enthralled by love blog by raina nightingale

Consecrated Virginity in the Rotten Clergy City

I am furious right now.

One of the “vocations” in the Roman Catholic Church (which is neither Catholic nor Church, and I cannot make a conclusive statement about the matter of whether it is Roman) is that of Consecrated Virginity. That does not bother me. It bothers a lot of people, and I can see why it bothers some of them, since the Roman Catholic Church also teaches that virginity is a superior state of life to marriage and there is something dirty about sexual pleasure. I know some Roman Catholics will quibble on that one, but that’s really what those laws about not having sex for pleasure and being very careful to make sure that one’s sex always allows the possibility of conception (assuming both partners are fertile) comes out to, and coupled with a teaching in St. Augustine’s writings that original sin is passed on through sexual pleasure it just leaves a very bad taste. Yes, I know that’s not dogma, but it’s bad enough it’s there at all and not openly repudiated. Continue reading “Consecrated Virginity in the Rotten Clergy City”

Raina Nightingale's Paths of Fantasy

2022 Updates and Expectations (and a 2021 Wrap-up/Summary)

Hello.

I am tagging this post in the Paths of Fantasy category/blog because most of what I’m going to share here is more in that category. However, the Enthralled By Love Blog is still active. I split my blog posts into two categories in December. The Enthralled By Love Blog is the majority of what I used to post; usually religious or philosophical musings and poetry. I am going to try to post at least once per month to the Enthralled By Love Blog, so those who follow for that, don’t worry, I haven’t completely abandoned it!

Paths of Fantasy is fiction reviews, possibly some author spotlights and interviews, character and world art, writing updates, and book tags, and maybe a few more things that are more or less of that sort. Most of what this post shares is going to fall more or less under this category.

First, the wrap-up. Continue reading “2022 Updates and Expectations (and a 2021 Wrap-up/Summary)”

enthralled by love blog by raina nightingale

Jesus, the New Eve – Mother of All Living

“Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.”

“When her baby is born into the world, she forgets her pain, in joy that a child has come into the world.”

“How often have I longed to shelter thee under My wings, as a hen shelters her young!”

“If a mother cannot forget the baby she has born, the child she has nursed at her breast, how shall I forget you, My people?”

“To see the Kingdom of God, you must first be born again.” Continue reading “Jesus, the New Eve – Mother of All Living”

Does Punishment Really Have Anything to Do With Justice?

Upon one occasion, Jesus told a parable in which there was a father who had two sons, and the younger of the sons approached his father to receive his share of the inheritance before his time, and he took it off in a far land, wasted it, and was living in utter misery, upon which he came to himself and returned to his father, begging to be made a servant in his father’s household, but his father took him back as his son saying, “This son of mine was dead, but now he is alive,” and far from holding any consequences or punishment over his head, threw a great feast in celebration of his returning. The elder son, however, refused to take part in the feast, unhappy that his younger brother was being taken back into the household without any account of his wrong-doing being taken. Continue reading “Does Punishment Really Have Anything to Do With Justice?”

The Gods and the One Who is Not Challenged

Early on, the majority of those who confessed Jesus to be the Son of God, crucified and risen again, decided that there were no gods, that all the gods of the Pagans were either figments of their imagination or demons from hell, and that anyone was a heretic who acknowledged the existence of governing spirits of nature or other entities of that sort that were neither perfect angels who served before the face of God in Heaven and were His messengers to mankind or demons from hell who were nothing but evil. Continue reading “The Gods and the One Who is Not Challenged”

Guest Post: Raina Nightingale & Kingdom of Light — Mariella Hunt

Louisa’s village – and the entire known kingdom – lives in complete darkness, using crude torches for what light they must have, and sleeping and going about their work either in the poor light of the torches or in complete darkness.

Guest Post: Raina Nightingale & Kingdom of Light — Mariella Hunt

We Follow Jesus, Not Rules

“The greatest command is this: to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and all your strength. The second command is like to it: to love your neighbor as yourself. On these depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

“A new command I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

“I give you a new command, though it is not a new command, but an old one, that you should love one another.”

“By this do we know that we love God: that we love our brothers and sisters. Whoever does not love the brother or sister he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.”

“I, the LORD, look at the heart.”

This is the “Law” of the Christian Life, the heart of Christian “morality.” It is not about rules or regulations or laws, but about love, about the heart. Why matters a great deal more than what. Thus, God’s true law, the one He has shown to us in the life of His beloved Son, and the one which He has given to us to follow, is that of love, not of judgment or the strict adherence to rules.

Regulations and rules are the consequence of the Fall, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Continue reading “We Follow Jesus, Not Rules”

Thoughts on Art of Martyrs and Martyrdom

For a long time, now, I have been thinking about this tendency of people to have and to keep images of martyrs and martyrdom that attempt some sort of what people call ‘realism’, and while I dare not condemn the practice for all, I think it has some serious flaws and dangers, at least for many of us.

