The Inner Struggle

The Responsibility of “Carrying” …

Michi Haruka”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013)

As we go through life, if we are lucky, we never lose the, perhaps subconscious, sense of “carrying” our family name, the sense that everything we do or say reflects on our family, either for good or for bad. We carry, in our name, the honor and reputation of our family, and of our ancestors and their community. We carry their moral code and their social beliefs.

A snug harbor ... a maritime coastal town.

A snug harbor … a maritime coastal town.

I have a distinct memory of, as a child, and as a young teen, having been gratuitously accorded community gifts of respect, tolerance and unsolicited opportunities to be of service – little jobs and small responsibilities as the moment presented.

This was all a result of the familiar conduct within the community of my father, and my grandfather, and my great-grandfather, and their forefathers, all the way back to the mid 18th century, all of whom were known and respected in the community.

Along with these gratuitous gifts came the implicit expectation that I would behave myself in such a way as to “be a credit to my family”. I had an implied “responsibility” to express the truth of the value system of my ancestral community in my day to day behavior within that community.

When we young men (and some young ladies as well) “stepped off the reservation” the adults were not shy about taking corrective measures, even in the absence of our parents, because I was Robert’s kid, Bernhart’s grandson, Wilhelm’s family … and then we would get “straightened out” all over again when our parents eventually heard about how we had behaved.

With those gratuitous gifts of “membership” in our community came responsibilities … expectations that we would behave in a manner deserving of the gifts. There was no “free lunch”. As an older teen, a couple of years before I joined the NAVY, I learned that responsibilities went both ways, both up and down the community “chain of command”. We discovered that as a result of a misadventure involving “messing about in boats”, a normal summer activity of young people in any coastal town.

In a popular story, Mole and Rat are rowing up the river in Rat’s boat. They are discussing nautical things and life in general when Rat is heard to utter, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. (The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: Ch. 1: The River Bank)

east coast small craft

Anyway, we, a mixed group of young people, headed out in a couple of small boats for an afternoon “expedition” of swimming and fishing and a picnic or shore lunch if we caught anything.

But we navigators failed to accurately gauge the state of the tide and in taking a “shortcut” which would have been perfectly safe an hour earlier we managed to clip some rocks and snapped a sheer-pin and disabled 1 of the small boats. We were definitely off the well traveled lanes and not likely to be found by accident.

Now, some things never change, and no red-blooded young man willingly asks for help in front of young ladies he is seeking to impress. Instead of sending the other boat with the good prop back to town for help we instead decided to haul out and camp while we repaired the engine ourselves.

This was well before the days of cell phones and such and we completely forgot about the fact that our failure to return on time more or less, would create rather a stir.

When we finally made it back, several hours later, in pitch darkness, on a flood tide, we discovered that all the local lobster boats and small craft and half the town had turned out to search for us through every nook and inlet up and down the shore. While everyone was overjoyed to find us all OK there were also serious “grounding” repercussions for our failure to keep everyone informed about what we were involved in.

lobster boats

Their (adult) responsibility was to look after us and search for us when we didn’t show up and they went all out. Our responsibility was to make sure we kept our folks aware of what was going on and we really blew it that time. Privileges and responsibilities tie families and generations together in a web of caring, a web of values.

Those beliefs and that code are our “tribal values” if you will. If we are lucky, as we grow up and join larger groups than our immediate tribe, we discover that those larger groups have the same values as our tribe. Not a coincidence, these shared beliefs, that similarity, that “familiarity”, is probably what attracted us to that group in the first place. Joining that larger group seamlessly expands the boundaries of what we now feel is “our family”, our “tribe”.

So, what’s the point of this? Well, our tribe turns out to be very large. I won’t go into the whole human race part of things, but I want to talk about carrying the name of “Christian”. We are part of the family of Christ. We are Christians and we carry GOD’s name. And we have a comprehensive set of “family values”, our community values, inherent in being part of over 2000 years of Christian family. And we have a command and a responsibility to not carry GOD’s name in vain.

When we carry GOD’s name in keeping with the Manufacturer’s Instructions, we bring honor and glory to our family. The body of Christ, and the meta-values of the Christian community form a basket of safety within which we are free to live our lives as a credit to our family. We respect a set of spiritual fences within which the sheep of His flock are safe.

Not behaving according to Christian values is sinful, and harmful to ourselves and to others, it is evil, the absence of GOD. 

But the absolute worst sin is doing evil in GOD’s name, whether it is murder and torture in the name of holy war, or abuse and exploitation of others as part of our position in the community, or teaching bad doctrine to “little ones” or accepting moral relativism in giving evil a pass because it is not “tolerant” to criticize bad behavior.

Evil is evil is evil, and pretending that it is not while carrying the name of GOD is the most heinous sin. Thou shalt not carry the Lord’s Name in vain.

I believe that Satan’s greatest tool is that he always makes sin look good, he makes it look attractive. That is how he sells the biggest lie, the biggest lie is that we can do without the sacred. The deadly lie is that we think we can find our fulfillment and our happiness in our own pleasure and gratification.

That “Pleasure as the way of ultimate fulfillment is the ultimate lie” is obvious after only a little thought. Humans always crave change, we are wired to notice change, not stasis, and for pleasure to be good we must always crave more, not less pleasure.

In seeking only pleasure without boundaries we necessarily fall into self worship, and ultimately, as we grow older, it leads to tremendous weariness of pleasure – and then despair as we look at our future without pleasure, without our neighbor, and without the sacred … our future alone.

One of our traditional tribal meta-values is to love the other as ourself. That is the exact opposite of finding our end in seeking pleasure. As soon as we love “the other” as ourself we have to accept boundaries as necessary to the realization of “do onto others as you would have done unto ourself”, another traditional tribal meta-value. If we love GOD, the creator of all, then we must see in the face of the other the face of GOD.

We are all “the other”, and GOD our Creator loves us all infinitely. We cannot love GOD with our whole heart and our whole mind and our whole will and our whole soul if we still love ourselves above others. As children of GOD we are necessarily required to emulate GOD’s values, that is “love for all” and to see our brothers and sisters as our Father sees them. We are all, each of us, a Shekhinah.

The Shekhina(h) (Biblical Hebrew: שכינה‎ šekīnah; also Romanized Shekina(h), Schechina(h), Shechina(h)) is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “settling” and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God. And we are each and everyone of us a dwelling place of the spirit of GOD, more or less, as we adhere to His precepts and strive to do His will.

Without the Sacred there is quite literally only death, sooner or later, for every human being, for all eternity.

So read the signs … they are not complex … its not “rocket science”. The signs were as clear for the 1st century Palestinian peasant as they are for us today if only we will look and listen.

Cheers

Joe

 

 

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

I Am The Truth …

Our precipitous decline as a culture and as a society is directly derived from our departure from Truth. The death of truth is the direct consequence of the worship of self and the near universal adoption of the modernist heresy of moral relativism.

O my Jesus, true light, drive away the clouds of ignorance which come from my evil nature, and give me the grace to seek the truth with a sincere heart and to love it; for You, the Incarnate Word, are the Truth.

Be the only light on my path, the only Master to guide my steps. I need You, eternal Truth, to liberate me from the slavery of my frailty and wretchedness, and from the passions which often blind my conscience and hinder me from complete adherence to the good and the true which You teach me.

Your truth teaches me that You are He who is, and that I am one who is not; that You alone have worth, and that I have no value; that You are All, and I am nothing, and if there is any good in me, it is a wholly gratuitous gift from You.”  (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity 1880 – 1906) ,

I just finished watching the following YouTube video featuring Ravi Zacharias and Dennis Prager with Jeff Foxworthy, on: The Death of Truth, The Decline of Culture Q&A.  I feel compelled to share since every fiber of my being cries out that these men have something important to share with us all. It is about an hour long and is absolutely worth every second of that time …

Cheers

Joe

The truths Jesus taught are so important and essential that, to know them or not, to believe them or not, is a matter of life or of death. His doctrine is not optional, it is essential.

