, but those who make it to the crucifixion and stand at the cross, will be raised by His glory.

There are many things happening in the church these days, many things that may make a soul feel despair or disheartened. Stick to the Way, the things you have been taught.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-16

Embrace the cross and move past what feels good. And remember, if you do this;

The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20

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Requiescat in Pace Daddy

Michael Kevin Green September 7, 1938 – July 16, 2021

And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Luke 17:19

Dad passed away peacefully in his sleep on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He had received last rites on July 7, 2021. My prayer is the Lord received him and said, “well done good and faithful servant.”

Please pray for the repose of his soul and for my family as we grieve the loss of our Patriarch.

Obituary

Michael Kevin Green, age 82, of Franklin, TN was called by the Lord peacefully in his sleep while at home with his wife Mary Jo and his daughter Susan’s family on Friday, July 16, 2021, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Born September 7, 1938 in Washington, D.C. Michael was the 8th of 12 children in the family of the late Philip & Dolores Green.  Michael attended the Catholic University Campus School and Mackin High School, both in Washington, D.C. before earning a Bachelors and Masters degree from the Catholic University of America, also in Washington, D.C.  He served his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force from which he was honorably discharged in 1966.  In a career marked by commitment to education, athletics, and service to the Church, Michael spent 36 years as a Catholic High School teacher, the last 33 at Archbishop John Carroll High School in DC.  In addition to teaching, he served as the football announcer for many years, and coached multiple sports.  A crowning achievement came when he coached the 1973 baseball team to a conference championship.  His athletic resume also included time as a baseball umpire, during which he officiated at several marquee high school and college games, including Army vs. Navy.

Michael married the love of his life, Mary Josephine Carr Green, on October 13, 1962.  Long time parishioners of Saint John the Evengelist Church in Silver Spring, MD, together they raised four children as faithful Roman Catholics, with Michael coaching each of the four children in at least one sport.  In 2002, Michael was recognized for his many years of service to the parish with a “Commitment to Excellence” award.  In retirement, Michael and Mary Jo spent several years in Bethany Beach, DE, before moving to Franklin, TN in 2016. 

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Joseph Green, Mary Anne Sonnenshein, Cecilia Pincus, Bernadette Rogers, Agnes Cammack, Teresa Rosser, Peter Green, Patrick Green, Jane Gilroy and Daniel Green.

Survivors include his loving wife of 58 1/2 years, Mary Jo; children, Elizabeth (Roger) O’Donoghue Jr, Jennifer (Eddie) Ferris, Michael (Jennifer) Green, Jr. and Susan (Jason) Skinner; sister, Dolores (Greg) Milmoe; grandchildren, Roger (Megan) O’Donoghue III, John (Melissa) O’Donoghue, Marykate (Brian) Leach, Katy (Christopher) Hurff, Erin (Bobby) Worthington, Maggie (Roque) Calvo, Billy (Megan) Ferris, Elyse Ferris, Teresa Green, Monica Green, Ryan Skinner, Sean Skinner, and Sarah Skinner; and great grandchildren Roger O’Donoghue IV, Patrick O’Donoghue, Kaylee Hurff, Henry Worthington, Rocco Calvo, and Liam Ferris.

The family will receive friends from 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at St. Philip Catholic Church where a funeral Mass will be held at 2:00 PM with the deceased’s nephew, Father Joel Rogers, CPM, officiating.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, July 23, 2021 at Calvary Cemetery, Nashville, TN.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to Radio Maria USA in loving memory of Michael Kevin Green.  Donations can be made online at radiomaria.us, by calling 888-408-0201, or by check to Radio Maria USA, 601 Washington St. Alexandria, LA 71301

You may also donate to the Father’s of Mercy in loving Memory of Michael Green.  Make checks payable to Father’s of Mercy 806 Shaker Museum Rd. Auburn, KY 42206

Funeral Services Provided by Williamson Memorial, Franklin, TN

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The Surrender of Earning a Plenary Indulgence

Saint Francis kisses the wounds of Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

One of the most misunderstood, and perhaps abused, teachings of the church is the plenary indulgence. I have to admit, it took me forever to understand what this was all about. But as with any of the church’s rich traditions, this is but a gift of God to us.

