Archive for the ‘World On The Edge’ Category

SINNER OR SAINT???

Posted: May 7, 2019 in World On The Edge

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.–Oscar Wilde

As rare as the saints among us, a good short story is hard to find. But Kaye Park Hinckley’s collection, “Birds of a Feather,” remains with us with the power of an epic novel.

Hinckley’s expert literary craftsmanship is matched by the drama of Judeo-Christian values confronting American relativism and egoism.

ANGELUS NEWS BOOK REVIEW:

In “Birds of a Feather,” a wife and mother feels trapped by a secret. An abortion doctor’s mother would never have considered the option he offers. An Alzheimer’s sufferer feels judged and drives to his childhood home.

The birds in Kaye Park Hinckley’s short story collection, “Birds of a Feather,” all find themselves from flocks of Catholics. Their family members, or at least a shining few, believe in forgiveness, hope and redemption.

But it’s the sinners with whom we most sympathize. How can we not? Hinckley’s expert literary craftsmanship is matched by the drama of Judeo-Christian values confronting American relativism and egoism.

It’s Easter Sunday when the wife’s grandmother, on her deathbed, whispers, “We know the truth.”

The abortion doctor sees a newborn grasping for life then kills her.

The Alzheimer’s patient is frightened by the unforgiving eyes of that blonde woman, his wife. This fear leads his mind to relive his experience as a soldier crawling on his belly through enemy fire. In present day, he screams out loud — a military command to his fellow soldiers — scaring his daughter to tears.

Unlike his caretakers, the reader can see the interweaving of his past and present experiences. If you have ever stood at the bedside of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Hinckley’s depiction helps to make sense of a beloved’s puzzling, and at times hurtful, outbursts.

For individuals struggling toward redemption, despite themselves, there are moments where the light, or, as the saying goes, the truth, hurts. “A patch of blue sky births an unblemished sun so holy in appearance I turn away.” Pain often accompanies being awoken to truth. “A ruthless streak of sunlight wakes me.”

Hinckley’s fallen humans are driving home. Many of them literally. All of them figuratively. Though some at the close of the story take “a procedural deviation from integrity,” we find ourselves hoping, alongside the practicing Catholic in the family, that they make it home.

Hinckley’s characters are alive. Their flaws and struggles create dramatic tension and lead us to reckon with the sinner and saint within. Throughout there is an uncanny presence of the Communion of Saints.

This is most explicit in “The Pleasure of Company: A Ghost Story.” The loving souls of two deceased grandparents tell us that their granddaughter, Julia, “is not alone …We are here … Ghosts from the past. Grandparents who love her.”

Each struggling character evokes a feeling of care within us. I will buy this book for all in my life on this side of the veil. It will be loved especially by the fiction aficionados and all the birds who have flown askew, losing the flock. “As one might lift a tiny, injured bird falling from a tree…”

As rare as the saints among us, a good short story is hard to find. But Hinckley’s collection, “Birds of a Feather,” remains with us with the power of an epic novel.

A custodian is defined as person who has responsibility for or looks after something. Synonyms are keeper, guardian, steward, and protector.

Most of us realize that we are custodians of the Earth, guardians of the forces and processes that produce and control the balance of Nature in order to protect it. The prospect of global warming is one aspect of this protection that is currently touted as if we can do something about it. And there are many more which scientists struggle to understand.

But there is a higher nature here on Earth, a nature more vital than even the magnificent universe.  And that nature is the nature of a human being. The nature of a Man or a Woman is actually more profound than the puzzling workings of the universe. Shouldn’t we protect and guard that nature as well?

First, we have to understand what the nature of a human being truly is. We have to understand who we truly are and why we are here at all.

We are more than a product of our environment, more than a highly evolved animal. We are creations of God, as is the universe. BUT we are the highest of God’s creations. In fact, we are made in His image and likeness. This does not mean that we look like God. God is spirit. But it does mean that we have inherited His spirit within us. His Holy Spirit. Because of this, our human nature has definite capabilities that are not found in Earth’s nature, or even in the nature of animals.

