In case any of you forgot or were unaware, yesterday was All Saint’s Day. The Catholic Church holds this annual Feast to celebrate the earthly and now unearthly lives of those who have made it to Heaven. All in Heaven are Saints, but the ones who we know by miracle to be there are Canonized Saints, who are officially recognized by the Church and whom we are allowed to ask for intercessory aide. There are a thousand and one interesting, insightful, beautiful things I could talk about with this expansive subject, but I think I will take the simple road and share with you some poetry prayers pertaining to some of my go-to Saints that I have written. Naturally, you may use these for your own devotions. However, if these are reproduced in part or in whole, I ask simply that you give credit of authorship to myself, Mr. Nathaniel Thomas Hall of Cain-tuck-ee (broken English pronunciation of the Native American name for my home commonwealth).
Like My Fellows: In the Style of Saint Peter
Though I am the mangiest of mongrels
The most scurrilous of curs
A sinful dweller of back alleys and dark dredgings
I call out to you to pull me from the mires of my sin.
For even if I forsake You thrice and thrice again
Your Love remains to abolish the words of my fearful flesh.
Though I abuse Your Tenets and Commandments
In my own self-righteous Wrath
You redeem me and show me the better path.
Though in my Pride I think I know Whom You Are
You shame me that I might know You better
And in so doing
You forge me into solid rock upon which to build the Salvation of Many.
Like My Fellows: In the Style of Saint Francis of Assisi
With all the swiftness of the Falcon
With all the resilience of the Bear
With all the passion of the Wolverine
With all the hunger of the Wolf
With all the solemnity of the Badger
With all the ceaseless movement of the Shark
And with all the keen discernment of the Eagle.
Like My Fellows: In the Style of Saint Joseph
Oh Almighty Savior
I am but one small man kneeling before you.
In all my strength and cunning and earthly resilience
I am nothing.
Even if my word be treated as Law across the Universe
Before You I am dust in the wind.
Still I offer you what service my puny body can give
Be it used to tear down corruption
Or build a Civilization of Love.
In all manner of tasks
My staff is yours to command.
Even should that task be so small yet so grand
As to found a family for a King.
Like My Fellows: In the Style of Saint Michael the Archangel
In my hands I unceasingly pray
That the Sword of Truth remains
All the days of my life.
So that in this I may always defend myself
And my Brothers and Sisters
From the snares and the talons of The Adversary.
I pray that my arm be strong like my desire
For You and all things Holy.
That my heart be so pure
That I cast aside the Denizens of Shadow
By my very Fiat to You my God.
May my soul ride to War and Armageddon
Aside Archangels and all the Heavenly Host
For the Glory of Your Sacred Name.
Like My Fellows: In the Style of Saint Thomas Aquinas
In my pursuit of God
Let there be no distractions of the carnal.
Let me plumb the depths of Man
And in so doing
Let my heart and soul be thrown open
Bare before the infinite mysteries and processes
Of the Uncaused Cause,
The Unmoved Mover,
The Unordered Orderer,
The Uncreated Creator
And the vast but yet finite workings of His Creation.
Allow my mind to soar with Angels and Archangels
To dance and sing among the Hosts of Heaven.
For what I desire most is the perfect alignment
Not only of my Intellect
But my Soul
With His Perfection.
Like My Fellows: In the Style of Saint Thomas More
May it be that I always pursue the Highest Law
That of the One True Lawgiver.
May it be that His Precepts be written on my heart
Like a wound carved into the flesh
Always fresh and mindful.
May it be that my will stands like iron
Not for my own Pride and Honor
Nor that of my Native Land
But for His Truth and His Glory
And that of His Holy Church.
So that when Death’s abysmal rending axe
Comes hewing down upon my lifeblood
The poesy and magic I have written in the Mind of Man
Serves the Judge of Judges
The Arbiter of Arbiters
The Author of Authors
And the Poet of Poets
Yet more in His Kingdom,
So that even my Death lies among my masterpieces signed in His Name.
Right now, you are on the internet, reading a blog. This gives me sufficient reason to believe that you know a bit about the World Wide Web. So I am going to assume that you have probably heard about online trolling, even if that lone word is all you have seen of it.
Unfortunately, internet trolling is not nearly this awesome.
You know, it is interesting, there is a vast body of material that most people throw under the label of “trolling”, but given the general definition I have gleaned from some self-described trolls, most of it does not really apply at all. For example, playing a prank, ribbing someone, and all other varieties of tomfoolery often receive the trolling label, but are not bona fide trolling. In fact, all of these are usually just lighthearted fun and games, and are things most healthy people take part in.
What is it with the strange attraction pet butts have to unsuspecting faces, anyway?
You can even find self-proclaimed trolls who use harsh pranks or deceptive means to enlighten people to new ways of thinking about subjects that normally are too taboo or too hotly debated to deal with in everyday discussion. While I do not really condone this sort of tactic, as head games feel dishonest and I prefer to be direct and up front, this again is not necessarily harmful or mean-spirited. In many cases, even the more brutal trolls seem to consider themselves some sort of vicious, unforgiving Schoolmaster sent to educate the poorly informed and misguided. Naturally, this can easily lead to some swelled ego and other such problems, but the desire to uplift others, in however rough and unkind a manner, is not in itself a bad thing.
What trolling is, in its purest form, is simply the introduction of chaos and suffering into a situation. It does not matter if the situation was already chaotic and full of suffering. A true troll will find his amusement in this chaos and the negative reactions of others. According to the nigh-omniscient Wikipedia, trolls of the most uncouth sort have gone so far as to send families images of the mutilated corpses of their relatives, children even, who recently died in car wrecks. Others have conducted postmortem smear campaigns against those who have committed suicide, in full view of their grieving friends. Granted, not all trolls are that vicious, and many simply stalk the internet looking only for attention of any kind, but the fact that there are people so depraved as to do the above is a sign of the times.
Internet trolling is actually sadder than this lonely fella here.
It is a sign that people are thoroughly bored and unsatisfied with their lives. To the point where they will deliberately inflict cruelty upon their fellow human beings just for the fun of it, or worse, just because. There has to be something deeply lacking in your existence when you look at a sentient being, made in the image and likeness of God Almighty, and say “You seem like you would be fun to make suffer.” Note how that phrase sounds like a poorly written villain from a child’s cartoon? That is because both things are equally feeble minded and weak. What loneliness brings a person to find comfort in the spite and rage of others? What insecurity allows a person to find pleasure and self-worth in their ability to cause emotional harm to others? What desperate need for control and stability propels a man to incite disorder and confusion, so that at least he pulls the strings of that turmoil, even if his strings are being pulled in every other area of his life?
The answer is simple: nothing good.
Over the years I have gradually come to believe that trolling is a major warning sign of how far our culture has fallen. It is the symptom of the rot of the age. Only when Man forgets that he and all his brothers and sisters are the Children of God, can he truly be cruel for the sake of that cruelty. Only when he loses sight of all Purpose and Meaning because those things have been either ripped from him by force, or taken by sleight of hand and replaced with shallow caricatures of Freedom and Love, can he be so truly bored and unsatisfied that his cruelty can become a welcome distraction from his emptiness.
Like most trolls, Discord initially does not seem that dangerous.
