Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

The Meaning of Language … in the context of Killing, and Sin, and The Resurrection …

Hamachidori“, by Ryutaro Hirota, played by Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra & Kazumasa Watanabe, from the album “Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)

Sunrise on The Last Day

I am writing these days about the consequences of misusing language, of imprecise argument, of discussions which are based on unconfirmed or unproven “facts” or even no facts at all but simply one of the “every right minded person knows this to be true” type of argument. This might be a bit of a rant but we’ll see how it goes.

I am thinking about the detachment of thinking and philosophy from reality such that “Truth” becomes “whatever we want it to be depending on what our emotions and thoughts and desires lead us into.

If we understood how we lead ourselves into delusion and sin by looking at our lives and our conduct through the lens of all the usual daily “wax on, wax off” of redirection and euphemism which we use to preserve our self-righteous belief in our own “goodness” we might make some progress along the narrow path to living in God’s will.

But lack of precision in language leads us into an ever deeper pit of double speak, innuendo and euphemism. We no longer say exactly what we mean and before long we forget what it is we are actually doing because we start thinking and acting in ways which are no longer connected to reality in any meaningful way. We transport ourselves to a reality of our own making in our own mind and no longer understand what we are doing or how it affects  everyone around us.

Unfortunately, “reality” isn’t rooted in our heads, in what we desire or in what we believe. In previous posts I have mentioned Venezuela as one of the Poster Boys of the inevitable outcomes of “Progressive” living and acting as if “subjective truth” were “reality”. Liberal Socialism is “Progressive Subjective Truth” in action. Here in Canada we are already dangerously far down this path, where even Canadian “Conservatives” are far to the left of American Democrats. Canadian Liberals and “National Democrats” are so far off the reality map as to be clinically delusional in their expectations and beliefs.

When we depart from Truth based on reality, we move into a “Brave New World” of ever expanding “subjective Truth”. Reality now becomes an ever changing landscape dependant on individual desires and thoughts.

If man himself is “the author of Truth” and it is subjective … that is to say “your Truth” may well be terminally different from “my Truth”, with potentially disastrous fall out for everyone, then absolutely any evil becomes possible and even acceptable depending on our personal power to influence. In a world of malleable truth our reality is limited only by our ability to force others to conform to our circle of influence.

This easily translates into public policy initiatives especially if one of the objectives of the policy initiators is to avoid the repercussions of accountability for the outcomes of those policy initiatives. Imprecise language leaves lots of loopholes for dodging silver bullets.

Thanks to subjective truth, and subjective thinking, Canada has, in one generation, moved from homosexuality and abortion being immoral and illegal practices, to general acceptance of homosexuality as being “normal” and OK, and to the widespread legal killing of innocent people because of their geographical location or state in life, currently running at about 150,000 people a day in our western “civilized” culture. I am not sure if that statistic is for the whole world, for Europe and North America or just for here in North America but it is still a scary number however you think about it.

This whole area of “thinking” is wrapped about with euphemism, innuendo and misdirection where all concepts of right and wrong are turned on their heads to aid the policy designers in pursuing their desired direction.

So, for starters, relating to “subjective Truth”, here is an open letter to a Canadian MP regarding the current effort underway on the part of the Canadian government to widen the net and expand the criteria for qualifying patients for the medical procedure known as medical assistance in dying (euphemistically known as MAID).

Basically, MAID is the process of qualifying (selecting) targeted patients to be killed off to relieve these targeted patients of the “burden” of their suffering, all the while presenting the case that this “choice” is the patient’s desire, rather than the Health department’s desire.

So here is the letter:

*****

As a concerned constituent,

I am writing to give you direct feedback about the possibility of the criteria for medical assistance in dying being further expanded.

First, and this point needs to be explained clearly by all parties, since it is the most critical factor in this argument, is the irrefutable fact that there is not a single argument being used by the MAID camp, to expand the state’s ability, selection network of target victims, and “legal” right to kill selected citizens, which cannot be completely addressed by properly applied palliative care, up to and including medically induced coma.

What the published arguments by the MAID camp leave unstated, is the only argument not refuted by “palliative care and medically induced coma”. This unstated argument is the potential cost savings involved in the full implementation of MAID, thus enabling the shifting of budgetary resources to other health care programs going forward.

This curious omission of the “costs argument” flies in the face of government’s willingness to invoke the “Costs” argument in other budgetary areas.  I agree that $35,000 per man woman and child in Canada for health care in 2018, is likely unsustainable in the long run. Terminal end-of-life health care costs a lot of money for “only a few patients” and it would seem to be the best argument for implementing MAID.

The rest of this note fits the current narrative. I recognize that the specific purpose of this consultation is in response to the court ruling that struck down the “reasonably foreseeable death” criterion for MAID. However, this clause was added to the law when it was passed in 2016 to protect people with disabilities, including those with mental health concerns. The timing of this court ruling by the Quebec judiciary seems curiously coincidental but we will leave that question for another day.

Anyway, Doctors know that often persons with disabilities or with serious mental health concerns consider suicide rather than to face life with a physical or psychological limitation. But with love, a strong support network and proper medical care, many do change their minds and lead their lives with dignity and self-respect. People in this circumstances need to be offered assistance to live, not death. The current safeguards are completely inadequate. I ask you to consider the adoption of the Vulnerable Persons Standard: https://www.vps-npv.ca

I am also concerned that there is discussion about expanding the criteria for assisted suicide and euthanasia to allow children, those whose primary diagnosis is a mental health concern, and those who want advanced directives to qualify for MAID. How can we allow even more vulnerable groups to be put at risk when we don’t have adequate access to care across our country?

Thank you.

*****

No answer to the above letter is expected nor has any answer been received. Why is that not a surprise? We, that is mankind, are extraordinarily skilled at dissembling and covering up our wrongs and our evil doing.

We have a huge vocabulary of code words and euphemisms to hide what our actions and conduct really are all about and their effect on our neighbours around us. I suspect that many of us go through life thinking “we’re pretty good, not like those other horrible people”, a lot like the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

Greta is angry with us …

Recall that the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is a parable of Jesus that appears in the Gospel of Luke. In Luke 18:9-14, a self-righteous Pharisee, obsessed by his own virtue, his obvious superiority to those around him, his virtuous life and his good works, is contrasted with a tax collector, one of the ordinary folks, who humbly asks God for mercy.

This parable demonstrates the need to act and pray humbly in our daily lives, to see ourselves as we really are rather than to see the imagined evil motives behind the lives of others.

For example, I don’t suppose that teenage talking head Greta Thunberg ever had to keep a farm running all winter without oil but I can tell you that she and her backers are fundamentally divorced from our current winter reality in rural Alberta.

Well, she must be OK because the Wickedpedia loves her, and if one doesn’t think Greta has got powerful backers with an anti oil agenda there is a flavor of unreality in that thinking as well. Sigh …  so here is another point of view on that topic, just to give both sides some coverage.