In our human nature, we have a memory with an imagination in which we possess the capacity for mercy and compassion. We have an intellect, through which we possess the capacity for faith and humility. And we have a will, by which we possess the capacity to love.

But how much emphasis is put on the guardianship of this kind of nature, our human nature?  Not much. Instead, we act as if human beings are inconsequential, and nothing special.  We see this in the fact that we will abort an innocent child up to and even after the time of birth. We see it in terrorism when groups some disagree with, or do not find useful, are killed. We certainly see this in parental child abuse, and in pedophile activity. And we see it in ourselves and our addictions that harm our own bodies. What poor custodians we are of God’s greatest creation!

The fact is our individual human nature is beyond magnificent–and the only nature we can do anything about. We can’t change the nature of the world. We can’t stop hurricanes or earthquakes, floods or droughts, or even global warming. But we can change ourselves to become more in line with what God intended a human being to be.

And we do this individually, as God meant it. Because each of us was chosen by God to exist.

Before time began God chose each one of us and this choice was deliberate. God saw all the possible human beings He might have created throughout the history of the world. Out of possible billions of human beings that might have existed in God’s mind—His Eye rested on each one of us and then stopped looking and said, “You (insert your own name)shall be.” He saw all who could have been and decided they would not be. His providence placed us in a time and state of life that would bring out our greatest potential.–Mother Angelica.

God knows our name. He chose us because He loved us and meant us to freely love others through our memory, intellect, and will. And yes, we can choose not to love. Choice is necessarily a component of free will, with memory and intellect to keep the consequences of our choices in balance.

He gave each of us special talents, gifts and natural virtues all geared towards a deeper knowledge of Himself. Even those whose circumstances prevent them from knowing Him directly, possess a deep conviction of His existence and providence. He placed into each of us an inner radar system that warns of danger and assures us intuitively of His care, so we will never be far from Him and will not be deprived of the knowledge of His existence.–Mother Angelica

He made our natures higher than the earth–the earth is made for us.  We are to protect it–yes. But more so, we are to protect, guard, and be custodians for other human beings. All this, for our greatest purpose. Immortality.

The Hand that formed each of us left Its imprint upon our minds and souls for He made us to His own image. The soul He breathed into this work of His Hands—our body—was imprinted with some of His love—His creative power—His strength. We reflect His eternity, for once His Will called us out of nothingness, we became immortal—our soul will never die.” –Mother Angelica

How important our human natures are when we look at it this way! How can we not do our best to protect it?

We ought to stop and think. We ought to remember that we are the custodians of God’s most beloved creation–ourselves and our neighbors, His image and likeness on earth. And not just occasionally in a ‘feel-good moment,’ but today, and every day until we are called back to Him.

If we are not doing this, if we are not trying to use our memory, intellect, and will to guard against the failings of our own human nature, then we cannot call ourselves custodians–or Christians.

So, if we see ourselves becoming what we know we should not be, we should quit hiding from the truth. We should take an honest look at ourselves and the genuine beauty of our human nature, and remember our intimate kinship with Almighty God who dwells within us.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIGH AND LOW—FREE ON KINDLE Wednesday April 24 and Thursday April 25 ONLY

Cover Endorsements:

With masterful control and skillful writing, Kaye Park Hinckley boldly explores a wide range of wounded souls, ultimately finding love in the unlovable, and grace in the sufferings of a complex world. –Cassandra King Conroy, Tell Me A Story: My Life with Pat Conroy (coming in October)

Once again, Kaye Hinckley has written a truly Southern novel, deeply rooted in a small town yet universal in appeal.  Strongly wrought characters wrestle with half-understood desires, half-articulated questions, half-intended sins – with emptiness and fulfillment, love and anger, sanity and absurdity.  All in all, this is a wonderful book that struggles with the imperfections of our human condition. — Arthur Powers, author of The Book of Jotham (2012 Tuscany Novella Prize) and A Hero for the People (2014 Catholic Arts & Letters Award)

Five Star Review:

I had no idea what a Southern Gothic Novel was when I started reading “The Distance Between High and Low.” All I knew was that this novel was Kaye Park Hinckley’s newest book. I’ve read—no devoured—four of Hinckley’s previous books. I have loved each one.

