I Don’t Need Proof

Do you know how you’ll think of something and all of a sudden you see that thing all around you? You never noticed it before but now it’s so ‘in your face’ that you can’t ignore it? The same thing happened to me today.

There I was, minding my own business, just scootin’ around YouTube and it jumped out at me. Shroud of Turin videos all over the place. Why? I’m a strong believer in the ‘Holy Spirit’ moments. When He wants you to do something, or say something, He slaps ya upside your head to get your attention. Ok; maybe I’m the only He has to slap. Anyway …

I watched some videos I had seen before and for the most part, enjoyed them again. Then I remembered a fairly recent news headline to the effect that because it could not be scientifically disproved to be the burial cloth of Christ, it had to be assumed that it is. I haven’t been able to come up with the right collection of keywords to find that particular article, I did find this. It is a long read but well worth the time invested. One thing stands out to me – this paragraph from under the heading “Image formation versus work of an artist”: “These findings support the idea that the image on the Shroud was made by a sudden flash of high-energy radiation.  They also refute the possibility of forgery, since lasers were obviously not available in medieval times.” (my emphasis)

Before I share a couple of videos with you, I would be greatly remiss if I did not share this – “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” King James Version (KJV) John 20:29. I believed long, long before I ever heard of the Shroud of Turin.

The first video I hope you will watch is this:

It is long (or feels like it is!) but if you listen carefully and follow the information, you will understand two things at once. The flash of light/radiation came from Inside the Body and the Shroud shows Movement of the Body at the time of the flash. It is because the flash came from within the body itself, not an exterior cause, that we are able to see the back of the figure as well as the front of the figure. This just staggers the imagination. It did put into perspective something that I had heard on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network – better known as the Roman Catholic channel). I once heard a priest on the channel refer to Jesus as having ‘raised Himself’ from the dead. This video completely changed my mind as to what the priest had said. I had always believed that God raised Jesus from the dead and of course, He did – but as Jesus is with God, in God, and is God, one can say the Jesus raised Himself from the dead.

And now, the last video. It’s as short as the other is long. It is moving in a deep, personal way.

Finally, let me say, I don’t need proof. I know my Redeemer lives.

 

Is it betrayal?

Sometimes things happen that shake your belief in people. You think that your understanding of a person is complete – they can do nothing to surprise you. And then you find they can.

Gavin Ashenden was a Chaplain to the Queen of England; was a bishop. He studied law and then went to seminary and was ordained, and then rose through the ranks in the Church of England hierarchy. The man is simply brilliant; he’s the kind of brilliant that can take very deep issues and explain them so that they become clear and understandable. He’s a wonderful communicator and quick with a smile and a laugh. He was a wonderful ‘trophy Bishop’ of the CofE and I followed him online and YouTube and on FaceBook page.

When he resigned as Queen’s chaplain, many were surprised or shocked or outraged. If they were, it was because they didn’t really know him. Those of us outside the CofE and outside of the UK could see it coming. He spoke often – and exceedingly well – against practices and policies that directly act against the Gospel. He’s a godly man, a righteous man as our Jewish friends would say, and he loves the Lord. He could do no other. Here is a video of him explaining why he left the CofE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWm3waZiRU.

Then, in December 2019 he shared an announcement on Anglican Unscripted on Anglican TV (you can find Anglican TV on YouTube). I was stunned. This was so far outside my realm of possibility that I was completely blindsided. And angry. And hurt. Gavin left Anglicanism and joined the Church of Rome. He explains it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e65Oh5QIPs&t=5s.

I have to admit that mine was one of the comments after that show that wasn’t very understanding; I was nice but I let him know what a disappointment it was. I can’t remember if I used the word betrayal or not. Probably not as I’m not someone who has to beat others over the head with MY beliefs and expectations. But I was very clear how I felt about him making this decision.

I went off to lick my wounds – again, disappointed by a person I had faith in. I didn’t think about it consciously for a long while after. But I didn’t watch Anglican Unscripted either. The back of my mind, however, was working it through. My heart of hearts was trying to reconcile how such a wonderful intelligent, outspoken Anglican could become a Roman Catholic.

It came to me one morning as I was waking; it was as though the Holy Spirit and different influences in my life came together and deposited an understanding way beyond my normal capability. Two things came forward in my mind: my own leaving of the Episcopal Church was one. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church at that time was Katherine Jeffords Schori was videotaped in a church telling the people in the congregation that Jesus was NOT the only way to the Father – that there are many paths to God. She was, in effect, writing her own gospel and one that was totally opposite of the Bible’s Gospel. I determined then I would leave. I talked to my priest about it and it may just have been a bad day for him because he spoke more about how he was going to clean up after her mess and keep the folks in church than he did how I should pray about it, or reconsider, or find a way to simply deal with it. When I told my husband (a very lapsed Baptist) what I was going to do, he got angry and accused me of ‘leaving my friends behind’. He’s ex-military and to him I was leaving my fellow soldiers to defend themselves. He didn’t understand that I am the one who is going to have to face God; with all the sins I’ve committed in my life that I’d have to answer for, how I could I explain to Him how I stayed in an apostate church when I fully recognized and understood what that meant?