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The Inner Struggle

A Crisis of Manhood …

The only thing for which you will not be envied, is the lowest place; therefore, the lowest place place  is the only one where there is no vanity and affliction of spirit.” (Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 – 1897).

One of the great stumbling blocks to receiving God’s mercy is to live in the past. I am coming to believe that is what Jesus means when he states, in the Gospel of St. Luke, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

We focus too much on our dark side, our ugliness, our past sins, and not enough on GOD who is the Light of Light. We need to have confidence in the consuming furnace of GOD’s Love and GOD’s mercy for us.

As I remarked in a previous post, I have finally understood that it is impossible for a proud man to give himself humility … it is impossible for an impoverished man to give himself wealth … it is impossible for a sick man to give himself health.

Therefore, to be humble, genuinely humble, I have to apply myself first of all to humility of heart and continue to deepen the sincere recognition of my nothingness, my weakness.

I can take full credit for all my sins and wrongdoing, evil is a natural part of mankind for all time. But anything good is GOD’s doing, a gratuitous gift. I cannot take credit for doing what GOD wants me to do and instructs me to do and expects me to do.. That is just following the Manufacturer’s Instructions.

An important part of that recognition is a sincere acceptance of responsibility for my thoughts, words, and deeds. Isn’t it funny how accepting responsibility shows up as the foundation of every attempt to know oneself.

I must acknowledge and accept my faults and my failings without trying to assign any other case or cause for them than my own miserable failings. There are no reasonable excuses for bad talk, or bad behaviour, or bad thinking. My bad is just that … my bad.

I cannot slough off responsibility for myself and my conduct by blaming others, or the situation I find myself in, or the actions or faults of others now or in the past. I am responsible and I am to blame for that evil which I do, or think, or say.

Regarding responsibility as a part of humility, we are not immune here in “Nice” Canada to the popular western phenomena manifested as part of the religion of narcissism.

Here in polite Canada, a country of “tolerance” and “non-judgement”, we have witnessed one of the greatest injustices, even tragedies, of the 20th century, namely the development of the cult of “repression” amongst Psychologists, Psychiatrists.

And the cult continues to this day, alive and well, even amongst those who have become practitioners known as “mental health” counselors, sometimes known as a Registered Clinical Counselors.

The cult of “repressed emotions” arose in concert with the development of psychoanalysis, which grew out of the theories of Sigmund Freud.

A more current phenomenon related to important aspects of Freud’s “repressed emotions” theory has been the “modern”  Western teaching of contempt for men in our popular culture, known as Misandry.

A very lucid analysis of the impact of this “feminist” religious dogma can be had in “Spreading Misandry” (2001) and “Legalizing Misandry” (2006) by Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young.

They have since come out with a third book which unfortunately I have not read, maybe I will get to it this year … just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

It is also interesting, and amusing,  that Paul Nathanson doesn’t get a mention in most search engines. It is affirming for one, like myself, who believes in a “feminist left bias” in our culture, and our media, to find again that anti male, anti conservative, bias in action in the “Wikipedia” search engine which I mentioned in another previous post. Katherine K. Young must have broken through the filters because she is a female PhD.

Anyway, the widespread  acceptance of Misandry in Canadian society is one of the defining factors in the breakdown of the family in this country and, I suspect, other major western nations as well.

Another factor identified in the breakdown of the family is the decline in marriage. One cause of this decline is the truth that women tend to marry up and men tend to marry down.

This is not a value judgement but rather simply an acknowledgement that women tend to marry men who make more money and/or have a higher education than they do and men tend to marry women who make less money and have less education than they do.

So one of the unintended consequences of the great leveling of the employment playing field in the name of gender equality, the big push to equalize how men and women are treated is that fewer women and men than ever before in history are finding suitable mates, and along with this trend we see a general devaluation of men and the scapegoating of men as the reason for every women’s failure to achieve self actualization.

Men are being relegated to the back rows as “punishment” for all the imagined sins of their forefathers, the “Dead White Males” of the repressive Patriarchy and are being effectively removed from the central role once culturally accepted in our society.

We see this especially in church, just look at who shows up in the pews. Where are the “Alter Boys”? Where are the male lectors, the male cantors? it is widespread and serious. Unless the Church, including all  bishops, priests and lay men begin to take notice and make the evangelization of Catholic men a priority, the Catholic Church in the West will continue to decay, as more and more men abandon the Church.

We are seeing an acceleration of decline, the slippery slope is getting steeper. As the scandal of homosexual religious swells at the heart of the failure of the clerical bureaucracy, the exodus of Catholic men from the faith is likely to continue and to grow, as men become increasingly casual about Catholicism, or any other denomination, as just another domain of politically correct male deviance, a domain of evil, a domain of Anti-Christ.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, before he stepped down, called for a “Year of Faith” that seeks to awaken humanity at a critical moment in history: “In vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel,” the then Pope Benedict warned, “We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today … The renewal of faith must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time.”

We need much more than a “Year of Faith”. Having stepped down, it seems that he recognized the impossibility of human intervention and turned the arresting of the decline over to Mary Immaculate and Divine Intervention at the behest of the prayers of the remaining faithful … the Remnant. Pray, and keep on praying … do not stop praying …

“1AND he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint, 2Saying: There was a judge in a certain city, who feared not God, nor regarded man. 3And there was a certain widow in that city, and she came to him, saying: Avenge me of my adversary. 4And he would not for a long time. But afterwards he said within himself: Although I fear not God, nor regard man, 5Yet because this widow is troublesome to me, I will avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me. 6And the Lord said: Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? 8I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? (Luke 18: 1-8)

Cheers

Joe

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Life in a small town

Detaching From the Day-to-Day

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013).

-20 Celsius, and blowing cold from the Northeast. Not a nice day to go for a walk. After a relatively warm winter so far today seems quite bone chilling, almost as cold as I remember the Arctic being back in the 80’s.

Briefly glanced over recent Facebook posts while sipping my first coffee this AM – around 5:00 AM today, and briefly felt submerged in a sea of futility and despair. Scandal and rationalization everywhere. Folks disappointed with the status quo, disappointed with their physical existence, their mental existence, the existence of those who don’t agree with whatever they have decided is the reason for their problems. Folks trying everything under the sun to reconfigure reality to some form of congruence with their own self image and world view.

I thought about how comforting it is to detach from all this temporal worry and dissatisfaction and just focus on eternity. Life after death is really a win-win.  If you are right about it and you have behaved yourself according to the Manufacturers Instructions,  in a decent upright manner, then eternal life looks pretty good.  If you are wrong about it, you might have missed out on some excitement, but it just doesn’t matter, because then you are dead and nothing matters anymore.

As far as I can tell, the only fly in that ointment is the ineffable lightness of being amongst fence sitters reacting to  FOMO.

Cheers

Joe

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

Peace To Men of “Good Will” … Humility & Good Will

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Peace to “Men (and Women) of Good will”. What is this “Good Will” which is the prerequisite to attaining peace? Some translations have it as “Men of Good Will”, others have it as “men with whom He (GOD) is pleased”. It all comes down to the same thing in the end … what is pleasing to GOD is Good Will, so what are we going on about here?

At Bethlehem the angels announced two things: glory to GOD and peace to men; the one corresponds to the other. No one glorifies GOD as much as that little Babe lying on the straw. He alone, being the eternal Word, can give GOD the perfect, infinite praise that is worthy of Him.