“The Distance Between High and Low” is one of her best. This novel transported me to a small town in Alabama, into the bosom of an eccentric family and their peculiar neighbors, that became like family to me. I finished the book in two days—it was hard to put down. The strengths of this book are many: 1) writing that was elegant and silky-smooth 2) characters that captured and held my interest immediately and 3) a plot that kept me guessing and turning pages hungrily.

What makes this book a “Southern Gothic Novel” is its keen focus on problems common to humanity. The novel faithfully showcases some attitudes endemic to small southern towns, as well as issues that can taunt adoptees and the innate longing to connect to one’s biological parents. Interestingly, all of which I have personally experienced. There are no ghosts or hauntings, but there are plenty of flawed characters, some madness, death, and betrayal. Hope and redemption are for the taking despite all—the superglue in this story.

However, that is as much as I will say. Now you have to read it. — Meggie Daly, author of “Bead by Bead.”

Excerpt: HOBART and LITTLE SISTER

I kick at the tire on my truck and get in only to be jolted by Little Sister, grinning at me from the shotgun side. The first time I saw Little Sister on the day she was brought home to Highlow, I thought, Well, at least there’s one person besides me that Main Street will never accept. I was dead wrong. Little Sister fastened herself right in. Anybody with a heart just has to like her.

“What are you doing here?” I make my voice gruff as I can.

“I saw what you did, Hobart.” She puts a finger to her flat, coffee-colored cheek. “I saw you hit Leona.”

At once, I remember the sucked-in breath I’d heard, before and after I’d slugged the bitch.

“You didn’t see anything, Little Sister,” I say as if I’m talking to an idiot, but even I know she was never that.

“I saw it. Leona says I’m a witness,” Little Sister says proudly. “She’s not gonna take Peck from us because I told The Judge the truth.”

Which truth? But I know how to deal with Little Sister. I give her my broadest grin. “Jesus knows I never meant to hit her. Leona just pushed me too far.” Then I get ready for her sloppy kiss. She doesn’t give it, just studies me with her bright, black eyes.

Finally, she says, “I didn’t see Leona push.”

“Hell, I gave her a check. Didn’t you see that?”

“It isn’t enough.” The same tone, the same exact words Leona had used.

I give Little Sister another smile, the sweetest I can muster. “But Little Sister, I gave her almost everything I had. That is the honest to goodness truth.”

She gets right up in my face and stares into my eyes as if, this time, she’s going to kiss me. Instead, she asks, “Lord Jesus, do you think Leona wants it all?”

“Yes, Little Sister. Leona wants it all. Tell that to the Judge!”

Little Sister lays her hand over her heart as if she’s seen the flag. “I will tell the Judge the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Immediately, she plants a wet kiss on my lips, gets out of the truck, and canters across the street to the Judge’s office.

For a while, I sit in the truck cab with a smile on my face, thinking how Truth is always right next door, but only the oddballs seem to see it.

In my foyer there is a Grandfather’s Clock dating from the mid eighteen hundreds. Its origin is German. Before it came to me, it belonged to my husband’s uncle, a chaplain and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. It is a beautiful clock, and temperamental, but if I keep it wound, its gong is clear and loud and steady with an echo that resounds for nearly a full minute throughout the house.

On top of a china cabinet in my dining room, there is an Arsonia Mantel Clock that belonged to my grandmother, also dating from the eighteen hundreds, and may have belonged to my great-grandmother who lived through Sherman’s march through Georgia during the Civil War. My grandparents had it when my mother was born in Savannah, GA, and it traveled with their family to Panama City Florida, and finally to Dothan, Al. I remember my grandmother’s daily ritual of winding it. I wasn’t allowed to touch it then, but today, I’m the performer of that ritual and the receiver of its chiming. 

Over the years, these two old clocks have evaluated time for over a century. They have broken silence as they struck through births and deaths, through happiness and sorrow, and through all in between. In hours, minutes, and seconds, these clocks have measured out the lives of many people, some of my family and some unknown. And as people died, the clocks continued to tick along, echoing the past, echoing the lives of those people.

