For some of these past days, I was on retreat in Lourdes. The second I got there, I went to the grotto. For about three minutes I stood amazed before our Lady, who seemed to be letting me have a bit of awareness of her maternal kindness, but also of the unstoppable power of her intercession with Her Divine Son, the Lord of History, who provides good things or, with the most tender solicitation for our eternal welfare, permits evil things (but only to draw good out of them), but always the Son doing this according to the perfect intercession of His Immacualte Mother.
In the two years I had been a chaplain at Lourdes, often celebrating Mass in the grotto with adoration and benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament at midnight, I was never struck with such amazement I was just then. But, just then, quite precisely, a friend informed me of something (a misunderstanding of, I was to find out, some weeks’ standing), and I could only think that our Lady was not hesitating to work with irony in the same was as her Son always does. Dear readers, whenever you see fantastic irony in good friendship with our Lord, it is great cause for joy. Hah!
How did this going to Lourdes come about? A most wonderful reader of Holy Souls Hermitage, without any solicitation on my part (you know how I throw tantrums whenever anyone helps me out against all my protestations!) offered me a plane ticket to Lourdes and back. Very cool, thought I, though I was not going to take this up unless a certain condition was fulfilled, that the seminarian I am helping to tutor on behalf of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary [note to IRS: no remuneration from this] would, as usual, be there at the same time of year. We could then get through or get started on a number of courses, and that’s exactly how it worked out. God is good.
The rest of the time was spent in much prayer, as one might expect in Lourdes. That’s what people do there. Even the atheists are shaken. Our Lady draws them there and makes it happen. Ye all were among my special intentions, of course! I offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the side altars of the crypt chapel above the grotto. The ad orientem altars are best. One meets rather extraordinary priests there about 5:50 A.M. Lots of Extraordinary Form things going on in all sorts of ancient Latin Rites, including the Domincan Rite. I asked one of these extraordinary priests, a Carmelite, to hear my confession, which he was happy to do. I was amazed at how his advice ever so succinctly summarized all of Carmelite Spirituality. That’s why I like trying out new confessors from time to time. Very wonderful.
Since on retreats for the clergy one eats with one’s fellow ecclesiastics, I did eat frequently with others. Good times not to be downplayed in their importance in our ever so human lives, however much we might think we are “spiritual”. The Lord gives His good grace also in the midst of the circumstances in which He Himself made us. Treasured memories. I learned a bit about humorous snarkiness as well. Yikes!
One of my favorite places to pray was across the river from the grotto, for a number of reasons. One is so far away, and yet so near, something analogous to the eighteenth and last apparition, when the grotto was sealed off by the secular authorities, and Bernadette had to remain across the main river, across the prairie, and up the hill a bit, where the garden of the present O.C.D. convent stands today. Here’s a picture from my favorite spot (after the grotto), zoomed to twice the capacity of the camera:
Hopefully, I’ll be able to put up a few more pictures as time goes on.
Now, a word of thanks to benefactors:
- Thanks go to E.McK., who sent in some articles and a wondeful postcard. Very thoughtful.
- Thanks to to G.Ob., who sent in a handful of Mass
- Thanks go to TPF and RLF, for their contribution to the hermitage. Very kind!
May the Lord continue to bless you all according to the perfect intercession of the Immaculate Conception.
➙ ➙ ➙ On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the usual monthly Mass will be offered for all benefactors, living and deceased. Thank you!
Now, a statement of insurance:
I wrote an email to Christian Brothers, who provide health insurance for the Fathers of Mercy, including me, by way of the kindness of the Fathers of Mercy. I mentioned my concern to the Christian Brothers that I wouldn’t want to be the reason for paying into Obama’s Anti-Religious Liberty Abortion Super-Fund by way of premiums starting this August 2012. The Christian Brothers wrote back that they applied and received a one year space of time to “figure out a way to violate their consciences”, which they won’t do. So, O.K. for now.
Now, a statement of finances:
Just to say, the little hermitage is not on my property, nor do I own the hermitage itself. The hermitage itself is not much to speak about, what with half the walls still being “constructed” from un-rolled rolls of polyurethane tarp type plastic. I do have chicken manure, however! I suppose I could give that to a judge who wanted to freeze my bank accounts until I paid some outrageous fine for, say, praying a rosary within 1000 yards of an abortion mill (not that that’s happened!). Then again, I couldn’t set up a business of selling a bucket of chicken manure every six months or so since, for now, insurmountable logistical difficulties do not permit this. Nor can I sollicit donations for the same reasons. So, I would have to get a commutation of sentence to community service like helping at the soup kitchen, which I already do anyway. Hah! Living in poverty frees one up to pray in the most unexpected of places.
