Putting One’s Hand To The Plow

“Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.” – Genesis 3:23-24

Man now must do what was done for him. The means of life for nurturing and growth is as God had intended. But man must learn the techniques of agriculture and animal husbandry to produce the sustenance to maintain his life. He must toil in tilling where the sinless man did not.

Christ tells us that he who puts his hand to the plow and looks back will not have eternal life. Meaning that the sins committed and forgiven must not be returned to. As a farmer who looks back when plowing will not make a straight furrow, so, too, will the sinner not make straight his way.

Man is a farmer for needs of the soul as well as the body. When plowing, he keeps his eye on the target ahead. If not he will stray off-line and must start over again. What is that target for sinners? Christians believe it is Christ. Seculars, however, target a utopian ideal as the end result of evolution. With Christ we have an affirmed beginning to which we strive to return. Evolutionists, who can only affirm a theoretical start which leads to evolutionary theory, believe we are randomly growing toward some goal of perfection and are constantly adapting to needs compelling change, physically, mentally and philosophically toward that goal. With evolutionists this is a one-dimensional process moving forward to one day achieve the utopian ideal.

The process of Christianity comes full circle. To return to an already set perfect ideal. To return to the home that was perfect until the order was disrupted by a broken relationship. The unbelieving plowman cannot plow a straight furrow because he knows not his true beginning nor his intended end. The believing plowman does. The former cannot be certain as to how far they have come toward achieving this goal. The latter can. Christ is the only certain target. The evolutionist is chasing an ever elusive, ever-changing, phantom on which no aim can be taken. The Christian validates the inherent value in each individual. The evolutionist does not. For, the evolutionist, sees man as but a means to some end. A mere step along the evolutionary path. To the Christian, the state of a man’s soul is the end.

Christ by taking to the cross reached up and pulled down upon himself the sins of all mankind, past present and to come. In this divine sacrifice where the creator allows himself to be killed by his beloved creatures, death loses its sting. The debt of sin has been paid by the New Adam. The sour note struck by the first Adam would have reverberated endlessly causing disharmony throughout humanity. But, by the Cross, has since been replaced by a new note, in Christ, from which a new harmonious symphony is written for all mankind.

What Christ had to endure was not easy but hard. The plowman knows this as well. What he does, too, is hard, abdicating and demanding. For such is necessary to enjoy the fruits of labor. Christ’s death on the cross did not validate the wage of sin for He was sinless. And by His resurrection is confirmed that all those who, at their moment, die sinless, too, will do what He has done. Death, due to the cross, is but the lifting of the veil between this world and the next. And how we live our lives determines how we live eternally. Either in the New Eden or far from it. The disciplined plowman who toils in the worldly field unfettered by its distractions and tills its soil virtuously will be rewarded with a harvest that this world knows not. The straight furrow then leads to eternal bliss.

Keen is the eye and steady the hand that is governed by a prudent mind.



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The Lenten Journey

lentFor those who do not know, Lent is a journey. It is observed by Catholic and most other Christian denominations. The journey begins on Ash Wednesday, and lasts forty days. During that time Christians practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Prayer represents how we relate to God, fasting represents how we relate to ourselves and almsgiving/charitable works represents how we relate to others. The followers of Christ are reminded on Ash Wednesday of their dependence upon God for their very being. The ashes distributed in the ceremony come from the palms from the previous “Palm Sunday.” As the priest or minister marks the forehead of the penitent with the sign of the cross using the blessed ashes he says either of two blessings: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” The first blessing, a stark and humbling reality of our mortality, the second, more amicable. Yet to follow the Gospel is by no means for the meek.  Lent then continues through Holy Week, culminating with death’s final triumph over life by Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday, and life’s eternal triumph over death through Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

“…better to fast for joy, than feast for misery.” – G.K. Chesterton (The Ballad of the White Horse)

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is often called “Fat Tuesday,” for it precedes Lent and it is seen as the last feast before the fast of Lent. Many, during Lent, sacrifice that which they hold dear. A personal sacrifice that often is eliminated for the good of the penitent as a test of self-denial. A positive change in the way one lives, rather than, say, giving up drinking coffee (which one often resumes after Lent), is a greater accomplishment of Lent. For if that change is held to, that person emerges from Lent all the better for it. Ridding oneself of a bad habit brings one closer to Christ. And that is the purpose of Lent. One may choose to replace impatience with patience, hate with love, injustice with justice, anger with kindness, greed with charity, indiscretion with prudence, pride with humility, to name a few. By eliminating a weakness, we increase our strength.

It is a difficult task to change from some harmful habits or way of life. Where does one begin? With an act. An act that is contrary to thought. Acts that when practiced continually will conform thought to the act. Good acts foster good thoughts.  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: “It should be each person’s goal to rid themselves of one sin per year.” How much better would the world be if that were to be accomplished.

We should emerge from the Lenten journey a better person than when we began. Fat Tuesday, I believe, should be ignored; for one should fast before the feast, rather than after. Because the real feast is celebrated on Easter Sunday. And with such a spiritual feast before us, any last self-indulgence before Ash Wednesday would pale in comparison and not be remembered, save for the moment at which it took place.

