call me a rebel working with the saints

“I rebel; therefore I exist.”
Albert Camus

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel,
and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

George Orwell, 1984


(James Dean, from Rebel Without a Cause)

I read a great post yesterday over on Mel Wild’s site, In My Father’s House, and wanted to share.
It was posted on Halloween and Mel notes that since it was Halloween, ‘why not share our
favorite horror story of 2020—COVID 19 lockdowns.’

I want to share his words because, despite our current election diversion, we may have
missed the fact that most of Europe is currently going back under pandemic lockdowns.
And given the results of our election come Tuesday, we might be headed back down the same
dismal path.

But we are being told that it is all in the name of science you know.
But what is that science really?

So is it a bad thing to want to stop the spread of a pandemic?

Of course not… but the trouble that is found in this train of thinking, which is
supposedly based on “expert recommendations”, is that we must examine who
these experts are, we must determine who they work for and we must exhaust all
our options rather than jump straight to putting the final nail in the coffin.

Despite my rule-following, conservative, law-abiding demeanor, I have been known to harbor
a bit of a rebellious thread.

So when “the” government and the powers that ‘want to be’ are clamoring that we must
suppress the people in order to suppress a virus, I begin to wonder what is
the real angle…
what is the drive to this suppression?

So I find Mel’s post quite enlightening.
Mel bases this latest post on the words of Thomas Woods,
Senior Fellow at Mises Institute and New York Times bestselling author of 12 books.

Mel states that…as Woods put it recently,
the COVID shutdowns around the world have proven that the cure is actually worse than the problem
in more ways than one, which of course is a controversial thing to say,
but it’s hard to argue with the evidence.
I personally have been frustrated by the continued politicization of lockdowns in the name
of preventing the spread of the virus.
On that note, here’s a recent email Woods sent out about how these lockdowns
have failed to stop the virus around the world.
(Trigger warning: Woods’s views are quite libertarian and not politically correct!):

“With Massachusetts seeing a rise in “cases,”
I saw someone on Twitter lamenting that he and his fellow Massachusetts residents
had “dropped the ball.”

Notice that this person cannot admit that the voodoo doesn’t work.
It’s always because the peasants didn’t comply enough.

If you stupid people would just obey us, this thing would go away!

I understand why progressives might be attracted to this way of thinking:

(1) They hold a superstitious belief in the powers of the state —
so if the state says it can wipe out a virus, who’s to say it can’t?

(2) It involves “experts” dictating to the stupid rubes,
which is their preferred model of governance.

(3) It allows them to ridicule the working-class people they despise — why,
if only these backward hicks would “follow the science,” we’d be out of this thing already!

But let’s face facts:

Lockdowns only delay the inevitable, and they leave wreckage in their wake.
(And forget about masks: as I’ve shown before,
mask mandates have no discernible effect on the spread of the virus.
If they were as effective as people say — e.g.,
if we’d just wear masks for six weeks, we’d be out of this! —
there should be some obvious effect on the charts, but there just isn’t.
Believe me, I wish masks could solve the problem so I could get the rest of my life back.)

And what is the point of indefinitely depriving ourselves of what makes life worth living,
so we can live in an antisocial dystopia?
What are we staying alive for then?
So we can sit at home and stare at the wall?

There are other concerns in the world apart from COVID-19.
Incredible that this should have to be said.

Even some of the elderly are starting to say:
I’m at the end of my life, and you want me to spend my final months and years
like a vegetable?
What’s the point?

Meanwhile, vastly more deaths are being caused elsewhere by the policy.
Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta just published a column in the Daily Mail arguing that
the response to the virus has been worse than the virus itself.

Even the New York Times noted that excess deaths from TB, HIV, and malaria
caused as a direct result of the lockdowns will exceed two million.

I could go on and on about the collateral deaths,
but I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now.

As Professor Gupta puts it, “Lockdown is a luxury of the affluent;
something that can be afforded only in wealthy countries —
and even then, only by the better-off households in those countries.”