The second thing that came to mind – and it really seemed that this was dropped in my heart as one seamless thing – the second thing was a conversation I had with the priest of my new church (where I’d gone after leaving the Episcopal Church). We were talking one day about all the empty churches in our area – Lutheran, Methodist, some evangelical churches. My priest said, “God is winnowing the churches. One day we will be one church again.” I asked if he thought the one church would be Roman Catholic. He gave me a non-committal shrug but I sort of suspected he meant, or was leaning toward, yes.

So I had this revelation. I started to rethink Gavin’s decision. In the end, Gavin felt called by God to go to the Church of Rome. What’s that old saying? “All roads lead to Rome”. Perhaps. I am neither smart enough or enlightened enough to know that answer.

I went back to Anglican Unscripted and watched an episode in which Gavin’s change of journey was mentioned and left a comment apologizing for my earlier comment and wishing him well. I was truly humbled when I got a response from him, thanking me for my understanding. Humbled – that such a man of God would thank me for understanding. A very Jesus thing to do, I think.

Was it a betrayal? I don’t think so; Gavin was called by God and he answered. I pray that if I get such a call I will answer, too.

 

The Anglo Saxon O Antiphons

I wanted to give you a Christmas Eve post of mine, but in looking around, I find I haven’t written one, and I have no time to do so now. So we go back to one of my favorite bloggers, “A Clerk of Oxford” who did a wonderful job of explaining the Anglo-Saxon versions of the O Antiphons and how they relate to the seasons. Enjoy

The Trinity, surrounded by angels with multi-coloured wings
(from the Grimbald Gospels, made in Canterbury in the 11th century, BL Add. 34890, f. 114v)

A Clerk of Oxford always manages to give us an appreciation of how much we owe to the Anglo-Saxons. Many of us who are Anglophone Christians are likely aware of the O Antiphons, which we share with the Catholics, but how many of us know that there are Anglo Saxon versions of them. There are, and they are quite beautiful, and echo down in our liturgies as well. Here is one she calls O Beautiful Trinity and you really should read her article, I’m simply pulling her translation here, and the article is fascinating.

O beautiful, plenteous in honours,
high and holy, heavenly Trinity
blessed far abroad across the spacious plains,
who by right speech-bearers,
wretched earth-dwellers, should supremely praise
with all their power, now God, true to his pledge,
has revealed a Saviour to us, that we may know him.
And so the ones swift in action, endowed with glory,
that truth-fast race of seraphim
and the angels above, ever praising,
sing with untiring strength
on high with resounding voices,
most beautifully far and near. They have
a special office with the King: to them Christ granted
that they might enjoy his presence with their eyes,
forever without end, radiantly adorned,
worship the Ruler afar and wide,
and with their wings guard the face
of the Lord almighty, eternal God,
and eagerly throng around the prince’s throne,
whichever of them can swoop in flight
nearest to our Saviour in those courts of peace.
They adore the Beloved One, and within the light
speak these words to him, and worship
the noble originator of all created things:
‘Holy are you, holy, Prince of the high angels,
true Lord of Victories, forever are you holy,
Lord of Lords! Your glory will remain eternally
on earth among mortals in every age,
honoured far and wide. You are the God of hosts,
for you have filled earth and heaven
with your glory, Shelter of warriors,
Helm of all creatures. Eternal salvation
be to you on high, and on earth praise,
bright among men. Dearly blessed are you,
who come in the name of the Lord to the multitudes,
to be a comfort to the lowly. To you be eternal praise
in the heights, forever without end.’

And here in a post called O Wondrous Exchange, she brings us the last section of these. Again, I’m merely giving you the translated poetry, its story is fascinating.

O, that is a wondrous exchange in the life of men!
that mankind’s merciful Creator
received from a maiden flesh unmarred,
and she had not known the love of a man,
nor did the Lord of Victory come
by the seed of a human on earth; but that was a more skilful art
than all earth-dwellers could comprehend
in its mystery, how he, glory of the skies,
high lord of the heavens, brought help
to the race of men through his mother’s womb.
And coming forth thus, the Saviour of the peoples
deals out his forgiveness every day
to help mankind, Lord of hosts.
And so we, eager for glory, praise him
devotedly in deeds and words. That is high wisdom
in every person who has understanding,
ever to most often and most intently
and most eagerly praise God.
He will grant him the reward of grace,
the holy Saviour himself,
even in that homeland where he never before came,
in the joy of the land of the living,
where he will dwell, blessed, from thenceforth,
live forever without end. Amen.