George Soros 2012

These days, and perhaps for at least the last several thousand years, humility has been rather thin on the ground and pride reigns in many hearts. There is certain biblical precedent to the current objections to the hydrocarbon economy and, as it has always been, it is all about controlling the narrative.

Ancient Egypt got rolling by 3000 BC  and was really hitting its heights by the time Moses and the Jews departed around 1500 BC, and its likely that Pharaoh wasn’t the first God King to go down in flames, or in his case to drown in the sea, and go down into the flames.

But why? he just wanted to control the narrative, didn’t he?

God gave Egypt 2 thousand years to get their act together and they rose to the pinnacle of power in their world before they crashed and drowned in the Red Sea while refusing to acknowledge GOD and chasing Moses and Israel to kill them for delivering God’s message.

Then He gave Israel about 1500 years to rise to their pinnacle. 500 years after Moses King David got things going along nicely in Israel’s golden period. But within a thousand years they rejected God and killed His son who had been sent to teach them a better way. They were wiped out shortly after that disaster and scattered to the four winds by Rome in 70 AD.

Now He has given Western Christendom, the Gentiles of scripture, about 2000 years to rise to their pinnacle and it sure looks to me like we are looking at our own crash and burn epic right now.

Whose agenda are we really following, whose instructions and commandments? It doesn’t feel to me like God’s Will figures very largely in our world’s goals and agendas. The western world has rejected God and refused His divine Son in an orgy of self worship and self love, perversion and decadence.

Contrary to the (in)famous TELUS commercial, the future is definitely not friendly, and woe to anyone who openly disagrees with the path we are on.  Who will be the next chosen people once our corrupt society is dead and gone.

*****

14 The beginning of the pride of man, is to fall off from God: 15 Because his heart is departed from him that made him: for pride is the beginning of all sin: he that holdeth it, shall be filled with maledictions, and it shall ruin him in the end. (Ecclesiastes 10:14–15/Sirach 10:14-15)

*****

Ah yes, tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace, to the last syllable of  time … nothing ever changes, it’s all pride, the mother of all sin.  It seems, judging by some of the comments, that I am not the only one dismayed by the semi-literacy and lack of precision in language surrounding us everywhere in the media and on our social networks. So let’s call a spade a spade, and let’s call sin what it is … SIN the action of evil in the world.

I have been reading a new book by Christine Watkins called “The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Conscience“. This little book lines up precisely with where my head has been for a couple of years now. Here is a quote regarding sin, from that book:

*****

What horrified me and left me shaking the most was seeing the nature of sin itself. It does nothing but destroy and is infinitely worse than poison. Poison can kill the body, which is temporal, but sin can kill the soul, which is eternal. Jesus revealed to me that every sin, large or small, is significant.

A little lie was more serious than I thought because Jesus looks at our hearts. The lie may seem small, but the deceit within us can be huge. Or with slander—casting another in a negative light, thinking it and speaking it can look the same in God’s eyes because God sees the seed of judgment in our hearts. The slander is simply an expression of it.

When Jesus said in Matthew 5: 27-28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” He meant exactly what He said.

God revealed to me how sin spreads like a malignant cancer. Just the simple act of treating one person negatively initiates a spider-web effect. If I yell at someone in the morning and put them in a bad mood, they take that with them into their day and spread it easily to others, who in turn, bring the anger home with them, and take it out on their loved ones, who bother their neighbors, and so on … and so on … and so on …

Like the many branches of an infinite and insidious tree, it expands from one small sprout. Every single sin multiplies this way, even those we think are hidden, affecting both the physical and the spiritual realms, travelling across generations, sometimes continents. Sin unveiled is a gruesome thing.

What happened next shocked me to my core. I was standing before Jesus, with no memory of how I had come back to the Church two years earlier and repented. The Lord of heaven and earth was hiding this from my awareness because He was about to let me fully experience what would have happened to me had I died in my sins. Jesus gave me my personal judgment. Immediately, I saw my sentence within His eyes. The verdict was hell for all eternity.

I was frozen, speechless, in overwhelming, silent terror. I knew I deserved it, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. The experience felt frightful beyond sheer horror. I couldn’t argue back. I couldn’t talk my way out of anything. I fell silent before the divine truth that justice demands. I was undergoing my personal judgment in miniature, and by the life I had lived, I had freely chosen my sentence: an eternal “fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth (Matthew 13: 42 b).” Human language cannot convey the regret that seized me.

As Jesus took the scroll from the Father, I was also made to understand that this judgment, unique to each individual, is coming upon the world. Every person on the face of the Earth will experience their personal judgment, either while alive or at death, and every single sin will have to be accounted for.

What made the experience so scary for me, and what makes me so concerned for the world is that at death, there is no way to alter one’s sentence. There is no way to go back and change things, to correct the wrongs. It is absolute. For me, the door to heaven had locked with an iron deadbolt, and my fate was to be sealed forever.

Watkins, Christine. The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Conscience. Location 1783-1834 Queen of Peace Media. Kindle Edition.

*****

So I am continuing on to look at the Resurrection. As I remarked in a previous post, the gateway to Belief is flanked and supported by the two pillars of reality, the Incarnation and the Resurrection supporting the lintel of Faith. But even the transmission of divinely revealed Truth is derailed by academic argument about the meaning of words and the validity of arguments and statements based on those words.

Lack of precision in communications, that is in speaking and writing, makes the propagation of Truth difficult. When we divorce “Truth” from precision and reality and relegate it to being in our own mind, that is, what “Truth” mean “for us”, then we really destroy TRUTH.

Most of what I am going to relate here about my thoughts on the second pillar, the Resurrection, is drawing from the work of N.T. Wright in his huge book Resurrection Son of God V3: Christian Origins and the Question of God”.

The lack of precision in language contributes to the facility of denying the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and even the existence of God. If we don’t believe it, that God exists and cares about us, then we can walk any path and believe that literally anything is “Truth”.

*****

He (Wright) writes: “In what sense, if any, can Jesus’ resurrection be spoken of as ‘historical’? Second, how did people in Jesus’ day, both Gentiles and Jews, think and speak about the dead and their future destiny? In particular, what if anything did the word ‘resurrection’ (anastasis and its cognates, and the verb egeiro and its cognates, in Greek, and qum and its cognates in Hebrew) mean within that spectrum of belief? 12 … As George Caird once pointed out, when a speaker declares ‘I’m mad about my flat’ it helps to know whether they are American (in which case they are angry about their puncture) or British (in which case they are enthusiastic about their living quarters).13 When the early Christians said ‘The Messiah was raised from the dead on the third day’, what might they have been heard to be saying? This may seem obvious to some readers, but it was by no means obvious, according to the evangelists, when Jesus said similar things to his followers, and a glance at contemporary literature will show that it remains far from obvious to many scholars today.14  …  As well as the question of meaning (what did this kind of talk mean at the time?) we must consider the question of derivation: what, if anything, did the Christian shaping of ideas and language about Easter owe to the wider context, both Jewish and non-Jewish? What was the way that the non-Jewish world of the first century looked at these two questions in mind; what was the way that the Jewish world looked at it.15 Let me then spell out somewhat more fully the brief, almost formulaic account given a moment ago of how the argument develops from there. … Granted the wide range of views about life after death in general and resurrection in particular, what did the early Christians believe on these topics, and how can we account for their beliefs?