An absolutely perfect example of this decay is illustrated by the character Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Now, you may be asking, why would a grown-ass man know anything about a cartoon for six-year-old girls? Because there is this thing called the Brony Phenomenon, and I was curious as to why so many men my age counted themselves as fans of the program. While the show has many excellent and wonderful qualities as a Tame Aslan (if you do not understand my reference, read more C.S. Lewis), and if I had young daughters they would be watching it for certain, it was, in the end, just a show for young girls, and it could not hold my interest. But, for the record, FLUTTERSHY IS BEST PONY. Anyone who says otherwise receives a fierce jackboot to the neck. Props to John C. Wright for that violent phraseology.
One of the more notable episodes I viewed was the Season 2 pilot. Well, I guess it’s not a pilot if the show got off the ground already, but it was not a finale either. Hmmm…enough digressing. On with the thrust of the matter! Discord makes his appearance, turns out to be voiced by the guy who plays Q in Star Trek: the Next Generation (in some ways, they’re practically the same role), and sets to some relatively harmless but chaotic hijinks until he finds that not everyone wants to play along.
True to troll-form, he ups the stakes because people (or in this case, ponies) had finished with his attention-whoring. He, in full knowledge of what he is doing, and laughing every minute of it, deceives, mind-warps, and generally corrupts the main characters. It works on everyone except Fluttershy, because she is supposed to represent kindness, love, innocence, you know, all those tender things. I will get to why in a minute. He has to practically shatter her mind and rebuild it to his specifications in order to have his way. He breaks her with extreme prejudice.
Why? Because Fluttershy is the solution to Man’s Modern Decay. The only way we are going to heal the wounds caused by our devouring boredom and our inhumanity to ourselves is through authentic love and kindness. When Discord gets all up in her grill, she simply responds with meekness, respect (despite the fact that he’s an oddly shaped dragon-monster-thing hell-bent on throwing the world out of whack), and compassion, even in the face of his mutterings that her gentleness will one day allow her to be hurt deeply by others. This is Christ-like, honest-to-goodness LOVE we are seeing here. And Discord cannot stand it.
See, Discord is a wonderful way to teach kids about Satan. He is proud. He is arrogant. He is cruel.
And he is absolutely lonely.
To paraphrase Lewis, only in Heaven and Hell are you shielded from the vulnerability that comes with Love.
Note well how this also sounds like the average serious troll. Have you ever noticed how trolls, or any truly hurting people, tend to lash out at those who try and help them? They cannot withstand the goodness, for the healing it brings puts them in a place where they feel they have less power. The Devil removed himself from God in Pride and in a desire to control. He feared being beholden to another. Accepting kindness leaves you at the mercy of the one giving it to you. Love is practically synonymous with vulnerability. The Devil, Discord, and trolls hate the weakness that comes with Love, the lack of control, the lack of power it entails.
Therein lies the rub. In order to end the rot of the Modern Age, and in so doing the symptom of trolling, we must end two things, our boredom and our objectification of ourselves. We must remind Man that he is Man again. We must remind him that he is made in the image and likeness of God, the Creator of the Universe. We must get him to think and feel and leap with joy and cry out in despair and all those other beautiful things that Man was made to do by his Creator. We must regain our Humanity. No one can truly see another as human and view them as private pawns for self-amusement.
The beautiful thing is that the boredom will fade after that. Man is capable of choosing to follow his Purpose, is capable of finding Meaning, by the very nature of being Man in the truest sense of the word. The lifeless Turing machines so many see themselves as these days, however, are not. They might have functions, oh yes, and some of those functions might be pleasurable, but when life is just lived because it is there, because we can, it becomes dull. With no end game, with no real soul, we lapse into the deathly boredom we have now. No matter what we invent, our souls will cry out for still more, and eventually we will all come to the realization that running in a hamster wheel is pointless.
The even-more-beautiful thing about this situation is that we can accomplish both by unselfishly loving. It is truly that simple.
I mean, we’re talking 6-year old girl simple. Ponies and puppies simple.
Now get out there and save the world.
I’m going to do something new, dear readers. I am aware that you are small in number, and because of this, I have a favor to ask. I think what I am about to say is critical to the state our great country is in. Therefore, I will ask that you share this in every way possible, by Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, and Tumblr. I am asking you to do your best to make this next post viral. So many are unaware of what exactly is being done by certain men and women that their ignorance has become as a powder keg ready to ignite.
Now, to the alarum bell!
The HHS Mandate is a very foul and dangerous thing. Say what you wish about the overall Obamacare Plan; it is not the issue here. Many on either side of the political spectrum will attempt to make it seem as if it were. Some have even accused the U.S. Council of Bishops of despising Universal Healthcare. This is blatantly not so, they have been for the welfare and care of all peoples, however disadvantaged, for quite some time now, if there was ever even a time they were not. In fact, many are like myself, who oppose the Mandate, but not the idea that all men should be cared for and looked after when ill or injured. We oppose this loathsome Mandate because of one reason: it forces people to act against their religious beliefs in a drastic and harmful way. Namely, it threatens any institution that holds Christian (and Islamic and Jewish and occasionally Buddhist and Hindu) pro-life values and is not exclusively run for and by members of that same religion. It hammers them with large financial penalties if they do not grievously violate their own religious tenets. Basically, it forces the organization to pay for sterilizations, birth control pills (abortifacient), morning-after pills (distinctly abortifacient) and other such things. It forces the Catholic Church, among others, to pay for the murder of children and the degradation of human beings made in the image and likeness of God.
Naturally, this is intolerable to many in this country. “I’m sorry, you have deeply held religious beliefs about the sanctity of sexuality and human life? Violate them or we run you into the ground with fines.” This applies to every school (pre-school through University level), hospital, and social work organization that is part of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. And, as I have said, many other churches besides. This act is an abomination, and devastates Religious Liberty by financially threatening us unless we violate our beliefs. To look at it from another angle, imagine if the Freedom from Religion Foundation were forced to pay for Religious Counseling as part of its insurance plans. This is madness enough, but our Dear and Doting President Barack Obama has taken advantage of this time and place in History to do something far more vile than what first appears, methinks.
Note well that the following is theory and hypothesis alone, and that I have no secret documents nor overheard conversations to fill out more than the framework of my discovery.
People of Faith are notoriously hard to deal with. Especially those of the Abrahamic variety, it would seem. The more you push us around, the more we fight back, and sometimes we fight in the most dangerous way possible. We Forgive and Love. We cling to the Lord, and even when slain we grow in number, for the Blood of Martyrs is truly the Seed of the Church, both Theologically and Sociologically. In truth, the only way to really beat us is through defamation, and that takes time and a great deal of exaggeration or lying, because it is hard to hate the nun feeding the armless leper soup. One has to focus entirely on the Evil done by members of the Faith, and ignore anything to the contrary. To beat Holy Men, you must make them look like demons.
The Catholic Church is currently a great thorn in the side of men like our President, and women like Nancy Pelosi or Kathleen Sebelius. How strange it is indeed that all three of them are members of Christian and Catholic Churches. Yes, you heard me right. We are under attack from within our own flocks. Yet, if you think about it, this really is not so strange…Peter denied Christ, Judas betrayed Him…we have a long and sinful history of not sticking to our guns or turning them on our brothers and sisters. But I digress. We of the Faith are a stumbling block on the road to their political goals. They are for gay marriage, abortion, and numerous other things that most of us are dramatically against. The number of people against these things comprise a vast portion of the votes that put men like Obama in power, and allow him to do as he sees fit.
So it comes down to this: WE are in the way, and they don’t like it. It would be far easier on them if all they tried to restructure or tear down with legislation was approved at lightning speed because America had suddenly become a mass of heads nodding politely in their direction.