By the way, Prof. Gupta describes her politics as “left-wing,”
and is aghast that people think she’s part of a right-wing conspiracy
because she opposes barbaric lockdowns.

Mel finishes out his post with these words:
As we observe a day that celebrates fear,
let’s think about how we’ve been continually indoctrinated by the politically-motivated
fearmongers during this pandemic in an election year.
Let’s think for ourselves and do own research.
Again, let’s be safe and use common sense with regard to protecting our vulnerable,
but let’s also not give into fear and stop living our lives.
We need to safely open up our country and get back to living again.

Here is the link to the full post–Mel includes a video of Thomas Wood
addressing this concern

https://melwild.wordpress.com/2020/10/31/halloween-covid-dystopia/

And since today is All Saints Day, I am reminded of those souls who have
gone before us–those who we proclaim as saints—
They are saints because in actuality they were rebels.
They fought the status quo, tyrannical powers, and heresies
all in the name of God, fighting His good fight and giving their lives
by speaking Truth when Truth was unacceptable.
They lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew…
and may God help us to be one too…

I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
words by Lesbia Scott 1929

I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.

And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green:
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.

2 They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and God’s love made them strong;
and they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,
the whole of their good lives long.

And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast:
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.

3 They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still;
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.

You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.

ora pro nobis—pray for us

So the religious soul finds in the heart of Jesus a secure refuge against
the wiles and attacks of Satan, and a delightful retreat.
But we must not rest merely at the entrance to the hole in the rock,
we must penetrate its depths. At the mouth of the deep hollow, at the mouth
of the wound in his side we shall, indeed, find the precious blood which
has redeemed us.
This blood pleads for us and demands mercy for us.
But the religious soul must not stay at the entrance.
When she has heard, and understood, the voice of the divine blood,
she must hasten to the very source from which it springs,
into the very innermost sanctuary of the heart of Jesus.
There she will find light, peace, and ineffable consolations.

St. Anthony of Padua


(a mysterious painting of St. Anthony and the Christ child)

The saints pick us, we don’t pick them…
Or so that’s what they say.

But firstly, let’s remember, this is going to be a story about a painting…
nothing more, nothing less…

For starters, I’ve stated this before…I am not a Catholic—rather I was raised in the
fold of the Episcopal Chruch…that of the Anglican Communion.

I am however familiar with the family of Saints.
A seemingly Catholic notion.
Yet also very Anglican…

Also, I love my traditional Anglican hymns…
One little hymn, in particular, I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
I loved singing that hymn when I was a little girl attending children’s chapel.

Saints, in my youthful mind, were individuals who loomed large in our Christian Faith.
Brave, and even stoically defiant, in the face of persecution.
Some had been ardent unbelievers or dastardly sinners who had, for whatever reason,
come face to face with the God of all Creation and in turn, fell into His redeeming arms,
never looking back but rather becoming ardent defenders of the faith.

It was always the 3rd stanza of the hymn that offered me a sense of hopefulness that I too
could one day be counted among that same fold of brave Christian individuals.

they lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still;
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.

I also know that when one is confirmed within the Catholic Chruch,
they are encouraged to choose a patron saint.
A heavenly individual who will walk alongside them as they navigate the world…
all the while the saint helps to provide inspiration along with a more spiritual focus.

The old saying goes, ‘you don’t pick the saint, the saint picks you.’

And I must admit, I actually agree.

We Protestants haven’t always quite understood the relationship our Catholic kin
have had with the Saints, but I’m one who has always appreciated that little relationship.
And that’s in part due to my Anglican upbringing.
As well as spending years in college studying religious Renaissance Art.

So no, it’s not an attempt at replacing Jesus as the focus of our prayers, praise,
and adoration but rather it’s more like having a few more folks in one’s corner
it’s just that those folks are a bit more heavenly than earthly.

