All you birds of the air, bless the Lord

We’ve continued to have about 250 people (according to headcount) attending the weekly rosary rallies, a ton of families with kids, even last night with rain imminently threatening there were probably at least 150-200 (and, it didn’t rain more than a sprinkle, but was very pleasant as it always is).

Also last night, we had special guests:

Peregrine falcon

As seen at the Capitol Rosary Rally! (photo of a young peregrine falcon in California by Mike Baird, via Wikimedia Commons)

While we prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary meditating on Jesus’ death on the Cross, we couldn’t help noticing two calling peregrine falcons flew and hovered around the Capitol dome, one of them even landing on the cupola atop the building. Though rare in Wisconsin, since 2009 Peregrines have nested at an MG&E electrical facility just east of downtown. 4 chicks hatched this year. Since the falcons we saw appeared dark colored underneath, they may likely have been the young ones. “The falcon is a symbol of liberty, freedom, and victory. Therefore, it also symbolizes hope to all those who are in bondage whether moral, emotional, or spiritual. In Christianity, wild falcons represent the unconverted Gentile, as well as sinful thoughts and deeds. The tamed bird symbolizes the Christian convert with his lofty thoughts, hopes, and aspirations.”

Therefore, don’t miss the excitement–pray with us weekly at the Capitol Rosary Rally! Earlier this year I saw a juvenile bald eagle soar over Capitol Square. Not to mention a balloon rosary. All ones for my “life list”.

On a recent State Journal article on the new Stations of the Cross being put in place on the old St Raphael’s Cathedral site downtown (wonderful!), a Madisonian left a quite intolerant comment: “Hopefully, you can move your Thursday rosary rallies praying for ‘the end of contraception’ from the Capitol steps over to your tax-exempt site [ie, once-and-future site of our Cathedral which was destroyed by arson, which apparently people who don’t like the Catholic Church would rejoice to tax at Madison’s high property tax rate].” Actually, we are very happy with our current location! We have a right to live our Catholic faith in public. Thanks to everyone who resists the push we are seeing today, to exclude Christianity from public life. This ancient letter still says it well:

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

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