You see, when this mess first broke, naturally the Church was outraged. When many of our members, including Bishops, came out in support of the Healthcare Bill, they did so thinking that our right to follow our conscience would be protected. So we complained. And the President told us to calm down and that we would forge a compromise that did not trample our Freedom. Cardinal Timothy Dolan met with him and was assured that this would be the case. Then, the compromise was unveiled for the press, and we found that we had been betrayed yet again. This compromise, was to protect our rights. Instead, it went as thus: as opposed to paying the cost of the procedures and pills we reject as sinful, we would pay the insurance companies, who would then pay the costs. “It’s okay. You don’t have to pay for murder. You just have to pay for someone else to pay for murder.” Of course, this is both insulting and laughable.
I would wager that the real point of this “compromise” was simply to make us look bad and crush any serious opposition to the Mandate. From that point on, our President got to look like he had tried to make peace, but those darned stodgy Bishops just refused to listen. This, of course, effectively hamstrings us in regards to public opinion. And, after all, that was never truly with us anyway, thanks to folks who spread around the lie that 98% of Catholic Women use contraception (skewed polls aside, it’s kind of common sense that more than 2% of Catholic women probably are too old to even need it), and others who shrieked like stuck pigs that we were attacking women’s health. I cannot tell you the number of sob stories I have seen involving endometriosis or some other disorder treatable by the Pill. Well, to clear the air, the Church is completely okay with you taking care of serious illnesses when the side effect mucks with your fertility. Because if we weren’t we would have to be against a fair number of cancer treatments as well.
Remember how I said there are certain things our leaders want done that the Church stands in the way of? This is where it gets ugly. We have three options now with the HHS Mandate
1) Comply. Act against our own beliefs in a horrendous manner.
2) Refuse to comply and continue to hold open our charities. We are then fined slowly to death or crippled to the point where we can do nothing.
3) Shut down. Which leaves us at the bleak point of #2.
Now, if we shut down or are forced to close, this is what will happen: all the people we served, all the needy, the children who need schooling, the sick who need healing, all of them are suddenly cut adrift in the economy. What better people to use as fodder for supporting Obamacare? Or any other expansion of Government aid our dear President might want to ram through the legislature? “See, America, I told you we needed my solutions to these problems! Look at all those who need what I propose!” And of course, few will think to ask where all these poor folk suddenly came from. America will simply panic under the further financial stress.
And if that is not devious enough for you, consider this. If Catholic Schools are closed, it will drastically reduce the number of children educated properly in the Faith. In a generation or two, the functional Catholic population will have dropped to near zero. And that stumbling block in the way of so many things that so many of our leaders desperately want to accomplish will have been effectively removed from the voting population. See, while we are not the largest Christian group in America, we are the most structured and organized. We are the most resistant to attack. And with us removed, the others will come crashing down like dominoes.
So there you have it. The HHS Mandate is doom to Religious Freedom. And it, I fear, is intended as a death blow to the enemies of those currently in power. Vote well this November. Remove this devious and underhanded man from office.
Recently, I had the privilege of celebrating the fact that I have drawn breath on God’s Green Earth for a span of twenty-four years now. The day of my birth was ushered in by the scent of tasty things, the clash of foam and PVC weaponry, and the sound of shouting and thundering feet.
As I thought about my coming into Existence, I began to wonder, and to ponder overmuch the celebration of these and similar days. What are we actually celebrating when we wish someone a Happy Birthday? For most of my life I had understood it to be that we were happy the person was still alive and kicking, that Death had not yet claimed them. Something seemed amiss from the start of that thought. A little twinge of warning echoed through my psyche. You see, like so many other things in our hum-drum modern lives, we have thought like an Atheist about something it is very dangerous to think like an Atheist about.
As the old joke goes, “Happy Birthday, you’re one year closer to Death.” Our Culture of Death, as it so often does, pays homage to the power of the Reaper by frantically trying to ignore the signs of his oncoming stroke. I wonder, just how many of us blow out the candles and dare to think that we might be trying to turn something that rightly scares the crap out of us into a brightly colored burst of partying and overindulgence. I would wager the number is awfully small. No one likes to be honest about the reality of their Worldview, be they Theist or otherwise. At least, not one-hundred percent of the time.
Does it shock you, that I have done the equivalent of rolling a corpse into the middle of a happy family gathering? Birthdays, for those who do not believe in a hereafter, are, in truth, yet another attempt to ignore that Final Destination that awaits us all. Many will argue heatedly that the opposite is true that this is not so, that they celebrate a person’s accomplishment’s and the life they have so far lived. The thing is, that light, however bright, pales and goes out in the Infinite Void that accompanies Modern Thought. Once life is extinguished, there is no one left to hear any congratulations or well-wishes. Every Birthday hoorah is a hollow echo against the wall of a mausoleum.
And yet for those who believe, and I will simply say Christians, which of course in its truest sense means Catholics, Birthdays are exactly what they appear on the surface. We really can celebrate the brevity of the Mortal Coil, because it is put in the beautiful backdrop of the Eternal Revolution. We can celebrate a man’s accomplishments because they mean something. We can celebrate the Gift of Life because God has given him that gift. Like almost all Christian Celebrations, it is a time for praise, joy, and thanksgiving. To quote the Preacher-man from the Alamo movie that starred John Wayne as Davy Crockett, “That’s all the Lord gives any man. A time to be born and a time to die.” Everything else is just icing on that immense and wonderful cake that is a combination of Life and the Free Will that comes with it for Man.
Now that I’m done doing my own little bit of preaching, I have a favor to ask. While this blog is a nice place to put my thoughts where people can see them, and I do not require fame to keep posting, I think what good my words can do will be amplified if more people read them. So, I ask that you who read this guide but one friend to my doorstep, and I shall be thankful that you have helped me place the fruits of my harvest before the Lord.
In case you are curious, yes, the title means exactly what you think it means. I am surely and truly about to use a show drenched in Eastern mysticism and legends to demonstrate an ideal way to behave as a solid member of the Roman Catholic Church.
If at any point you should find me mad or kooky (say, the moment you read the previous sentence), I suggest you gather an elite team of cheerful heroes complete with some dark and brooding types for balance, and come meet my friends and allies for battle in New York. Because the Avengers fought there in their new movie and it seems to be a place where people like to throw down, IN THA STREETZ. Our feud will be a bitter and destructive one, for I have powerful friends, and terrors yet unknown to you lurking in the depths of my own shadowy and sinister talent for unhindered destruction…
I could, for instance, take over an urban area with the moniker “Metrocity”.
Oddball tangent done. On to the Main Point.
I think that each Element in Avatar: The Last Airbender can embodify a certain method of behavior or philosophy present in Catholicism, and give an excellent model for us to work from so that we might better serve the Bride of Christ, and therefore the Bridegroom. So, onward and upward!
Many might say this is the only Element that can be detected in the confines of the Catholic Church, and for good reason. You don’t look at something that has been in existence for 2,000 years and say to yourself “Gee, that looks really short-lived and unstable”. Holy Mother Church, like the bedrock beneath your feet, has been around for a long time now, and I have it on good Authority that She will be around forever more. So, what as Catholics must make us Earthbenders?
That ain’t goin’ nowheres.
It is tenacity.
