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Ornan’s Threshing Floor and the Baptism of the Lord

Ornan the Jebusite offers his threshing room floor for sacrifice

Ornan the Jebusite offers David his threshing room floor for the sacrifice

In Acts 2, the early Church shared everything, even though they were being taxed by the pagan government.  In Second Kings and First Chronicles , David and his people suffered horribly because he took a census, described as “A satan–rose up against Israel, and he incited David to take a census of Israel.” In other words, the devil cajoled David such that trusted his own wisdom over that of God’s and doubted His Providence.  Given 3 choices, he chose to be punished by God for 3 days until he made the atonement.  Because of the generosity of a stranger, Ornan the Jebusite, who gave him the land, including his threshing room, and freely offered to pay the entire atonement, at the very spot that would house the Temple in Jerusalem, David and his sins for presuming God had not granted enough for the people, were atoned.  Interestingly, David turned down Ornan’s offer for it to be free, wanting to pay from his own stores.

Consider Matthew 3: 7-12:

7 But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit worthy of repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Jesus came when a “census of the whole world” was being done by the secular, pagan government and offered His Life, once and for all, in atonement for our sins and for the whole world, essentially paying the price for our taking a census, of saying, no God, there isn’t enough, we can’t provide for all, which is blasphemy, as He does indeed provide for all. That pride and greed is essentially where all the other sins come from.

It’s Caesar we worship when we refuse to help each other, saying it’s the government’s job or those in need should have planned better (taken a census) instead of our very duty as followers of Christ is to trust Him and do whatever *He* tells us. Read Matthew 25 for those responsibilities. No, I am not even talking about immigration matters, though that certainly is part of it. Asking myself how many times I have “taken a census” to avoid helping someone or put someone down, period, is a good examination of conscience.

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Published on John’s Facebook page on October 6, 2018

Went to Confession today. Didn’t want to be a “10 minute Confession,” so I prayed a long time about it–including my post about the Saints last night–and I talked about my existential doubt/Dark Night, my doubt of the Church, and rash actions committed because I was really angry at God and didn’t realize it. Father said to pray the Glorious mysteries and focus on the third. Didn’t even say that Penance till later this evening, but when I came out of Confession, I sat down, rejoined the people saying the Sorrowful Mysteries in church, and felt a deep sense of God’s Presence to a level I haven’t felt in a long time, and didn’t think I’d ever feel again now that I ‘m in the last stages of the Dark Night. I felt so overwhelmed by JOY, by LOVE, by PEACE, that I practically felt like a Charismatic. I thought of Joy Davidman Lewis’s famous description of her conversion:
“All my defenses—the walls of arrogance and cocksureness and self-love behind which I hid from God—went down momentarily. And God came in.”

selective focus photo of brown and silver rosary

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Our Lady as Widow

It was my consolation from God on the night my husband died, to realize that of all the titles I had heard of Our Lady, widow was not one of them, but now I know intimately the pain she must have felt at St. Joseph’s death. I suddenly realized every time Jesus refers to a widow and/or an orphan, He refers to His Mother and Himself.   I found this article very helpful:

“The experience of Mary and her times of loneliness that arose from the circumstances of her life as the mother of Jesus is a reminder that Mary’s life was real and truly human.

She knew what it meant to be isolated, to fear, to experience terrible anxiety, loneliness, and hurt. For all her sinlessness, Mary’s life was filled with the faith-demanding events just mentioned. There likely were many more.”

happydeath

Written Christmas 2017 by Mary

Mary gave birth to Jesus in an animal shelter because the government (during the so-called Pax Romana) forced them to travel to a city with short notice, a city that should have had quite a few of their own relatives and friends in it to help them. Then, the government decided terrorizing families and killing the little ones born around that time was a good way to prevent future toppling of the government, and they had to flee to Egypt with just their clothes on their backs. Shepherds and pagans sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to recognize His Revelation of His Divinity and Humanity while believers slept. Don’t worry if your Advent and Christmas are not “perfect,” if animals are kinder than humans, if strangers are truer than relatives or friends, if your life is a painful mess because the government, employers, and the Church are proving sorely lacking in their responsibility to their citizens, workers, and “least of these.” Turn to Him and His Holy Family. They have been there and understand deeply the suffering, of going without proper food, clothing, shelter, transportation, employment, and medical care, in the midst of a world that could provide (by the Mercy of God) except for greed and pride and power-lust and lack of trust in Him (all sins of which I am guilty–throwing no stones). Prepare the manger of your soul to welcome Him and to rejoice with the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph. Do what you can and be at Peace, the one He gives, not the world. May we all repent and joyfully and generously open our eyes to the Holy Family in our midst, bringing His Mercy in our tiny offerings of love. I wrote this, musing on various FB posts, from friends and family, my chronic illness groups, autism groups, Catholic groups, homeschooling, Dean Koontz groups, etc. We have been so very blessed by animals, relatives, friends, private employers, government employers, the military, conscientious objectors, strangers, Catholics, Protestants, pagans, other people of faith, and non-believers, all of whom have a place in the Advent and Christmas story. I have seen in a very extraordinary way this year how He chooses to reveal Himself to each person on an individual basis. I cannot say that I understand everything, of course, but I do understand that much, that His Revelation is here and now if you wish to see Him, just ask. But it does require falling to your knees (or bowing) in repentance and love and a change that will be continuously worked out with trembling in this fallen world. His Glory is in the cave, on the plain, and on the mountain. We cannot bear it *all* in this mortal life–that is what Heaven is for. But He provides what we need to know He is Who He says He is.