This method recognizes that all knowledge of the past, as indeed of everything else, is mediated not only through sources but also through the perceptions, perceptions, and hence also the personalities, of the knowers. There is no such thing as detached objectivity.

To say, therefore, that we can investigate other historical claims in a neutral or objective fashion, but that with the resurrection an element of subjectivity inevitably creeps in, is to ignore the fact that all historical work consists of a dialogue between the historian, in community with other historians, and the source materials; and that at every point the historians’ own worldview-perspectives are inevitably involvedBut this does not mean that all knowledge collapses into mere subjectivity. There are ways of moving towards fair and true statements about the past.”

Wright, N. T.. Resurrection Son of God V3: Christian Origins and the Question of God (pp. 8-29). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

*****

What I am doing here is trying to explain to myself, to reassure myself that my belief in, my Faith in Jesus Christ is justified … Jesus Christ was/is real, was/is Divine, was/is Man, was Incarnated as The God Man, and Resurrected after his death on the cross.

If any of these points could be proven wrong then I suppose that Christianity would be a sham, a lie, but so far, 2000 plus years of trying by all the usual suspects have failed to disprove any of the above points and they are left with denying the existence of GOD hence the new-found popularity of Atheism in our polite secular society.

“Red Dragonfly” by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)

So, end of the post, sipping my coffee, enjoying a new creamer called “SuperFood Pumpkin Spice”, and it gives a nice flavourful coffee but I still add a few ounces of 36% cream to fatten it up. But what would coffee be without a little scripture?  Paul would have recognized our current Social/Political landscape … here is part of his letter to Timothy:

*****

… But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. …

Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra– what persecutions I endured.

And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Ti 3:1-13)

*****

Anyway, that’s enough fun for now. It is encouraging to know that there are other folks out there who see the current state of confusion in communication as problematic. I suspect that the “usual suspects” calling me a “pedant” are not really that sure what exactly “pedant” means anyway.

So for those who got this far, you must be amongst the blessed literate on this long journey. We understand that we have to look at our lives and our conduct without all the usual daily “wax on, wax off” of redirection and euphemism we use to preserve our belief in our own “goodness”.

Cheers

Joe

Ahhh,  time for another stress free “nice conversation with my friends”. Who cares what the words mean anyway, they just sound so “pleasantly conversational”.

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The Inner Struggle

Psalm 139 … God’s Self Restraint … a resurrection of sorts …

Mark Mallett with Pope Benedict XVI

I have been following another blogger (one of a select few) for quite a while now. Mark Mallett has made a couple of interesting posts in the last few days, Well, actually all his posts are very good but I was struck by these recent two posts …one on Living in God’s Will  and another on The world we are facing today.

Coincidentally, I am currently reading several of the books which Mark references which may make his posts more relevant and interesting to me. I also am reading several others which fill up my daily reading list and make progress slow but steady.

Sometimes the reading gets in the way of posting and leaves me thinking heavy thoughts about my wasted life and all the years I would like to have back that I frittered away on things I once thought were important but which time has shown to be nothing more than smoke in the wind.

Some of this reading is really heavy going as I try to come to terms with how I have spent my life and how far I have to go. But the past is the past and all I can do now is learn from it and move forward to the goal. Have to complete the mission, no matter what. I have to keep it always before me that the children of this world, the world of Anti-Christ, are all children of God the Father, who the Father loves better than the best father in this world, and for whom and with whom he exercises divine Self-restraint

Mark’s writing seems to be something of a roller coaster with many ups and downs, many “lenses” so to speak, first the optimism of “Living in The Divine Will”, and then the plunge into the Hell of worldly reality which is very much related to what we are seeing in the media about world events and in our Church these days. I find that I need a lot of reassurance at times and I find that reassurance in daily prayer and meditating on the “upside” of the world going to Hell all around us, and who can deny that there is much of Hell in our daily vision of worldly events.

I take some comfort in remembering, in reminding myself, that GOD sees and experiences and understands all things in the Eternal Now, even that bit of his now within which he created “a nothing”, within which He “then” created everything that exists in time.

I keep reminding myself that to live in the Divine Will is the goal, the treasure which transcends all the travail, sorrow, and pain “in time”. It is simply not possible for we poor time raddled creatures to imagine in any meaningful way the idea of “The Eternal Now”. All we are faced with is “Jesus, I Trust In You”. Jesus faced it all and he told us to Trust Him.

So let us look at, meditate on, John 6: 41-51. John 6 is all about belief and Eucharist, as follows:

*****

41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ 42They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’

43Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.

47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

*****

Robert Cardinal Sarah

How can this be?  How can the almighty eternal God permit the rejection of unbelievers, who must displease Him Who knows all, sees all, understands all, feels all, every bit of it all,  just as it is intended by men?  Cardinal Sarah writes:

*****

“In order that the world might be, and be for itself, God renounced His being.” What does that mean? “To make room for the world, the En-Sof (Infinite; literally, No-End) of the beginning had to contract Himself so that, vacated by Him, empty space could expand outside of Him: the ‘Nothing’ in which and from which God could then create the world.

Without this retreat into Himself, there could be no ‘other’ outside God.” We can guess his conclusion: In deciding on this withdrawal into himself so that man can exist, God becomes by that very fact a suffering God, because he will have to suffer because of man and be disappointed in him.

God will also be a concerned God, because he will entrust the world to agents other than himself, to free agents. In short, this is a God at risk, a God who incurs a proper risk. But then, that God is not an almighty God.

In order for the goodness of God to be compatible with the existence of evil, he must not be almighty. More exactly, it is necessary for this God to have renounced power. In the simple fact of allowing human freedom lies a renunciation of power. But if God is not powerful, then he is not God.

He is the Almighty, but, at the same time, he wants to permit man to be truly free. Because the omnipotence of God is the omnipotence of love; and the omnipotence of love is death.

The infinity of God is not an infinity in space, a bottomless, shoreless ocean; it is a love that has no limits. Creation is an act of infinite love. For Hans Jonas, the act of creation is a kind of divine “self-restraint”.

By dint of this, God’s silence and his allowing things to happen can receive an initial explanation. Human suffering mysteriously becomes suffering for God. In the divine nature, suffering is not synonymous with imperfection.”

Robert Cardinal Sarah,  “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” (para 168-169). Ignatius Press. Also available on Kindle at Amazon.