The Rock of Ages is what we cling to, and it holds fast through any storm. We do not build our house on sand if we are wise, but on solid stones. Faith is our shield and our root, and if it is strong enough, through it we weather any obstacles or hardships placed before us. This is the unchanging Truth of our Religion, and in it we take refuge, and from it we have our armor and shield. We must be implacable and resolute, with faces like flint, to overcome the Adversary in the grand Eternal Revolution against Sin and Death. When all else falls, we must endure. As others bow, we must remain unbent. Steadfast in our Hope, we must be unyielding like the Earthbenders, unconquerable like the Earth itself.
Yet even in our ironclad defense and firm footing lodged in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, we must also be adaptable, and able to change our stance and state in life, so that we are always doing the most good according to the Will of the Lord. This seems counter to what I have just urged you to do. It is not. Water, no matter what form it takes, is still H2O, be it steam, liquid, or ice. The very nature of water is its own Earth-like stability, despite its adaptability.
When we are placed in a situation where we seem powerless, much as humidity and condensation does little but rust and corrode, and is heavily subject to an outside influence (namely the movement of Air, which we will get to next), we must rely more directly on the Power of God. We must increase our prayer in magnitude equal to the degree of our powerlessness at that time in our lives. And, when moved properly by air currents, just as we are moved properly by the Sovereign Will of God, water droplets coalesce and form rain, which renews and replenishes the Earth, just as we are called to renew and replenish the world.
Drench the World with Holiness! Or something like that.
Liquid water is a beautiful thing in that it covers and fills any nook and cranny it is in contact with. It is also cohesive and adhesive, as we must be in our Evangelization of others. We are called to stick together as the Body of Christ, and we should cling to those who have yet to hear the Good News in its fullness like a refreshing morning dew. We must slide into their hearts and minds whenever and wherever we can, filling their empty void spaces with the Light of Christ, just as water permeates into the gaps of rock and soil. We must saturate our society with Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.
Then, like ice, when we have filled all those spaces and cracks, we must harden and become resolute, like water turns to ice during the bitter months. Ice, especially in glacier form, has immense erosive power. It plucks up rocks as it moves downhill, just as we must gather those we can as we move forward under the momentum our proselytizing has given us. In our rigidness after new gains, we keep what we have now baptized and prevent the retaking of those souls by the worldly means of the Adversary, like ice keeps small rock particles frozen within it from being washed or blown away.
In fact, I would even go so far to say that the essence of Evangelization is similar to the essence of Waterbending, for both are required to keep that same sort of rythmic balance. Waterbending is based on Tai Chi, which is all about guiding your enemy’s strikes to your own advantage. We must learn to even use our defeats in apologetics to guide our unredeemed brothers and sisters ever closer to God.
Air is the most elusive of elements. Most of us do not know what is even meant by the “spirit” that drives the essence of Airbending, though we can tell when someone possesses it. Intangible and lacking in definition, this Element is a perfect comparison for our own Un-Worldliness. We are, of course, meant to live in the World, and love it, but we are not of it anymore. We have one foot in Heaven, and our souls are held aloft by the Sovereign Will of God, expressed through the Holy Spirit. This “Catholic Spirit” is seen in the sort of unclear but easily recognizable joy and purity of one who shows this Blessed Light to the darkened world. You probably know one or two of them yourself, men and women who calm and heal others by their presence and Faith, or drive them wild and berserk, because Evil cannot stand the presence of uncorrupted Good.
“Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”-G.K. Chesterton
The secret to this profound Joy is not detachment, as the Tibetan-style Airbending monks of the TV series might tell you, but attachment. Seek the goodness of everything, as Saint Francis did. Even Death he called Sister, and his love for even the deadliest of God’s creatures is well known. As Paul commands, seek what is True, seek what is Good, seek what is Beautiful. Attach yourself to it, lose yourself within, and become a white-hot candle of Holiness through the Power of the Holy Spirit. The heat of that flame shall keep you aloft and not of this world, and people will love you and hate you for it.
Speaking of bringing on the heat, what does Firebending have to do with the Catholic Church, aside from the Heretic Roasts, hosted by the Good Ole’ Inquisition?
What? I’m Catholic, I get to make fun of that, just like black people get to use the N-word. (Cricket…cricket…cricket…)
Well, actually, Firebending isn’t all about destroying the living snot out of your enemies with an unstoppable wall of iridescent flame and doom. As fun as I am sure that sounds to many of you (I have a particular young lady in mind, actually…she’s probably torching someone to fuel her oven right now.), Firebending is about drive, purpose, and energy. And to me, NOTHING seems more Catholic.
I bet he and Iroh would convert if they were real.
Why? Well, what more all-consuming purpose can you think of than to get yourself and everyone around you to Heaven? Following Christ is not a by-degrees thing, as our sinful nature forces our fiats to be. It IS all or nothing. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to bring as many people as close to God as possible, every moment of every day. What sort of madman, what sort of Herculean Will chooses this sort of life? Oh, I can think of a few people. All of them, and myself, fall horribly short of our goal, but though we are so terrible at being Good, as Prince Zuko complains, and though we fail repeatedly, as he warns us we will, surrender is not an option. Christ’s call to die to yourself, inch by bleeding inch, stands out a stark, blazing white against the background of swirling shades of grey (yes, all 50 of them…ick), and smolders ever brighter when placed against the Darkness rent free from its deceptive shrouds.
That’s a full-tilt run Home if I ever saw one.
The inextinguishable Will of the Catholic Church has painted billions of its men and women red with their own blood. Whether you exsanguinate yourself slowly as the average struggling soul, or all at once in a rush of pain and Glory as men like Saint Peter and women like Joan of Arc did, you are called to do the same.
Masters of Mastery
Aha! You thought I was done! Nay! There is more yet to come!
Chiefly, the fact that the Avatar is not merely a Master of all four Elements. The Avatar is a Master of Mastery. A mere Master of the Elements can take the styles one at a time and apply them to situations as needed, but a fully realized Avatar must actually be able to use the Elements cohesively. To be very good at each one individually carries a risk of unbalance and a resulting over-correction. Say, for example, you are in a situation that requires you to be quick and adaptable, say, Evangelizing an emotional, easily ticked-off friend. You also need to put drive and willpower into keeping that up for a long period of time, most likely months or years (Hint: conversations rarely happen on the spot.) If you lose sight of the end goal and forget your purpose, you lock yourself into a watery dance of not pushing things too far and never actually get anywhere with your friend. If you become to end-game oriented, you lose track of the now and become to intense for your friend to handle. Or, say you have to deal with a very angsty Anti-Catholic stranger. Fly too high and get too mystical and joyous, and they will write you off as a fruitcake and forget anything important you might have said. Or become to set in stone and intractable and they will also write you off, this time as a reactionary stick-in-the-mud, and likewise ignore anything pithy you have said in defense of the Church.
Gee, doing all of that sounds hard. Probably because it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do: be worthy of Heaven in your perfection. Did I mention that unbalance leads to corrupting your Faith with Sin? Burning others needlessly or crushing them underboot when you are feeling all high and righteous is the most lethal kind of Pride there is, for it is what caused Satan to challenge God. Being lukewarm in the Faith for the sake of not driving everyone off is an insidious kind of Sloth. I could go on and on ad nauseum.
Fear not. You have the redeeming Blood of Christ, the whole of the Church and her Sacraments, and a legion of Martyrs and Angels at your back. It will end well if you choose to end it well. So go out there, and fully realize your Avatar potential!