I myself have long avoided anything gory, and any detailed representation of torture; for much of my life the very word chilled my blood and made my heart thump, and for years I refused to call myself a Christian for terror of persecution and torture and the fear I would not find the Glory of His Name worthy. Then, I found myself lauded as ‘brave’ by American Christians, even while certain that I was the most terrified and fearful of them, and that it should scarcely be possible for a Christian to be as fearful as I. Some Christians report that, in preparation for what they expected to undergo, they absorbed as many details as possible and lived in discomfort and privation. Again, while I don’t necessarily say that there is nothing to any of this, and it is possible that some may sometimes find some of it helpful, I don’t think it is a practice that should be encouraged, and it seems that it goes against the spirit of “Do not say or think about what you will say beforehand, for the Spirit of My Father will teach you in that hour what to say,” but this diverges somewhat from that which I wish to discuss, at least in appearance.

A Coptic icon of Saint Mark the Evangelist that I think illustrates very well how depictions of martyrdom should point us to the overshadowing Spirit of Glory

It is far too easy for most of us to fear, even if I am worse in this way than most, far too easy for us to see pain and suffering as something to be avoided, far too easy for us to feel horror and terror. It is usually not easy enough for us to trust in God, to be confident in His grace, to be certain of His worthiness (of His worth to us). It is easy for most of us to fear torture (or other pain); it not so easy for most of us to be confident of the upholding hand of Christ, even, sometimes, when we have experienced that upholding time and time again. There are thousands and millions of us who fear too much, who see horror where there need be no horror if only we would trust and know Him. There is not one of us who has ever trusted too much in God or seen too much glory in the face of Christ.

picture of the martyrdom of St. Bibiana by Raina Nightingale; Christian virgin and martyr by being beaten to death; clothed in a pink robe, with pink roses flowing over her chest, chained with yellow roses to white gold-decorated pillar, with turquoise tiles with gold Christian Fish, and the sun in clouds shining above.
Here is a picture I drew illustrating the martyrdom of Bibiana. Her witness of “enduring the blows with joy” showed me God in a special way that has touched my life deeply, and I tried to show a little of how she showed me His love and goodness with this picture.

The martyrs are witnesses, as we also are called to be, to the glory of Christ and the greatness of His joy and the sufficiency of His grace; not to the greatness of the horrors or the extremities of the tortures devised by man or devil, or to their own courage. Those things, those fears, those horrors, are the devil’s lie and threat; hollow and empty of power when we see the glory of the grace of God in the face of Christ. There is no need for us to remind ourselves of them; there is rather a need that we should scorn them as unworthy of our thought or attention. If we desire art of the martyrs, it should not be art that provokes our fears, or that makes us think of their courage; it should be art that suggests, however dimly and imperfectly, the glory of God – that should remind us that these things are not what they seem, that horror is only a lie and illusion of the devil who has been conquered by Christ in Whom we also may tread upon his head, and that martyrdom is fact a crown of glory and a reward and that the grace of God is not only sufficient, but plentiful. “No good thing will He withhold from them that look to Him.” Art of martyrdom should have the same message in it that those sayings of the early Christians to speak of it had: “fulfillment,” a “crown of glory,” a “wreath of victory.”

They do not see clearly who think that American Christians have it too easy and think Christianity is “happy-go-lucky” as they put it (whatever that means), and that is the cause of their problems, and that it should be remedied by reminding themselves of all the tortures and sufferings and deprivations that Christians in other parts of the world and at other times have experienced. The only problem we ever have is that we do not see Christ, the Risen One, clearly enough. This problem may manifest itself differently in different people, and at different times and places, but that is always the problem. Thus, the only remedy desired is to seek to see Him, to see more of His glory, more of His loveliness, to see the trustworthiness and steadfastness of His love and promises. That will fix all our problems, and it seems to me ever more clear as the days pass that the problem of American Christians is really that they are afraid: that they have bought the devil’s lie, have believed in fear and horror, instead of in the glory of the face of our Savior. There is no need for us to focus on persecution, for persecution is not the point – Christ is – and if we are thinking about persecution, we are not thinking about Christ and following Him as the sheep follow their Shepherd. Martyrs are not a witness to themselves, but to the glory and triumph of Christ, His peace and His joy. They should point us always to the beauty of the Lord, never to the horrors and lies of the devil. They prove, as we may, the Lord who said, “Come to Me, all you are who are burdened and heavy-laded, for I am meek and humble of heart, and My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” and “Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” and, “Do not fear, for your Father cares for you.”

Copyright 2021 Raina Nightingale

By the way, this song, All I Have is Christ, is done with a beautiful animation that is very good.

The Gospel According to Acts: God Raised Jesus

I was reading through the Book of Acts recently, and I noticed that the message preached by the Apostles and various Disciples was primarily the Resurrection – that Jesus, who was crucified, has been raised from the dead by the power of God. A lot of people talk about not “sugarcoating” the Gospel, Continue reading “The Gospel According to Acts: God Raised Jesus”

Learning from the Childhood of God and Children

I recently saw a comment to the effect that “it is amazing how Joseph learned from the baby Jesus.”

It occurs to me that this is a strange amazement in light of the belief that not only from birth, but from conception itself, there exists a human person, a soul specially and uniquely made in the image and likeness of God (though that Creation, of which we all receive, is a wonder of God). The Child Jesus is God as well as Human, but is not every human child a person, uniquely made in the image of God, a living soul, capable of all that which being a person entails – of knowledge, of choice, of love? Continue reading “Learning from the Childhood of God and Children”