*****

and then we have Psalm 139:

1 לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִ֣ד מִזְמ֑וֹר יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה חֲקַרְתַּ֥נִי וַתֵּדָֽע For the conductor. Of David, a song. O Lord, You have searched me out and You know.
2 אַתָּ֣ה יָ֖דַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּ֣י וְקוּמִ֑י בַּ֥נְתָּה לְ֜רֵעִֽ֗י מֵֽרָחֽוֹק You know my sitting and my rising; You understand how to attach me from afar.
3 אָרְחִ֣י וְרִבְעִ֣י זֵרִ֑יתָ וְכָל־דְּרָכַ֥י הִסְכַּֽנְתָּה My going about and my lying down You encompassed, and You are accustomed to all my ways.
4 כִּ֚י אֵ֣ין מִלָּ֣ה בִלְשׁוֹנִ֑י הֵ֥ן יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה יָדַ֥עְתָּ כֻלָּֽהּ For there is no word on my tongue; behold, O Lord, You know it all.
5 אָח֣וֹר וָקֶ֣דֶם צַרְתָּ֑נִי וַתָּ֖שֶׁת עָלַ֣י כַּפֶּֽכָה From the rear and the front You encompassed me, and You placed Your pressure upon me.
6 פְּלִ֣יאָה דַ֣עַת מִמֶּ֑נִּי נִ֜שְׂגְּבָ֗ה לֹֽא־אוּכַ֥ל לָֽהּ Knowledge is hidden from me; it is hard, I cannot attain it.
7 אָנָ֣ה אֵלֵךְ מֵֽרוּחֶ֑ךָ וְ֜אָ֗נָה מִפָּנֶ֥יךָ אֶבְרָֽח Where shall I go from Your spirit, and where shall I flee from Your presence?
8 אִם־אֶסַּ֣ק שָׁ֖מַיִם שָׁ֣ם אָ֑תָּה וְאַצִּ֖יעָה שְּׁא֣וֹל הִנֶּֽךָּ If I ascend to the heavens, there You are, and if I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there.
9 אֶשָּׂ֥א כַנְפֵי־שָׁ֑חַר אֶ֜שְׁכְּנָ֗ה בְּאַֽחֲרִ֥ית יָֽם [If] I take up the wings of dawn, [if] I dwell at the end of the west,
10 גַּם־שָׁ֖ם יָֽדְךָ֣ תַנְחֵ֑נִי וְֽתֹ֖אחֲזֵ֣נִי יְמִינֶֽךָ There too, Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will grasp me.
11 וָאֹֽמַ֗ר אַךְ־חֹ֥שֶׁךְ יְשׁוּפֵ֑נִי וְ֜לַ֗יְלָה א֣וֹר בַּֽעֲדֵֽנִי I said, “Darkness will darken me, and the night will be as light about me.”
12 גַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ֘ לֹֽא־יַחְשִׁ֪יךְ מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָּ וְלַיְלָה כַּיּ֣וֹם יָאִ֑יר כַּֽ֜חֲשֵׁיכָ֗ה כָּֽאוֹרָֽה Even darkness will not obscure [anything] from You, and the night will light up like day; as darkness so is the light.
13 כִּֽי־אַ֖תָּה קָנִ֣יתָ כִלְיֹתָ֑י תְּ֜סֻכֵּ֗נִי בְּבֶ֣טֶן אִמִּֽי For You created my reins, You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 אֽוֹדְךָ֗ עַ֚ל כִּ֥י נֽוֹרָא֗וֹת נִ֫פְלֵ֥יתִי נִפְלָאִ֥ים מַֽעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ וְ֜נַפְשִׁ֗י יֹדַ֥עַת מְאֹֽד I shall thank You for in an awesome, wondrous way I was fashioned; Your works are wondrous, and my soul knows it very well.
15 לֹֽא־נִכְחַ֥ד עָצְמִ֗י מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָּ אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂ֥יתִי בַסֵּ֑תֶר רֻ֜קַּ֗מְתִּי בְּתַחְתִּיּ֥וֹת אָֽרֶץ My essence was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, I was formed in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 גָּלְמִ֚י | רָ֘א֚וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ וְעַל־סִפְרְךָ֘ כֻּלָּ֪ם יִכָּ֫תֵ֥בוּ יָמִ֥ים יֻצָּ֑רוּ וְל֖וֹ אֶחָ֣ד בָּהֶֽם Your eyes saw my unformed body, and on Your book they were all written; days have been formed and one of them is His.
17 וְלִ֗י מַה־יָּֽקְר֣וּ רֵעֶ֣יךָ אֵ֑ל מֶ֥ה עָֽ֜צְמ֗וּ רָֽאשֵׁיהֶֽם And to me, how dear are Your friends, O Lord! How great is their sum!
18 אֶסְפְּרֵם מֵח֣וֹל יִרְבּ֑וּן הֱ֜קִיצֹ֗תִי וְעוֹדִ֥י עִמָּֽךְ I shall count them; they are more numerous than sand; I have come to the end, and I am still with You.
19 אִם־תִּקְטֹ֖ל אֱל֥וֹהַּ | רָשָׁ֑ע וְאַנְשֵׁ֥י דָ֜מִ֗ים ס֣וּרוּ מֶֽנִּי If only You would slay the wicked, O God, and men of blood, “Turn away from me.”
20 אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֹֽ֖מְרוּךָ לִמְזִמָּ֑ה נָשׂ֖וּא לַשָּׁ֣וְא עָרֶֽיךָ Who mention You with wicked thought; Your enemies took it up in vain.
21 הֲלוֹא־מְשַׂנְאֶ֖יךָ יְהֹוָ֥ה | אֶשְׂנָ֑א וּ֜בִתְקֽוֹמְמֶ֗יךָ אֶתְקוֹטָֽט Did I not hate Your enemies, O Lord? With those who rise up against You, I quarrel.
22 תַּכְלִ֣ית שִׂנְאָ֣ה שְׂנֵאתִ֑ים לְ֜אֹֽיְבִ֗ים הָ֣יוּ לִֽי I hate them with utmost hatred; they have become my enemies.
23 חָקְרֵ֣נִי אֵ֖ל וְדַ֣ע לְבָבִ֑י בְּ֜חָנֵ֗נִי וְדַ֣ע שַׂרְעַפָּֽי Search me out, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
24 וּרְאֵ֗ה אִם־דֶּֽרֶךְ־עֹ֥צֶב בִּ֑י וּ֜נְחֵ֗נִי בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ עוֹלָֽם And see whether there is any vexatious way about me, and lead me in the way of the world.

Old testament all the way, and then came Jesus Christ who gave us His new commandment … “Love your enemies … “. The children of this world, the world of Anti-Christ,  they are also all children of God the Father, who the Father loves better than the best father in this world, and for whom and with whom he exercises divine Self-restraint … always offering the light of conversion, the peace of repentance.

Cheers,

Joe

*Image: Christ the King (a.k.a. The Almighty or God the Father) by Jan van Eyck, c. 1425 [St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium]. This is the Deisis (representation of Christ in majesty), central panel in the inner section of the Ghent Altarpiece

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Life in a small town

Weathernation …

-38 Degrees C on the car thermometer this AM at 08:00 when I started one of our vehicles. Yup, winter is definitely here … so much for Global Warming. And our Liberal Carbon Tax grab is underway just as the coldest weather in decades descends on the west. It sounds like whining but the west truly is getting screwed by Ottawa and the east.