So, Final Exams are coming up, and I am awash in papers and tests of all varieties. As opposed to writing for this, I’ll just drop in with the occasional tidbit or artwork that I’ve muddled with to relax between pounding the intellectual turf. Have a taste!
This has to be one of my favorite pictures of Christ. I know, I know, it looks hippy, but I like the Universality of it. He’s just beckoning to each and every one of us, wearing a robe that shows in no uncertain terms that He really is the Lord of All Nations.
I recently began watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. I highly doubt that I need to explain why I love this picture. Also, props to Bad Catholic for introducing me to it.
I first read the quote “He went consenting, Or else he was no king…It was no man’s place to say to him, “It is time to make the offering.” from Mary Renault’s “The King Must Die” as the chapter header of some portion of Watership Down. I instantly thought of my own Bleeding King. To that end, I butchered the construction of this on Picnik.
I made this based off of a Full Metal Alchemist one my friend the Catholic Chaoticist over on tumblr had posted up. As many flaws as Bleach had to begin with, and as many as it developed, I did enjoy what I watched of it, especially these two fellows. To date, Kubo Tite is the only man who has created a main character I can identify with fairly well. What that says about me, or more importantly, Kurosaki Ichigo (the serious looking gentleman with the glorified carving knife), is besides the point. On a side note…Abarai Renji is holding his sword in the most uncomfortable way possible. I’m estimating that monster weighs about 15 Ilbs…so why would you ever rest that weight on your body, blade down?
Expect more to come!
At my University, the campus pro-life group currently has a display against Abortion up. It is an entirely legal and approved display in the correct provided display area. And yet someone, or some group of people, has decided that it is not okay for us to have such threatening things as baby clothes, red tape, and a sign explaining that 1 out of 4 babies is murdered through abortion. They have voiced this through the only reasonable means they could come up with, probably after a long, drawn out meeting. They have vandalized our display twice in as many days. Both times the damage was done under cover of darkness, with only the eyes of their possible fellow transgressors and God upon them as they went about their criminal business. I am sure they all congratulated themselves for being champions of Truth and Justice, or if they were of a more juvenile bent, champions of rebellion and their own puerile pride.
“Look at me, girls! I’m rebelling against something tied to symbols of authority! Mate with me!”
I am almost certain that was said, if any of the perpetrators were boys. I do not say men, because to be a man one must have courage. Of course, courage is not what is required to simply run up and tear down baby clothes off of clotheslines, a task that probably takes at most a few minutes to complete. Even if you did it during the middle of the day, you could be gone into the swarm of students changing classes during lunch before anyone could stop you. In the evening, the job is infinitely easier. There are many twenty-minute windows in which you could run up and not be seen. Did I mention that this part of campus does not have cameras pointed towards it? Now think about how easy it would be to sneak up and do that in the dark between 11pm and 1am. Yeah. That takes bravery. It takes immense mettle to throw to ground clothes that, once used for our purposes, will go to needy babies.
There is one counter protester who made his own sign and sits in front of the display. I debated him for some time on his message and mine. He was polite, clear, and rational. He did not block the view of passers by. He was bothered, to say the least, by the fact that folk were tearing down our displays. Though our views are antithetical, he has my respect for knowing how to respect the views of others without conceding his own. I bear him no ill will.
As for the vandals? Though I pray for their souls, I sincerely hope that they are caught and publicly humiliated by an onrush of condemnation, so that they might learn that theirs is not the correct path.
It is truly sad. Those who shriek the loudest for Freedom and Truth and Fairness are those who are denying myself and my associates the Freedom of Expression, our right to assert what we believe as Truth, and our ability to fairly represent ourselves. This sort of behavior has been a part of the local environment since the founding of the campus pro-life group, when a Professor, who was let go on account of her behavior, took her class outside to tear down the crosses in our Cemetery of of Innocents display. There has not been a year when flyers, crosses, and other displays have not been torn apart or broken. Some of our members have caught people in the act of tearing down our flyers.
We have endured despite this, and we shall continue to do so. Though of different creeds, we are united in purpose. We will not stop until Abortion is dead, or we are, even if it takes our whole lifetime and the lifetimes of those that shall take our place when we pass on. We will take buffets, spitting, and curses. You can beat us, chain us, gag us, even slay us. We shall not be silent. We shall not admit defeat. This is our resolve.
Your meager mite of temerity, if you could call it that, will wither in light of the fury and might of our own.
To those of you who side with us, pray to whatever God or gods you serve, and be prepared for the fight of your lives.
To those of you that have pitted yourself against us, those of you willing to degrade and abuse and discredit us, be prepared for humiliation, for weakness of your level is not tolerated by the Just of any Creed, Theist or otherwise.
My interests, when it comes to the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000, can be summed up quite easily with two simple strokes that divide my favorite armies into four overlapping categories. On the side of “Good”, or what passes for it in the Great Galaxy of Grimdark, I favor strongly the Blood Angels and Space Wolves, both Space Marine Chapters of the Imperium of Man. On the side of Evil, which does not need parentheses, for in such a harsh fictional background, even the heroes could be labeled as villains, I prefer the Orkz and the Tyranids, the first a race of brutish warriors equipped with legendary toughness and ferocity, and the second a Hive Collective of insatiable hunger and incalculable size.
Ah, so you have never bothered to look into the cobbled together mess that is the fiction of Warhammer 40,000? Well, I think then, it is time for a brief lesson on this hodgepodge of science fiction and and fantasy concepts. The general overview of the Universe is something like this:
Yes. It is like that.
Mankind was originally in a bit of a fragmented position, occupying random chunks of the Galaxy and mainly trying to live day by day while fighting one another and invasive alien species. Suddenly, this superman who turns out to be a demi-god with vast psychic powers conjured up by a bunch or primitive far-seeing shaman-mystics back in the B.C. years shows up. Supposedly this guy was behind the scenes for everything major in history, and finally decided to say screw it and become the Emperor of Mankind. In the process of doing so, he creates a bunch of genetically enhanced super soldiers, including a dozen or so Primarchs, super-warriors he created using his own DNA. Some have psychic powers, some are charismatic, some are really, really, really (emphasis on all three reallys) good at organization. One has angel wings. One is really bloodthirsty. Another likes to drink and fight all the time. So he uses this mixed bag of deadly supermen and genetically enhances entire legions of men with their DNA, and puts each legion of “Space Marines”(note the wonderfully creative name) under the command of their own “father”. So, joined with the military of any planets they conquer, they run around the galaxy spanking the snot out of any aliens in a xenocidal rampage somehow held together by the iron will of their entirely (well except for Lorgar, but let’s forget him) secular leaders who follow their “father’s” even-more-iron will and insurmountable charisma.
Now, all this time, what has been allowing various gifted people to have psychic powers is this thing called the Warp. Now, in the Warp, there are creatures that can take physical form when the Warp tears. Many of these things are not nice, as the Warp is made up of the combined psyches/souls/what-have-you of every living thing in the universe. The most powerful Warp entities are the Chaos gods, Tzeentch, the bird-like fiend of Hope and Change (which makes our current president’s campaign slogan highly ironic), Nurgle, the rotting beast of Disease, Decay, and Death, Khorne, the warrior of destruction, violence, and blood, and Slaanesh, the creepy Dr. Frankenfurter of Warhammer, a being of excess and desire, Lord/Lady of Pleasure, spawned by the drug induced orgies of the Eldar (Space Elves, to be simple about it). Yup. Those darn fickle elves partied so much they birthed a hideous entity they would come to call She Who Thirsts. There’s nothing like creating a soul-devouring deity with your unchecked desires.