I will start by stating the church’s definition of a plenary indulgence from EWTN;

This is how an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law (can. 992) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1471): “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints”.

Um, what? I don’t know about you, but when I first read that, I did not have any understanding of what this meant. And it also is a teaching that seems to have been lost over the last 60 years. So this is one I prayed on a lot to try to comprehend, try to understand, even as I knew it was a good I was trying to earn.

The conditions to earn a plenary indulgence are as follows;

  1. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions (below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of certain prescribed works ….. [in this case, those granted for the Feast of Mercy]
  2. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.  [i.e. one must be a Catholic, not excommunicated or in schism.]
  3. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
    •  have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
    •  have sacramentally confessed their sins;
    •  receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);
    •  pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
  4. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
  5. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).
  6. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.

So let me see if I can sort through all of what is being said and done here.

An indulgence repairs for sins, the way a new window repairs a broken one. You can be forgiven for breaking the glass, but the repercussions, or the broken window, is still there. The indulgence repairs the wound so to be “made perfect” again.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

An indulgence is “earned” by proper disposition and doing what is asked by the church.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. John 14:15-16

The indulgence is actually teaching us to surrender all we have to God so the merits of Christ can be fully applied to us. The more we rely on Christ, the more He repairs all repercussions of the sin we have committed. He does so through the authority of the church because the goal is the communion of the whole Mystical Body with Christ the head of the church.

An indulgence is God’s way of giving the authority to the church to help walk us on a path of total surrender to Christ.

We are asked to be detached from sin because He cannot repair fully a wound we will not hand over. Every time we justify our sin, we are attached to it, we haven’t given it to God, and He cannot fully be our savior repairing for what we have broken.

I yelled at you or was abusive to you because I had a hard day – I have justified. And people learn you need to be avoided when you had a hard day. They cannot rely upon you. And the wound grows bigger and cannot be repaired without drastic measure. I cling to my abusive ways to handle what is happening. But the one who converts – surrenders that to God. They detach from the sin that helped them cope and they hand it fully to God. God can then step in and forgive the sin and repair the relationships. People see the difference in who you have become and the healing repairs all that has been broken. A person who has surrendered all to God looks and acts different.

He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:29-30

In other words, our wounds become repaired by the holes in His hands and feet when we hand them over. And my friend Ashley once said, each communion we receive in a state of grace after confessing removes the penalty for our sin (with the other conditions met). I realized this is because we have surrendered it fully to him. This grace can be applied anywhere, and this is when we see miraculous healing, especially in our relationships.

It is why when we approach communion in a state of grace we should have no agenda but to do the Will of God and let Him fill us. Confession is vital to our ability to do this. We pray for the Supreme Pontiff because it is through his authority that all of this is bound in heaven. We become bound to the Cross of Christ which repairs for all we have done. So many want to skip over the cross, hold onto their sins that make them sit comfortably. Purification from sin hurts, but it is the ultimate healing. You cannot reach resurrection without handing it all over. You will never be fully healed without detaching from your sin.

We think of an indulgence as us doing something, but the reality is it is teaching us to rely solely upon him. It is teaching us that we cannot save ourselves. He is the one doing because our hardened hearts have softened. The church has given us a pathway to teach us to rely on Christ. What an absolute heartache that this teaching has been decimated because it has moved us away from total surrender to God.

Indulgences are probably one of the most beautiful things (besides the Sacraments themselves) that the church has offered us, but because it is so misunderstood it is under utilized. We would catapult to holiness as a Body of Christ if we knew truly knew what this teaching meant.

Indulgences can be earned by your surrender to Christ and then given to a person in purgatory. The Lord allows us to partake in all of His saving action because he loves us so much. The intention of our heart must always be pure, no other ulterior motive than to help the repair Body of Christ. And it teaches us to give of ourselves the way Christ gave to us. We become another Christ and that’s exactly what the world needs.