And no one more than Jesus, our Savior, brings peace to men; making reparation for sin, He reconciles man the creature with GOD his Creator, and establishes a new covenant between them: the Creator becomes Father and the creature becomes His child.

So how do we understand this in our daily reality? It seems to me obvious that those who obey GOD’s law enjoy peace; observing the divine law they also glorify GOD. The glory of GOD corresponds perfectly to the peace of men and that peace comes only through Jesus, from His grace.

It also seems obvious that we seek in vain for that peace from any other source, from the transient things and creatures of this world which is passing away before our very eyes. If we are lacking in peace in our daily life then it seems inevitable that we are somehow not corresponding with GOD’s will.

We can dress it up in all kinds of ways and look at it from all kinds of angles and blame any number of others but in the end we are only fooling ourselves and the peace we seek remains absent.

Aphorisms

Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, are conditions of the desirable life, the desirable society, and we often observe in the world around us that absent any of those three we have nothing but misery, death and destruction.

Our media are full of the bad results of the absence of Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, think about “If it bleeds it leads” and other such aphorisms. Remember Aphorisms?

An aphorism is a concise, terse, laconic, and/or memorable expression of a general truth or principle. They are often handed down by tradition from generation to generation.

In many ways, “Peace” and “Good Will” are ideas or concepts, like “Quality”, which are easy to identify when they are right before us but difficult to describe and define, absent the thing in question. References to “Peace” and “Good Will” have become figures of speech like “Sorry”.

Most the time we end up with a mess of generalities while using the modifier “like” rather more than we are comfortable with … “Like, man … you know …”. “Peace” and “Good Will” seem rather to be more a desirable but mythical place than a process involving personal effort and humility on the part of the “person of Good will”.

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013).

It seems to me, observing life around me, and as reported in the media worldwide, that absent humility there is precious little Good Will on the part of anyone alive today. The absence of humility appears to be pretty much a genetic predisposition inherent in every human animal from birth. As in families, there are said to be predispositions to cancer, or to heart disease, or to blond hair, or to alcoholism, or even (heaven forbid) to intelligence or lack of same, so the whole human “family” has a predisposition to Pride, which is of course the opposite of humility.

Saint Thomas Becket, 1117-1170Anyone who actively attempts to cultivate humility is subjected to humiliation all the more, played as a sucker, or a target of ridicule, treated as a scapegoat, and we see this played out throughout history …  for example, which of the two protagonists in the following story was a “man of good will” and which was not?  Dec. 29th is the feast of Saint Thomas Becket, son of Gilbert Becket, was born in Southwark, England, in 1117.

When a youth he was attached to the household of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to Paris and Bologna to study law and he was ordained a deacon. His support of Henry II’s claim to England’s throne led to his appointment as royal chancellor.

He became Archdeacon of Canterbury, then Lord High Chancellor of England; and in 1160, when Archbishop Theobald died, the king insisted on the consecration of St. Thomas in his stead. St. Thomas refused, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be broken. In the end he yielded, and was consecrated.

The conflict at once broke out; He was the king’s great friend until 1162, when, as the archbishop of Canterbury, he said he changed from being “a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds, to being a shepherd of souls.” St. Thomas resisted the royal customs, which violated the liberties of the Church and the laws of the realm.

This British Library painting from circa 1200 is the earliest known portrayal of Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral. (Public Domain)

He and the king clashed over many issues, notably the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts. After six years of contention, partly spent in. exile, St. Thomas, with full foresight of martyrdom before him, returned as a good shepherd to his Church.

On the 29th of December, 1170, just as vespers were beginning, four knights broke into the cathedral, crying: “Where is the archbishop? where is the traitor?” The monks fled, and St. Thomas might easily have escaped.

But he advanced, saying: “Here I am—no traitor, but archbishop. What seek you?” “Your life,” they cried. “Gladly do I give it,” was the reply; and bowing his head, the invincible martyr was hacked and hewn till his soul went to God.

Six months later Henry II, submitted to be publicly scourged at the Saint’s shrine, and restored to the Church her full rights. Saint Thomas Becket was also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury and also Thomas of London.

Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

Fr. Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

“Learn from St. Thomas,” says Father Faber, “to fight the good fight even to the shedding of blood, or, to what men find harder, the shedding of their good name by pouring it out to waste on the earth.”

Dec. 30th, Sunday, is the Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I hope you are able to find many opportunities in this holy season of Christmas to give “glory to the newborn King,” as the old carol says. Today, we take a closer look at family in our lives.

God honors, upholds and rejoices in the community of family. The relationships between father and child, mother and child, or husband and wife each reflect God’s perfect love—both for us and among the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, nonetheless grew up within a close-knit, human family.  In today’s Gospel (30th), where Jesus gets left behind in Jerusalem after Passover, there is a surprisingly intimate look at Jesus’ family dynamics.

Mary and Joseph demonstrate a strong, spousal partnership in their search for 12-year old Jesus who has, unbeknownst to his human parents, stayed behind in the temple.

Jesus, once found and gently questioned by His mother, Mary, “…went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.”

Can you think of a time in your own family of anxiety, then resolution, forgiveness and the restoration of family peace?

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

It appears to me that any conflict at any level has it’s root cause in the absence of humility on the part of the players in whichever drama is being considered in any venue. I have remarked before that: “It seems a hallmark of Truth that it always believes and expects the best of others and acts accordingly. It also seems a hallmark of untruth that it always believes and expects the worst of others and acts accordingly.”

My guess is that it all depends on what your starting assumptions are, one’s own motivations and default responses to events, as to how you believe others will act. This morning I prayed a litany of humility, a pius Catholic custom, and afterwards thought how the petitions of the litany encompass the entire gamut of all the underlying provocations of human conflict, in families and outside the family circle in the wider world.

All human conflict and rancor seem rooted in either fear of something or desire for something, the conflict arising from disappointed desires or realized fears.

For non Catholics, it may help to understand that a litany is a form of prayer with a repeated responsive petition, used in public liturgical services of the Catholic Church, and in private devotions of Her adherents. This then is the Litany of Humility (with emphasis on the desires and fears) :

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make my heart like yours.
From self-will, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be understood, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be visited, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being abandoned, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being refused, deliver me, O Lord.
That others may be loved more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
At being unknown and poor, Lord, I want to rejoice.
At being deprived of the natural perfections of body and mind,Lord, I want to rejoice.
When people do not think of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they assign to me the meanest tasks, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they do not even deign to make use of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never ask my opinion, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they leave me at the lowest place, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never compliment me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they blame me in season and out of season, Lord, I want to rejoice.
Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Attributed by many writers to: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Cheers

Joe

The rather obvious point of this post is to imply that we should be striving for humility … how’s that working out so far, Joe? What kind of progress are we making on our quest for peace?

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The Inner Struggle

The Feast of The Holy Innocents … December 28th

The Feast of The Holy Innocents celebrates the memory of the children King Herod ordered to be killed in his attempt to kill the infant Christ.

I am not the only observer of the horrifying modern parallels of this historic occurrence.  Ireland recently joined the queue of those nations who have decided that it is perfectly OK to murder our inconvenient children. How much longer before they start murdering their inconvenient elders as well.

Another articulate voice raised in defense of the helpless innocent is Fr. Hunwicke over at his “Mutual Enrichment” blog site. In “Holocausts and Holy Innocents” he makes a poignant remark on what was once significant difference between Ireland and Britain, and the soon to be disappearance of that significant difference.

Then it dawns on you why there aren’t any. Rather as, just after the cattle trucks had rumbled off to the East, it must have been strange … and then disconcerting and very frightening … to wander round a German town and miss the Jewish faces. Ugly, isn’t it, that the role performed in Nazi Germany by Gestapo or SS is performed in Britain by members of Caring Professions whom we each of us have to visit, especially as we get older, for our aches and infirmities.