You always want to wear a hat when fighting Tzeentch.
Papa Nurgle is not the kind of dad you'd enjoy spending time with.
Always angry. All the time. That's Khorne for you.
I won’t even post a picture that has anything to do with Slaanesh. They’re all creepy and give me the heebie jeebies.
So, these four Chaos gods start whispering things into various ears within the Primarchs, and the New Imperium of Man suddenly has a giant civil war on its hands. After a long war costing countless billions of lives, they manage to fight off Chaos by a hair, but the Emperor is mortally wounded in the process and is kept as some sort of mostly-dead-mortal-shell thing by the Golden Throne, a contraption that uses the souls of Psykers (people with mind powers) to keep him from being completely dead. It takes a thousand of them a day to keep him kicking. And if you think that’s grisly, well, suddenly this religion based around the Emperor as a god-figure springs up, and they get an Inquisition, and it’s like a very hideous version of the Catholic Church with lasers in space, in what is left of an Empire that once spanned the Galaxy. Technology barely advances and is treated like religion, heresy abounds, atrocity is the name of the game, and aside from the corruptions of the Chaos gods and their servant daemons, a handbasket full of violent alien races are making inroads into Man’s home as well. When the tagline says “In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, there is only war.”, it is not kidding. What they don’t quite tell you until you read further than that is this: the entire concept is so over the top and exaggerated that the sheer insanity of it becomes humorous.
So, now that you have been educated about where these freaks come from, on to the specific groups themselves.
On the side of “Good”, I will begin with the Space Wolves. Now, Space Marines do need some preparatory description. The best way to think of them is simply as genetically enhanced super-warriors inside nearly impervious robotic armor, which are also monks. These are not the peaceful, simple-laborer Catholic or Buddhist monks, though. These are monks who worship the god-Emperor of Mankind and their founding Primarch, and recite Litanies of Hate and invoke blessings to turn on their machinery before going to war. These are psycho-indoctrinated soldiers who come screaming out of the sky and open fire on you with what are essentially hybrids between machine guns and rocket launchers. One fully armed Space Marine could probably take out a division of any modern day armed force by himself. A squad of ten is capable of taking over a planet by utilizing brains, stealth, and superior firepower. They are roughly seven feet tall without the armor, and hit eight or nine feet when wearing it. They can spit acid, crush a man’s skull with one hand like an egg, eat almost anything they can chew, and go weeks without eating and days without sleeping with no performance loss. They have heightened senses, a reinforced skeleton, two hearts, an assortment of other organs that let them do things like survive in extreme heat, cold, or temporary vacuum. In their armor, they can punch through metal walls, withstand blasts that would wreck our tanks, and carry what amounts to an SUV around without any real trouble at all. Each is trained in every conceivable mode of warfare and all manner of battle tactics, and is required to be proficient in each. This description only concerns the rank and file Battle Brothers of each Chapter, not the specialists or commanders of those thousands of different mini-cultures with their own heraldry, traditions, and customs.
You do not want this angry at you.
The Primarch of the Space Wolves, Leman Russ, was raised on a an icy planet called Fenris (you will find this heavy-handed naming common throughout the Universe of Warhammer), where the people were pretty much hyper-vikings constantly warring with one another for survival. He joined the Imperium when the Emperor beat him in single combat. This Chapter has strong Norse themes and roots, and are somewhat genetically modified further than their peers with even keener senses and longer canines than is normal. They use wolf imagery like mad, and wear pelts and claws and teeth and skulls as adornment on their armor. They are notorious for rushing into fights and enjoying long bouts of tale-weaving and heavy drinking afterwards. They are proud warriors with a respect and admiration for the forces of Nature, and more humanitarian than most Chapters, fully embracing their role as protectors of the Imperium. They tend to buck all manner of authority but their own, and like all Space Marines, hold their forebears and traditions in unshakeable regard. A summation of their philosophy can be found in this quote: “It is the way of Fenris. We stay as long as we can. Fight as hard as we can. Kill as much as we can. Only when we can do no more do we move on.”
Ice and snow? Enemies? No problem. They've got this.
The Blood Angels are similar to the Space Wolves in their Humanitarian aspect, and their Primarch, Sanguinius, was angelic in more than his winged and noble appearance. When the Emperor was besieged on Terra, in the heartland of the Imperium, he died protecting him and thereby saved Humanity with his sacrifice. I do not think it so strange a thing that this Chapter has extremely Catholic imagery and rituals, down to drinking the preserved blood of their Primarch from ornate chalices as part of their religious observances. In fact, the Chapter has often been described as a bunch of Catholic Vampires. All tend to be fair and long haired, and like the Church, enjoy the arts, especially painting. Also like the members of the Church, they struggle with an innate flaw, although instead of Original Sin, it is the Red Thirst, which leads, if not kept in check, to the Black Rage. This anger and hunger stems from some sort of psycho-genetic link to their Primarch, and the moment when he was slain. The Black Rage is a nearly insensate state of madness and battle lust, and those who fall into it must be shepherded by the spiritual masters of the Chapter, and are only unleashed upon the enemy when the need is great. They have a special organization titled the Death Company which these men are organized into, and they fight with a cold fury until killed. This flaw is combated by an intense life of prayer, meditation, and the release of artwork, mostly painting, as mentioned before. You have to admit, this is all strikingly familiar.
Yeah. He's like that.
Now for the Bad Guys.
Orks are a simple bunch. They were originally genetically engineered to combat one of the other races in Warhammer 40,000, the Necrons, a bunch of stone-cold killing machines, literally. Their sole purpose is to fight. An ork starts out as a spore in the ground, then eventually claws his way to the surface and right away begins beating on other orkz. You see, the more orkz fight and survive those fights, the tougher and larger they get. They thrive on violence. Eventually, when one ork gets big and tough enough, he starts to lead a band of them, and they fight other bands. If he survives, and becomes more massive and nasty in the process, he leads what is left of all the other bands as a Warboss. Repeat this process a hundred or so times, and you have what the Orkz call a Waaaaaaagh!!!, or a massive army of the creatures bent on looting and destruction. The more Orkz there are, the meaner and tougher each ork gets. The race has been described, with only a small degree of exaggeration, as one where you could shoot their arms and head off, and put a few rounds in their chest, and you’d still have to do some hard arguing to convince one wounded in such a manner that it was dead. Combined with this natural durability and ferocity is a queer sort of cunning, which allows them to master and loot pretty much anything they can get their hands on, and turn it into weaponry. They also have a few odd members of their breed with psychic ability, the power of which fluctuates with the number of ‘boyz, as they call their average soldier, present. It is often said that if there were a way they could stop infighting and unite, the Orkz would blaze through the Galaxy like fire through last week’s newspaper.
They are this crazy. Every time.
The Tyranids are a sort of Horde as well. It is unsure from whence they came, but the multiple times they have entered the Galaxy to prey upon its denizens, they have devoured everything in their wake indiscriminately and barely been repelled. They are highly evolved swarms of organisms that function with one Hive Mind. It is unsure what the exact nature of this Hive Mind is, whether it be a collective of all the smaller primitive minds of each organism or a central intelligence, but what is certain is that the Swarms evolve at a rate unprecedented by anything else. Their claws and teeth are engineered to the point where they can rend metal, and various bio-plasmas and acids make up their arsenal of firepower. All who stand against them fall under wave after wave of utterly fearless single-minded beasts refined entirely in a way that befits wholesale slaughter. Those who have been defeated are then absorbed as biomass to create yet more monstrosities, along with their own dead and creatures too wounded to be useful. After a victory, a planet is stripped of all organic material, which is then converted into biomass for the Hive Mind to use. It has been estimated that the Galaxy has only seen the tendrils of a much larger force that is slowly investigating a new territory.