I went to the bank yesterday to deposit a check, but then also went shopping while in town, some household items, pharmacy items, food items. I paid the licence plate tax at the old Sheriff’s office, and also my membership in Farm Bureau Insurance on the other side of town. I dropped the chainsaw off for some repairs and noted the estimated cost. I then went on-line and ordered some much needed sacristy supplies so that I might be able to continue to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Even hermits have expenses! As it stands now:
The checking account boasts a total of about a dozen dozen dollar bills.
But, not to worry. Our Lord can do all things.
It seems as though for another while, I still won’t be able to get a 501(c)3 due to at least presently insurmountable technical difficulties beyond my control. Because of that, as I’ve been saying all along, I can’t sollicite donations in North Carolina. Nor can I “do something” — because of all that — like put up a PayPal button, or sell Mystic Monk Coffee, or even publish my own books, or sell a bucket of chicken manure. In that case, I would need a business account, and I can’t open that either for the same presently insurmountable technical difficulties. That may well change in times to come.
Having said that, I don’t think anyone would harass me into insulting you by not cashing a check that you force upon me without my having sollicited anything, against, in fact, my ongoing tantrums of protestation. An atheist group up in Canada thought this was so humorous that they suggested they come down to North Carolina and punch me unconscious, stuffing a $10.00 note into my shirt pocket. I guess that would be a way to force a donation on me! There are other ways. Note that I can’t cash a check made out to holysoulshermitage. It has to be made out to GEORGE DAVID BYERS and sent to:
GEORGE DAVID BYERS
102 COLLEGE STATION DRIVE
SUITE 3 – PMB 233
BREVARD, NC 28712 USA
That’s my mailing address, a PMB (personal mail box) in the local UPS Store. If you send a package, and the form needs a phone number, use the phone number of the UPS Store, which is authorized to sign for me: (828) 883-4701. That’s their number, not mine.
* * *
Holy Mass is offered once a month for benefactors of Holy Souls Hermitage, living and deceased. To see all the Mass intentions we’ve had since the beginning of Holy Souls Hermitage, check out the Mass Page.
An important part of Holy Souls Hermitage is to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for seminarians, deacons, priests and bishops. Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last couple of months:
[[Tuesday, 1 May, 2012, Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered in thanksgiving for the intentions of the wonderful benefactors of Holy Souls Hermitage!]]
Wednesday, 2 May, 2012, through Thursday, 31 May, 2012, Holy Mass is offered for the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Motu Proprio.
[[Friday, 1 June, 2012, Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered in thanksgiving for the intentions of the wonderful benefactors of Holy Souls Hermitage!]]
Saturday, 2 June, 2012, through Sunday, 1 July, 2012, Holy Mass is offered for spiritual benefit of the priests and bishops of China loyal to the Bishop of Rome, and also for the conversion of the priests and bishops of the Patriotic, “Open”, Communist, governement “church”.
[[Monday, 2 July, 2012, Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered in thanksgiving for the intentions of the wonderful benefactors of Holy Souls Hermitage!]]
[For part of the month of July, I'll be offering Masses for special intentions close to my heart. Beginning in August 2012, I'll be pleased to offer any Masses for priests, living or deceased.]
[[Tuesday, 31 July, 2012, Holy Mass is offered in thanksgiving for the intentions of the wonderful benefactors of Holy Souls Hermitage!]]
***If you would like me to offer Masses for seminarians, deacons, priests or bishops, living or deceased, in particular, such as for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, or for group of priests, such as all the priests of your parish or diocese or institute of consecrated life, send me an email at holysoulshermitage using gmail dot com. Some of you have done so. I’ll try to get back to you today.
If you would like to force a
stipend donation on me for Mass, and everyone without fail asks about this, find out what that offering would normally be in your parish or diocese. Ask me about this in your email. Any contribution you might force on me will have to be in $U.S.A. Sorry! Please limit your requests to seminarians, deacons, priests or bishops, as it is the express purpose of Holy Souls Hermitage to pray for these my comrades in arms. We are in most need of prayer!