Sounds a lot like Canada to me.

Joe

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Christmas Holiday 2018 …

Wishing and praying for a Very Merry Christmas for all my friends and acquaintances (and apparently a 100 or so followers and a few dozen other daily search engine hits).

Really small potatoes on the scale of things on the web, where The Donald gets thousands of hits with a poorly thought out ten word tweet, sigh, everyone is a one hit wonder these days.

I do hope that your Christmas has so far been as peaceful and blessed as ours has been here among the western frozen chosen … the happy (Any Small Town, Flyover Country ) Bagginses of the Plains.

Currently listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRXrqURyRy0 which is 3 hours of easy listening Christmas themed musical compilation. I also que up my Netflix fireplace video.

These are the best kind of fireplace really, which I can display on my 60″ flat screen monstrosity in the “living” room giving me all the esthetic benefits, sight and sound, of a cheerful fireplace scene with none of the downsides attendant in cutting wood, and smoke, and cleaning up the incessant ash piles, and the inevitable buildup in the chimney.

After the steady grind of a less than stellar year with many deaths, illnesses, and sufferings amongst folks we know and also some we don’t know but rather know of,  we here ended up having one of the best Christmases I can remember.

Our latest “Annus Horribilus”  ended with an excellent Christmas season both in the business and in the family. We celebrated Christmas Day with a gathering of family and feasted on a turkey and trimmings very nearly as large as the one in the Rockwell painting at the side. Our youngest family member is now coming up to 24 years old so we were spared the happy chaos of youngsters rowdily enjoying their holiday festivities.

Except for a short visit with other relates in our nation’s capital via Facetime, things were mercifully quiet and restrained here. We enjoyed much quiet commentary on the quality of the meal, the perfect turkey, the nice music and how mild the weather has been this year and how enjoyable everything was. Ironically, my vision of Christmas was for many years something along the lines of the song by The Chieftains – “St. Stephen’s Day Murders” featuring Elvis Costello.

These days my Christmas is more along the lines of this offering by Yo-Yo Ma, and Alison Krauss performing “The Wexford Carol”,   or, this song, written and sung by Jackson Browne, “On The Side of the Rebel Jesus”. If we seriously lived the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ, it would be a different world … I love this take on the Holy Season … living in a thoroughly pagan society, and heartsick at the suffering that flourishes everywhere in our nominally christian, capitalist countries. The numbers of homeless and hungry, victimized and disenfranchised powerless little people in both Canada and the US should be a source of shame to every person but instead … well, “I’m all right Jack.

Today is our fourth consecutive day off courtesy of Christmas falling in the middle of the week and a very welcome break it is having been limited to two days off at a stretch for most of the previous 8 years. It is overcast and snowing ever so lightly now and not too cold, a nice mild -15 degrees Celsius, which around these parts is almost shorts and sandals weather.

INGSOC logo from 1984

INGSOC logo from 1984

You probably know that I read a lot of blogs. There’s a lot of good, provocative, and perceptive writing going on in the blogosphere now. I wish I had the time to read everything.

Of course, blogs, like all things resulting from human activity, are subject to Sturgeon’s law, that of being 90% crap, and many who try to blog either become bored and quit, or have little to say which would be of interest to anyone other than their immediate circle of friends (a sort of “Facebook” post writ large).

But with so many people trying, even among the residual 10% of non-crap there are now thousands of people writing good content. And some of that good content I have alluded to in previous posts, most recently on the unlikelihood of any sort of cultural reform going forward in our society, and the stark reality of the passing of Christendom.

These days, most of what passes for entertainment falls into the twin categories of Dystopian fiction, or thinly disguised, and often not so thinly disguised, pornography.

Observed at arms length, we as a society, revel in blood, oppression, violence and sex of various colors and species in all our imaginary distractions.

And most dystopian fiction of the last 70 years or so centres around the eventuation of a godless totalitarian state enforcing draconian social control measures to limit and control the proles, the “citizens” and fashioning those organic resources into a more or less compliant state asset for the realization of inhuman objectives to “protect us for our own good”.

I am in mind of “That Hideous Strength”“1984” or “Soylent Green” or “Logan’s Run”,  or “The Omega Man”, or the more recent remake “I Am Legend” with Will Smith in the lead role, and others really too numerous to list here. it seems to be a frequently recurring theme in literature, film and most recently in online MMOGs.

I have referenced Wikipedia links for information on the above stories and movies with a very precise objective in mind. They often have good information but in using the Wiki one must always keep in mind their obvious, and very thorough Atheistic bias in going to great lengths to  Bulverize any reference to the divine in their information items.

The Wiki is perhaps one of the most obvious poster children for the “Material Naturalist” world view. I wrote at length about that world view and it’s goals and ambitions here and here. Those posts might provide an interesting backgrounder to why we are now living in a real life dystopean drama.

All the heroes in these modern religious myths are always Lone Wolf protagonists who rise up and take action against the monolithic state apparatus, by use of violence and subversion, and the mass audience for this product are the very people who are currently the “oppressed proles” in our current “dystopean” society.

One of my recent posts details why there will never be a real life uprising along the lines of all the admittedly entertaining fictional alternate realities with which our current crop of “bread and circus” addicts distract themselves.

The primary plank of the Material Naturalist world view is that there is no God, that everything in the universe is purely and simply the result of random biochemical processes and survival of the fittest, according to the so-called “Theory of Evolution” courtesy of the Universal Church of Charles Darwin.

There is no God, we are all an accident of evolution, there is no point to anything except return on investment, no moral values, no virtues, no good or evil outside the context of profit and power. Everything which we perceive is the result of random chance working on the basic inorganic constituents of the observable universe, and when we die that’s it, that’s all she wrote.

There is no soul, nothing spiritual, no intrinsic value in any human life beyond the market value of our chemical constituents and/or the possible net positive value we can add to the economy by our efforts during our lifetime, said lifetime to be optimized in relation to our productivity.

And beyond this world, relating to the unimaginably complex and numerous possibilities of “randomness”, there is the assumed but undiscovered possibility of endless numbers of more or less evolved “aliens” also living the same pointless random existence.

And the possibility of  “intelligent life” (i.e. creatures who could appreciate Bach)  is unquestioned … BUT, “real science” would say otherwise. I “borrowed” the next few paragraphs from a David Warren post from 2014 titled “Stardust”.

“For if life truly “evolves” by happenstance, as the Darwinoids do vainly preach, something approaching to human smarts would have appeared here and there many millions of years before us, wherever conditions were favourable. Indeed, given the speed at which humans suddenly “evolved” here, we could ourselves have appeared on Earth, millions of years before we actually did.

David Warren

David Warren

We are extremely recent, in geological terms; have been here less than a second, if the history of the planet were scaled down to one day. We’ve come a fair technological distance ourselves, since the last Earth ice age, a mere twelve thousand years ago, and the pace appears to be accelerating. Imagine what we could do given, oh, another million years, or hundred million. I daresay we’d finally figure how to get out and about.

The Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, did this thought experiment before 1950. He realized that we did not need expensive, incredibly sophisticated tools, to detect extraterrestrial life. If it was there, it would already have got here.

He reasoned that, even if it could not defeat lightspeed, a sufficiently advanced material culture could send self-reproducing probes to colonize its home galaxy in a blink of exogeological time, then leapfrog galaxy to galaxy in all directions. It would transmit messages that could not be missed.

Any mathematical extrapolation of the number of planets in the universe that could, possibly, “evolve” life, is defeated by Fermi’s Paradox. The more possibilities there are, the less likely it has ever happened.