“It doesn’t get better”

We hear it all the time.  “It gets better.”
No, “it” doesn’t.
Life stinks.  At its best it’s like a night in a bad hotel room, as St. Teresa of Avila put it, and our idea of a “bad hotel room” would be better than the best luxury hotel she could have imagined.
And mental illness, like any other disordered inclination or biological defect, doesn’t really “get better” without medical and Divine intervention.
Moods are reactions to circumstances.

(another snippet never quite finished)

Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Mystery of Collaboration

Note:  John had drafted this but not finalized it before he died.  He loves Webber and Eliot.

With the announcement that Cats is finally being made into a movie, I’ve been thinking of different aspects of that process.
Because they started their careers together and had some huge successes at young ages, fans, critics and the collaborators themselves often express regret “Lloyd Webber and Rice” were more “Lennon and McCartney” than “Rodgers and Hammerstein.”
Objectively, Phantom of the Opera is Lloyd Webber’s most successful musical.  Financially, it was the most financially successful stage show or movie of all time before being surpassed by The Lion King in 2012 (with of course lyrics by Rice), and is still the longest running musical in Broadway history.
“Memory” has been my favorite song since I was 6.  It’s an oft-repeated (and variously misquoted) anecdote that when Andrew wrote the tune that became “Memory” (a tune that has often been accused of being plagiarized from Puccini, Ravel, and/or John and Michelle Phillips) he wrote it as a tribute to Puccini, for a planned musical about Puccini.  He asked his musicologist, organist and composer father, William, “Does this sound like anything to you?” And his father replied, “It sounds like a million dollars!”  Looking up a source to cite for the anecdote, I found this great article from 2007 that sums up, except a few quibbles, what I think of Lloyd Webber and most of the criticism against him.   It is kind of ironically, actually, that what contemporary critics call “plagiarism” or “pastiche” is what Eliot himself did in his poetry, and what Eliot described in “Tradition and the Individual Talent.”  Anyway, Bill Lloyd Webber was wrong: his son’s haunting and hauntingly familiar tune, combined with lyrics by Trevor Nunn based on T. S. Eliot (mainly “Preludes” and “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” but also themes from Four Quartets and some of Eliot’s other work) became an instant standard, one of the most successful songs of the 1980s.  Elaine Paige released 2 singles, of the original lyric in 1982 and the revised lyric in 1998, both of which charted in the UK.  Barbra Streisand’s “definitive” version peaked at #52 on the top 100 and #9 on the AC charts.  Barry Manilow’s cover surpassed Streisand’s, charting at 39 and 8, respectively.  I once read there was a point in the 80s where between those three and numerous other covers, “Memory” was always playing on the radio somewhere.  Cats itself has grossed over a billion in worldwide ticket sales.
Lloyd Webber wanted a big aria/pop single for Cats and suggested his Puccini tribute but needed lyrics. Rice offered a lyric which was used in rehearsal but later rejected (often cited as the final breaking point in their collaboration).  Richard Stilgoe, who wrote the prologue, “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats,” based upon Eliot’s unpublished poem “Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats,”  submitted one.  Director Trevor Nunn wrote the lyric that was used.

In a musical, there are three elements: the music, the lyrics, and the “book,” which is the story.  So while Lloyd Webber is not a lyricist, he often actively participates in the story.
Part of the effectiveness of their two most successful collaborations was due to the differences in Rice and Lloyd Webber’s worldviews that made their long-term collaboration untenable.  Rice is an atheist; Lloyd Webber has always at least respected Christianity though his own level of faith is unclear.  Rice admired Eva Peron; Lloyd Webber saw her as despicable but decided she was tragic.

Stilgoe, who like Rice was known mainly for writing comic lyrics.  His only full-fledged  musical with ALW was Starlight Express.  He wrote all the lyrics for Phantom of the Opera but then up-and-coming Charles Hart was hired to rewrite it to be more serious.  Hart went onto contribute to Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard, both of which are arguably contain some of Lloyd Webber’s most beautiful melodies and a number of instant standards.

Don Black collaborated with Lloyd Webber on Tell Me On a Sunday/Song and Dance, and was part of the teams for Aspects and Sunset.

Deacon Dana’s tribute to John, the author of The Lewis Crusade

https://beingisgood.blogspot.com/2018/10/john-hathaway-our-newest-saint.html