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Our Lady of Light

Our Lady of Light

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:3-5

I write in my journal as if God is speaking to me. I submit myself to the authority of the church and if they state what I have written is wrong, they church is correct and I am wrong.

July 7, 2021

Beloved Lily of the Father,

We were always there, our love creates. We have no beginning and no end. We are one. She is the first thought of creation, the first word of creation, the first action of creation. Let there be light. She is Our Lady of Light.

As a star takes thousands of years for the light to be seen on earth, so too she was there as first creation, later to be seen at a certain point in time on the earth. The Immaculate Conception.

She is clothed in the sun.

Light was separated from the darkness and the angels fell. From Envy and Pride, they did not want to serve.

Her purity, her grace, her humility; She is the Mother of God. She is the Mother of the Church, crowned with 12 stars of authority. Light of the Apostles whose Savior was housed in her womb.

Rebuild my church.

The Glorious Queen of Heaven and earth, virgin most powerful. She is Queen of the Angels and has called upon the Powers and Principalities to do battle on your behalf. She sends forth Holy Legions.

Natural Order will be restored. The facade will come crumbling down.

Do not be afraid.

Revelation 20

The Most Holy Trinity

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We are a people of Dementia

The beauty of a church that draws eyes to heaven. A visual depiction of the goodness of God

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children. Deuteronomy 4:9

Mom’s diagnosis with dementia came to us after she had her first stroke. We had noticed her memory lapses prior, but she had covered it all up well. After the second stroke there was no hiding anything. Her memory was gone and her world and ours changed drastically.

There is something that the medical world calls “confabulation” that dementia patients do. Confabulation is a type of memory error in which gaps in a person’s memory are unconsciously filled with fabricated, misinterpreted, or distorted information. When this happens it is very difficult. Sometimes the error contains bits of reality, but it is so distorted that it is unrecognizable as true. So for example, my mother did actually live at the beach, but she is convinced we are there now. The stories are often so outlandish that it is key to to keep a sense of humor about things. It is sometimes the only way to get through the pain.

When mom and dad first moved in and mom began telling these stories, it was very difficult. First, I didn’t always know if what she was saying was true. For example, one day mom started talking about meeting the Princess of Wales. I thought it was a lie until I remembered and dad verified that mom did actually meet Princess Diana when she worked closely with the Reagan White House.

Mom and Dad getting ready to go meet Princess Diana

But other stories I know not to be true like when she told me she was a cupcake maker just after watching a Hallmark movie about a cupcake maker. Mom is also, at least in the evening, very convinced she has small babies and she gets anxious looking for them.

When all of this started happening, my first response was to correct her, to tell her the truth. I would say, “no mom, you aren’t a cupcake maker, you are retired and live with me. I am your daughter.” She would become so angry and agitated, like I have never seen before. She would call me a liar and dig her heels in. She would accuse me of conspiring against her. After watching some videos a doctor made on dementia patients we learned the term “confabulation” and that in her mind she is not lying. That because of the damage to her brain from the disease, her brain has found a different reality to help her cope and that reality can change from day to day. Any mention of the truth can throw her into a state of extreme agitation and anger. The advice the doctor gave was to either go along with it or to try to distract her. These are the things that keep the peace. I even went to a Priest to ask whether doing these things put me in a situation of lying or if it was okay to “go along with” the distortion. After pulling out the catechism and reading Saint Augustine about lying, he assured me it was okay to go along with it to keep the peace in my household.

We bought mom a baby doll that she carries with her. It alleviates her anxiety about her “missing babies”

One of the worst parts about confabulation is when your mother accuses you of things that are so very not true. Often in my mom’s eyes, I am keeping her trapped, in prison. If I have to change her or shower her or try to help her she yells at me that she can do it herself and I have no right to do these things. Never mind that she cannot walk or dress herself. In her head she often thinks I am imprisoning her even as I try something as simple as keeping her clean. She has called me a liar more than once and she accuses me of taking her freedom away.