But of course, physics advances, and we now have a second indefatigable argument against ET. It developed from the “anthropic principle” in cosmology, which holds, tautologically enough, that the structure or “design” of the universe must be compatible with the existence of the conscious sapient creatures who observe it from within. (We would be they.)

Over the last few decades we have come to understand that life on earth absolutely depends on such an extraordinary number of extremely fine conditions, operating together at levels of coincidence that so stretch the odds, that the chance of finding another inhabited planet — even within something so large as our universe in space and time — is inconsiderably remote.

Jesus Christ, AD 30

Jesus Christ, AD 30

Or to put this another way, it appears dead obvious that the purpose of the universe was to make us possible. It would follow that our lives must be in some strange way — beyond any passing subjective enthusiasm — worth living. For Someone went to a lot of trouble to put us here.”

The Real Hero of OUR dystopean drama already rose up more than two millennia ago. The Rebel Jesus spread revolutionary teachings against the values, powers and things of the material world, the things that mattered a great deal to the authorities of His day. And they murdered Him, though there was “no crime in Him”, as Pilot declared. And the Light shone in the darkness and the darkness knew Him not.

Of all the works done by God in time and outside of Himself, the redemptive Incarnation of the Word is the greatest. Always we must be remembering that the vast universe which the materialists are so impressed with as “all there is” was formed in an instant in a “nothing” that GOD Himself had to create by withdrawing some tiny portion of his timeless Presence.

A Presence without beginning and without end drew back a portion of Himself and within that new “nothing” He created time and the material universe and all that developed in it after the Big Bang.

The Incarnation of the Word is the greatest work because it has for an end not a mere creature, however sublime and unrepeatable by man that may be, but GOD Himself, the eternal Word who, in time, assumed a human nature and a material human body in this  material universe.

*****

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

It is the greatest work because it is the supreme manifestation of the merciful love of GOD, and the work which above all others glorifies Him; and it glorifies Him precisely in reference to charity, that is love, which is His very essence. It is also the greatest of His works because of the immense good it brings to all mankind. The salvation, sanctification, and eternal happiness of the whole human race depends wholly upon the Incarnation of the Word, upon Jesus, the Incarnate Word.   (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy” Meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 80).

*****

God the Father “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, (before time existed) that we should be holy and unspotted. … Who hath predestined us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself. … In whom we have redemption … the remission of sins according to the riches of His grace. … GOD hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.” ( letter of Paul to the Ephesians 1, 4.5.7 – 2.5.6)

*****

Unlike the important things of this world GOD’s greatest work takes place in obscurity and silence, and under the most humble and most human conditions. Mary and Joseph are forced by civil authority to leave their humble home and to undertake a long journey. They travel on foot like the rest of the poor, in spite of Mary’s advanced pregnancy. They do not object and they make no complaint, but obey with promptness and simplicity. They are commanded by a pagan emperor, and they go, trusting in GOD’s Providence; GOD knows, GOD will provide; “To them that love GOD all things work together unto good.” (Rom 8, 28).

It is GOD’s will that His greatest work be accomplished here, in a wretched stable, in utter poverty, and Mary and Joseph embrace His will. They are humble and therefore docile to the will of GOD with complete humility. And GOD, as is His custom, made use of what was humble and despicable in the eyes of the world to accomplish the greatest of His works: the Incarnation of the Word.

And the winds do howl, and the waters roughen, and Christ, the Incarnate Word, has come and is always coming. It is something to think about, for no matter how you look at it — whether you are a traditional Christian (there can be no other kind), or  a perfectly conventional, orthodox material Narcissist — the message of Christmas is not, never was, and by its meaning never will be, “all about us.”  It is all about everything that is not us, as the Lord said to St. Catherine of Sienna, “I am GOD, You are not”, and that GOD loves us all with an absolute everlasting LOVE … He loved us from before time was and will love us so for all of eternity. So Trust Him … and come home, to the Father who loves you no matter what.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night…

Cheers

Joe

This Too Shall PassAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course, the ever relevant “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Thoughts on Polite Canadian Society … December 24th 2018

Oboe Concerto in D Minor”, Adagio, from “The Ultimate baroque Album”, (2004)

A Big Red PC Nothing

Hey! Last rant of the year! WOOHOO! So its December 24th, Xmas Eve, 2018, quick everyone, hop out there and get your last minute shopping done. There might be some unexpected bargains to be had.

And to keep us “in the mood” to spend, all the elevators, and broadcasts and malls are playing canned Xmas pop tunes by long dead performers because they are “classics” and of course no one records anything like that anymore, the tunes are all out of copyright and so these old sappy pops are the least expensive way to add a warm nostalgic mood to an otherwise sterile landscape of commercial wealth transfer.

So much for Christmas and Christianity. Not much “Merry” in a Canadian White Xmas. What’s on my mind these days is the macro spectacle of the greatest civilization the world has ever seen essentially committing mass suicide by drowning itself, and up close and personal, the micro spectacle I watch first hand as a herd of “#Me To” Canadian Lemmings stampede to be the first over the cliff.

Our Polite Society of self righteous “Nice” people is in a huge mad rush to drown itself in the PC pool of self worship, for example here is just one reality check which it is almost worth one’s life to mention in Canada these days … just one colossal spasm of self delusion about reality and the consequences of its actions and inaction.

At the local level we vocally demand recognition of self worth by virtue of our own breathing and pulse, each with our own unique “minority victim of something” status. This seems true for everyone unless one has the misfortune to be a white Anglo male descended from that cabal of “Dead White Males” who actually built the Western Civilization we all now take for granted as “normal”.

afp-afp-hz9r9

Is this courage or cowardice?

If you fall into that “minority” then bigotry and persecution and slander about you is just A-OK and we are supposed to “Check our Privilege” before we open our mouths in self defense. Of course any defense offered is immediately branded as “Hate Speech”, so what’s the point of even trying. What a “Brave New World” we face.

Meanwhile, on the international stage, where New-Age secular humanists rule the world, the New World Order in action, at the international level, we meekly kiss the dirt and confess our guilt every time some new politically correct mouthpiece accuses us of some mythical crime.

Unless it’s one of Mr. Trump’s Tweets in which case we scream and yell and jump about like frothing toothless chickens because he is just another American A-hole, and all right minded people know that’s the truth.

Sigh … truly, “The ride of the Poltroons” indeed.

Now that working Alberta has rolled over and died and urban voters are reveling in their new socialist paradise of common misery I probably should take my sister’s advice and move to Texas.

And in case anyone missed it, these days we are so advanced here in polite Canada, that we have human rights by virtue of our physical location, a mere liberal centimeter deciding life or death, deciding whether the pulse and breathing noted above should be snuffed out by dismemberment and dissection, or, by regulation, an identical “person” found 1 silly millimeter away from the first in the right direction is now “worthy of being allowed to live as long as they are useful to the state.

philadelphia_furious_protesters_in_the_city_of_brotherly_love

hate, hate, hate, hate

Unfortunately, as soon as that utility ceases by virtue of age or illness or handicap, the person once again enters a tenuous existence where they can find themselves terminated any moment by reason of quality of life judgements by anonymous government bureaucrats at Health & Social Services.

We embrace this self deprecation motif domestically in our espousal of “Human Rights Tribunals” and “Hate Crimes”, and tyrannical political correctness.  We accept being the victim of local and international atrocities because our chestless leadership, both in the secular and in the spiritual world have taught us, and continue to teach us, that this is the deserved result of our own iniquities. Meanwhile they avidly pursue their own daily deviance of choice under the banner of the rainbow coalition of Gaia worshiping naturalists

We, as a culture, are found guilty of “cultural genocide” by the “Star Chamber” of the progressive secularists and must pay for our sins. We are NOT being robbed blind by the Global Warming cabal, the animal worshiping Vegan conspiracy of brain death, the socialist pirates and gangsters taxing us to death to support their gang of tapeworm voters bleeding out our once healthy economy, and we are most certainly not being raped, tortured, abused and killed by Islamics in the name of the Religion of Peace.

