Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mother of God ~ Bright Antidote to Hate

The icon shown here is of Our Lady of Kazan. A magnificent riza (ree-za) of stones and pearls has been created and placed over the image as a heart-gift. We might take a few moments to consider the tender face of the Mother of God; Jesus gazing out at us from a blanket of pearls. The holy Mother's crown is placed by golden angels. 

Now there is news about a group of devil worshipers who are scheduled to hold a "black mass" on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, at the Oklahoma Civic Center and Music Hall in Oklahoma City. This will be the second time the group has been able to secure the spot, despite over 100,000 signatures petitioning the mayor to prevent it.

But there are First Amendment rights that make it legal to hold a "black mass" as no one is being threatened with physical harm.

Not only is there going to a "black mass" (which often includes the desecration of a stolen host) but following, there will be a ritual called the "Consumption of the Virgin Mary", in which her statue is covered with blood, sulphur, insults and whatever else. Catholics could enter into all kinds of outrage and threat, but Jesus has told us what to do. 
You have heard that it used to be said "An eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth", but I tell you, don't resist evil. If a man hits your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If a man wants to sue you for your coat, let him have it and your cloak as well. If anybody forces you to go a mile with him, do more - go two miles with him. Give to the man who asks anything from you, and don't turn away from the man who wants to borrow.
You have heard that it used to be said "Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy", but I tell you, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father. For he makes his sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike."
"For if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even tax-collectors do that? And if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much. No, you will be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5: 38-48

This is a stunning and completely new teaching, yet how many Christians really apply it to their lives? We hear it, but do we do it? 

So here the Mother of God and the Holy Infant are decorated with pearls and stones, but all the more with love, tender-mercy, compassion and forgiveness for humanity in its folly, toxic hatred, ignorance and stupidity.

Here's a Prayer to Forgive Enemies found in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer. We might make it part of our morning prayer between now and the Feast of the Assumption. 

O God, the Father of all,
whose Son commanded us to love our enemies:
lead them and us from prejudice to truth;
deliver them and us from hatred,
cruelty and revenge; 
and in your good time enable us all to stand 
reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


  1. Forgiving one's enemies many times means swallowing one's pride. It is painful and easy to lose self control when you feel wronged. Forgiveness is even more difficult when the offender doesn't care to admit he or she has done something to you and is not apologetic towards you. How do you forgive someone who you are angry at, but who is not seeking forgiveness.

  2. I think forgiving people is the hardest part of being a Christian - especially when - as you indicate the offender is unconscious about what he/she has done or said, or is utterly justified. To forgive someone means: I wish you well. I hope good for you." This little prayer takes the bitterness out of me when I feel that kind of anger: "Jesus, give ___N___ what he/she/they need for salvation." I can do that. Actually, it's a most kind prayer-wish. Thanks for writing.

  3. Thank you for bringing the above to our attention. It is very sad to here how people can participate in a Black Mass. How lost ones soul can be.

    Thank you for your reminder for the Beatitudes. I remember when I first read them how lit I was in light and Joy. And when I look at myself and all of which God has forgoven unto me and given unto me, I need to remember that Christ asks us to do the same to our neighbor/enemy. I need to remember all of the Love Christ has for me has has the same for my enemy. And when Christ died it was for sinners, not the just. That the Greatest Sinner can acheive the Greatest Sanctity if he trusts in Gods Mercy. I see how mich I was forgiven and am ashamed of how slow I am to forgive in return. And I see how much I condemn others in my heart.

    But you are truly on the mark Fr Stephen. We need to pray for them not be disgusted with them but their actions. And pray for their conversion, becuase this is what Christ told us to do and have converted all of us from our own version of our 'False Worships'.

    Thank You Fr Stephen.

    Christ says every prayer for a conversion of a soul is always heard and answered.

  4. Thank you for your reminder to be of a forgiving heart. I value your words and your teachings Father Stephen and most of all your presence in my life. It is invaluable.

  5. Well, you're most welcome. And I value all the folks who follow along here even though I don't know most of them. Isn't it "funny" but in the nearly 36 years of being a priest I have never felt so deeply connected with so many people as through this blog. I've sometimes offered Mass and the energy of the congregation was so low I wondered if I was praying alone. I never feel that here. On a Sunday there's Mass after Mass after Mass and once there were three funerals in my church one right after another - starting the whole thing up again and again. It would be unthinkable that there would be one funeral Mass with all those people sharing one great prayer of gratitude and intercession and the joy of the Resurrection. And the priest can start to feel that he's only serving an institution or a function and not serving the Holy Spirit.

  6. The pearls remind me how precious, Mary is and of Her priceless worth. Most of all, I feel Her kind manner. Always nice, to read what you say about Mary.