The goal of the Lenten journey is not to reform, but to conform. The Lenten journey is unlike a trip to Europe, as you travel with companions and meet many people along the way. In Lent you come face to face with but one person; Christ. On that journey you walk with him and are confronted with all that is in you that is contrary to Him. It is the result of the practice of our will over His. If one seriously values his/her relationship with Christ, that person must remove from himself/herself that which reflects less of Christ.

When our life’s journey is over we will stand before He who intercedes on our behalf before God. His judgment will be based, not upon a list of events of our lives from which we can plead our case. The time for making our case has passed when we have passed. We will immediately know our judgment. For when in the presence of perfection we will see our imperfections. As the imperfections in a portrait are easily revealed in sunlight and not by the light of a candle. His judgment will be based on how much He sees of Himself in us. The saddest response ever to be heard by one who stands before the divine judge is: “I know you not.” How merciful we were to others in life will earn equal mercy from Him. However, if that saddest of all responses, in all truth, applies to any of us, then it is not Christ who bars us from heaven, but we ourselves.

Remember, the Lenten journey need not be impossible to complete; for it is not taken alone. It is taken with He who offers us His Yoke which makes the way easy and the burden light.

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St. Valentine’s Day

A Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

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Valentine (Valentinius: Latin) was a Roman Priest at the time of emperor Claudius, a persecutor of the church. Claudius had an edict to prohibit marriage of young people; based on the theory that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what may come of their families should they be killed in battle.

Valentine lived in a permissive society where polygamy was quite the norm. Yet many seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. Polygamy presented an obvious problem to the church which thought marriage very sacred between one man and one woman for life, and it was to be encouraged. The idea of marriage in the Christian church was what Valentine was about. So he secretly married many because of the edict.

Asterius, one of Valentine’s judges in the violation of Roman law, had a blind daughter. Valentine was supposed to have prayed for her. The…

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How Catholics See Mary

Beginning in the spring of 1917, nine-year-old Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francesco and Jacinta Marto of Aljustrel in the parish of Fatima, Portugal reported apparitions of an Angel, and starting in May 1917, apparitions of the Virgin Mary, whom the children described as “the Lady more brilliant than the Sun”. The children reported a prophecy that prayer would lead to an end to the Great War, and that on 13 October that year the Lady would reveal her identity and perform a miracle “so that all may believe.” Newspapers reported the prophecies, and many pilgrims began visiting the area. The children’s accounts were deeply controversial, drawing intense criticism from both local secular and religious authorities. A provincial administrator briefly took the children into custody, believing the prophecies were politically motivated in opposition to the officially secular First Portuguese Republic established in 1910.

The events of 13 October became known as the Miracle of the Sun.  After some newspapers reported that the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle for the last of her apparitions on 13 October, a huge crowd, possibly between 30,000 and 100,000, including reporters and photographers, gathered at Cova da Iria. According to accounts, after a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the Sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. It was said to be significantly duller than normal, and to cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The Sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position. Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became “suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling”. – Wikipedia 

Some saw what was described and some did not. There were scientists who could not explain these witnessed events and others offered some explanation. Yet, despite the accounts of the event, the secrets revealed to the children by Our Lady have all come to pass. But, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: “For those who have faith, no explanation is necessary. For those who have not faith, no explanation is enough.”

At Fatima Our Lady points to the sun, as she once before interceded at the wedding at Cana, which through God’s grace again provides the needed affirmation for the crowd there gathered to believe the children. Christ, Himself, said to those who did not believe in that which He preached; look to the lame who walk, the deaf who hear, the blind who see. All are made whole including sinners. These are the signs and acts that only God can do. As Mary pointed to the sun at Fatima, so, too, does she point to her Son. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun which penetrates the night to dispel the darkness, so, too, does Mary point to her Son who penetrates the hardest of and most broken hearts to dispel the darkness from sin and sorrow therein. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, in like manner, Mary reflects He who is the light of the world.

Other Christian sects believe that we Catholics worship Mary. Only God and Christ are to be worshiped as the first and second persons of the Holy Trinity, inseparable through the love of the Holy Spirit. Yet we do honor Mary who, on our behalf, intercedes for us with Her Son. Would any visit a friend and ignore his mother? Of course not. That would be an insult to your friend. As it is an insult to our Lord should we so ignore His mother. Yet how can I prove to my Christian brothers and sisters that we do not worship Mary, but, instead, honor Her. The proof is found in two familiar prayers:

The Lord’s Prayer

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.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I highlight two particular words in each prayer that distinguishes worship from honor. The word FORGIVE is used in the Lord’s Prayer. For forgiveness of sins is left to God alone. Therefore by this truth we worship God. The word PRAY is used in the Hail Mary, for prayer is not unique only to Our Lady but to all. We pray to saints and loved ones who have gone before us to God. And in that we ask of Mary and of them their prayers of intercession. Yet, Mary, unique among all women, was chosen and humbly accepted God’s request to bring Him into His world. And as the Mother of God we so honor Her.

