My Love for Pauline


This is my aunt, Pauline Hawkins Bruce, my father’s one and only sister (he had six brothers).  Pauline was one of the best and largest influences on me when I was growing up.  She was a teacher – a great teacher.  Over a career of more than 40 years, she taught Latin, English, and French to high school students in Rappahannock and Fauquier County high schools in Virginia.  Her passion, and the subject for which she was trained, was Latin.  She passed her love of Latin on to me.  She had studied Latin all 4 years in High School and for 4 more years in college.  She had an amazing enthusiasm for the language that I caught even before I took my first Latin class as a High School Freshman.  I was away from home after my first year of high school, and I had to keep in touch with my family by letter.  Pauline and I would write to one another in Latin. . .  her Latin elegant, mine pedantic at first and more like hers later on.  I studied Latin also for 8 years, winning a New York State Latin competition in my senior year of High School.  Pauline couldn’t have been prouder of me if I had won an Olympic gold medal!  She was an amazing woman and a teacher without many equals.

Last week, my brother sent me the following tribute to Pauline, written by a former Latin student who studied with Pauline at Fauquier County High School in Warrenton, Virginia.  This man’s tribute says it all.

Paulina!  non scholae sed vitae discimus (we do not learn for school but for life).



The Geezer Wonders if God Hates Him

The Geezer Wonders if God Hates Him

Does God hate? The Westboro Baptists would have me think that God does hate, and that, specifically, God hates me, a “fag.” The gay issue aside, I’m just not sure that God hates at all.

“God is love, “ St. John tells us. God’s very essence is love. Can such an essence coexist with hate? I spent my adoration prayer time at our Adoration Chapel this morning thinking about God, God’s love, and the possibility of God’s hatred.

I have forgotten what theologians teach about this question. Based on Sacred Scripture, they probably admit the attribute of hatred to God’s nature. I’ve long ago stopped depending on theologians, however, for my sole understanding of God. I believe God wants me to come to know God through my personal relationship with the God whose most intimate revelation is to the soul who seeks God and seeks to adore and worship God.

I believe in sin. I believe in Satan. These beliefs, along with the Genesis account of the creation of free will in human beings, make me see evil, or sin, as a person’s choice of evil over good, of the basic sin of idolatry in which a human being puts God second to something that is not in God’s will for us.

I believe that a person who chooses something else—anything else—before God is choosing to reject the will of God and the love God has for those who live in God’s will. The result of that idolatry is separation from God. The separation occurs not because of God’s lack of love, God’s wish for separation, or God’s hatred, but because of the idolater’s choice, the idolater’s rejection of the love of God. God’s love persists, perfect and unending, but, as in an unrequited human love, the love relationship is broken by the idolater’s choice not to return to God the love that is God’s due.

I believe God’s love for each of God’s creatures is constant and unchanging. I don’t believe that God hates anything that God has made. . . God looked on God’s creation and saw that it was good. If there is no love connecting a human being to God, it isn’t God who has changed, but us. God is love. God cannot hate what God has made. The Westboro Baptists have it wrong.

Pax et bonum.


The Geezer Prays for Christopher

The Geezer Thins about Christopher

This is Christopher. He has leukemia. He has been treated for this for several years. He’s had chemo and other “interventions,” but the disease persists. His current problem is a spleen inflamed by the disease. This inflamed spleen is intensely painful. Christopher says that this pain is about the worst that he has experienced. His doctors are putting him in the hospital so that they can give him stronger pain medication intravenously.

He’s younger than I am. . . but then so is just about everybody. He’s had a life full of ups and downs. He’s gay. And, to me, beautiful.

I ask God to ease his pain, to fill him with peace, and to bring him back to a semblance of normal life. Christopher—the Christ bearer—is a gentle, loving, and giving man. I want God to touch him in a powerful way tonight.

Pax et bonum.