How glorious these are, even in translation, how wonderful they must have seemed a thousand years ago, in the language of the people. Then at the very end is a promise in a wonderful muddle of pronouns. Let’s let the Clerk explain and then it follows.

This individual with whom the poem closes is anyone who chooses to gather up the powers of their mind, to reflect upon the mysterious ‘exchange’ of human flesh and holy spirit, and – here at the end of the poem – to hold in memory all that has come before. By doing so this ‘he’ (who is any of us) comes to an eternal joy which is expressed, oddly but rather beautifully, in a closing muddle of pronouns:

He him þære lisse lean forgildeð, 
se gehalgoda hælend sylfa, 
efne in þam eðle þær he ær ne cwom, 
in lifgendra londes wynne, 
þær he gesælig siþþan eardað, 
ealne widan feorh wunað butan ende. 

He will grant him the reward of grace,
the holy Saviour himself,

even in that homeland where he never came before,
in the joy of the land of the living,
where he will dwell, blessed, from thenceforth,
live forever without end.

Who is ‘he’ here? Sometimes clearly Christ, and sometimes the mindful man, but the last, at least, might well be both. Perhaps they become one in that strange place, a final wonder from a poem full of marvels: a land where humans have never yet been, but which is their true home.

Have a wondrous Christmas week.

Michaelmas? Huh, What?

Yesterday was, in the traditional Catholic calendar, the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Michael, in Italy. In short: Michaelmas.

So what? I hear you ask? Well, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf tells us:

As a “mere” Archangel, Michael belongs to one of the lower choirs.  But such are God’s might and plan, that Michael is the one who restrained Satan, highest in the hierarchy and mightiest of all the angels before his fall.  Michael it will be who chains the great “red dragon” of Revelation 12.

OK, a lot of this strikes me, and maybe you, as Catholic mumbo jumbo and a diminution of the Faith in Christ onto a whole (heavenly) multitude of other characters. And maybe it is. But it also presents in a popular form the many facets of our Faith – here the faith (or Church) Militant defending itself from evil. Something that does appear in short supply these days.

Part of the reason we take note is this is because as Fr Gavin Ashenden tells us:

“After Leo XIII had celebrated a morning Mass, he went to a meeting with the Cardinals. Suddenly he collapsed into unconsciousness. The doctors who came to his aid found no cause for the collapse, although his pulse almost ceased. Suddenly he awoke and was fresh as ever. He reported that he had seen a terrible vision. He was granted to see the devil’s seductiveness and ravaging for the coming ages in all lands. In this distress St. Michael the Archangel appeared and cast Satan with all his demons back into the infernal abyss. Leo XIII thereupon ordered, shortly after 1880, the Common Prayer to St. Michael.”

Pope Leo was so shocked by his vision of the unleashing of evil in the Church and in the world in the 20th Century, he asked all Catholics to pray this prayer after celerbrating the Eucharist.

He then provides us with the prayer Leo taught us:

O glorious Prince of the Heavenly Host, St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou, to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old, thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel Angels, who were powerless to stand against thee.

Neither was their place found anymore in Heaven. And that apostle Angel, transformed into an Angel of darkness who still creeps about the earth to encompass our ruin, was cast headlong into the abyss together with his followers.

But, behold, that first enemy of mankind, and a murderer from the beginning, has regained his confidence. Changing himself into an Angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety, and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity. These crafty enemies of mankind have filled to overflowing with gall and wormwood the Church, which is the Bride of the Lamb without spot. They have laid profane hands upon her most sacred treasures.

Make haste, therefore, O invincible Prince, to help the people of God against the inroads of the lost spirits and grant us the victory.
Amen.

Now mind, I’m a fairly good Lutheran, I  can’t countenance praying to archangels and such, although I have found it efficacious to ask Jesus’s Mom to intercede with him for me on occasion. But given the way the world currently is, it could do no harm to ask Jesus and his heavenly father to unleash such a doughty champion on our behalf.

Comes the Hour, Comes the (New) Party

One of the things I’ve been doing while taking some time off here, has been talking with and encouraging my British friends, as they watch their government and the Westmonster version of the swamp attempt to deprive Britain of nothing less than their sovereignty. It is, truthfully, far more than what prompted our founders to revolt in 1776.

As near as I can tell, the British are perhaps more angry than they ever were at Hitler, both at the EU, and even more at their own government. They have every right to be, if ours tried this on, there would be armed citizens in the street. For some reason, BBC4 aired this last week. It’s rather inexplicable since the BBC is even more a fake news channel for the government and the EU than CNN. But they did, and I could feel the anger over here.

