Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Striving to Forgive

I hold grudges. God help me, I really do. And not just regular, passing grudges. I hold grudges that last for years and years, especially if I’ve been done a great injustice.

And I have been, as we all have at one time or another.

My mother died after eighteen agonizing days in an IC unit at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on July 27, 2003. Her body gave up after a culmination of septic shock, heart failure, and a busted liver drug her into death. Her closest family and friends gathered around her and, as they said “Amen” to a prayer over her, she gave her spirit back to Heaven. She died a devout Christian.

My God, you find out who your friends are when you are in the darkest moment of your life. I had one that claimed to be my truest friend, a man I’d been through Hell and back with (and vice-versa), toss me into the wind because my mourning would take time away from his Everquest addiction. Insult added to injury, when he finally peeked his head from underneath his mother’s dress six months later (no doubt finally tiring of pixilated elves), he had the gall to twist the story to all of our mutual friends, and turn them against me. They never even had the wisdom to ask why, in my darkest moment, I would turn away my best friend in the world. Nonsensical.

His father knew the truth. My fiancĂ©e at the time (and still friend) knew the truth. Various people around us knew how this guy betrayed me. Beyond that, these mutual “friends” chose to believe him over me, for whatever reasons. I guess it doesn’t really matter now. I was shot down at the worst moment in my life by someone I’d sworn my absolute loyalty to, even beyond right and wrong (something I swore I’d never do). If these people align themselves with that type of person, so be it. I am a better man for not being in that pack of wolves.

I have such a difficult time getting over stuff. I’ve about come to a place in my life where I can forgive those who have wronged me. The sad thing is that my near inability to forgive dooms me, not them. It even affects my friendship with people who are simply associated with them in passing. Like my friend Tim.

I honestly think God calls us out of certain groups, a way of separating the wheat from the chaff, if you will. I think he pulls us away from people who are ultimately detrimental to us…people who are sort of damned to be what they are, always for worse, and who will ultimately drag you down if you stick around them. My loyalties run deep, friends. I would have never abandoned this guy, especially over a video game, especially in the worst moment of grief in his life. He would…and did. Lord knows I was in the wrong people, calling the wrong people “friend.” As arrogant as it may sound, that guy and his ilk were not worthy of me. For his bit of treachery, and for the fact that his “peeps” stood by it, I am better off in a different world. And what a world it is…

Since I’ve found Christ, my world has changed completely. I’ve married a beautiful woman and have adopted her son (a child who was abandoned by his biological father the same way I was). God has given me a job with one of the highest-paying companies in my area, in my field, and has moved me into a house on a lake. I have received blessing after blessing, from pay raises to multitudes of new friendships, to opportunities to grow and to climb the ladder. Even older, steadfastly noble friends are returning to my life, friends I’ve had for ages. I have been welcomed by the Church and, on April 7th (Easter Vigil), my wife and I will receive the rite of Confirmation, thus sealing forever our membership in the Body of Christ. I am soon to be a Knight of Columbus, I write courses that aid first responders in protecting their communities nationwide, and I am making a real, visible difference in a real, embittered world. My life doesn’t consist of a perpetual escape from reality that alcohol and video games bring. It consists of helping real, flesh and blood people.

Yeah, there are a few troubles here and there, but I see the hand of God in them. The trouble I endure now has a lesson I can clearly see attached to it, like an addendum. Life is amazing.

When I was a practicing neo-Pagan in 2001, I heard a young woman I was associated with talking about a friend of hers who had become a Christian. Her friend’s life changed dramatically. She found a great job whereas she was broke and desperate before, she was able to finish her education, and her health and social life generally improved. I heard the story and looked into my heart at the desolation I wallowed in, and observed those around me who did the same. The guy that later betrayed me and the friends he took with him scrambled as much as I did in the dark. We were all damned. We all still may be. At least I’ve taken a step closer to not being.