The-Return-of-the-King-Smeagols-Birthday

My “Precious” opinion

This is all a deserved punishment,  and we are told in every venue that we deserve it because of the way we and our ancestors acted and the values we embraced, those values of “dead white males”… and our leaders and media accept it and agree? How did we get here, what poison have we been drinking that justice and truth should be so turned on it’s head that we accept this evil as our just due?

I once wrote a post replete with acid comments regarding religious denominations as socials clubs, no more, no less. I might have added an allusion to factions as in “fractious parties” within a common  tradition. The foundational beliefs of which factions, a “cornerstone” so to speak, is that ALL other factions, and clubs, are illegitimate because we and only we hold the one truth. My morality is my morality and no one else can legitimately criticize me without being guilty of a hate crime.

Where did brotherly love go? Who is my neighbor Lord?

orcs

Everyone Knows It!

Unless I want to criticize someone else in which case it is just OK because after all I am a victim of hate because of your criticism and targeted and rationalized retaliation is NOT hate but rather some variation of retribution and restitution. What happened to standing up for Truth, for protecting the weak and unfortunate, for consoling the lost and loving the unlovable?

A necessary corollary to this “one truth” platform is that we must, at all costs, discredit and/or destroy all other points of view, lest some courageous loudmouth ask why the emperor has no clothes. ESPECIALLY, in the domain of religious clubs, the original one holy catholic and apostolic church, MUST be discredited in order to ensure that our new “self” worship club and it’s beliefs are never called into question historically.

Your Dying Heart”, Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Requiem”, (2011)

ISIS atrocities 3

But we are basically good persons

Everybody Knows It!  From this wellspring of charity spring such “factual’ gems as: “Well, everyone knows that:  “Nuns (Catholic religious) punish unwed mothers and do abortions in their “nunneries”and cover them up” and the Pope is the Anti-Christ”.

What does one do when one is handed this wonderful little scrap of bigotry and malice,  courtesy of a close Baptist relative who is a general all purpose “bigot and hater”, but especially of what she thinks of as “Catholics” (being merely the common self serving protestant or baptist caricature of Catholics).

Of course, when handed this offal we are expected socially to nod and smile and politely “pretend” to go along, because of social niceties. Of course the statement is so egregiously outrageous and provocative  (as intended) that we cannot hold back our response, our questioning after specifics, our feigned consternation, our distress as we ask pointedly which network that was reported on.

That reaction makes us the bad guy, the A-hole in the room.

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St. Peter’s, Rome

So we all descend into this moral pit of hatred and lies, calumnies and retaliation, and the all purpose immorality founded on “I am basically a good person“. Given the utter lack of “goodwill” as in “men and women of goodwill”, or “people of goodwill” within our own society, communities, and families is it any wonder to see the state of the world.

If we can do this to “the least of these, our brothers” how much more easy is it to continue to commit these ever increasing atrocities against anonymous others who we barely consider human. Kill them before they vote, kill them when they get too expensive to look after. And everyone pretends not to notice that whenever bad behaviour and “ill will” are tolerated you inevitably get more of it, expanding exponentially from the local to the global.

001-war_in_heaven-768x939

Which Side Are We On?

Looking at the consternation and panic and mawkish grief reported in the media and associated with “terrorist” attacks, or even politically correct celebrations of deviance, we have to understand, even the blindest of us, that at some level all the “good behaviors” that we verbally associate in an offhand way with “western civilization” are, in fact, a facade, a sham and a lie. If good behaviour is “in” us as part of our nature then nothing evil is our fault, is it?

We are NOT guilty! Of anything. Institutional evil has given us a false sense of being guiltless and free of sin, following mutually acknowledged rules of behaviour we can go through life sleep walking under the assumption that the rule of law, good order, and good government are naturally human and stem from human qualities of “goodness”.

In reality, this folly leads inevitably to desolation and destruction. We are NOT worthy! Our natural proclivities, our concupiscence, incline us towards evil thinking, evil beliefs, and evil behavior. Our culture is steadily marching in lockstep down a path to acceptance of abominations and immoralities the practice of which would have been anathema and worthy of imprisonment and death even a couple of generations ago.

hackshaw_ridge_andrew_garfield

Hacksaw Ridge

The effort of our fathers, the “Greatest Generation”, was perhaps the very last outpouring of Western Christian Civilization, demonstrating a willingness to stand against what was recognized as evil; identified as evil; and dealt with as evil; whatever the cost.

The term “The Greatest Generation” is the title of Tom Brokaw’s 1998 book profiling members of this generation, stemming from his attendance at the D-day 40th anniversary celebrations. In the book, Brokaw wrote, “it is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.” He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the “right thing to do.”[1]

Today, we are knowingly, willingly returning to a pre-Christian civilization where it was perfectly OK for Rome, in 70 AD, to send half a dozen legions to Palestine to slaughter over a million folks because of “civil unrest”.  But Rome wasn’t just the big bad guy some folks like to portray, handing out punishment in isolation and solely responsible for the atrocities.

The Jewish nation brought down the retribution of Rome on itself because of the way the leaders and people were acting for the 70 years before the Roman boot crushed the lawlessness. Strange to think that it has been about 70 years since “The Greatest Generation” made their sacrifice to turn back the tide of evil.

Even stranger to consider that the liberal world leaders of the day in their fatigue and concern for their political hides stopped short of ending evil by letting Communism continue to metastasize globally. They took the easy way out and didn’t finish the job even though their military leaders strongly recommended continuing until ALL the enemies were ended.

001-destruction-of-temple-francesco_hayez

Destruction of The Temple 70 AD

Just for a bit go over and check out the account of Flavius Josephus here, and here, regarding the destruction of Jerusalem. Pay close attention to the actions of the protagonists. It is worth the time in order to understand the parallels between then and what we are witnessing in the world right now.

The parallels are chilling in their similarities to the conduct of the leaders and the people of nations in this day, and the media just can’t get enough of it, reporting every atrocity which supports their narrative while ignoring thousands of others which don’t make the grade. Are you one of the true believers in the fantasy that it can’t happen now?

We have spent the best part of the last 400 years steadily divorcing ourselves from the vital Christian roots of our civilization, the roots that fed us the understanding of what good behaviour actually was.

We are steadily morphing into a graceless, de-sacramentalized, self centered dog eat dog world, a world which Jesus Christ and his teaching came to move us away from by way of the church and the grace of the sacraments.

The source of all goodness came to us in the likeness of ourselves and spent his life teaching us how to behave, how to live together, how to care for our brothers, how to live in God’s love.

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Delacroix, Eugène, 1798-1863. Christ and the Disciples on a Raging Sea

He created a lifeboat to survive the stormy seas of human existence and we reject that lifeboat, believing our own narrative in preference and climb out of the lifeboat.

We try to swim away on our own power, continuously trying  to do this thing on our own and with our own values and agendas, utterly blind to the spiritual and physical carnage around us.

We just keep swimming while ignoring the lifeline continually being offered to us.  The Sharks are having a field day!  Wake up people!

Cheers

Joe

03-pool-of-worship Self worship is the root of all evil, not money.

 

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

Humility … “The World” can’t be reformed or repaired or fixed.

I have been aware of and thinking about the gate for over fifty years now, more or less constantly as I go about my daily routines, the gate beyond which I can not see or understand.

