Tag Archives: Martyrdom

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The Feast of St. Lucy was a few days ago on December 13th.  She was a young girl who was murdered by the Romans during the persecution of Christians under the reign of the god emperor Diocletian, who, as the saying might go, was a jealous god, etc.  Anyway, Lucy’s troubles began when her mother decided she should get married to some pagan fellow.  Lucy told her mother she wanted, instead, to stay unmarried, a virgin, and consecrate herself for life to Christ.  This didn’t go down well with her intended who denounced her to the authorities.  Eventually she was dragged off to be executed.  After boiling in oil failed they simply decided to put her to the sword.  It’s quicker and not as much fun as oil boiling, but it has the advantage of never failing.  Besides oil pollutes, I guess, and maybe the Roman Greenpeace would have picketed the execution.

Since her name is derivative of the Latin word for light, she became patroness of those who suffer diseases of the eye.  Sometimes she is portrayed holding a plate on which are two eyes, a rather gruesome and graphic depiction in no way connected with her death.  But that was then, back in the good old days when folks didn’t scruple to make a point if it needed to be made.

Some people I know got into a discussion on Facebook about St. Lucy and her plate of eyeballs.  While the exclamation “Eeewwwww!” did not appear in print that was the general tone of the remarks on such things as those which were rather common in the good old days.  Someone brought up the many paintings of St. Sebastian, and most of the reactions to those ranged from horror to a kind of air-sick queasiness about the way he’s always depicted; tied up and as full of arrows as a pincushion.

Truth is, though, that while he was filled with arrows, he didn’t die that way.  He was healed by another saint, Irene, but insisted on remaining a Christian.  So, he was simply clubbed to death; no swords being handy, I guess.  Or, since this was during Diocletian’s persecution, perhaps Lucy was being sliced up a few doors down with the sword used for Christians who just wouldn’t take a hint.

As I read the variously horrified and recoiling reactions to these distasteful displays of suffering I couldn’t help thinking about them myself.  I remembered being at the christening of my granddaughter Mary, now twenty.  Just before he poured the water over her, the priest held her up for all to see and said that what was going to happen to her was, in many cases, a dangerous thing.  It could, some day, lead to her death; in this world.  Also I remembered the story I had read only a while before this discussion which so paralleled St. Lucy’s that  it took my breath away.

In a small town in Pakistan recently a young Catholic girl’s home was invaded by some men.  They held her mother and her hostage demanding that the girl become a Muslim and marry one of them who wanted her for a bride.  She refused on both counts and was shot dead, no swords or oil being necessary, obviously.  Her mother was forced to flee, and the police aren’t really interested in doing much.  Yawn.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it but my favorite stained glass window is in the nave of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, my home town. You can see it above you on the right as you walk down the center aisle toward the altar . It is a vivid rendering of the death of St. Lawrence.

He is on the grill, his flesh beginning to roast, the flames beneath him turning the metal a deep red. I first saw it when I was a young fellow of about ten  at a Holy Name Society Mass with my father and about 3,000 other men from around the city. Today we avoid like the plague installing such bloody and gruesome things in our churches, preferring not to think of such things as burnings and worse some are forced to suffer for being Catholics, Christians.  In my own parish there is a nice sanitized window devoted to the North American Martyrs.  To look at it one would wonder whether or not they had all died peacefully in their sleep.  I’ve been to their shrine and read the account of their sufferings.  Peaceful death is as far from their actual deaths as is the east from the west.   (NOTE:  I wonder if we could gather even 300 Catholic men and boys anywhere for a Mass today.  I expect I will hear from the folks who will mention WYD in that vein, and the visits of pontiffs here and there, which only prove my point I’d say.)

What would be the case if some church were built today with one of its windows showing St. Maximilian Kolbe naked in the death cell surrounded by the corpses of his fellow prisoners as the Nazi guard injects him with cyanide? I do not think it would be quiet contemplation.  I have never seen any rendering of his actual martyrdom; nothing beyond a few photos of him long before that horrible act was committed.

But such things are done, and in some places the truth is told and the acts represented for one’s contemplation.  I was in a church in Gdansk several years ago and saw a statue of Fr. Jerzy Popiulsko. It was on the floor, he trussed in chains and beaten and bruised. They don’t pull punches over there.  Someday perhaps there will be another window in a church in Pakistan showing a young girl held by some men while another, face contorted with lust and rage shoots her brains out as her mother looks on in horror. It might be just the needed to remind us all of the real cost of the”Pearl of Great Price”.