After months of now dealing with this, I began to see that this is how God must feel about us. From my perspective I am caring for and loving her. I give all that I have to her. My home, my physical work of my hands, my things, whatever she needs, what ever I have is hers. But because of the damage to her brain her reality is distorted and she blames me for her problems and rails at me (at least some of the time, not everyday is this way). The more I would try to tell truth, the more she refuses to believe it, so I let her be. I try my best to always respond in love to her no matter what it is she may be saying to me. Some days are harder than others, but thus far I have handled it well with the help of my wonderful husband.

In mom’s case she can’t help it. A disease has ravaged her brain. But when I look at the world I see something that reminds me of dementia. People have had their thoughts so distorted by the enemy that they believe lies. God gives and gives and gives, and people rail at Him, accuse Him of their suffering, accuse Him of taking their freedom, all the while their brains have been shaped by the enemy who is actually the liar. In mom’s case she cannot help it. In our society we have chosen to believe lies and we run away from the very one who can heal us, or even worse we actually stand in pride in front of the healer and tell Him His ways are wrong, stuck in our own pride. Just a sampling of the lies we have chosen as a society to believe and we can see it is no wonder we are in the state we are in;

Politicians believe that they are actually helping women by paving a way for them to easily kill their children.

Parents and educators believe they are helping their child by allowing the purpose of sexuality to be twisted or even worse transitioning them into a sex that they are not.

Scientists and doctors believe they are helping mankind by stopping our fertility with contraception and by making vaccines on the backs of aborted children.

The distortion is displayed out in the open now.

People display Vaccine saves on Christ the Redeemer Statue making a mockery of the actual Savior

And anyone who tries to tell them the truth gets railed at and canceled. They rage at the God they do not know who is only trying to make them clean. God says let me love you. I want to give and give and give blessing to you and to care for you. And society screams “no” making their decisions based on fabrications and distorted information. They see God as the jailer all the while they have handed themselves over to the jailer who comes from the pit of hell.

And so it is here dear brothers and sisters, that those who see the truth must ask ourselves a question. Can we love the individual in front of us anyway?

With my mother it is easy to keep loving her. She is my mom after all, and I see what has happened. I know it is a disease and it is not her fault. I know how well she loved me even when I was a bratty toddler, teenager, and sometimes adult. Mom sacrificed for me, so the sacrifice for her becomes easy.

But with the person you don’t know who is wrapped in lies can you still love?

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:32-36

Mercy and love are the answer. This doesn’t mean “going along with” the lies as you might go along with a dementia patients confabulation. We must stand in the way as Jesus did. But we must also understand the persecution that comes with that. This is because they don’t want just your love, they want the acceptance of their sin. They want you to tell them their sin is good. But we can’t. God alone is good and the sin is destroying them. So we must be ready for what comes when you stand against sin.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18

In time I suspect that mom will totally forget who I am. It seems our society has totally forgotten who God is, how good God is. Let those of us who know him not forget and shine light in the darkness for others to see.

Psalm 103, a Psalm of David

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live[a]
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
    so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we were made;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for mortals, their days are like grass;
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
    on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    obedient to his spoken word.
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers that do his will.
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.

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The Keeper of the Garden

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-12

In a previous post, on why the first sin is known as the sin of Adam even though Eve ate first, Mark, a reader commented, “If Adam had actually ‘Kept’ the garden, the serpent wouldn’t have been able to enter to temp Eve. The only things that needed to be “kept at bay” was that opposed to God and perfection, and Adam let it in since the garden wasn’t adequately “Kept”. 

This got me thinking. In Catholic teaching we often read how Jesus reversed the sin of Adam and Mary, the Ave, reversed the sin of Eve. And I realized how correct this teaching is, and how profound what Mark stated also is.

Where Adam stated, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and I ate”, we could perhaps see Jesus reverse this and picture Him saying, “The woman you gave me Father, she helped me to redeem it.” And we can see how Jesus “kept” Mary from sin. But I think it goes further than that all the way to what Mark was stating Adam should have done. Jesus “kept” Mary from temptation.