All around me life goes on, banal and dramatic, indifferent and caring, hateful and loving as circumstances and moods take us.

It, daily life, appears to be self centered for the most part, although that perception might just be the lens through which I see the society around me, my self centeredness projected onto the screen of existence. More grist for the penitential mill, my ongoing failure to “Love one another” as God has loved me. Sigh, to paraphrase Dore, “Just keep Trying…”.

And all life around me seems to work hard at ignoring the gate, acting and reacting as though the gate in fact does not exist at all, that the here and now is all there is, that pleasure, gratification, license and indulgence are the only objectives, the only goals, absent anything but the material “here & now”.

But it seems (to me) the gate is THE most obvious artifact in the entire universe, the single most obvious event which no one escapes no matter what their beliefs, no matter their state in life, it all winds down to dust.

As Roy Batty says: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. … All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”  Indeed … time to die … soon … we are all replicants, running out the clock, done in the blink of an eye.

So what does matter?  Unless one is living in Paris these days, the majority, the masses, seem more or less content with their modern comforts, pleasures, social media, belonging to the “What, me worry?” clique of “low-information” consumers, and in general quite happy with their daily existence.  Am I the only living human being currently reflecting upon the end of human life? I would bet not, and some of those who are reflecting even write about it in their version of this blog.

First Things & Last Things. A woman lights a candle on the grave of her relative before praying at a cemetery during the observance of All Souls Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

One good example can be found at The American Sun  in which Mr. Greenhorn convincingly rejects the currently popular fantasy (held by some conservative pundits) that we can role back the clock to a time before separation of Church and State became the de facto modus operandi. Many of the ideas in the remainder of this post I found in the link at American Sun. Mr. Greenhorn has an articulate and refreshingly new view of reality and the plausibility of rolling back the clock to a better time.

The goal of this roll-back being to thereby refocus concerns on First Things, refocus concerns on the end of human life, because man’s temporal end is subordinate to his eternal end, and the obvious corollary that therefore temporal power must be subordinated to spiritual power.

This roll-back exercise might, from my point of view, reasonably involve a return to something resembling the political and economic world of the 1400’s, the mechanics of this would involve a kind of cross between Dr. Who and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

There are some modern examples of what this might look like, for example Iran and what used to be Iraq, but I see this model as a non-starter for the majority of folks on the planet, at least amongst those of a Western persuasion.

In the meantime … what of the discontented, those who are noticeably unhappy with the moral and economic status quo? Yes, what about us? Well, it seems that in reality there is no “us”. Some of “us” choose to dither, complain, wail and gnash their teeth, but never reach any conclusion.

“We” remain chronically dissatisfied and unhappy with whatever is fashionably top of the pond, the latest PC curdled and agglomerating deviance and corruption, and spend our leisure time articulating our discontent and pointing out what is wrong with the current status quo, a kind of negative virtue signalling to re-enforce our imagined moral superiority.

Others mourn the loss of a humanity in the general, that probably never existed in the particular, and along with that Unicorn they mourn the loss of “everything” that made up “human civilization”, holding a perpetual wake for a “Prince on The White Horse” who never really existed.

They have forgotten that funeral services are not for the benefit of the dead, That person(s) and their immortal soul are forever beyond our praise or condemnation. Rather a funeral service is for the living, who should know that before long they will follow the honored dead into a cold dark grave, and from that fact take motivation towards preparing for eternity. Railing against those who deny an afterlife, deny eternity, is an utter waste of the most precious gift we have been given – time.

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Still others descend into a mordant fantasy referred to by Mr. Greenhorn, above, that somehow by dint of huge spiritual and physical effort we can role back the clock to an Elysian time in the past when everything was “better, before the (insert enemy of choice here) took over and destroyed everything that matters“.

This last group are at least active in their never ending efforts to motivate the rest of us to “get off our collective butts and do something about it” … “something” being whatever their particular prescription of the day happens to be. Many of these fall into the category which we once upon a time, in the military, lovingly referred to as “Active Stupid”.

I rather expect that the above categories encompass the majority of those who are not entranced with our modern existence. And then there are the remnant … we who don’t fall into any of those broad categories, those generalizations which are so easy to embrace because they never include us. We are left with duty, discipline, courage, and sacrifice.

We are faced with trying to understand our reality, the “parameters of our material existence” within the context of a greater “spiritual existence” running on past the end of life into eternity, and that greater spiritual existence necessarily includes the idea, the perception of GOD as an entity. And, as understanding develops (if it does) we are tasked with searching for answers about “what constitutes right living?”, and “how does one know when one is following the right path?”

One is really asking oneself “How do I know with certainty what is the will of God?”  Understanding the perfection of love, the “Agape”, that is “love of another besides myself” consists in striving towards the perfect conformity of my will with the divine will (the Manufacturer’s Instructions), and, more specifically, doing so within the context of my real day to day life, my “station” in life, rather than some “If Only” fantasy where I am trying to force others to conform to my idea of what is right.

I think the “mission” is sitting right in front of our face and residing in our soul if we are honest with ourselves. It is expressed simply, in a concrete and detailed way, in the duties of my state and the various circumstances of my life. The duties of my statedetermine particularly how I must act on a daily basis so as to be always in conformity with the divine will.

GOD gave us “free will”, and by virtue of that free will we are indeed free to deviate from the manufacturer’s instructions and “Do it our way”. But we are also just as free to learn from our choices and the results of those choices, if we accept responsibility for those results, and perhaps to repent and turn again to the narrow path.

For us, the future(s) cannot be known except in a metaphysical sense, but I believe that no single future is immutable. For “beings outside time” all futures can/could be equally known in the eternal now.

At least that is what I think, unrestrained by the current academic and theological status quo, and feeling no “ownership” of the “models” of reality currently in vogue.

These models seem to be tending more and more towards excluding GOD, the loving creator of all, and replacing it with a sort of “all dogs go to heaven, god my buddy” reality, or even a “no god at all” model. The problem with those views, IMHO, is that the path derived from those views has NO future at all. Any path which does not include GOD and eternity ends in the grave.

So, absent belief in GOD, why should Joe Citizen consent to be subservient to Nature and Natural Law, or to the will of god unless Joe first believes that Natural Law and the will of god is something he should give a Rat’s Derriere about?

Joe Citizen is not likely to give up all his convenience, gratification and “Freedom” without he first comes to believe that there is a higher good which matters more than his physical and mental gratification. The proof of this is the inexorable “democratic” trend towards ever more socialistic bread and circuses and less and less true freedom.

Why would someone who thinks they can overturn a presidential election, choose to give up their smart phones and social lifestyle choices?

There is no sign in our current society that Joe Citizen has any desire to give up, or even slow the convenience and power rendered by the last 50 years of staggering technical advances.

Jordan Peterson remarks about the demise of many “careers” which same technical advances will soon make superfluous and crush what little is left of Joe’s imagined autonomy. For this reason, any attempt to reform Liberal Progressive society is doomed … a colossal “Failure to Launch”.

To even have a chance, first, the popular belief that technical advance is natural and desirable must be overturned. Liberal Progressivism can only be derailed if modern man suddenly becomes content to be relatively weak, and powerless. The “Man in the Street”  must voluntarily reject comfort and power if  Material Naturalism is to be halted. In the modern era, the last 200 years or so, man has never done this.

So the Fantasy players, those “Roll the Clock Back” folks are faced with having to implement their “solutions” by fiat, in the same way and with the same mechanisms as used by the current societal systems of coercion which they are trying to replace. And of course the effect of these laws would be to fill Joe Citizen’s heart with anger and resentment at the state and perhaps even at God Himself, as we see in our current polite society.

Other “Greats” before us have had things to say about these sort of questions:

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

Marcus Aurelius reflects on Duty: Our duty is to Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.

