Photo Essay: Will You Pray for Me?

        Contrary to most descriptions, a Roman scourging was a vicious affair.  It usually killed a person at forty lashes or greater because of blood loss from exposed internal organs.  The entire purpose of a public lashing is to scare away people from either supporting the victim’s cause or preventing certain crimes.   It should come as no surprise there were very few of Jesus public supporters and apostles at the foot of his cross when he died.    That was the entire idea behind a cruxifixction.

    So approaching the Shrine, on the southern portico we have this cross at the end.  With a single kneeler just begging you to come and pray with and for our Lord in his suffering.  A suffering which continues today in this world.  Jesus’ persecution continues today with attacks on the people of his church around the world.  Jesus’ church on this earth needs our prayers as much now as ever!

    So the lonely kneeler begs the question from Jesus: Will you pray for me?



A Father’s Love

    I started the day with prayer at this statue showing us how much God loved us…through the sacrifice of his only son on a cross.  Below the statue were the graves of two aborted and five miscarried babies.  As a father of four miscarried babies, my first thought was of mercy God provides these innocents by bringing them immediately into heaven.  My second thought came back to praying the men and women who facilitated the abortions come home into God’s graces.

    I am a blessed man to have a father (and father-in-law) who taught me the meaning of devotion to family over self, to wife over self, to accept responsibility for my actions, and to honor God’s commandments as a way of life.  I know he picked me up, and kicked me along through hundreds of mistakes during my life.  I also know he rejoiced in my successes when lessons applied finally yielded results.  

    As I labored for a living and travelled the world the last 27 years away from home, I came to realize this is not an experience all children receive.   In fact report after report shows the lack of principled fatherhood is the primary factor for increased crime rates, lack of transmitted faith in God, disrespecting women in a hook up culture, and disengagement of boys with constructive endeavors and careers.  

    The only way to correct this problem in the future, is for a slow and steady conversion of hearts towards Christ.  Christ provides the example of selfless love absent in much of our culture today.  Christ provides the example of the stern, forgiving, task mastering, self sacrificing man needed to be a good father to children.  Christ also demonstrates a humble reliance on God the Father, and subordination of his will to the master designer of all time and space needed to be a good husband to a wife.

    If we look to Christ for answers, there would be no more abortions.  We would never allow evil to come to our children if we were truly disciples of the word made flesh.  From that simple beginning, so much more good would flow.  Once we accept our fatherly call to teach, sacrifice and lead our families to heaven we never stop seeking a truth greater than we ourselves can understand alone.  

    So on this Father’s Day I will pray graces flow, and men accept the call to be father’s in the model of Jesus.  It would simply make the world a much better place for the born and unborn alike.


What a Child Teaches about Ad Orientum Worship

My first Ad Orientum mass in Savannah, GA April 2016

My first Ad Orientum mass in Savannah, GA April 2016

        Robert Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship of the Catholic Church, recently pleaded with bishops around the world to resume worship Ad Orientum.  Ad Orientum, or facing the liturgical east, for the entire congregation to include the priest was how the Catholic Church worshiped until Vatican II.  The local changes made to have priests face the congregation, and turn their back on the tabernacle is a matter of great controversy.

    In the traditional Catholic Solemn High Mass the priest always says mass Ad Orientum.   Priests may also offer mass Ad Orientum under the Norvos Ordo (or Vatican II mass).  Vatican II documents never explicitly directed bishops to have priests face the congregation during mass.  This liturgical change it happened “on its own” along with a whole host of other changes.  The controversy around this is very rich, and I am only beginning to understand the various historical positions.

    I’ve heard many compelling theological arguments supporting Ad Orientum, however I wanted to reduce this to the lowest level of natural law I could in my head.  So I looked at the behavior of a child to see what would our natural inclinations be in this situation.  I used the example of my five children as infants to see if I could discern a pattern of some sort.

    When a child awakes from a nap, wherever they are, they call for their parents.  The child will have at least one or more needs after walking: cleaning, hunger, loneliness, being too cold or hot.  The child will cry out.  First as a whimper, then as a scream until they get some attention.  When you come to “rescue” the child, they will almost always be looking our direction.  Standing, sitting, climbing it will not matter.  They will be looking for you as they call out.

    In a way, Ad Orientum worship is not much different than a child awakening.   When we go to church we all need cleansing, nourishment, companionship and comfort to continue on our journey to heaven.  The priest, the servers, the laity are all just children in the eyes of God.  So when we call out to the Father in prayer we should all be looking in the direction he is coming from. This is what Ad Orientum means, looking towards the spiritual east the direction which God will come.

    It does not sound like such a bad idea.



Helen’s Best

    Still working on some of my images from Helen, Georgia.  We had a fantastic time there, and I would recommend it as a great place for a family trip.   After living in Germany, and traveling through Bavaria, the facade was fun to experience.  I often wondered what America would look like with some German architecture, well now I know the effect of mixing the two building codes. The most important three things about the town though were: the people were very nice, the recreation readily available, and the ladies loved our John Paul (and he loved them).

    With this final point made…I can say it was fun and could be visited yet again!