I think I know the reason for those very graphic depictions of the saints’ and martyrs’ sufferings.  We should know, we need  to know “the wages of sin” and the “cost of discipleship”.  When we begin to value life too highly, to desire our ease and comfort here more than joy “ever after”, our real death begins.  How yucky can that get?  Maybe the first step to heaven is always down the path labelled martyrdom…of one kind or another.  It isn’t something to be shied from you know, if one is at all interested in the imitation of Christ.   And, there will certainly be an awful lot of company along the Way if recent events are any indication.

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Camel Couture (Rated PG)

The other day I visited a lady who told me that her nephew worked down in The City for Ralph Lauren’s company.  His job was to think up things other ladies could put on and look good in; if they were all 5′ 10″ , weighed 98 pounds and were named Barbie, and you had a lot of money lying around.

She tells me that once he called her to say one of the bosses phoned him to meet her at the airport on Friday night.  They were going to Paris.  They land in Paris and hit the ground running.  For the next 48 hours they hardly sleep, buying cloth and thread and baubles and bangles to go back to some ugly building on Seventh Avenue in The City and make stuff for skinny rich ladies that they’ll wear once and throw away; after paying a few large for the privilege.

I am thinking about this guy and his boss when I read about what happens a couple of weeks ago in Massachusetts.  Down there, in the People’s Republic, some lady who is Dean of a College of Pharmacology, puts out the word that no one can wear something called a “burka” or something else called a “niqab” on the campus.  Both of these things are stuff that ladies wear when they are Muslims.  They help to cover up everything.  This is so that Muslim men won’t be tempted.

I am wondering something, now.  I am wondering if, since most Arabs are Muslims, and most Arabs like camels, whether or not Muslim ladies wear these things because they look like camels and don’t want to tempt the men.  Don’t get me wrong, here.  I’m not disrespecting Arab or Muslim women at all; or camels.  I mean, this stuff is all in their book, about ladies being covered up and stuff so the men won’t be tempted.  For all I know they could be really good looking.  I mean don’t boy camels like girl camels?  The normal ones, anyway.  Last thing I need is some angry Arab guy showing up on my doorstep with a big lump in his underpants ready to light the fuse and blow up the neighborhood.

Anyway, if I have my facts correct, Muslim ladies dress like this because God wants them to.  Maybe because he knows Muslim men.  I understand lots of ladies in places like Denmark and Sweden know Muslim men.  Rapes are way up in Sweden and Denmark, and a lot of the rapists are Muslim men  and some Imams (that’s Muslim guys who know the book God wrote about women being all covered up) say its because the women ain’t; covered up or camels, I think.

It’s right there in the Koran like I said, which is the Muslim manual, written by God.  Most of the stuff Muslims do is done because God wants them to; like blowing up planes with bombs in their underwear; or shooting up mosques and throwing bombs into markets and hotel lobbies to kill people who are either praying, trying to have a good time or looking for something to eat.  Maybe praying, trying to have a good time or buying groceries is something God doesn’t want done.  I mean he doesn’t want Muslim women to look too much like camels.  Right?  Go figure.

So, this place in Massachusetts which says that students can’t walk around all covered up anymore  used to have a student there who is a Muslim.  His last name is Mehenna.

That rhymes with Gehenna.  Funny, ain’t it?

I don’t remember what his first name is, but call him Mohammad.  That don’t rhyme with much.  Seems like every other Muslim guy’s named that anyway.  He’s in jail, now, waiting to go on trial for trying to blow up something or other, which I suspect he read was one of the ways Muslims get to heaven.  They don’t have a Fifth commandment.  And, after he gets arrested for trying to be a good Muslim the Dean of students at this college makes a rule everyone’s got to look and dress normal, not like they were trying to hide something; a camel’s hump or underpants full of  dynamite.

I figure this rule, which is really only common sense, will last about as long as the average rule which says Mom and Dad get to know if their twelve year old daughter is going to get an abortion lasts; which is about as long as it takes the ACLU lawyers to get across the street to the courthouse and yell, “Time out!”  What’s common sense got to do with keeping people from killing other people?