Yes. It is going to eat that tank.
So, why I have I gone on for so very long about a fantastical Science Fiction Universe setting for a game most of you will never play, and many of you will find strange, stupid, or both?
Because, I think, my favorite factions in this game parallel ways of thinking, both ancient and modern, secular and religious. One of these patterns of thought happens to apply to mine own.
In the olden days, when Vikings actually existed and men cherished far more dearly tales of combat and strife, as opposed to “RAAHN, STAWP IT” being cried out incessantly by whoever that tanned creature of a woman was on Jersey Shore, there were grand sagas of legendary heroes that opposed foes of massive dimensions, either in numbers or with one really big bad dude. Beowulf, Sigurd, Thor, and the like, all of them were legendary warriors of intense stature and martial prowess. They possessed the courage, the mettle, the fighting spirit that all Pagan heroes require to be heroes at all. They are also extremely individual people, in that they are men who stand out, who go their own way, though bound by custom and duty. They are not unthinking, nor are they brutes despite their bloodlust and strength, but are skilled and tempered by experience and cunning. This is something quite readily apparent in the way the Space Wolves are treated. Despite their over-drinking and unnecessary celebratory fighting, they are skilled and brave warriors, always ready to give their all for Lord and Land and Honor. They keep a rugged individualism about themselves, keeping their own council and spitting in the eye of those would keep that right from them.
On the other hand, you have the dragons, the monsters, the ogres, the raging hordes of killers who do nothing but pillage and rape and slay and steal. You have the darker side of ancient pagan nature here, a monster craving flesh for its gullet and other satisfaction for the various desires given to it by nature. It does not put overmuch thought into things aside from getting those wants, it has a hunger, and it must keep that hunger sated. Like Fafnir, like Grendel and Grendel’s mother, the Orkz too have needs, a bloodlust they must fill, but due to their nature, they never can get enough. There is no real self here, no real individuality, no dream beyond satisfying their innermost desires. They go where they please, sure enough, and individuals here and there might distinguish themselves as particularly good at satisfying their universal craving for wanton destruction. But they are all of too like a mind and a too much a servant of their own passions and wants to have any sort of real individuality.
Since the Advent of Christianity upon the Globe, something quite new and wonderful has arisen. A Blessed sort of Individualism that at first seems like it crushes the individual itself as part of a larger whole has sprung forth into Creation. The Catholic Church seems to many like a large number of brainwashed zombies lurching in the same direction. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The intent of Catholicism is not to take away Man’s Will, but to return it to him from the bonds of Sin and Death. A man still has passions if he is Catholic, but he meets them in a manner not unlike that of the Heroes of Old meeting a foe in battle. He must become a rugged individual, a man well versed in the Inner War of the Soul. His temptations prowl about like hungry curs, seeking his life and lives of those around him. In his Heart, he stands alone but for the Aide of God. He must learn skill, and cunning, and strength, and courage. He must become the consummate warrior, a hero, a Saint. The Church is not a gathering of zombies. It is a gathering of Men who chose to free themselves, and then free others, the way all true Heroes must. So do the Blood Angels behave. They fight enemies within and without, training and praying hard and with great vigor. They are both scholarly and adept at portraying the beauty in things. While they do all have one cause, they have chosen that cause. They bow respectfully to higher authority, but do not allow secular needs to overrun their own conscience, and are all the more respected and righteous for doing so. They come to the aide of those besieged by darkness, as befits their name. They, like the Church, are made up of individuals seeking the good, organized by a higher power into a work of art that goes about saving the Universe.
What are the Tyranids then? Secularism, or as I prefer to call it, the New Paganism, for the parallels are deliciously funny(and something I will most likely touch on in a later post), is quite similar to them in its function. Among the Tyranids, you have a massive group shackled together for the purpose of doing one thing, and one thing alone; what it is programmed to do by its nature. Tyranids devour because they were born to devour. Secular thought, Secular Humanism in particular, emphasizes the ability of Humanity to solve its own problems, by way of the equipment we are given by Evolution and the processes that govern it. Under this school of thought, the entire human race is simply this sort of machinery, this group of organisms doing what they do best, doing as they were birthed to do. The individual is subservient to the many, and able to be cast off if needed, for it is only as valuable as it is useful. Now, at this point, many will claim that this is not so, that you see strong individualism all the time. I say, not so! The Tyranids again serve me well as example. There are many forms the organisms in the swarm may take, even members who stand out in stature or individual intelligence or function, but a part of the swarm they remain. Social creatures without a Hive Mind, but enslaved to the ultimate survival of the many in this way, fare no better. The “individuals” you see are merely useful in their skills or their special adaptation, and if the usefulness fades, so does their value. This pseudo-individualism is the rallying cry of many in the Secularist movement.
Another part of the problem with this is the lack of Objective Right and Wrong. The current moral mode of the day is that right and wrong are subjectively determined by our needs as a people (read, as a species). There is therefore no real choice, no individual decision at all to be made in that kind of moral system. When making a moral decision, you are now choosing between varying degrees of function and usefulness, and you are serving the purpose for which the species created you. If you choose poorly many times, or your morality is not helpful to the race, you become detritus that is merely something that will be removed in the next generation. There is no choice in this kind of choosing, there is no real choice in selecting a different shade of gray. Their is no Individual in this kind of lazy and weak individualism, where in the end you serve the same function as everyone else, just in a different manner or form.
And from this I conclude that the Catholic Church, and Christianity as a whole, is the most rugged Individualist group on the planet.
We rose late in the evening for our waking prayers, according to our strict spiritual regimen. Then, a breakfast of coarse dark bread and lukewarm water and following that, general calisthenics to limber up . Our crucifix-shurikens and crosier-naginata had to be sharpened then, in preparation for the coming mission. We were to put down any and all resistance by use of aggravated force and flagellation. The Sister Superior that lead our team into battle inspected our gear before we boarded the stealth plane that was to take us to our drop zone. She shattered Father John’s windpipe with her elbow for having his rosary-garrote tangled. That was a mistake that may have cost him his life in the right situation, and he paid for it with his last breath so that we might learn. When the price of failure is Eternal Damnation, no precaution is too severe, no punishment for transgression too harsh. Finding the rest of us to her liking, we all boarded the plane. I was surprised to notice the Ultra-Secret Brethren of the Bladed Cross standing there, four of them, no less, in full battle dress. Apparently, our mission was going to involve actual open war in the Name of the Holy Mother Church and Pope Hitler XVI.
We spent the trip over in silent prayer, meditating on the Nine-thousand Agonizing Sorrows of the Ever Virgin, mulling over each bloody, painful detail in our hearts and minds until we all saw red. Our mission tonight, we were told, by Sister Superior Agnes of the Bleeding Rent Heart of Jesus, was to put a stop to some little flea who dared think to order the Vatican around in his own pathetic Democracy, by some sort of Healthcare Mandate. How amusing. Someone actually felt that women had rights before they became the Improved Humans ready to serve in a Religious Order. We would put a stop to that.