There are many clichés about Time: Time is of the essence. Time heals all wounds. Time is money. But what is time really?  To understand, we might consider its opposite.

As human beings on Earth, we cannot experience the opposite of Time, which is timelessness, or eternity. We cannot fathom ‘No Beginning. No End.’  Our everyday lives are full of schedules and the ticking of clocks.

Some lives tick slow and heavy like the pulse of the Grandfather Clock. Others are quick and lithe as in the tick of the Mantel Clock.

But if Time is how we measure out our lives here on Earth, then what we do in those hours and minutes and seconds we have, must signal something awfully important.

Just as in the ritual of winding the old Mantel Clock, we have a great deal to do with how our time on Earth will be spent and perceived. And as with the Grandfather Clock, there will surely be an echo.

What sort of reverberation will my Time on Earth create?

What will my own echo be?

On May 13, The Distance Between High and Low will be officially launched on

Book Buzz, Net Galley, and IndieBound.org.

BUT it is now RELEASED on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I hope you’ll take a look, and hopefully leave a review in time for the launch.

A Finalist in The William Faulkner/William Wisdom Competition, and Finalist for The Tuscany Prize for Fiction, The Distance Between High and Low is a Southern Gothic novel about the consequences for two young people who set out to learn the identity of their father. Teenaged twins, Lizzie and Peck live in the house of their eccentric, widowed grandmother Pearl–a house of history and secrets– along with their unstable, drug-addicted, artist mother, Lila, and Izear, a half-Cherokee Indian devoted to Pearl who took him into her house many years before. Often with dark humor, the story focuses on the strivings of complex characters in the fictional town of Highlow, Alabama from the 1960’s into the 1980’s.

PRAISE for The Distance Between High and Low:

With masterful control and skillful writing, Kaye Park Hinckley boldly explores a wide range of wounded souls, ultimately finding love in the unlovable, and grace in the sufferings of a complex world. –Cassandra King Conroy, Tell Me A Story: My Life with Pat Conroy (coming in October)

Once again, Kaye Park Hinckley has written a truly Southern novel, deeply rooted in a small town yet universal in appeal. Strongly wrought characters wrestle with half-understood desires, half-articulated questions, half-intended sins – with emptiness and fulfillment, love and anger, sanity and absurdity. All in all, this is a wonderful book that struggles with the imperfections of our human condition. — Arthur Powers,The Book of Jotham (2012 Tuscany Novella Prize), A Hero for the People (2014 Catholic Arts & Letters Award)

EXCERPT:

We all got our customized cravings, our particular drugs you might say; habits, traditions, our routine ways of coping. Even Pearl has strong inclinations. Take her Fine China, restored with Super Glue to keep up her Highlow family, yet Pearl was powerless to fix the genuine break in her grandson’s heart. I like to think it’s fixed now. I like to think that Sister Perpetua flew down from heaven, took Peck back up with her, and told him what she once told me, “You may not know it, little fellow, but Jesus loves you. Oh yes, He does!” Then I think about my own Fine China, that drug I used to crave. Lila thinks I killed her son, but the thing that took Peck was the simple narcotic need for a father. It was his own customized craving that killed him. Not me. No, not me.
— Hobart McSwain, The Distance Between High and Low

POLITICS: The art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.

MORALITY: Beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior.

POLITICS or MORALITY???

Standing against abortion. Is that politics, or morality?

Standing against the selling of a pre-born baby’s body parts. Is that politics or morality?

Standing against the killing of aborted babies who live through the abortion. Is that politics or morality?

Standing against sex outside of marriage because of God’s commandment that it is wrong. Is that politics, or morality?

Advocating that marriage is created by God as a sacrament between a man and a woman. Is that politics, or morality?

Advocating that drugs harm not only the physical body, but the human soul. Is that politics, or morality?

Advocating that lying–especially under oath–is a sin. Is that politics, or morality?

You may be able to bring up other similar examples that are referred to as political, but are actually moral questions about what is good, honest and true.

Do you see an underlying–and current–problem here? Topics that have long been considered part of morality are, today, suddenly political questions where the answers are made wishy-washy enough to be voted on as morally correct behavior. And worse— it is politically correct to adhere to them, even when they are morally wrong.