God help me forgive. I should let go. I cannot achieve your forgiveness if I don’t forgive others. I have been dealt a terrible evil by these people, but you changed my life. You saved my heart, Lord. Help me not to look with wrath upon those who have wronged me, but with prayer and hope. My life is going well and I should be completely happy. Theirs may not be. Heal my heart, vanquish my anger, and help me forgive. Then, help me forget them all.

The picture above is of my church in Jacksonville, St. Charles Borromeo. You have no idea how close to Christ I’ve felt in that place during my most tormented moments. Or maybe you do. It led me home, sisters and brothers. God help that place perfect me.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Catholic Prayer for America

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

O Lord, I beseech that you move our leaders to make the right decisions, to guard life wisely and zealously, and to avoid useless war. I pray that you place your love into their hearts, understanding in their minds, and peace as their goal.

I pray for the protection of our innocent, O Lord, as well as the innocent of other nations, be it our brother Canada to the north or Sweden far away. Save us from those who mercilessly take life and slaughter children by the hundreds. Shield us from those who disregard you in favor of a false and bloodthirsty idol. Save also the unborn, who are slain more for convenience than anything else.

I ask that you heed the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the cries of all the Angels and Saints, and the voices of the Martyrs and all others killed in the name of false virtue. Especially guard those dedicated to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Signs of our Day

Anna Nicole Smith is idolized in the American press, a woman who never appeared sober in anything she ever did, while dying soldiers are only hinted about in vague passages or prologues on the nightly news. Most of the time, these passages or prologues are used to push an agenda, like on Fox News or CNN, not for the honor of the dead. We raise up a figure who hung herself on methadone and assorted pills, while those dying among suicide bombers, pederasts, and lust-filled fanatics are cast aside.

We have gangs of intellectual mongrels railing against those who follow Christ or take a definitive stance on an issue. Those same mongrels, who beat you on the back with one hand and hold the dagger of modernism with the other, fail to tell you that they commit the same sin they have persecuted you for. They have chosen a side as well, and because you are not on it, hate you as much as they claim you hate them.

We have Britney Spears who out of one side of her mouth says “Be yourself! Be who you are! Be what you want to be!” and with the other side, “But…you have to be like me, blonde, famous, rich, and pretty to get anywhere in America.” This is the prime example of the breakdown and schizophrenic nature of a society that has tossed morality out. Sadly enough, these are the people our children idolize, in part because we don’t provide them with role models, like the Saints…or ourselves. God forbid our children end up like Mrs. Spears in her present, hairless mental state.

We are slowly approaching the times that St. Paul spoke about in Colossians and other epistles. We are seeing an age where we call evil good and good, evil. We watch as the crucifix, displayed in public, is hissed at while sex between two people like dogs on the sidewalk is called “admirable.” We tune into Jerry Springer and watch the most heinous load of garbage that America can offer the rest of the world, and then view him at the end of each show trying to morally qualify the reason for its existence. I hope it makes him feel good. I hope he knows he fails in his task.

A nation that is morally unstable cannot be tasked with being a world power. If it is malleable in its ethics, it is unqualified to lead the darker, hungrier nations to a brighter, more peaceful tomorrow. It becomes fodder for tyrants who want nothing more than to burn our Constitution, for Jihadists who wish to kill us in the name of some bloodthirsty false god, or for deterioration beyond those countries we strive to help. God help us in our present state. Old Glory has betrayed you, Lord.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Christ shield me this day:

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me

-from the Breastplate of St. Patrick

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Chose Catholicism…

…Over other faiths, because:

15. I gained entirely too much weight at those darned Sunday potluck dinners at the local “family worship center.”

14. I was kicked out of a coven when I thought that “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” was what Wiccans used as a “bible.”

13. I compared a Priest’s vestments to a Baptist preacher’s suit. (No contest).

12. Madonna and her entourage kept taking all the best seats at those Kabbalah Centre classes.

11. Marijuana is legal in Jamaica, but not the U.S.

10. “Inquisition” sounds much classier than “Jihad.”

9. I look bad in a yarmulke.

8. Zen Buddhism made sense to me.

7. I was too broke to convert to Scientology.

6. The Mormons rejected me when I told them that Brigham Young looked “creepy.”

5. I showed up at a Jedi convention dressed as a Klingon.

4. My wife warned me that if I bought another crystal, she’d ship me to Shirley MacLaine in a purple, felt bag with a tie-dye moon print.