Mary was pure and prayerful and Immaculate, perhaps we can glean that God the Son, by the prevenient grace of the crucifixion kept Mary from temptation as Adam should have done for Eve in the garden.

It was Jesus who was led into temptation by the Spirit to take on the devil.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

We can picture that perhaps Eve was shown food and Kingdoms and putting God to the test, all of the things the devil did to Jesus. It was Adam who was given the command not to touch the tree but he was not keeping his garden. Eve wasn’t there yet when the command was given. She would have learned of the command from Adam.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Genesis 2:16-17

Mary knew evil, just by virtue of being in a fallen world, but the grace which flows through her prevented her from being tempted by it. Jesus took on what Adam should have for the sake of Eve. He had to take on what we take on. He had to feel our weakness. But the prayer of the Our Father was answered for Mary. Her human will remained one with the Divine Will and she was never tempted to anything but love for the other for the sake of the other. Jesus’ human will He handed to the will of the Father in the garden, for her sake and for the sake of the church.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

Mary was surrounded by the whole armor of God. There were no weaknesses in her defenses. Graces flow through her, she was already divinized, and she shared in His redemption of us. Thus it is through the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation and the Cross that we reach Resurrection. Eve was conceived by God from the side of Adam, the rib of protection, the heart of Adam. He didn’t keep what he was given, but Jesus did. He kept her Immaculate Heart inside of His Sacred Heart. He had taken her into his home. And then He gave her to us at the foot of the Cross through John, through the Priesthood, through the Sacraments, so that we too may one day be divinized.

As another reader, Bob, adeptly pointed out in the comments below, if Jesus “kept” the garden so the Blessed Virgin Mary is not tempted, this explains why Mary Magdalene mistook Him for a gardener when she first sees the Resurrected Christ. She is seeing both the Resurrected Christ and the Keeper of the Garden.

Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” John 20:14-16

I would venture to say that Jesus had invited both Joseph and John into the “keeping” of the garden because those two were asked to take Mary into their homes. They were in a sense, “new Adam’s” also, as nothing is diminshed from Christ by inviting them into this. Christ wants us all to share in his glory. And if this is the case, it says something of both fatherhood and the Priesthood in the plan of God for families and is perhaps the subject for another post.

It seems to me that those who embrace the cross and the Immaculate Conception don’t just have calm in the storm, when we surrender our wills totally to the will of God, we too become keeper’s of what has been gifted to us and Her Immaculate Heart can triumph.

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, 
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

A little while back there was discussion of changing a line in the Lord’s prayer and I actually think it was approved to do, though not all nations have adopted it. The line that was to be changed is “lead us not into temptation.” The thinking is that God does not lead one into temptation.

This is a blog post I did not want to write, but I feel compelled to write it because I have come to understand that the original translation is correct, at least in my life. I am not a theologian, but I completely understand why it was prayed the way it was prayed.

I believe that the reason for the change was thought to be that a Father does not lead you into temptation, a Father helps you get up immediately. But that begs the question, how can a Father help you to get up if you have not first fallen? And does the Father want you to fall? I will try to answer that in a moment.

Since the beginning of the temptation in the garden, we did fall and the Father wants to get us back to his original conception of us, which is purity.

I am going to tell you a story that I am not proud of. I have held it in for months, but it is time.

I have come a long long way in my Spiritual Life. There are things from my past I no longer do and my relationship with God is good. I know that God is love, and God is good, all the time. I also know that suffering doesn’t go away when you know this.