This is called propaganda–because it fuzzies up Truth. In fact, it tries to diminish the Truth by using terms that intimidate or make a moral person seem small and petty.

What is the next step? A complete elimination of morality, and an assumption of evil over goodness?

Well, that bothers me. Does it bother you?

Today’s politically correct idea of morality reminds me of the fairytale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The people are propagandized with pre-planned slogans about how wonderfully dressed the emperor is–-and so they believe it. But in truth the emperor is parading around stark naked. And everyone is afraid to say so because it’s hard to be one of the few standing against the crowd. It’s hard to be David fighting Goliath. It’s hard to do what is right when it costs something. It’s hard to say no, and to walkaway from the propagandists. It’s hard to fight against evil, because evil means to hurt us–not one, but all of us, for its own self-aggrandizement.

But if we don’t stand up to the fight, what sort of country will we have left to live in? And what sort of soul will we eventually carry to the God who carries us?

To Kill a Human Being

Posted: April 6, 2019 in World On The Edge

Capitalism or Socialism???

Posted: March 27, 2019 in World On The Edge

One of the reasons this is even a question in America is that over the last three decades our education system has failed to teach the abominations of Socialism and Communism; in other words TRUE history. Please watch–especially if you are one of those who were fooled.

In the past some admirable politicians intended that their life’s work be their monument, but in this age of power hungry fame junkies far too many politicians make it all about the monument, and not about the work. Too many politicians, especially on the hard left, are examples of self-idolatry. Too many power-hungry politicians put themselves above us. Too many corrupt politicians seek to make their undignified, and even criminal, lifestyles seem the norm, not the abnormal. Where are the admirable words that ought to apply to our leaders, such as honest, noble, trustworthy, and selfless? Those words have nearly disappeared, and instead WE are supposed to settle for those who somehow propel themselves to fame through outrageous and plainly stupid platforms that do not help, but harm Americans.

Self idolatry stems from the weaknesses within all human beings. Catholics call them the seven deadly sins: Pride, Greed, Envy, Lust, Anger, Sloth, and Gluttony.

Each of the seven deadly sins is a form of Idolatry-of-Self. We all know people who may be in danger of destroying their own lives in selfish ways through one or more of them. And they are the way of the today’s world. Just look around. But it is the politicians WE vote for that hold a huge part of OUR individual lives in their prideful, greedy, envious, lustful, angry, lazy, and gluttonous hands. Where are the GREAT leaders?

Well. . . we do have a few.

Just as we–and the politicians–have the capability of sin, we also have the capability of virtue. The seven virtues are: Faith, Hope, Love, Prudence, Temperance, Courage, and Justice.

Are these virtues the way of our world today? Good news; many times they are, because whenever there is great evil, virtuous people will fight. Sadly, the reverse is also true. If a person is known to have virtue, there is usually someone to tear him/her down–even to crucify him.

President Trump is admittedly not a saint, but he is a great leader who is concerned more with the United States of America than with himself. Does he have an ego? Who doesn’t? Yet, he also shows an example of the seven virtues. He has faith in America and her people. He has hope for the future of Americans. He has love for God, his family, and the American people. He has an unusual amount of prudence and temperance. He is courageous, and I believe he is just. But because he is all this, there are plenty who want to crucify him for it. And of course, they do attempt to crucify him daily, as well as those who promote his message.

The Democrat slogan–we are stronger together– sounds good, but it is hypocritical, for they have only succeeded in dividing us. They have pitted races against each other, religions against each other, male and female against each other, parents against children, and now, they are attempting to push America into Socialism. Just take a look at what Socialism is.  Check it out: https://thefederalistpapers.org/us/capitalism-vs-socialism-brilliantly-explained-for-dummies

This is NOT the sign of leadership. They are not the party representation America needs, or wants.

If you are thinking of voting for what the Democrat party presently advocates, then watch this eye-opener!

file2321234734336Everyone wants to be Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day. But did you know Saint Patrick was a slave? Here’s the story from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to  God in prayer. He wrote

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave  Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock on Saint Patrick’s day?

Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God can be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.