Here is a link to a post by Rick Mercer a few years ago about “Torontarded”. This pretty much says it all for easterners and their beliefs and attitudes. Eastern Canadians make French Surrender Monkeys look like Sampson before Delilah.

Anyway, here is the link: http://www.rickmercer.com/Rick-s-Rant/Blog/December-2007/Weather-Nation.aspx. 

and of course we have the classic satirical skit … set somewhere in southern Ontario …

This is why Liberal Socialists get elected and elected and elected … because “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Cheers

Joe

G.K. Chesterton

Told ya …

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The Inner Struggle

The Resurrection of Christ Jesus … Meaning and Communication?

“An Taiseirl (The Resurrection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

Resurrection, Romolo Tavani

Resurrection, Romolo Tavani

Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.

They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, “what does it matter in the light of eternity?” Well, it turns out that the Resurrection matters rather a lot. St. Bernard had it right concerning all the trials of our daily lives as they relate to eternity, but THE most important thing in all of human history is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why is it so misunderstood and ignored?

I like the term “praxis” meaning “that which people do habitually, characteristically and usually unreflectively“, as a wonderfully concise summary of our polite daily narrative. It gives me a nice handle on the state of action, conversation and thought, or the lack of same, in our social media society.

I have had an on-again, off-again, love/hate relationship with the use of our English language as a means of alleged “communications” for at least 40 years now. I have found that the world shows a distressing lack of precision and understanding of the meaning of common words, used every day, and in the communication of thoughts which when examined, have no relation whatsoever to the words in use to express the “feelings” of the speaker except perhaps in some vague syllabic sort of way, the more syllables the better.

That the speakers lack a basic understanding of what the words they use moment by moment actually mean in English is a never ending source of distress and misunderstanding. Should one raise any objection to this misuse of the language one is immediately vilified as a “pedant”, supposing that term exists in the speakers lexicon, and worse if the vocabulary is lacking. Even questioning “What do you mean?” invites a snarky retort along the lines of “What’s the matter with you don’t you understand plain English?” To which the obvious answer is “Well, yes, but … ”  don’t go there … really, no joy down that  track.

And so we find ourselves back at the start of the trail, with another pair of tracks in front of us added to the ones before … and then someone remarks “Another couple of Heffalumps have joined the herd!” … So goes debate and discussion in polite society.

As I remarked in a previous post, the gateway to Belief is flanked and supported by the two pillars of reality, the Incarnation and the Resurrection supporting the lintel of Faith …  but how can one express such a reality to any person confined to, imprisoned in, secular material reality? How are we to describe color to the blind or music to the deaf? How to communicate when we don’t even have a common language?

How is one to explain “Faith” without a common language, and even the brightest of  us seem to assign rather different meanings to rather common ideas and words. I am still reading “The Resurrection of the Son of God V3: Christian Origins and the Question of God” by N.T. Wright, from “Fortress Press” . It is a joy to read, what I have in the past referred to as “Brain Candy”, but not a ripping page turner. I I read a bit when I  am finished daily meditations, along with several others on my list in the same class of books.

And Dr. Wright spends a significant part of the first 70 pages or so clarifying this exact problem of meaning and the need for clarity in the context of historical writing and theology …  and that same confusion is equally prevalent in daily social exchange and is arguably more important, since in the immediate sense, history is only important to historians.

N.T. Wright writes: “What, though, do we mean by ‘historical’?  ‘History’ and its cognates have been used, within debates about Jesus and the resurrection, in at least five significantly different ways.

First, there is history as event. If we say something is ‘historical’ in this sense, it happened, whether or not we can know or prove that it happened. The death of the last pterodactyl is in that sense a historical event, even though no human witnessed it or wrote about it at the time, and we are very unlikely ever to discover when and where it took place. Similarly, we use the word ‘historical’ of persons or things, to indicate simply and solely that they existed.

Second, there is history as significant event. Not all events are significant; history, it is often assumed, consists of the ones that are. The adjective that tends to go with this is ‘historic’; ‘a historic event’ is not simply an event that took place, but one whose occurrence carried momentous consequences. Likewise, a ‘historic’ person, building or object is one perceived to have had particular significance, not merely existence. Rudolf Bultmann, himself arguably a historic figure within the discipline of New Testament studies, famously used the adjective “geschichtlich” to convey this sense, over against “historisch” (sense 1).

Third, there is history as provable event. To say that something is ‘historical’ in this sense is to say not only that it happened but that we can demonstrate that it happened, on the analogy of mathematics or the so-called hard sciences. This is somewhat more controversial. To say ‘x may have happened, but we can’t prove it, so it isn’t really historical’ may not be self-contradictory, but is clearly operating with a more restricted sense of ‘history’ than some of the others.

Fourth, and quite different from the previous three, there is history as writing-about-events-in-the-past. To say that something is ‘historical’ in this sense is to say that it was written about, or perhaps could in principle have been written about. (This might even include ‘historical’ novels.) A variant on this, though an important one, is oral history; at a time when many regarded the spoken word as carrying more authority than the written, history as speaking-about-events-in-the-past is not to be sneezed at.

Fifth and finally, a combination of (3) and (4) is often found precisely in discussions of Jesus: history as what modern historians can say about a topic. By ‘modern’ I mean ‘post-Enlightenment’, the period in which people have imagined some kind of analogy, even correlation, between history and the hard sciences. In this sense, ‘historical’ means not only that which can be demonstrated and written, but that which can be demonstrated and written within the post-Enlightenment worldview. This is what people have often had in mind when they have rejected ‘the historical Jesus’ (which hereby, of course, comes to mean ‘the Jesus that fits the Procrustean bed of a reductionist worldview’) in favour of ‘the Christ of faith’.

If the “authorities”  cannot agree on the meaning of “historical” then what hope for the rest of us on any topic. We are left with “Feelings”?

Anyway, eh? Enough serious stuff for tonight …here is something from around here amongst the frozen chosen:

Cheers

Joe

A Psalm of David: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

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Life in a small town

Found a new interesting YouTube channel …

Hey, found a new and very interesting channel on YouTube, the tip came through a FaceBook contact, who knew?

I guess some good things can come out of FaceBook after all.  The first link was to a talk given by Father Chad Ripperger who I have mentioned here and also posted on the same theme (of “The Big Lie”) here  and here.

So this talk that got my attention is titled “How to Kick Back the Devil by Fr.Ripperger”

But even better is all the other content at this site where I found the Fr. Ripperger talk:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMcv5f67Cbw8aIyGk2n3v0w

Anyway, hope you enjoy this if this is where your head is now. If not, well no harm no foul.

Cheers

Joe

it’s all so crazy making …

 

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Life in a small town

Incarnation and Resurrection … reality and fantasy and Happy New Year?

This post was supposed to come out the day after New Years Day but took much longer to write than I anticipated. Sometimes one spends more time thinking about how to say what one is thinking about than in the actual writing of it. Can’t be helped.