On Virtue: But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him,

On Suffering, : For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two.

We must focus on going forward in duty by virtue regardless of the consequences and violence we might suffer whenever the all too human tendency to refuse co-operation, to insist on doing things our own way, to work against each other and to experience the suffering inherent in human relations whenever the reality of selfishness and self worship impact the smooth exchanges of daily relations.

Reconquista – Moors Surrender Granada, 1492

I’m old enough to remember a time when the Catholic Church was not in a state of decline and disgrace. I was born before the Second Vatican Council, I grew up and served in the old traditional Latin Mass universe, and was blessed by a glimpse of that world where Truth was certain, handed down and defended for 2000 years.

The saddest fact about our current crop of reformers, both political and theological, is that they have many provocative ideas about improving the state, but they have nothing to say as to how to detach the Roman Catholic Church from her attachment to the modernist heretical factions and forces which have so damaged and destroyed her since Vatican II.

It is in the Church where the true natures of God and man reside, and which we must return to if we are to rebuild our smashed civilization and self loving souls. There will be no anti-modernist Reconquista until our forces know they have a home base, a home fortress, that no matter what the cost, will not open its gates to the enemy, that is not commanded by agents of the enemy.

For sixty years, the men in the Vatican have tied the Church’s earthly fortunes to the modernist zeitgeist, the modernist heresy, and gained nothing but misery, scandal, and squalor in return. If the leaders of the Church cannot understand the beauty of conforming themselves to God’s will, there is little hope for anyone outside the Church. As a minimum first baby step, the Roman Curia, the Cardinals and the Bishops, need to make themselves, or be made by others, Catholic again, before any part of the secular state can follow them up that new path.

So the focus has to be not on changing the world, but rather on changing my soul, building Divine Intimacy in that internal secret place where I can work fruitfully towards conforming myself to GOD’s will. When I have sufficiently detached from self-worship, and the things of this world, creatures and stuff as ends in themselves, then perhaps GOD will assign me another mission, but until then I must clean my own stable.

It may feel small and insignificant but it takes uncommon virtue to fulfill all one’s duties without carelessness, negligence, or laziness, to avoid the pitfall of giving everything a “lick and a promise” or just going through the motions in order to “get it done”. It takes uncommon virtue to put the effort into attention, piety, and spiritual fervor, to pay attention to the details, for the whole combination of ordinary duties which make up my daily life.

The details matter. I must not be discouraged by failure, either resulting from outside forces or from my own failure of attention or lack of competence – my mistakes and forgetfulness and so on and so forth. Always acknowledge faults and failures, take ownership of them and begin again with renewed commitment. Refrain from “killing the messenger”.

What else is there to say about “duty”? It seems something of a truism that in our great self-regard we find it easier and more attractive to identify the duties of others than our own, and inversely, there will always be a plenitude of folks more than willing to tell us what our duty may be should we find ourselves momentarily unfocused and apparently idle.

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Humility & Humiliation …

An old ditty goes something like this: “Love & Marriage go together like a horse and carriage”. This is redolent of a ancient age when “Love” was caring and sacrificial, willing the good of the loved one.

Our current usage of “love” mostly implies some sort of justification for fornication and the exploitation of sex objects for self gratification. We accessorize members of the attractive “sex”, whatever their biological alignment, or genetic configuration based on how good they look  with us or “how they make me feel”.

Or we pick a paramour based on the current “Flavour Du Jour” in our social circle, our Facebook group, or as a form of virtue signalling according to whichever politically correct legislation just emerged from the dung heap called “Parliament”,

And we embrace whatever drum the media are currently beating … we need to “fit in”, right? And if our accessory no longer “fits in” then it’s time to trade “it” in for something fresher.

And, Humility and Humiliation go together as well, for how is one to learn true humility without humiliation? Many souls desire to be humble, but few desire humiliation. Many souls pray to be made humble “place in me a humble and contrite heart” … but very few want to be humiliated.

Humility is truth. So, we should admit to ourselves that we possess nothing of ourselves except sin,  and so it is just and righteous that we receive humiliation and scorn. If we believed this truth we would accept it as truly just that all would humiliate us and treat us without consideration and despise us.

What honor and consideration does one deserve who has offended his Creator? Even a single venial sin is more deplorable and worthy of more contempt than the most miserable earthly condition, the poorest and lowest station in life.

And so we travel along through life on our merry way, loving ourselves infinitely,  believing sincerely that we are practically perfect in every way, that we are good, that we deserve to be treated well, even better than most others.

The result of such insulation from reality is that in our cosmic self love we interpret every correction, contradiction, every humiliation and comment detracting from our self perceived perfection as a personal attack deserving of the most fervent counterattack, the source of our discomfort must be put down, terminated, hopefully never to rise to sully our self regard again.

And in that self-referential state of faith in our own perfection we destroy totally any and every possibility of growth. We are already perfect. We choose to bask in our own perfection and reject God’s gentle reproof coming to us in the guise of other’s unhappiness with our actions.

We choose to go down the perfect wide path to eternal damnation because we cannot accept correction in any form. And lest, in our self absorption we forget, we need to understand that morality goes beyond the bedroom, to embrace every moment of our social and public lives. Lest we forget … Lest we forget.

There is no possibility of improvement in a soul that rejects all correction and humiliation. But God brings good out of even this evil.

The place where these “perfect” souls interact with others, the interface of personal relations, provide the perfect opportunity for others, more aware of and sensitive to God’s call, to accept humiliation and to practice genuine humility.

It is a true treasure to be offered the opportunity to practice genuine charity and humility, all the  while compensating in the normal train of events for the casual incompetence and even  malice of others, to practice keeping others safe and comfortable in spite of their own ignorance, incompetence, ingratitude, and slovenly self worship.

And to do all this in spite of receiving scorn and denigration and belittlement for rendering this selfless service in such a routine way that it is taken totally for granted by the recipients, their natural due flowing from their exalted state of perfection,.

Presumably, after enough practice, one can even reach a state of charitable love of the other and not resent the recurring instances of chaos needing to be forever and again repaired, fixed up, cleaned up, provided for, anticipated and planned for future rescue efforts.

To charitably accept the utter obliviousness of the perpetrators of the mess and chaos when their utter lack of caring about anything except their self image spreads the chaos far and wide like some apocalyptic tsunami of trouble.

And mostly even malice is absent in this unaware ignorance. Lacking culpability in the obliviousness of daily life, can one even really identify this as sinful?

This “trouble” ranges from all the trivial rotting garbage of uncaring slights and messes left behind for others to deal with at the lowest levels of the ladder of perfection, to the rampant murder of innocents and corruption of the masses for the utility of the elite which we witness every day at the highest levels of this evil of self worship, this pride in self.

If one is unaware of the consequences and misery resulting from one’s actions, if one sincerely “doesn’t mean it”, then is remorse, penitence and correction even possible? If we are “sinless” through lack of culpability then are the narcissists actually right in their belief?

Endless opportunities for humiliation and the practice of humility, true humility. “Bear your humiliation patiently, for man is tried in this crucible as gold in the fire” (Sir 2, 4-5)

Cheers

Joe

Eeyore has a poor opinion of most of the other animals in the Forest, describing them as having “No brain at all, some of them”, “only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake” (from chapter 1 of The House at Pooh Corner).

Eeyore’s favorite food is thistles. He lives in the southeast corner of the Hundred Acre Wood, in an area labeled “Eeyore’s Gloomy Place: Rather Boggy and Sad” on the map in the book.

He has a stick house therein called The House at Pooh Corner. Pooh and Piglet built it for him after accidentally mistaking the original house that Eeyore built for a pile of sticks.

 

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