Think of it like having a close friend who joins you in prayer and
who walks along by your side…it’s just that they’re there in spirit rather than
in the flesh.

But this isn’t a post about the virtues or vices of Saints in our lives…
rather this is a post about a painting…a painting of a saint…

Well, sort of…

The saint in question is Saint Anthony of Padua, otherwise known as
Santo Antonio di Padova.

Anthony was born Fernando Martins de Bulhões in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195.
Eventually, he became a Franciscan Friar, making Padua (Padova), Itlay home.

He is known as the patron saint of lost things.

But again, this is not necessarily to be a biographical post, just a post
about a painting…

I have had a long connection with St Anthony—one I’ve written about before.
But this particular tale is unlike our other run-ins and lingering relationship.

So just know, Santo Antonio and I have a history.
But this story isn’t about that story, but rather about a painting.

Several months ago, I took a couple of my grandmother’s old lamps over to Atlanta
in order to have then rewired.

They are lovely antique lamps that have just sat, never being used due to ancient
and most dangerous wiring.
My grandfather, who was an electrical engineer would, as a hobby, often turn the
antiques figurines or urns that my grandmother would bring home into lamps…
and so some of these lamps haven’t been updated in decades.
So I figured it was high time I got them up to speed so I could actually use them.

A friend of mine recommended a nice little lamp shop located over in Midtown…
and it just so happened that the shop also had a hodgepodge smattering of antiques.

I made several trips back and forth as I also decided that I needed to update a few lampshades.
Over the course of my visits, the owners and I struck up a nice little friendship.

We knew mutual old Atlanta stories and they knew some customers from Carrollton who
I knew.
Life can be delightfully small like that.

During one of my many trips over, one day my eye suddenly gravitated to an old beat-up
unframed oil painting perched all alone over in a forgotten corner.

The painting was ripped, chipped and cracking as the canvas was coming
untacked from the wooden base frame.
It was old, it was sad and it was unloved…
and it oddly drew me in.

Or rather it was the subject matter which immediately drew me in.

I asked the owners if they would consider selling the picture.

They said yes and it was actually a very affordable penance of a price for such an old painting.

Next they proceeded to tell me the story of how they came about the painting.

It seems that back in the early 1920s, The Vatican reached out to an Abbey in Michigan
about sending them approximately 50 paintings.
Why I’m not certain, but I do know that it was not uncommon for the Vatican to
‘lighten the load’ so the speak by gifting various abbeys, monasteries and churches
with some of their burgeoning collection of artwork.

The abbey kept the paintings until recently.

A nun from the abbey, out of the blue, reached out to these owners…
as it seems that one of the owners has a proclivity for antique
paintings and is known for such.

The nun explained how the abbey had gotten the paintings
but for a reason I never caught in this convoluted tale, asked if they’d be interested in
buying any of the paintings.

When they hung up the phone with the nun, they immediately rented a U-haul and drove
all night to Michigan.

They bought all 50 paintings and brought them back to Atlanta.

Many of the paintings have in turn been sold or were simply kept.

All but the one painting that had caught my eye—sadly because it
was most likely the one in the worst shape.

But that didn’t matter to me.
The painting called out to me and I couldn’t resist.

What I was planning on doing with a dilapidated,
torn old painting was beyond my husband’s soul…
but it mattered not, the painting had called to me.

A few weeks after bringing home my new old broken treasure,
my husband and I ventured down to a small town outside of
Callaway Gardens to spend an afternoon roaming around and having lunch.

I wandered into an antique shop and started looking at a couple of old frames that were for sale.
The owner asked what I had in mind for the frame.
That was when I began to share my tale about my painting and how I was looking for a frame.

She asked if I would consider bringing her the painting as she had a friend who actually
did restoration work on old paintings.

I agreed.
I was curious as to its background and there was just something about the painting
that seemed to plead with me to please bring it back to life.