Two years ago I may have boasted to you about how far the Lord had brought me. How I was purging sin from my life. Then, as we all know things in the world got crazy, and a new level of purification was taking place. Suddenly we found ourselves in a pandemic, and the worst part about it for me was not the sickness, I had COVID, with my elderly parents in my home. The worst part of it to me was the judgment we were levying upon others. People asking me, who I got it from, as if to point fingers, or did I do what I was told to do? Who is the evil person we can blame? Then there is the way we segregate from one another based on varying different things, masks, vaccines. The way articles were written calling people murderers, which is something that Satan is. It really is Satan who is to blame. I felt the Lord stretching my comfort. Could I walk into a place and see people without levying harsh judgment upon them? I can be right in my convictions, but it does not give me license to rage at another person or to act like another person is a disease with no dignity.

I plugged along. I had moments. I tried to love the people right in front of me. I do not want to be tempted like that. Tempted to not love. Tempted to harsh judgment. But the devil knows me and my weaknesses. So he hit me in another area. The temptation to judge myself and try to make myself my own Savior.

So here is where we get to the part that I don’t want to speak of. If you have been reading my blog you know that along side of COVID and what it did to all of us, it also catapulted my parents into steep decline. I moved my folks 4 times, mom had two strokes and broke her hip, and dad is on hospice, his heart in AFIB.

Prior to all of this, I was feeling pretty good about myself and the fact that I had “conquered” some of my bigger sins. My first mistake is thinking that I conquered anything. God is the one who conquers. God alone is good.

So in March I found myself in a situation where my comfort was totally stretched. I was constantly worried about mom and dad and my kids. I was trying to figure out how to handle all of this. And I was lead into temptation. And I fell. The devil told me, “you have so much going on. you deserve a break, you should crack open that bottle of wine. You should keep drinking it because you need to relax.”

So the temptation was to turn to an old behavior to comfort me in my distress and to turn away from God. I got drunk ya’ll. Really drunk. I can say that it had actually been years since that had happened. It is not a sin to drink in moderation. But the drunkeness, the kind that many of us have partaken in, yes that is a sin. Many of you may be reading this and think, that’s understandable. It is understandable. But understandable isn’t what we’re called to. We’re called to say no to temptation.

I woke up in the morning sick and ashamed. The devil tried to convince me not to go to confession because you work at a church and the Priest will judge you and people will judge you. I knew enough not to listen. I went to confession. The Priest stopped me when I said, “I got drunk last night.” He asked, “is that a problem for you? do you need rehab or counseling?

Shame overtook me. I relayed to him that I didn’t think so because it had been years. But I left humiliated. And I wanted to tell no one else. I could have been mad at the Priest, but he was actually doing his duty trying to help. I could have justified it to the Priest, everyone can see how hard this all is. But I know Jesus is my justification, when I justify, He can’t. The other thing is that when we are transparent the devil is disarmed. He can no longer accuse you.

So why am I telling you now? Because the Lord isn’t done with me. Does the Father want us to fall? Well, no, but He does want us to be “perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) And by putting you to the test God’s perfection can be accomplished, so that one day, you don’t fall and you learn to overcome temptation, even when your comfort is stretched. He did put me to the test. It was my choice that I failed. He is leading me not into temptation, but into purification. He is actually answering my prayer. The way the spirit thrust Jesus into the desert, I have been thrust into a purification that tempts me to old sins. Suffering tempts us to sin. And I failed. But in my failing I went to the only place I know of to be restored. Confession. And I realized how the one thing we need to rely on to make us perfect is Mercy and Grace, which come to us Sacramentally. We pray not to be led into temptation because we fail often when we are allowed to be tempted, but the next line is “but deliver us from evil,” and that is done through the acceptance of His mercy which raises us to heights we have never known. Sometimes the loving Father knows exactly what you need to accomplish His will. He doesn’t want me to fall, he wants me to recognize where my weakness is and bring it to Him.

Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) But if we keep turning all of our failings back to God, He can, layer by layer, perfect us. Because the perfection of God is impossible for us, but with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

We can see with the Apostles that they too, when tempted, failed. They kept turning back to God, relying on His mercy, getting filled with His grace. And now, now they’re Saints who advocate for us.

Deliver us from evil Lord so your Kingdom can be on earth as it is in heaven.