Well, common sense or not, I figure my friend’s nephew is going to be making an awful lot of hectic weekend trips to Paris if this no “burka and hiqab” if thing does last and catches on; all of them uncovered oil princesses will need to buy dresses. The “burkas and hiqabs?  Give ’em to the Swedish and Danish ladies who ain’t been raped yet.

I ain’t too worried about the men.  There’s still all them naked camels.

Underpants Bomb

So, if this guy Abbadabbadoomullet from Nigeria sets off the bomb in his shorts about 250 people…and him…don’t get to have a Merry Christmas.  But, it fizzles.  There’s a thousand jokes in that pair of shorts.

Now, there is.  But, what if…???  Well, it rains body parts all over Detroit.  They get a red Christmas instead of a white one.

I read a story that a nice couple were on that flight on their way home from Ethiopia with two kids they’d just adopted, and their natural daughter is coming back with them, too.

“So sorry, kids, but I gotta catch a plane to martyrdom and my 77…or however many..virgins.  It’s all about God, you know, and getting straight with my personal, umm, savior.  Yum.  Yum.”  In the story I read, the Mom says they held hands for a few minutes there when things looked like it was for real, and prayed, and stuff.  They even sang a hymn while awaiting being blown out of the sky.  “We were ready, ” Mom said, “but I thought how sad it was for the children.”  What else could you expect.  Christian martyrs pray.  Muslim martyrs commit murder.

Our Dummy-in-Chief seizes the moment after the news hits the fan to say he’s ordered everyone to look alert.  This is the guy who thinks that these crumb-bums are merely criminals and should be tried in federal court and allowed all of the protections the Constitution gives crooks.  “Don’t worry about a thing, Muckdope.  The Imam knows the American president’s heart.  You’ll get a nice cell near the court house, a quick trial and we’ll get you back in a year or two, when they figure you’re just a misguided youth.  Back here in Yemen, we know different.”

Yemen’s  what some folks are calling the “new Afghanistan”, and not because opium is a cash crop in Yemen.  The two guys who head up the group who sent the Underpants Bomber on his mission graduated from Guantanamo.  After their graduation, thanks to some sharp lawyers and dimwit federal judges, they went home to Yemen and took up their profession which is killing people.

You remember Guantanamo?  That’s where we put the most vicious bunch of …( well what I think they are I am too polite to say.)  But until the Prophet of Hope got into office we used to know them as terrorists and enemy combatants.  Now, they’re defendants.  And, guess what, you’re paying for their defense.  Anyway, we had them all where we wanted them in Guantanamo.  Until January 20, 2009, that is.

Now, we are about to give them the very best that money can buy in the American legal system; the few we haven’t already determined are safe to return home, like the two camel jockeys who sent Abbadabbadoomullet on his ride to glory.

Who cares if we lose a plane and a few hundred taxpayers here and there? We got three hundred some odd million here, don’t we?  Who’s gonna miss ’em?

The other thing President Chicken Neck says is that he wants an “overhaul” of security measures, and that he wants everyone to know we’re gonna “strike back”, whatever that means.  It’s all part of sounding presidential, I guess.  I’m impressed.  Ain’t you?

Someone mentioned in one of the articles I read about the Underpants Bomb that about the best defense against this thing is one or both of dogs or x-ray cameras.  You know, dogs sniffing your, umm, naughty bits, and cameras taking pictures through your clothes.

Oboober wants us to tighten up.

Fat chance!  The ACLU is all over this about both of them things being “invasions” of privacy.  The ACLU was all over Guantanamo being an invasion of the poor terrorist’s civil rights and due process and stuff like that.  This is the same ACLU that is all over anyone who talks about “profiling”, which is an obscene term your children should never hear you say..

Well, their cake may just be taken away from them before they can eat it.  They win about dogs and cameras, enough planes go down in flames and, sooner or later everyone in this country has a prayer rug, a beard and hates pornography and the ACLU (which loves pornography).

I have a solution for our current quandary, aside from surrendering that is, which it seems like we are about to do.  Anyone wanting to fly from anywhere to anywhere shows up nekkid and gets dressed after their luggage is searched.  Plus we give ’em the underwear.  That way, their privacy ain’t violated by canine perverts or sneaky x-ray cameras.  Oh, and anyone from a Muslim country gets a free colonoscopy; just in case.

That should make everyone happy.