The gateway to Belief is flanked and supported by the two pillars of reality, the Incarnation and the Resurrection supporting the lintel of Faith … how can one express such a reality to any person confined to, imprisoned in, secular material reality? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. ( Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio). But how are we to describe color to the blind or music to the deaf?

Much of what we learn in life, what makes up our daily lives and the manner in which we conduct ourselves, at home, at work and in public and private is learned by following the examples and instructions of others. Parents, friends, teachers, people in positions of authority, people we respect as worthy authorities, and even, without much thought, we believe and trust relatively unknown people, characters on social media, and the news are all sources and examples, because “all right minded people know this” but have these sources of our learning acceptable behavior and thinking brought us to joy and happiness or led us into ever deepening wells of despair and distress? Do these examples spark joy?

So what about those “examples” and joy? Or is it more about “examples” and envy? Most of our society, at least here in the West, what was once known as “Christendom”, is deep in the throes of an era of self worship and infatuation with self. Our lives, and the lives of our “examples” are certainly not the lives of saints nor anything remotely resembling saints. And daily our society tells us and reinforces the mantra that man is the measure of all things, and this is OK. Joy is found in a new trip, a new car, a new girlfriend or boyfriend, a faster computer, a new dress or suit, a new house or a new husband … a nice coffee and a couple of donuts? Really? Joy?

It’s OK to be “bad”, even fun to be “bad”, to “reward” ourselves with bouts and binges of “bad” behavior for sticking to some middling good behavior for some arbitrarily short period of time, some New Year’s resolution which lasted for a week, maybe, if we really, really, tried hard. “Bad” in this context refers to behavior lacking in “virtue” and in a cultural twist, the 7 deadly sins have been “rehabilitated” into acceptable and perhaps in some cases even desirable behaviors in a self gratification centered life style. Most lately we see Narcissism being raised to the exalted state of a “secular virtue”. And where did Love, as in self sacrificing Love go in this blizzard of self worship?

We were created and called to strive to be good, “as our heavenly Father is good”.  We do know what is good and what is not in the same way we know what is quality and what is not. It is written in our DNA, some call it “Natural Law”. Yes, the God deniers are legion and yet none would exist absent God the Creator calling them into existence with love and keeping them in existence with an even greater love, imprinting us with the Natural Law at conception and calling us endlessly home to Him.

Examples …

These days we are all like riders on a train thinking that reality is contained in the vista dome car of our little lives, looking out through the windows of our screens at whatever Potemkin Village our “Examples” care to show us, with no awareness of the rest of the train, nor where it came from nor where it is headed and how it all ends. And who are our “examples”? Justin? Donald? The beautiful people of “The 5”, of the Golden Globe awards? Whichever celeb has risen to the top of the Social Media pond this week?

At the very pinnacle of the man-centered universe are our real examples, right? The intellectual giants of modern academia, the self declared “Brights”, whose wisdom we are expected to accept and implement in our daily lives. We are talking about the academics, authors, journalists, and media stars who are arguably the shapers of what matters to modern enlightened society, our attempt at “culture”.

We have been obediently marching down this road at least since the French Revolution, a watershed event in modern European history that began in 1789 and ended in the late 1790’s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. And that road, that “road to perdition” has led us inexorably to what we have today. Looking around you, can anyone believe that this is the best of all worlds, the realized daily experience of our society following the wisdom of the “Brights” for the last 200 or so years?

This road, this man centered “road to perdition” has lead us into 200 years of more savage death than all of previous human history combined. In a mere 2 centuries we have flipped over our whole system of beliefs, from a culture of life, focused on the seasons, on growing, on harvest, on children as necessary and even desirable, on large nuclear families and religions folks believed in, had true faith in, faith in the divine, in God, now flipped over to a culture of death and destruction ever more deeply buried in euphemism and baffle-gab but clearly death focused in a most horrifying way and we have much more faith in government and our alleged leaders and their civil servants than medieval man ever had in the church. And we think the Medievals were gullible superstitious peasants … what does that make us?

Our New Society, our “Enlightened” modern culture, with man at the center, at the pinnacle, finds itself enslaved to our self gratifying passions. Are we not enslaved by anxiety, sadness and obsessions, by hatred, fornication, and envy, enslaved by thoughts of jealousy, rage, and death? We have gotten so desperate that we turn to thoughts of suicide and abortion, for distraction we turn to many forms of sinful sexuality, we are oppressed and enslaved by divisions in our families, and by harmful friendships, and in our despair we turn to every sort of emotional fantasy, and spells, and rituals, and strange beliefs in primitive pre-Christian paganism and even to witchcraft, and the occult masquerading as New Age Gnosticism, and pride ourselves in being “spiritual”.

I recently read a list of the 50 top atheists at the “Best Schools” web site. The BS site is all about the best of the best in academia and one gets the impression that the writers consider “atheism” to be one of the hallmarks of an intelligent human being, in fact it seems at first blush that philosophical academia and journalism is peopled exclusively with atheists and anyone who is not an atheist is somewhat primitive and “unsophisticated”. And yet, we see in these “Elysian Fields” nothing but the promotion of death.

Now, Elysium, also called Elysian Fields or Elysian Plain, in Greek mythology, was originally the paradise to which heroes on whom the gods conferred immortality were sent. It has come to refer to any promised desirable future to which we are being steered by our “betters”. But all we have seen in reality is death and death and more death, death industrialized and raised to a higher order of efficiency with “modern tools and technologies. And while there has been a soundly demonstrated efficiency at killing and destruction in our secular humanist culture, not one of these elite thinkers have ever created life, except by the usual human procreative way of the last hundred millennia or so … 1 man and 1 woman intimately exchanging fluid. None can claim any positive knowledge or origins and virtually everything they claim is as unprovable as the claims of any of the billions of believers.

The “no god” theory is simply another hypothesis upon which many academics, authors and journalists have built prestigious and lucrative careers, another sterling example of BS baffles. No ordinary person can hope to have even a minor meaningful conversation with these “Brights”, we are “not in their league”. And in human terms they are certainly charter members of the cultural elite, and it is interesting to note that “in human terms” it is certainly difficult, perhaps even impossible, to fruitfully imagine how “a god” might work.

And certainly none of these opinion leaders can even begin to offer any reasonable certainty beyond the very same certainty that is on offer throughout the Social Media universe. “All right thinking persons know this to be true”, right? The difference between them and us is the difference between a Tweet and real blog post … anyone can Tweet but it takes sheer genius to write thousands of words on subjects and in ways of writing that only another genius can understand. And they all seem to inhabit a “swamp of sorrows” with no joy and no future after a brief flickering life. What’s the point?

So then, what example are we to take to heart, what example are we to follow to gain peace and happiness, surely one of the primary desires of all human beings, even atheists. Well, let’s look at some people first who even the “no god” crowd would certainly agree led good lives. Let’s look at some saints. Are their lives a good example to take to heart when deciding how to live our own lives.