I think that comes from spending a lifetime as an Art teacher

The short of this long story…we finally picked up the painting today…
It is estimated to be almost 200 years old.
It has been lovingly repaired, cleaned, re-stretched
and now rests in a pretty new frame…nearly 3 months after
I first saw it sitting alone in a corner.

So tomorrow, the painting of Santo Antonio will finally be hung up, surrounded by things
received and gathered during a lifetime of running into St Anthony.

I don’t know its origin.
I don’t know its artist.
I don’t know if the Vatican ever really once owned it or not.
And I don’t know the abbey that held on to it all these years.
I really don’t know anything about it…only but one thing…
it seems that saints find us, we don’t find them…

“I have learned on this journey that we can’t only study the saints who have personalities
or interests exactly like our own.
Our friends, including our Heavenly ones, should challenge us and help us to grow.
In seeing what we lack in our own lives, we are able to forge ahead and grow.
If we never seek out our defects or weaknesses, then we can never begin to overcome them.
So be open to saints who choose you and want to befriend you.
It is God moving in your life through His saints.
There is something you need to learn or I need to learn.
Let us be thankful for the saints who choose us through no merit of our own.
All you holy men and women, ora pro nobis.”

Constance T.Hull
Catholic Exchange

Santa Julia

I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.

excerpt from the hymn
I Sing a song of the Saints of God
Lesbia Scott 1898


(when your name is officially Julia and you see a wine named after you, well…..)

It was a very long day….
followed by the very long exhale from years of burden.

More about all of that later…
As we’re just in the middle of a huge change of life’s seasons…

So late this afternoon, when I was dashing in a store in Atlanta
in order to pick up something for supper,
I spied this little bottle of wine…and since it had my name on it…
well, it seemed like a destiny sort of thing…

Thus in turn, I offer us all a little background lesson on Saint Julia….

Saint Julia

Virgin, Martyr
Patron of Corsica
(Fifth century)

Saint Julia was a noble virgin of Carthage, who, when the city was taken
by Genseric in 439, was sold for a slave to a pagan merchant of Syria.
In the most mortifying employments of her station,
by cheerfulness and patience she found a happiness and comfort which the world could not give.
Whenever she was not employed in household affairs,
her time was devoted to prayer and reading books of piety.

Her master, who was charmed with her fidelity and other virtues,
thought proper to take her with him on one of his voyages to Gaul.
When he reached the northern part of Corsica,
he cast anchor and went ashore to join the pagans of the place in an idolatrous festival.
Julia was left at some distance,
because she would not be defiled by the superstitious ceremonies,
which she openly spurned. The governor of the island, Felix,
a bigoted pagan, asked who this woman was who dared to insult the gods. T
he merchant informed him that she was a Christian,
and that all his authority over her was too weak to prevail upon her to renounce her religion;
nonetheless, he found her so diligent and faithful he could not part with her.
The governor offered him four of his best slaves in exchange for her.
But the merchant replied, No; all you are worth will not purchase her;
for I would lose the most valuable thing I have in the world rather than be deprived of her.

Nonetheless Felix, while the inebriated merchant was asleep,
attempted to compel her to sacrifice to his gods.
He offered to procure her liberty if she would comply.
The Saint made answer that she was as free as she desired to be,
as long as she was allowed to serve Jesus Christ.
The pagan, offended by her undaunted and resolute air,
in a transport of rage caused her to be struck on the face,
and the hair of her head to be torn off.
Finally he ordered her to be hanged on a cross until she expired.
Certain monks from the isle of Gorgon transported her relics there,
but in 763 the king of Lombardy transferred them to Brescia,
where her memory is celebrated with great devotion.

Reflection.
Saint Julia, whether free or a slave,
whether in prosperity or in adversity, was equally fervent and devout.
She adored all the sweet designs of Providence;
and far from complaining, she never ceased to praise and thank God for all His holy designs.
God, by an admirable chain of events,
raised her by her fidelity to the honors of a Saint, and to the dignity of a virgin and martyr.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints,
a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and
other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).