There is a second episode of this as well, that I haven’t found yet, but I think this makes the necessary points.

But we all believe that “Comes the Hour, Comes the Man”. I’m not a huge fan of Nigel Farage, although I’m not sure why except that he didn’t follow through after the Brexit Vote. But about a month ago when it became reasonably clear that they were going to be voting for European Parliament member (MEP) later this month, he formed a new party. The Brexit Party. Well. Guido has the polling.

For the European elections

But even more amazing there is a £ Sunday Telegraph poll of parties were a general election to be held. That one is amazing.

The bad news is that polls says if an election were held, they’d end up with a Corbyn government, for Americans think Obama times about 3. But remember TBP is only a month old and doesn’t really have a candidate for a general yet. And amazing poll nevertheless.

So what are they doing? This is a Brexit Party rally last week in Durham.

If you’ve watched any of Trump’s rallies, you’ll feel right at home. Nigel must have been taking notes, and Britons respond not all that dissimilarly to Americans, which should surprise no one. Yes, some of my friends worry about the Americanization of British politics, but hey, we shamelessly stole a lot of our ideas from them. And I think I just fell in love with Ann Widdecombe.

So what I have I been telling my friends? Vote Brexit or vote UKIP, depending on who has a candidate or if both do, vote the person. It’s time to drain the British portion of the swamp.

Kipling knew.

AT Runnymede, at Runnymede
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break,
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede:–
“You mustn’t sell, delay, deny,
A freeman’s right or liberty.
It makes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw ’em roused at Runnymede!

“When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid time
The first attack on Right Divine–
The curt, uncompromising ‘Sign!’
That settled John at Runnymede.

“At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found
And passed upon him by his peers.
Forget not, after all these years,
The Charter Signed at Runnymede.”

And still when Mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
Across the reeds at Runnymede.
And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
Their warning down from Runnymede!

Thames is rolling loudly now.

A time to weep

That, of course, is Notre Dame de Paris, as she has looked since roughly 1260. The interior it is said requited cutting some 52 acres of timber. That’s a lot of wood. And it’s been quite the life, through war and revolution, and even desecration, it’s hung on. But this morning it looks different.

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier – RC1AC7F22C50

Frankly, it hit me as I watched very much like watching the attack on the World Trade Center did, for both were symbols the WTC of a proud trading nation, and Notre Dame of a time when lives were centered on God, not ourselves. I sat here for a while yesterday, watching through my tears, even as I did on 9/11. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of that, it just is. Not only me, either.

The French say it was just an accident caused by the renovators currently working there. Like most of you, I tend to distrust governments because they have a propensity to lie, to cover up, on the other hand, it would hardly be the first time a careless workman destroyed a building. So, it likely is so.

The French also say it will be rebuilt, and already contributions are pouring in. But I wonder, are they rebuilding a historic building, or a tourist attraction, or a house of God. The name is Our Lady of Paris after all, and the French have not been noted for their Christianity since before the Revolution. So we (or more likely you younger people) will see. I will pray for the rebuilding of a house of God.

Some, at least of the relics and artwork were saved, amongst them The Crown of Thorns, reputed to be the actual Crown of Thorns that was pressed on Jesus’s head this very week long ago. It may or may not be the original, but it is a reminder.

Another parallel with the Trade Center. I suspect some of you remember this, as I instantly did yesterday.

This is from the interior of Notre Dame this morning.

And so, again, the essential remains, and we have received a message, we would do well to heed.

Ecclesiastes 3 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.

What hath man more of his labour?

10 I have seen the trouble, which God hath given the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made all things good in their time, and hath delivered the world to their consideration, so that man cannot find out the work which God hath made from the beginning to the end.

12 And I have known that there was no better thing than to rejoice, and to do well in this life.

13 For every man that eateth and drinketh, and seeth good of his labour, this is the gift of God.

14 I have learned that all the works which God hath made, continue for ever: we cannot add any thing, nor take away from those things which God hath made that he may be feared.

15 That which hath been made, the same continueth: the things that shall be, have already been: and God restoreth that which is past.

16 I saw under the sun in the place of judgment wickedness, and in the place of justice iniquity.

17 And I said in my heart: God shall judge both the just and the wicked, and then shall be the time of every thing.

18 I said in my heart concerning the sons of men, that God would prove them, and shew them to be like beasts.

19 Therefore the death of man, and of beasts is one, and the condition of them both is equal: as man dieth, so they also die: all things breathe alike, and man hath nothing more than beast: all things are subject to vanity.

20 And all things go to one place: of earth they were made, and into earth they return together.

21 Who knoweth if the spirit of the children of Adam ascend upward, and if the spirit of the beasts descend downward?

22 And I have found that nothing is better than for a man to rejoice in his work, and that this is his portion. For who shall bring him to know the things that shall be after him?

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