3. I couldn’t fathom calling myself “Rowan Nightsilver,” “Taliesin Sunmooner,” “Orion Speakenspeller,” or some other dreadful name.

2. I learned that the “communion wine” in the Church of Christ was cheap grape juice.

1. Mary versus Kali. Enough said.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Miraculous Medal

The devotion commonly known as that of the Miraculous Medal owes its origin to Zoe Labore, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, known in religion as Sister Catherine [Note: She was subsequently canonized], to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three separate times in the year 1830, at the mother-house of the community at Paris. The first of these apparitions occurred 18 July, the second 27 November, and the third a short time later. On the second occasion, Sister Catherine records that the Blessed Virgin appeared as if standing on a globe, and bearing a globe in her hands. As if from rings set with precious stones dazzling rays of light were emitted from her fingers. These, she said, were symbols of the graces which would be bestowed on all who asked for them. Sister Catherine adds that around the figure appeared an oval frame bearing in golden letters the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee"; on the back appeared the letter M, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under all the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded by a crown of thorns, and the latter pierced by a sword.

At the second and third of these visions a command was given to have a medal struck after the model revealed, and a promise of great graces was made to those who wear it when blessed. After careful investigation, M. Aladel, the spiritual director of Sister Catherine, obtained the approval of Mgr. de Quelen, Archbishop of Paris, and on 30 June, 1832, the first medals were struck and with their distribution the devotion spread rapidly. One of the most remarkable facts recorded in connection with the Miraculous Medal is the conversion of a Jew, Alphonse Ratisbonne of Strasburg, who had resisted the appeals of a friend to enter the Church. M. Ratisbonne consented, somewhat reluctantly, to wear the medal, and being in Rome, he entered, by chance, the church of Sant' Andrea delle Fratte and beheld in a vision the Blessed Virgin exactly as she is represented on the medal; his conversion speedily followed. This fact has received ecclesiastical sanction, and is recorded in the office of the feast of the Miraculous Medal. In 1847, M. Etienne, superior-general of the Congregation of the Mission, obtained from Pope Pius IX the privilege of establishing in the schools of the Sisters of Charity a confraternity under the title of the Immaculate Conception, with all the indulgences attached to a similar society established for its students at Rome by the Society of Jesus. This confraternity adopted the Miraculous Medal as its badge, and the members, known as the Children of Mary, wear it attached to a blue ribbon. On 23 July, 1894, Pope Leo XIII, after a careful examination of all the facts by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, instituted a feast, with a special Office and Mass, of the Manifestation of the Immaculate Virgin under the title of the Miraculous Medal, to be celebrated yearly on 27 November by the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission, under the rite of a double of the second class. For ordinaries and religious communities who may ask the privilege of celebrating the festival, its rank is to be that of a double major feast. A further decree, dated 7 September, 1894, permits any priest to say the Mass proper to the feast in any chapel attached to a house of the Sisters of Charity.

(Entire text courtesy of New Advent)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Intolerance at

When I was steeped in neo-Paganism, I would sometimes spend hours looking for web sites that disclaimed and/or ridiculed Christianity. Heck, it seemed like most of my neo-Paganism, unfortunately, was spent trying to deride my former faith more than exploring the new philosophy or practicing “magick.” I ran across a great many useful sites, such as,, and These sites are quite blatant in their anti-Christian stance. However, the one I found most disturbing is also the one that sounds the most innocent.

Religious Tolerance dot Org.

Ran by the “Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance” (I have an idea that these “consultants” consist of some guy and his wife, or beer buddy), the site claims that it wishes “to extend religious freedom to people of all religious traditions, even though you may disagree with their beliefs and/or practices.” It is a nice idea. It would have been even nicer if the author (s?) would have extended the same courtesy to Christendom.