I believe that the study of inspired writings, that is in Scripture, and the accounts of the lives of blessed men and women, that we find a living breathing example of how to live godly lives. If we devote ourselves to trying to imitate the lives of these saintly people then no matter which virtue we seem to be lacking we can find it in Scripture and the lives of the saints, like finding the particular medicine in God’s own clinic for the particular ailment that is troubling us at that moment.

St. Joseph, my name saint, teaches chastity and firm self discipline, Job teaches endurance, so absolutely necessary to persevere on the godly path in this world of distraction and diversion, St. Augustine teaches repentance and humility, and insight into the perennial human condition, even of the highly intelligent. I have found over the last 25 years or so that St. Augustine’s “Confessions” continues to speak to me like a personal letter from a much respected older brother … someone whose example is truly worthy of following and emulating. What did Saint Augustine have to say about GOD?

*****

For who is Lord but the Lord? Or who is God save our God? Most high, most excellent, most mighty, most omnipotent; most merciful, and most just; most hidden, and most near; most beautiful, and most strong, constant, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; renewing all things, yet bringing old age upon the proud, without their realizing it; ever working, yet ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; supporting, filling, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and perfecting; still seeking, though you lack nothing.

Thou lovest, but without agitation; art jealous, yet free from anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, but not Thy purpose; embrace what Thou findest, yet didst never truly lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet demanding a profit. (Men give to you more than required and) Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe (hoping to put you in their debt) ; and who hath aught that is not Thine? (all is your gift)

Thou payest (those) debts, yet owest us nothing; remittest (forgive) debts, losing nothing. And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? Or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? (Is all this that I have said enough? Can anyone who speaks of you ever say enough?)

Saint Augustine. “The Confessions of St. Augustine” ( 1 pp. 2-3 ).

*****

And where did Love, as in self sacrificing Love, go in this blizzard of self worship? I have been reading St. Augustine off and on for 25 years, he has much to say about Love. And again, I have been reading meditations daily from a very special book for three years now.  Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.Dwrote a book Divine Intimacy,  Meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year”.  Where is Love? This is what Fr. Gabriel has to say about the reality of the Incarnation:

*****

God is Love; everything He does, both in Himself and outside of Himself, is a work of love. Being the infinite good, He cannot love anything outside of Himself from the desire of increasing His happiness, as is the case with us; in Himself He possesses all. Therefore, in God, to love, and hence to will creatures, is simply to extend, outside of Himself, His infinite good, His perfections, and to communicate to others His own Being and felicity.

Bonum diffusivum sui, St. Thomas says. Thus God loved man with an eternal love and, loving him, called him into existence, giving him both natural and supernatural life. through love, God not only brought man out of nothing, but chose him and elevated him to the state of divine sonship, destining him to participate in His own intimate life, in His eternal beatitude. This was the first plan of the immense charity of God with regard to man.

But when man fell into sin, God, who had created him by an act of love, willed to redeem him by an even greater act of love.  See then how the mystery of the Incarnation presents itself to us as the supreme manifestation of God’s exceeding charity towards man. “By this hath the charity of God appeared toward us, because God hath sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we may live by Him. In this charity … He hath first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4-9.10).

After having given man natural life, after having destined him for the supernatural life, what more could He give him than to give Himself, His Word made flesh, for his salvation.

God is Love. It is not surprising, therefore, that the story of His benevolent action on behalf of man is all a poem of love, and of merciful love. The first stanza of this poem was our eternal predestination to the vision and to the fruition of the intimate life of God. The second stanza relates, in an even more touching way, the sublimity of His mercy: the mystery of the Incarnation.

The sin of our first parents had destroyed God’s original plan for our elevation to a supernatural state; we had forfeited our claim, and could never atone for the sin. God could have pardoned all, but it was becoming to His holiness and infinite justice to exact an adequate satisfaction; man was absolutely incapable  of providing this. Then the most sublime work of God’s mercy was accomplished: one Person of the Blessed Trinity, the second, came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Behold the Word, God’s only-begotten Son, “who for us men and for our salvation, descended from heaven and became incarnate” (Credo).

The merciful love of God thus attains its highest manifestation: if there is no ingratitude and misery greater than sin, there can be no love greater than that of Him who inclines over so much ingratitude and abjection to restore it to its primal splendor. God did this, not by the intervention of a prophet or the most sublime of the angels; He did it personally: all three Persons of THE Blessed Trinity acted in the Incarnation, the end of which was to unite a human nature with the Person of Word. In this mystery, the immensity of the love and mercy of God for man appears and shines forth.

*****

So we find in Scripture, specifically in Malachi 3, The Coming Day of Judgment:

1 Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold, he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. 2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller’s herb: 3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. 4 And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years. 5 And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts.

And the thought, the belief that we can deny God … that if we say so then it must be so … is just insane … as C.S. Lewis said: ““A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ― C.S. Lewis, “The Problem of Pain”.  Our culture, our enlightened society has bought into the lie that by denying God we can get away with robbing Him.

6 For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 For from the days of your fathers you have departed from my ordinances, and have not kept them: Return to me, and I will return to you, saith the Lord of hosts. And you have said: Wherein shall we return? 8 Shall a man afflict God, for you afflict me. And you have said: Wherein do we afflict thee? in tithes and in first fruits. 9 And you are cursed with want, and you afflict me, even the whole nation of you. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, saith the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance. 11 And I will rebuke for your sakes the devourer, and he shall not spoil the fruit of your land: neither shall the vine in the field be barren, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts.

13 Your words have been unsufferable to me, saith the Lord. 14 And you have said: What have we spoken against thee? You have said: He laboureth in vain that serveth God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts? 15 Wherefore now we call the proud people happy, for they that work wickedness are built up, and they have tempted God and are preserved. 

But all will be remembered, nothing is forgotten, not one little jot … all is inscribed in The Book of Remembrance:

16 Then they that feared the Lord, spoke every one with his neighbour: and the Lord gave ear, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord, and think on his name. 17 And they shall be my special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment: and I will spare them, as a man spareth his son that serveth him. 18 And you shall return, and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked: and between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.

So we come to the end of part 1 … next post maybe I will touch on the Resurrection, or maybe not until Easter … if the Resurrection is not all true then Christianity is an evil lie, the Cross without redemption, and the god deniers are right about everything and this really is the best of all worlds possible under the rule of man as the measure of all things.

Enough for now.

Cheers

Joe

The Angelus, JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (Museo_de_Orsay, 1857-1859)

 

Peasants …

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Christmas Holiday 2019 …

Revisiting posts from Christmas’s Past, to remind myself that the past was not all gloom and doom even if it feels that way this week. Wishing and praying that everyone had a Very Merry Christmas, all my friends and acquaintances (and apparently a 100 or so followers and a few dozen other daily search engine hits). Notoriety of the really small potatoes variety 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.

Except, of course, the Dems’  who are the acknowledged centre of the known universe (after Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada). It is rather crowded at the center and those occupying that enviable position are perennially front and center in their long running endless impeachment soap opera drama, or in Canada the endless trashing of the evil Albertan Global Warming engine which the progressive media happily give endless hours of coverage without even a minimum of concern about facts and reality on the ground. Ah, such joy to live out one’s days in a drugged haze of self worshiping fantasy. Just for the record here in our small town we had about four inches of new fallen Global Warming to clean up our muddy street and make everything look pristine and perfect for a few hours.

