Sunday, February 25, 2007

Returning to the Stations

['Tis a long post, so click on the 'read more' link at the bottom of the post for the epic version]

‘O Lord, as penitent as I wish the world to be, make me doubly so.’

The first round of this Lent’s Stations of the Cross was as powerful as I remember it last year. The opening prayer started things rolling:

“My Lord, Jesus Christ, You have made this journey to die for me with unspeakable love; and I have so many times ungratefully abandoned You. But now I love You with all my heart; and, because I love You, I am sincerely sorry for ever having offended You. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You go to die for love of me; I want, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of You. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.”

My throat tightens as I pray these words, my vision blurs. My sins, though thoughtless on my part, are grievous insult to Him that goes to the Cross for me. My soul is shown in stark relief next to Him, and the difference is almost unbearable. The priest is now at the icon of the Condemnation:

“My adorable Jesus, it was not Pilate; no, it was my sins that condemned You to die. I beseech You, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, to assist my soul on its journey to eternity. I love You, beloved Jesus; I love You more than I love myself. With all my heart I repent of ever having offended You. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

Do I love Jesus? More than Myself? My behaviors too often indicate the opposite. Were that I was always this conscious of my misplaced affections. The Priest winds from Condemnation to Christ receiving the Cross, and from the Cross to the First Fall:

“My beloved Jesus, it was not the weight of the cross but the weight of my sins which made You suffer so much. By the merits of this first fall, save me from falling into mortal sin. I love You, O my Jesus, with all my heart; I am sorry that I have offended You. May I never offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

My voice breaks as I pray, the tears swell, as my sins are laid bare before me. Insouciance has a price, and that price was paid by Another. This knowledge is too convenient, and also, too antiseptic. Like a child who lives richly by the sweat of his parents, it is too easy to be comforted by platitudes about “being Saved.” Would the Bridegroom accept me, one who so often takes His saving gift for granted? The priest leads us to Mary, Simon the Cyrene, and to Veronica:

“My beloved Jesus, Your face was beautiful before You began this journey; but, now, it no longer appears beautiful and is disfigured with wounds and blood. Alas, my soul also was once beautiful when it received Your grace in Baptism; but I have since disfigured it with my sins. You alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. Do this by the merits of Your passion; and then do with me as You will.”

I have disfigured myself, by my choices, when I chose sin over the Cross. By no merit of mine does He come to rescue me from myself. The priest speaks, and Jesus has again fallen:

“My most gentle Jesus, how many times You have forgiven me; and how many times I have fallen again and begun again to offend You! By the merits of this second fall, give me the grace to persevere in Your love until death. Grant, that in all my temptations, I may always have recourse to You. I love You, Jesus, my Love with all my heart; I am sorry that I have offended You. Never let me offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

Patterns repeat, a dog returns to its vomit, and I, too, sin again. How can He love me so much, to see me ever fail, and yet still beckon to me? The priest announces the Meeting of the Women:

“My Jesus, laden with sorrows, I weep for the sins which I have committed against You because of the punishment I deserve for them; and, still more, because of the displeasure they have caused You who have loved me with an infinite love. It is Your love, more than the fear of hell, which makes me weep for my sins. My Jesus, I love You more than myself; I am sorry that I have offended You. Never allow me to offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

I’m sure that many will perish who will protest that they deserve better. I cannot protest, for I know what I, for my sins, deserve. Yet I am humbled by the promise of Life in trusting Christ. The priest brings us to the Third Fall, and then Jesus is Stripped of His Garments:

”My innocent Jesus, by the torment You suffered in being stripped of Your garments, help me to strip myself of all attachment for the things of earth that I may place all my love in You who are so worthy of my love. I love You, O Jesus, with all my heart; I am sorry for ever having offended You. Never let me offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

Ever so attached to my comforts, I resist so many mortifications for Him. Even tonight, upon hearing rumor of some new imposition, I seethe at the agents of the impending crisis. It is a rare cross that is picked up with perfect joy, may I quit rebelling against mine. The priest is now at the icon of the Crucifixion:

“My despised Jesus, nail my heart to the cross that it may always remain there to love You and never leave You again. I love You more than myself; I am sorry for ever having offended You. Never permit me to offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

My journey leads me to the foot of the Cross; I can embrace it, at great pain to myself now, or I can disregard it, to my eternal peril. Only the most stalwart could bear the proximity to our crucified Lord, where God’s Will loomed so large, and our conscience looms large as well. Who else could so closely witness the consequences of my sins, but our Blessed Mother, Mary. The priest moves on, Jesus dies on the Cross:

“My dying Jesus, I devoutly kiss the cross on which You would die for love of me. I deserve, because of my sins, to die a terrible death; but Your death is my hope. By the merits of Your death, give me the grace to die embracing Your feet and burning with love of You. I yield my soul into Your hands. I love You with my whole heart. I am sorry that I have offended You. Never let me offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

The price has now been paid, the debt to the Father now forgiven, but now, I am to be judged by Christ. Can I be faithful? How do I return the love so dearly shown? By taking up my own loathsome cross, to follow Him. The priest intones that Jesus is taken down from the Cross, then buried in the Tomb:

“Oh my buried Jesus, I kiss the stone that closes You in. But You gloriously did rise again on the third day. I beg You by Your resurrection that I may be raised gloriously on the last day, to be united with You in heaven, to praise You and love You forever. I love You, Jesus, and I repent of ever having offended You. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”

Jesus was confident of the Father’s promise to raise Him up. So shall I be confident in Jesus’ promise to raise me up from my sins. May I always be steadfast in my love and obedience to Him.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. Because, by your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bacchanalia and Penance

Mardi Gras is upon us once again, and time to get hammered and entice women to be immodest, right? I don't understand how debauchery before a season of penance shows any sign of sincere penitence. For some, it was like filling up the car's tank before a snowstorm, or stocking up on water before a disaster. Either way, the behaviour betrays what's really dearest to the heart.

Another irony is that far more people will party for Mardi Gras than will show up for Ashes the next day. I wonder, thinking mathematically: Is the enthusiasm for Mardi Gras inversely proportional to the likelihood for a penitential Lent?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lenten Internet Fast

Well, my friends, I wish you a good, penitent, and grace-filled Lent. Last year, I abstained from Internet usage for Lent, and found it sufficiently difficult, enough to warrant doing it again this year. I'll likely post musings on Sunday evenings, so drop by occasionally.

In Christ,

St. Jimbob

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Deep Shiite

So, Muqta al-Sadr is conferring with his mentors in Iran. Is anyone really surprised? It's natural that he would be touching base with his allies, making sure that the supply lines stay open.

Despite the official denials from Iran, which are quite plausible, it's the mullahs that run the country. If the mullahs say that al-Sadr is to be armed, it happens, with or without any government paperwork.

Expect to see redoubled efforts in Washington, aimed at evacuating, retreating, withdrawing our troops from Iraq. The last thing that Americans want is a war with a country where every last man, woman, and child would pick up arms to defend their country. It might make us look bad.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I got tagged by the hyper-intellects at Cosmos|Liturgy|Sex, so here it is...Five things that few people know about St. Jimbob

1) I'm the eldest of nine children, the last being 20 years younger than myself.

B) I've got multiple tattoos, but none visible when wearing my usual kit.

III) I've been programming computers since I was 8, back when games were programmed in one line at a time, starting with

10 PRINT "Adventure"
20 INPUT "What is your name? " ; U$
30 PRINT U$ ; "is facing north. There is a cave.."
et cetera

Four) I used to smoke Camel Wide Lights, partially because they would fit snugly in one's nostril. I'd be on stage, playing my bass, with a cigarrette jutting from one, or both, nostrils. You'd have to be there.

Cinq) I had been diagnosed with ADD, but I don't really believe in it, or at least, I'm a concientious objector when it comes to psychological pharmaceuticals. I prefer to be a bit flaky than to be hooked on antidepressants and amphetamines.

And there you have it. I tag Unseen Blogger.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Whoville Publishing Threatened

The Whos, down in Whoville, have a time-honored publishing tradition: they publish a periodical book called "Who's Who", so that all the Whos can tell who's who from you. This cellulose-based communication media has been declining in popularity, due to Whos using Google, Facebook, and Myspace to tell who's who anew. This upsets the Whoville cellulose-based media barons, and while this innovation is beyond their control, they are still compelled to act. What's a Who to do?

Well, a non-Who, otherwise known as a nobody, was invited to join their ranks. The Whos use the most tantalizing visions of vanity to get nobodies to submit flattering biographies for listing in the Who's Who to-do. Oh, did I mention that the exchange involves money? For several billion Lira, you too can be a Who!

So, the nobody in question was not moved by the tantalizing promise of being a Who, and decided to blog about the Who's Who crew, from his nobody point of view. Cue the attorney Who, who may threaten to sue. "Cease and Desist" rings the Who cry and Who hew. What is a nobody to do? Blog about this too!

To the Whoville publishers; Don't stew. Time marches on, and you know this is true: Innovators make money, when they make something new. So get with the times, that is your clue, and you can have wealth that will quickly accrue.

