Tassel of the Cloak

Tassel of the CloakGod is in everything, be it sports or music or history or business or wine-making or church or whatever. Everywhere we look there is a spiritual metaphor to be found. Some metaphors may be hidden, some overt. I will attempt to point them out to you. That is the purpose of these laconic reflections. They are mostly intended to be fun and interesting. Perhaps, though, the reflections will provide you some guidance. Perhaps they will lead you to see everything through a spiritual lens, thus appreciating Catholicism all the more. When Jay Cutler throws a Hail Mary at the end of the half, might you move beyond your frustration with the Bears' offensive ineptitude and think of the Blessed Mother? Just an example.

These reflections will only be an introduction to deeper spiritual and theological truths. Hence the title, The Tassel of the Cloak. When David cuts off the tassel of Saul's cloak and shows it to him (cf. 1 Sam 24), Saul realizes that David is not his enemy. That moves them into a new relationship. Likewise, the hemorrhaging woman's grasping of the tassel on Christ's cloak in Luke 8:44 opens the door to her healing and conversion. The tassel was merely an entryway. The mundane anecdotes and simple spiritual lessons I provide are, in my opinion, the tassel. There's much more to Christ's Cloak. I hope you will experience it. So, please, go ahead and "Touch the Hem of His Garment." That is, by the way, the title of a Sam Cooke song.

The Art of War Against Sin

 

"Every battle is won or lost before it is fought," says Sun Tzu in The Art of War.  It is the preparation prior to the commencement of the action, as well as the condition of the military-industrial complex of the nation, that will determine the overall outcome of the war.  This is why Horatio Nelson, as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on October 21, 1805, did not send detailed instructions to his fleet, but the simple reminder: "England expects that every man will do his duty."  He knew the tactical work had already taken place.

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The Probiscus Monkey

A parishioner recently showed me pictures from a trip to Southeast Asia, one of which included a proboscis monkey.  I had never before seen or heard of this animal endemic to Indonesia.  I almost thought the picture was joke, like this was man dressed as a mascot, so funny and unique looking the animal was with its height, potbelly and long nose.  I wondered if instead of bananas the species eats bratwursts and drinks Coors Lights.

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Reverence God on Labor Day?

One of the ways we reverence God is by properly celebrating holidays. 

When we reverence someone or something the most fundamental thing we do is pause and acknowledge.  If we are before a revered object and continue checking our phone, we are unconsciously stating the object before us is not that significant.  We fill ourselves with what we think is necessary, and we continue on the path—more a rut—of self-absorption. 

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Luigi and Marie Beltrame Quattrocchi

Retreat is a term we do not like. We think of it as failing or quitting, with an accompanying sense of shame. Surrender, which of course is linked to retreat, is also very difficult.

But it is to the ideal of surrender that we are called in the spiritual life. We are called to retreat. We are not to be like Ulysses S. Grant, who famously wrote in May 1864 to the War Department of his plans to do anything but retreat against Lee's army. "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," he said. Christ surrender on the cross. So too are we.

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Angel of Auschwitz

It is in the midst of terrible suffering that God brings forth tremendous graces.  It was seen in the year 261, when a plague broke out in Alexandria and a group of Christians tended to the sick and dying when no one else would.  They were executed for this heroic deed and later canonized.  The Martyrs of the Plague of Alexandria, as they are called, have been praying for us.

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