We were ready for the drop. While reciting the Litany of Litanies, we jumped from the plane several miles up, completely cloaked by a cloud of blessed incense. Everyone but the Sister Superior and the Brethren of the Bladed Cross went into swan dives, streaking down towards the target. The Brethren turned on the jump jets on their Mark MM Crucifixion Mobile Battlesuits, and Sister Superior use her specially modified habit as a parachute. We met some anti-aircraft fire as we went down, but nothing the Brethren could not deal with. They unleashed frankincense shrapnel grenades, covering our descent with the flurry of their explosions. Any flak that got through glanced off of our body armor, by the Grace of God. When it came time for impact, we opened our chutes and veered away from one another, each of us heading to our specific objectives. Some of us would be combing this entire country over the next several months as field agents, blowing up abortion clinics, stealing birth control from the distributors, and sabotaging their production so that none of the new product functioned in the way God never intended. The rest, myself included, would serve as a show of force so that the Will of the Pope should never be again questioned by this “President” fellow.
The Brethren hit the ground first, their landing blowing up and area the size of a city block. Sister ran interference for them, handling any local law enforcement officers before they could react. As if the “law” they tried to enforce had any bearing on those who followed Divine Law…The battlesuits opened up with a salvo from their shoulder-mounted rail-guns, destroying some sort of stupid white tower nearby. Then, they extended their four-bladed cross swords and charged the enemy, Heaven-bent on unleashing as much destruction as possible…..
So, if you haven’t stopped reading yet, I hope you recognize that this is one giant joke. I would never condone anything like this, nor does it exist.
I wrote this silliness in response to all the people who have decided to defend the HHS Mandate that forces the Church to pay for what it deems a grievous Evil by claiming that we are trying to enforce a Theocracy or control women. I will not go into the various reasons why the Mandate, even with that false compromise “Dear Leader” President Barack Obama placed in their to insult our intelligence, is a violation of every American’s Constitutional Rights. The problem there should be obvious. What I will do is tell you that what our opponents claim is utterly ridiculous.
There is no secret abortion-doctor assassination squad that also sabotages birth control pill factories. We have no power-armored monks to storm the capitol and force the Will of the Church upon America. We have no real power to stop women from using as many contraceptives and having as many abortions as they desire. All we can do is preach against it, and not allow them to be paid for with our money. That is why we fight this Mandate. We are being forced to pay for that which we find Evil. Our Consciences are being violated by Government Force. That is all. No more, and no less.
And yet our detractors pretend that the above drivel is exactly what we wish to occur. Of all the ignorant ways to defend tyranny, this has to be one of the most base and intellectually lacking. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Lenten fast to stock up for. It is Fat Tuesday, after all.
Before anything else, I’d like to thank you for reading this first virgin post, complete with that aromatic new-blog smell. Inhale deeply of my intellectual vapors, you must. I hope we have grand fun on this new Journey.
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, it’s time to immolate some heretics.
NO WAIT! COME BACK, I WAS ONLY KIDDING!
Humor aside, I do intend that this first post set a general tone for some of what I will be doing as long as this thing lasts. And, as this is an infant blog, it could go up in smoke just as fast as I can say Velma the Velociraptor vaulted voluptuously, verifying V’s vicious vocal vendetta against Velma’s vacillatory vibes. Probably even faster because my tongue is uncannily clumsy with alliteration. So let us begin.
I would ask those who attack the Catholic Church to consider this line of thinking before they do anything else. What exactly are you attacking, and are you attacking it in a manner that will result in something good? Using data I have conjured up through statimancy, which I learned from Television News Broadcasters, I would say about 90% of the time you do not understand exactly what you are attacking and make your jabs with little idea as to their effect.
Nearly all of the people I have met or read or heard of have a habit of attacking the Church for the following; something horrible its members have done, or a bad personal experience with one of its members. As I am about to show, this is unproductive and actually destructive to society at large. There are far better ways you could handle the situation than trying to rip apart a two-thousand year old institution.
This is not about debating theology or doctrine or science or any of that right now. This is about looking at what the Church’s purpose is and what it is intended to accomplish. I will demonstrate that by giving you an outline of what my home country, the good old United States of America, would like if every citizen was Catholic and practiced it darn near perfectly. I would say perfectly, but then that would entail Heaven and ruin the point I am trying to make.
Firstly, all those poor, jobless, struggling people? Gone. They all are being cared for in hospitals, educated by donated money from their friends and neighbors, fed and clothed until they can get back on their feet, and spiritually healed by the ministrations of dedicated Priests and Nuns. All those greedy politicians? Gone. Politicians would work solely to manage the resources we have so that we function excellently as a country, for they would see it not only as a civic but divinely ordained duty that they must care for those that put them in power. Crime? Gone. When everyone respects the sanctity of human life, murder and violence become unthinkable, and theft is already pretty much gone due to the lack of poor people. The Death Penalty would no longer exist, and any current criminals would be healed by a new and vibrant influx of Priests. Abortion would not exist, there would be no need for the day after pill because rape would be unthinkable. Who would dare defile a daughter of God? Any children unable to be supported by those that had them would be cared for out of the benevolence of one’s Parish, which all would happily give money and time to. As for our fears of over-population, they are out of place. With everyone practicing abstinence before marriage, we would pretty much eradicate sexually transmitted disease, and with the strength of character and matrimonial love being celebrated, sex would be reserved and respected in a way that did not result in an obscene glut of children. Of course, people also forget that we have enough food to feed the world’s hungry by ourselves right now, and that more people means more minds focusing on how to feed the new population through better farming techniques and the like. In fact, most forget that an ideal Church would have roughly 25% or more of its population living in celibacy as Priests, Brothers, Sisters, and Nuns, to say nothing of the lay single life vocations. As for homosexuals, for I have heard voiced the fear that they would be exterminated, this is not part of Church teaching. Those with that trial to face would fare far better than they do now, being lovingly accepted by all and aided in their quest for a chaste life so that they might happily live out God’s plan for their lives. Respect for the arts and sciences would boom as people and the Church itself poured money into new technology and more and more beautiful works of art. The only limit to either of these things would be that they respect humanity in its sacredness. So, no fetal stem cells or cloning. No intentionally crass art. That’s about all we’d lose. Medicine itself would rise to new heights as people threw themselves body and soul at the behest of their God to heal the sick….
I’d go on, but I think I’ve said enough here. All of the above? THAT is the Church’s mission, along with the Salvation of the World. Granted, such an idealistic place is improbable, for the Church is a Hospital for Sinners, not a Country Club for Saints, and thus can be home to many a blackened and hardened heart. That is what you attack when you try to tear down the Church. Your efforts do not seem so righteous now, do they? If you would like a better suggestion as to how to deal with us, here’s one. When you see or hear or know any one of us who is not living out the Commandments of God, not living as a true Catholic should live, do not attack that which can make him do good. Remind him of the teachings of his own Faith, and send him back to us for some spiritual advising. This is easily applied to all Christians. I am asking you not to lay there and allow people to do Evil in the Name of God, but to enlist the Church in turning them back to the straight and narrow path. And time and time again, that is what we fight to do with any of our sheep who have gone astray. Westboro Baptists getting you down? You think that street-preacher is being too vicious? You hear that a Catholic shot an Abortionist? Let Christianity right the wrongs of its members, and help Us do so by pointing them to the Church teachings that forbid such things. Don’t sit there and shriek about how all of us are evil and try to tear the whole Church down.