Or not.

h/t Regular Guy

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Unrest is causing problems in Nigeria, impacting oil production. From CNN:

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer. In 2005, it was the world's sixth largest exporter of oil, but the conflict there has cut distribution by an estimated 500,000 barrels per day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The militants are threatening to hurt the oil sector even more.

While this may only seem to be a symptom, I imagine that oil production disruption is a distinct goal here.

More than 2 million barrels of crude oil is pumped out of Nigeria every day, according to the U.S. Energy Department. International oil conglomerates from the United States, China and other countries have taken up stakes in the Niger Delta. Among the oil giants are Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and oil service companies like Schlumberger and Brazil's Petrobas.

And there's the stakes. While it's the Nigerian militias that are demanding a cut of the profits, there's another party/parties at work here, here's the clue:

Nigerian forces have struggled in the battle. The navy doesn't travel to the regions where CNN went because the waters are so dangerous, patrolled by armed militants in speed boats that quickly navigate through the swamps.

"The militants are far more well armed than the Nigerian navy. They have bigger guns and speed boats that can practically go anywhere, even shallow waters," she said.

A week ago, the militants sailed into Port Harcourt and boldly made their way to the central police station in the middle of the town and shot their way out, rescuing 15 of their comrades who had been arrested by the navy.

Ok, so how does a group, that claims to be extremely poor and deprived, end up better armed and equipped than the nation's government forces? Outside agitation. Proxy war. It's a time-honored African tradition to fund rebel groups in your neighboring countries. Or, it's someone who stands to gain much by disrupting oil supplies to the countries listed above, which may be more likely. It's time to start following the money..

I'm Not Gay

Inspired by Ted Haggard's stunning confession that he's not gay, and the media's fascination with the gay lobby...

GAY LOBBY : Bring out your gay!
GAY LOBBY : Bring out your gay!

MEDIA: Here's one.
GAY LOBBY: Ninepence.
TED HAGGARD: I'm not gay!

MEDIA: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.

TED HAGGARD: I'm not gay!!

GAY LOBBY: 'Ere. He says he's not gay!
MEDIA: Yes, he is.

GAY LOBBY: He isn't?
MEDIA: Well, he will be soon. He's very poofy.
TED HAGGARD: I'm getting better!

MEDIA: No, you're not. You'll be flaming queer in a moment.
GAY LOBBY: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
TED HAGGARD: I don't want to go on the cart!

MEDIA: Oh, don't be such a baby.
GAY LOBBY: I can't take him.
TED HAGGARD: I feel straight!

MEDIA: Well, do us a favour.
GAY LOBBY: I can't.
MEDIA: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
GAY LOBBY: No, I've got to go to South Beach. They've outed nine today.

MEDIA: Well, when's your next round?
GAY LOBBY: Thursday.
TED HAGGARD: I think I'll read a Playboy.

MEDIA: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
TED HAGGARD: [singing]
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to..

MEDIA: Ah, thanks very much.
GAY LOBBY: Not at all. See you on Thursday.

[apologies to Monty Python]

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Not Bad for a Revert

You are a 97% traditional Catholic!

Congratulations! You are more knowlegeable than most modern theologians! You have achieved mastery over the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith! You should share your incredible understanding with others!

Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?
Make Your Own Quiz

Not bad, considering that I've never picked up the Baltimore Catechism. I was brought up in the hippy-dippy 70's Catholic Church, left the Church in the 90's, after tiring of felt banners and stewardship campaigns (to buy more felt banners, I s'pose). Came back to the Church a decade later, after moving to Lincoln, Nebraska. Since, I've been a tireless proponent of real Catholic theology, annoying to both the liberal Left, and sometimes the blinkered Right.

h/t Leticia

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dear Senators

A letter to my senators, that though they may not read it, you and Google can:

Senators Hagel and Nelson,

This is embarrassing, guys, and not what I elected you for. Looking at the news reports, it seems you guys, along with many others in Congress, are running around like Frenchmen; arms in the air, looking for someone to surrender to.

I get it, you guys want to get reelected someday, but screwing up this war is selfishness. A common criticism of the war in Viet Nam was that Congress meddled with how to fight the war. Another factoid about Viet Nam is how many people in the region were slaughtered, by the regimes we left intact, after we gave up.

Whether we were suckered in rightly or wrongly, let us agree to be men about it and finish the job so that we don’t leave the populace of Iraq in peril. It may not be in the “National Interest”, at least in the short-term, but it should be a point of national honor. I hope you have the courage to do the honorable thing.


[St. Jimbob's real name will remain a misery, um, mystery]