Of all the sites I used to gather weaponry against Christians in chat rooms, this was one of the best, yet most “innocent” looking. One need only read a few portions of even the most friendly sections on any branch of Christianity before the seeping fog of bigotry covers your keyboard. In virtually every post, in every article, in every page concerning Christianity in this glorified blog, the author’s displeasure with the Church reveals itself in unmitigated terms. Christianity is bashed, held over the fire, and made blame for every vile, heinous bit of ash it is either responsible for or had no hand in.

Hey, if we’re guilty, we’ll take the heat. The Inquisition? Our bad. Not doing enough to stop the Holocaust? Equally our bad. Yes, we’ll take our stripes. But what of the evil of other faiths? You never read about them. And God forbid you find anything negative about Islam.

I called the author (the only author?) on it. I emailed him and asked him why, if the site proclaims to be so tolerant of all faiths, Christianity is the odd man out. He wrote me back and, playing dumb, asked “whatever do you mean?” So, I furnished for him irrefutable examples.

The Status of Women in Christianity ( It is, needless to say, quite negative. The Status of Women in Islam? Quite positive: Never mind those burkas or female castration.

Anti-Semitic/anti-Judaic passages in the Bible? Here we go: As for the Koran, which is soaked with it? Nowhere to be found:

The Church and homosexuality? Look at Islam and homosexuality? Well, the author conveniently gives a saccharine version at

Let’s not fail to mention how many branches of Wicca either practice outright sexism (Dianic Wicca) or anti-homosexuality (older Gardnerian covens). Let’s also not discuss how the practice of Sati (widow-burning) in many parts of India is completely acceptable and still practiced covertly, or how homosexuality is grossly disdained in lesser-diamond Buddhism. And Heaven forbid we notice that on the site Christianity is the first religion mentioned on a page about religious hatred (, when blood in the Middle East shed by Sunnis and Shi’ites flows like a murky river. Let’s bypass the fact that Mosques in Italy are safe and secure while any parish that dares cast a shadow in a Muslim country is uniformly bombed and burned on any given occasion.

You know, I can’t think of the last time a Baptist gunned down a group of Catholic children in the states, or when a Mormon blew herself to pieces on a bus filled with senior citizens. The author(s?) seem to live steeped in the past, wrapped in the “Burning Times” (in which only Christians died) and the Crusades, unafraid to face the reality of religious evil that is OUTSIDE Christianity for fear that his or her moral conscience would be triggered, and in feeling bad, they would be less “tolerant.”

Does it disgust you? Thankfully, we can all dodge that web site. This, after all, is a free country.

So, as I said, I emailed the author of and called him on the double-standards, and he wrote me back, claiming ignorance. Well, he may be used to ignorant hillbillies clutching King James Bibles who spew anger rather than reason, or belligerent fundamentalists who can’t make a decent argument. But I, my friend, am neither.

When I showed him the proof, as I have shown you, he sheepishly replied that he would be writing more about hot-button issues in Islam and other faiths, and give them “equal time” as far as controversy. It has yet to happen. My money is on the theory that it never will.

So I wrote again and asked how Fred Phelps, the infamous hatemonger from can be called a Christian, according to the site, yet those such as Osama Bin Laden or any of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers are “not, in truth, real Muslims.” I received no reply. Likely story.

What an impressive double-standard. The author is so blinded by his/her hatred for Christianity, truth and reason mean nothing. I have the feeling he or she wears a self-satisfied smirk with every new keystroke that is pounded against Christ and His Church.

So be it.

There is something immensely unnerving about any web site that claims one thing, looks the part, yet does and says another thing altogether. This is one of those sites. And when even Wikipedia has issues using it as a scholarly source, it is really time to find the door (see

Beliefnet and, my friends, are much, much better.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Below are twelve of the promises Jesus made to Saint Margaret Mary for those devoted to His Sacred Heart. This is a fitting companion to the fifteen promises of Mary to those who pray the blessed Rosary. No Catholic heart should take any of these promises lightly.

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.

5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.

9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.

12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

Amen, O Lord.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Truth in Ink

Unfortunately, this about says it all.

I pray for change.

Veritas vos liberabit