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Touch My Mouth With Coal

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

I can see God purifying me in this process of caring for my parents. Dad is in hospice and Mom is on palliative care. With my parents everyday is something new, something wrong with them. I often wake up in the morning and my first thought is, did they make it through the night? I wonder everyday, is this the day one of them will die? I try to live in the now, but often each new day brings new worry. I pray and I let it go and then the next thing comes. The feeling of security often eludes me.

I say all that to say, I see God is placing me in a situation of unknowing. He is allowing me to be uncomfortable. And each and every day I learn to trust Him more. My security is solely in Him. I become quicker to respond in trust even when it is hard. I realize as my physical body is tired from lifting them, and emotionally tired from the insecurity of it, that God is deeply deeply purifying me. I know I wouldn’t have been able to handle this in years past. It’s how I know that God is so infinitely good.

If you remember my post partum depression, back when I literally wanted to kill myself, I was a mess of a daughter of God. But the Lord healed my daughterhood. And as I sat down this morning a friend pointed out to me that now God is redeeming my Motherhood. I am spiritually working through the same insecurities I had all those years ago, only this time I can discern the voice of Satan and dispel all those lies. This time God has walked me to a place where I am purging those sins that had let the enemy speak to me. This time the parenting is harder, my parents care is harder, but this time I am stronger, only through the Grace of God. He has taken me by the hand and led me where I don’t want to go, but it is for my own purification which is a stunningly beautiful thing.

Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” John 21:18

Dad and me when I was little

None of us really ever want to face death. It is the place we don’t want to go. And I am on the precipice with my mom and dad taking me there. And I see the hand of God so clearly and so beautifully in it. He isn’t taking the suffering away. He gives meaning to it. He is helping me to look up at the cross for through it is the only way to Redemption.

Every night I pray for the Lord to show me my soul and to purify it. Every time he shows me my soul I cry. When you stand before the love and purity of God you see how far away you are from it and you understand the free gift of mercy he gives. It is that mercy that elevates you and I cry for those who won’t accept it.

And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Isaiah 6:5-7

I believe that many souls reject God’s mercy here in this life. They reject extending it and receiving it. And when they come to their judgment they will reject it again because having never known Him, they won’t be able to stand the sight of themselves in light of the Glory of God before them. There is no selfishness in God and there is so much of it in us. I believe this is why Saint after Saint saw souls pour into hell. And why Saint after Saint dedicated themselves to praying for poor sinners. It is our prayer, in the midst of suffering, that helps poor sinners, receive Gods mercy.

Saint Jacinta Marto

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of thy mercy.

Most people who see the state of their soul before God know they don’t deserve the mercy; thus they blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The prayer of the Communion of Saints for poor sinners can drown out the voice of blasphemy so people don’t reject God’s mercy and they are saved. God is looking for the willing souls, the saints who cooperated with His saving of humanity to be loud enough for the acceptance of His mercy which exudes charity. Throughout time these people have helped hold up humanity so God can elevate us. Be one of these people, the world so desperately needs it right now.

Mom and Dad holding hands in their hospital beds

Please continue to pray for my family.

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The Sin of Adam

The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12

I was pondering further The Original Unity of Man and Woman by Saint John Paul II.

Saint John Paul states,

The words of Genesis, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (2:18) are a prelude to the narrative of the creation of woman. Together with this narrative, the sense of original solitude becomes part of the meaning of original unity, the key point of which seems to be precisely the words of Genesis 2:24. Christ referred to them in his talk with the Pharisees: “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Mt 19:5). If Christ quoted these words referring to the “beginning,” it is opportune for us to clarify the meaning of that original unity, which has its roots in the fact of the creation of man as male and female.

We see the Saint referencing “original solitude” and that it becomes part of the meaning of “original unity”. The Saint goes on further to state;

If we admit, moreover, a significant difference of vocabulary, we can conclude that the man (‘adam) falls into that “sleep” in order to wake up “male” and “female.”

