Way back in the 1960’s when I was a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami I would frequently go fishing with a friend in the Gulf Stream off of Miami Beach.

We would fish for dolphinfish aka mahi mahi aka dorado.

Comparison of a bottlenose dolphin, one of the most popular ocean animals, versus the similarly-named  dolphinfish, one of the most popular restaurant items, and the dolphinfish's closest relative, the Pompano dolphin. Images are not to scale.
Comparison of a bottlenose dolphin, one of the most popular ocean animals, versus the similarly-named dolphinfish, one of the most popular restaurant items, and the dolphinfish’s closest relative, the Pompano dolphin. Images are not to scale

We were trolling dead ballyhoo for bait:


The ballyhoo or ballyHemiramphus brasiliensis, is a baitfish of the halfbeak family (Hemiramphidae). It is similar to the Balao halfbeak. Ballyhoo are frequently used as cut bait and for trolling purposes by saltwater sportsmen.
Ballyhoo can also be seen above the waters skimming the surface to escape from their predators. The appearance is similar to skipping stones on the water.
This fish is a species of Halfbeak and has a silver body with green and black on it back and darker fins. As you can see this fish has a “beak” that sticks out quite far. In fact, this “beak” can make up almost 20% of its total body length. This fish is often found in the Gulf of Mexico and will have a bit of red on its tail. It is used to catch all kinds of saltwater game fish including Mahi Mahi (Dolphin fish) Marlin,SailfishMackerelTarpon and many others.
We had caught nothing but mackerel up to that point when my friends said: “With this next troll I am going to catch a marlin.”
I responded:  “Right on!”
He looked at me quizzically and asked:  “What about my right arm?”
I responded:  “I did not say anything about your right arm !!!”
He responded with a little annoyance:  “Yes you did.  I said I was going to catch a marlin and you said, ‘right arm’ ” !!!
Now you have to understand that in the 1960’s America was experiencing the revolutionary activities of the Black Panther Movement and the Weather Underground.  Because I have always been very interested in politics and political movements I was quite familiar with the slang or jargon that members of the Black Panther movement used when speaking among themselves.  Their use of the expression “right on” had been adopted by them as an expression of affirmation or agreement when speaking among themselves.  It was not long before black rap artists incorporated the expression in their music.

My friend was probably not as familiar with black sub-culture in our society as I was and so when I used the slang expression, “Right on,” he heard “Right arm”

After I explained all this to him we had a good laugh.
My friend and I have exchanged email messages almost weekly since email became popular as a means of communication.  Sometimes our email content is serious for frequently it is humorous.  Sometimes it is simply a cartoon or a video.  If we particularly like what was sent, we respond with just two words:  “Right arm !!!”
As I wrote in my post describing my meditation on Tuesday, April 11  http://wp.me/px5Zw-6bn  the Holy Spirit spoke shouted quite loudly in the ear of my soul a word, just one word.  That has happen to me on several occasions in the past three years and so I have learned to pay attention.
The word the Holy Sprit imprinted so forcefully in my conscious meditation was:
I did not recognize the word.  It did have a certain Latin appearance and it invited a Latin pronunciation.
It was not until later, after my meditation that I had an opportunity to look up the word on Google.  I learned that it was indeed a Latin word, an adverb, which lent it self to a variety of uses as I reported on my April 11 post.  All of the citations given on Google basically used magnopere to express approval  and encouragement.
It seems to clear to me that was telling me “right arm” with regard to my intuition that I should in the future focus more on the unity between the institution of the Eucharist and the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ without downplaying in any way the redemption from sin which was accomplished on Calvary.
Not the Eucharist as the making present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary, but the Eucharist as intrinsically united with the passion, death and resurrection in revealing to us
what we should love, who we should love, how we should love and why we should love.
At a time when mercy is being exalted as the end all and being all of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, we must return to the clarity of the Gospel of Saint John:
God is love !!!


About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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5 Responses to GOD SAID TO ME: “RIGHT ARM !!!”

  1. How I would love to really get your beautiful story! On the intellectual level I understand. But there is no resonance in my being. What shall I do? Be patient?
    I see Jesus on the cross, and I think – it was not necessary, but it is God’s way, a way I do not understand. I see the sufferings of the innocent Nazarene, and I think – if the world hated Him so much, if Truth brings the worst out in those filled with the spirit of the world, shall I not find encouragement, when some of that hate is directed at me?
    My Father died in Poland two weeks ago after years of brave fighting for each breath, of never-ending suffering, of which the last two weeks made him pray to God to end this. We the family stood guard at his bedside, but when he took his last breath, not one of us was by him. I am very ill, barely able to walk, but I made the journey oversees to walk behind his dead body with my Mother, my daughter (who took a brake from a very busy schedule in Montreal) and four siblings, before we buried it.
    It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, even though afterwards I screamed in pain (safely in the car, where only my sister in-law could hear it) – the longer I am on my feet, the longer and more intense the pain afterwards.
    People tell me I should feel awful, but thanks to Jesus Christ, and the Church which guards His teaching, I am grateful, I am hopeful.

    Still, I am not where you and the previous guests are. You see/know something I don’t.

  2. It always amazes me how God speaks to His children using the language they will understand, what will resonate in their hearts and minds. We serve an amazing God. Love it.

  3. Thank you so much, dear bishop. Of course it’s the passion that shows just how much Our Lord loves us. What a reminder to us. Right Arm!

  4. Right Arm! This is the Arm of Blessing, is it not? God is Love…..truly!!!!!!!!

  5. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!!!!!

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