To affirm, better than I, the instrumental role of Mary in mirroring her son, Our Lord, is famed late nineteenth and early twentieth century British writer and defender of the Catholic Church, G.K. Chesterton. It is found in his brief poem that follows depicting the child Jesus climbing upon His mother’s lap and seeing His reflection in His her eyes. (Attention paid to the third stanza in particular.)

A Little Litany

When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven–and saw the earth.

Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.

Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.

Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In that strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.

Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.

Or risen from play at your pale raiment’s hem
God, grown adventurous from all time’s repose,
Or your tall body climbed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose.




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Who is Roe?

To complete the third re-post of three on the topic of abortion which has been in the forefront this past week, I am posting my: Who is Roe? Since the writing of this post the real person behind the name Roe of the Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, Norma McCorvey, passed away on Feb. 18, 2017 in Katy Texas.

In 1969, at the age of 21, Norma McCorvey became pregnant a third time. She returned to Dallas. According to McCorvey, friends advised her that she should assert falsely that she had been raped and that she could thereby obtain a legal abortion under Texas’s law which prohibited abortion; sources differ over whether the Texas law had such rape exception. Due to lack of police evidence or documentation, the scheme was not successful and McCorvey would later admit the situation was a fabrication. She attempted to obtain an illegal abortion, but the respective clinics had been closed down by authorities.

Eventually, McCorvey was referred to attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who were looking for pregnant women who were seeking an abortion. The case took three years of trials to reach the United States Supreme Court, and Norma never attended a single trial. In the meantime, she had given birth to the baby in question, who was eventually adopted.

McCorvey revealed herself to the press as being “Jane Roe” soon after the decision’s issuance and stated that she sought an abortion because she was unemployable and greatly depressed. In the 1980s, McCorvey asserted that she had been the “pawn” of two young and ambitious lawyers (Weddington and Coffee) who were looking for a plaintiff with whom they could challenge the Texas state law prohibiting abortion.

In her first book, the 1994 autobiography, I Am Roe, McCorvey wrote of her sexual orientation. For many years, she had lived quietly in Dallas with her long-time partner, Connie Gonzales. “We’re not like other lesbians, going to bars,” she explained in a New York Times  interview. “We’re lesbians together. We’re homers.” That same year, she became a Christian and voiced remorse for her part in the Supreme Court decision. McCorvey has worked as part of the pro-life movement, such as Operation Rescue.

At a signing of I Am Roe, McCorvey was befriended by evangelical minister and National Director of Operation Rescue Flip Benham and later baptized on August 8, 1995, by Benham, in a Dallas, Texas, backyard swimming pool, an event that was filmed for national television. Two days later she announced that she had quit her job at the abortion clinic she was working at, and had become an advocate of Operation Rescue’s campaign to make abortion illegal.

McCorvey’s second book, Won by Love, was published in 1998. She explained her change on the stance of abortion with the following comments:

I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.

Shortly thereafter, McCorvey released a statement that affirmed her entrance into the Roman Catholic Church, and she has been confirmed into the church as a full member.

McCorvey has also stated that she is no longer a lesbian. On August 17, 1998, she was received into the Roman Catholic church by Father Frank Pavone, the International Director of Priests for Life and Father Edward Robinson in Dallas.

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The Significant Spark

It is true that our news cycles change not by weeks or days but hours. With that fact in mind, I am re-posting the second of three original posts on a most pressing and crucial topic of our present society. It is a choice of cultures which will determine future generations to come.

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light-600“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 

And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. ” – Genesis 1 

In the image above an ultra sound captures the moment of conception. The time lapse photo reveals a spark which then ignites a rapidly expanding bright flash.

The big Bang theory, which is presently the most popular theory of the origin of the universe, theorizes, as its name suggests, that the beginning of everything as we know it happened as an instantaneous violent explosion. It, interestingly, aligns with the opening Genesis passage.

The moment of conception can also be considered an instantaneous action. The flash of light that engulfs the egg is like a lightning strike. As the lightning is suddenly upon us…

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Why Life Is Precious

In the light of New York Governor Cuomo’s endorsement of abortion at delivery and the failed attempt to do the same in Va. by Governor Ralph Northam, I have reposted an earlier post on this topic. There is need of further attention as to why we have come to this sad state.

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In light of the recent video evidence revealing the harvesting and sale of aborted baby organs by Planned Parenthood, I find it puzzling; not that so many find the practice abhorrent, but that it is found surprising. Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger, an American birth control advocate and is regarded as the patron saint of abortionists. Ms. Sanger had found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to “assist the race toward theelimination of the unfit.” Would any who have witnessed the earlier fervor over the use of stem cells taken from aborted babies for scientific research then not expect an even further reach by abortionists when the heat over that issue had subsided?

What have we come to in western civilization? Modernism has done all in its power to undermine, if not seek to, eliminate tradition, family and the supernatural; and has…

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