From this we can glean that everything we are was contained in original solitude in Adam. John Paul states;

Perhaps, therefore, the analogy of sleep indicates here not so much a passing from consciousness to subconsciousness, as a specific return to non-being (sleep contains an element of annihilation of man’s conscious existence). That is, it indicates a return to the moment preceding the creation, that through God’s creative initiative, solitary “man” may emerge from it again in his double unity as male and female.

Therefore when we speak of the original union of which Christ refers to “in the beginning” we are looking at the union of male and female as a completeness of the image of God because it is as if together they go back to original solitude, as one.

We can understand that woman, pulled from the rib of man, really the heart of man, is a desire both physically and spiritually for his completeness and her desire for him too a desire of her heart and body for her completeness. The original solitude.

So it is that in marriage, which Christ Himself defines, that in the sexual union draws us into a kind of unity that is beautiful and of God. When a married couple partakes in this original solitude, God allows them to partake in His creative action and the love between them, in union with the love of God, creates children.

But in our concupiscence we allow our desire for this beauty to be perverted. In deliverance ministry we often recognize that the quickest way to tear apart a person’s soul is through sexual sin. It leaves people in mental, emotional, and often physical anguish. While our world promotes and encourages all kinds of sexual sin, in this ministry we see that this kind of sin creates soul ties, and soul ties allow the devil to speak into your life. Soul ties happen when you give a piece of yourself away in sexual union outside of marriage. And marriage can only be between male and female because that’s the image of God. People are often left feeling worthless. Their view of who they are so distorted by the myriad of sexual sin that deviated from the plan of God.

The reason for this is it is an offense to “original man” created in the image and likeness of God. This perversion thwarts the creative love of God, one in which we are allowed to partake, and therefore the fruit of perversion is infertility. Lifeless sexual union. It promotes contraception, abortion, homosexuality and transgenderism and life abundantly is left dying, separated from the vine.

Satan tries to steal our fertility because in doing so he can take us to his ultimate goal, which is the destruction of our souls. He came to steal, kill and destroy, with destruction being the worst of those things. If we become so twisted in our thinking that we desire what is lifeless, then ultimately we can end up in a place where we blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This is why the Saints took care to stay away from the near occasion of sin. In our pornographic culture, this has become nearly impossible.

While there are many deadly sins, this sin is the easiest doorway to allow Satan to speak into your life, because it is actually borne from the desire of communion, which is a good. But we must take the words of Jesus seriously about what marriage is. So many shrug off sexual sin as no big deal, but I would venture to say that what we see in the streets began in our hearts desire for sexual pleasure, it allowed even bigger deadly sins to follow suit, pride and envy, and here we are left wondering what in the world happened to all of us and why is the world so dark? We have twisted who we are.

So we can learn from looking back at the beginning. The original sin isn’t known as the sin of Eve, even though she ate the fruit first. It is called the sin of Adam because in original solitude they are one, in waking up male and female the two become one. Original sin was an offense against himself and what he was made to be. Man and woman aren’t to be in competition with one another, they are completeness and compliment one another. Things would have been different if Adam had said no to the fruit.

For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 1 Corinthians 7:14

So too we the Mystical Body, when we sin, it is an offense against the whole body. It harms the whole church. That is why we go to confession. It isn’t just for our own soul, though that is a huge part, but it is for others, to repair the church. Our repentance is needed for everyone to heal. In our pride we refuse and we justify – “my sin isn’t that bad.” And the world devolves deeper into darkness.

Soul ties are broken when people forgive. When they forgive themselves, when they forgive others who may have harmed them. This forgiveness heals and repairs so we can be in true communion.

Jesus showed great mercy to those in sexual sin. The woman at the well had a life transformed. She recognized who he was and that he had something better for her. She changed. No longer did she look for her completeness in anything but Christ who could heal and repair the wrong she had committed. She is the one in scripture that he reveals directly who He is. He simply states, “I am he….”John 4:26 And she came to believe.

 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” John 4:39

If you have unconfessed sexual sin, go to confession. If you keep failing, keep going to confession. Don’t try to justify, just tell God where you are, and let him pour grace over you to bring you back to life.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

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