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. Also have a YouTube fireplace running an endless loop of a 30 second fire place bite. 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 aesthetic 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 the worst year we ever had in business with larger than usual losses and 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 normal week of business instead of a Christmas rush.  The first “normal” business week since May at the end of which the main street construction project destroyed access to our store until mid October. Our latest “Annus Horribilus”  ended with a good week leading up to Christmas day both in the business and in the family. We celebrated Christmas Day with a small gathering of close family and feasted on a decidedly non traditional fish chowder and rare steak. Our youngest family member is now coming up to 25 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 Face-time, things were mercifully quiet and restrained here. We enjoyed much quiet commentary on the quality of the meal, 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.

INGSOC logo from 1984

INGSOC logo from 1984

Today is our first day back to work after a very welcome break. It is overcast with sunny periods and not too cold, a nice mild -15 degrees Celsius, which around these parts is almost shorts and sandals weather. 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”:

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“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. 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.”

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Jesus Christ, AD 30

Jesus Christ, AD 30

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.

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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).

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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)

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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 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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Life in a small town

Human Performance and Cancer as a metabolic disease …

I have happily found a new information stream of interest regarding health and fitness. For a while now I have been following up on and reading about Cancer as a metabolic disease rather than a genetic disease. I wrote about it here under the topic of “Models that work”.  I also mentioned this here, and here, and here, and here. I have personal friends and close relatives who are currently dying of, or have just died of cancer. I have a great personal interest in this killer and the politics and economics swirling around it.

The elephant in the room when it comes to cancer is our Research and Medical treatment system’s extraordinary failure to make any progress in 50 years of “War on Cancer”.  With literally billions sunk into this bottomless hole of terror we still routinely accept that something like 98% pf cancer sufferers won’t last 5 years. This appears to me (in my Homer Simpson simplicity) to indicate that the current model is NOT WORKING, (DUH!) and we are simply barking up the wrong tree. It is not a stretch to conclude that there are other interests wedded to this model and keeping us on this track rather than a genuine desire to cure cancer. Would we need a Department of Health if everyone was healthy? Hmmmm.

So what about the “Human Performance Outliers” Podcasts with hosts Dr. Shawn Baker and Zach Bitter. In this episode (#40) Professor Thomas Seyfried joins the show. Dr. Seyfried breaks down cancer as a metabolic disease. He explains how cancer thrives and what mistakes we are making in current cancer treatment. Check out Dr. Seyfried’s book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. This podcast is a great motivator to take up reading Dr. Seyfried’s book agan. Check out the podcast and see what you think:

 

And I guess that’s all for today …

Cheers

Joe

The Blind Leading the Blind

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Life in a small town

Luisa Piccarreta’s Mystical Visions (1899 – 1926) …

Some of Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947) mystical visions (1899 – 1926) of chastisements to come:

Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947)

Nota bene: Concerning the many chastisements Luisa beheld in mystical vision that will purge the earth and purify mankind,  noteworthy is «fire». Fire will come from the center of the earth (L. PICCARRETA, II, August 2, 1899; ID., VIII, January 2, 1909; XIV, October 27, 1922) and also from the sky (XIV, September 1, 1922; XII, November 2, 1917; VI, October 20, 1905; XI, April 3, 1915) to overwhelm mankind and make him believe that God exists (II, October 7, 1899).

Fire will strike evildoers, but those who are good and live a life of simplicity will be spared (II, August 10, 1899). The fire that descends upon earth will damage crops and man’s nourishment (IV, April 22, 1901; IV, May 22, 1902), and will flare up in certain countries (III, July 30, 1900).

Further purging the earth and man is the «sword» that represents wars (IV, March 22, 1901) and revolutions (XVI, March 22, 1924); the united forces of «fire», «blood» (XI, May 25, 1915), «water» (XIV, April 6, 1922; XV, July 14, 1923) and «wind» will spill out of their boundaries to destroy a great part of humanity and bury man (VII, April 17, 1906; XI, December 5, 1916; XVI, March 22, 1924; XVI, April 8, 1924;), while those who live in the Divine Will have dominion over these elements (XIII, January 3, 1922);

A star of black fire and blood that appears to represent a comet (II, March 18, 1899); peals of thunder, lightning (II, August 10, 1899) and a terrible hail (II, March 13, 1899; III, July 9, 1900);

Earthquakes that annihilate entire cities (XIII, December 22, 1921; XVII, August 9, 1924; XIX, September 5, 1926), and swallow up mountains and men (VII, April 17, 1906), thereby causing a good part to die (VI, June 19, 1904);

Volcanoes that inundate countries (II, March 18, 1899);  sudden deaths and contagious diseases (XII, October 16, 1918). 

As a result of said chastisements the Vatican will be shaken in part (IV, October 10, 1900), but in the end the nations will turn back to God (XII, October 16, 1918).

Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, “The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta” . St. Andrew’s Productions. Kindle Edition.

Cheers

Joe

We deny the Divine at our peril …

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Life in a small town

Things to do on Sunday Afternoon …

Things to do on Sunday Afternoon … well, what do you do on Sunday afternoon? I like to take it easy and think about things, and sometimes write about stuff, sometimes read about stuff, and in this case spend an hour watching an interview on Rex TV with Conrad Black.

I don’t know if this link will work for you or not … I have subscribed to Rex TV along with about 10,000 or so others (Canadians?) and I find myself amused and even surprised that there are that many intelligent folks in Canada who are interested in “the other point of view”.

I thought virtually all university educated Canadians were Kool Aid drinking Liberal Zombies who took all their leads from the CBC and Social Media. I guess I was wrong (who knew?). How come I have never met any of these strange chameleon-like creatures in the wild?

Anyway, here is the link:

Cheers

Joe

Someone’s gotta do it …

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Life in a small town

The Fourth Sunday of Advent … A Prayer of Consecration …

A Prayer of Consecration to Merciful Love:

Merciful Father, relying on the prayers and example of Abraham and Mary, my father and mother in faith, and of St. Thérèse, my sister in the way of humble confidence, I choose, this day, with the help of your grace, to strive with all my heart to follow the Little Way.

And so, I firmly intend to fight discouragement, do little things with great love, and be merciful to my neighbor in deed, word, and prayer.

I aim to keep before my eyes my poverty, weakness, brokenness, and sin, trusting that my littleness and contrite heart will attract your Merciful Love.

I choose to remain always little, not relying on my own merits but solely on yours, dear Lord, and those of the Blessed Mother.

Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end.  This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.

And now, to confirm my resolve and to console you for so much rejection of your mercy, I OFFER MYSELF, THROUGH THE HANDS OF MARY IMMACULATE, AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE.

I ask you to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within you to overflow into my soul, and that I may thus become a martyr of your love, O my God, and a gift of mercy to so many others.

I ask all this in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Cheers

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

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