April 19th, 2015, the 3rd Sunday of Easter. Jubilate Sunday is the 3rd Sunday after Easter. It is called this because in the liturgy of the Catholic Church the first line of the introit for that day’s mass is “Jubilate Deo omnis terra” (“Shout with joy to God, all the earth”) from Psalm 66. I recline in my office on a very comfortable chair listening to Yiruma and think about my daily life …
“My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” 1 John 2:1-5A
I’d guess in light of the preceding paragraph pretty much all regular folks in our modern culture, including yours truly, could be seen to be more or less liars, one and all. Maybe the progressives and atheists are right? Naw, not feeling that bad yet. And yet, I am not entirely convinced that “one holy catholic and apostolic church” necessarily includes Rome … our ways and thoughts are not God’s ways and thoughts, right?
I am reminded of an old saw about politicians of all stripes “How can you tell a politician is lying? His lips are moving.” No doubt a solid case there for all believers and certainly many churchmen, being liars at some point. Just stick a good lawyer on it and we are guilty as sin in no time. Are there any good lawyers? hmmm.
I have been told I am depressed. General feeling of sadness, lack of appetite, cry easily, all my get up and go just went … somewhere … don’t know where. No trouble sleeping though. It’s an effort to keep from going back to bed every time any little problem crops up. Discipline and habit keeps things moving forward. Intellectually I can examine circumstances and KNOW absolutely that nothing has changed and things are still spinning along nicely, but it doesn’t FEEL that way!
I FEEL like I am under a dark cloud. When I get here it becomes much harder to avoid falling into old patterns of thought, and I suspect that for most of us, at this age, God I feel old … almost all sins are in one’s head. We just don’t have the energy for sinning with gusto that we had in our misspent youth.
And fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on where you are in your head at the moment, it is very easy to sin in your head these days, and the media and the culture provide all kinds of material to work with.
Whispered in my ear, echoing in my tired mind, “This is not really a sin, you aren’t really hurting anyone, it’s a victimless sin“. Yea, right, like a victimless crime.
“There are much worse people than you out there, you’re really pretty good you know.” Insidious seductive rationalization.
“You are not contemplating things as bad as you have done in the past so this is OK just now. You’re feeling down, you deserve to relax a bit. You know you would never actually …pick one, or all … it’s OK to just think about it …,” Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen, …
Fortunately “… if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” and Amen to that. We all need to repent and be forgiven. And forgive our favorite enemies, the ones we dwell on in the dark hours of monologue in our head about how we should have handled things, and what we could have said, and so on.
In a previous post I mentioned John Lennon and his hymn to “No Religion”
Lest we forget, no nation state has been immaculately conceived. The unofficial anthem of secularism today is John Lennon’s “Imagine,” in which we are encouraged to imagine a world without religion. We don’t have to imagine such a world; the 20th century (and now the 21st century) has given us horrific examples of such worlds (without religion).
Thus “… Instead of a world living in peace because it is without religion, why not imagine a world without nation states? After all, there would be no American ambassador recently killed in Libya if there were no America and no Libya!
There are, obviously, individuals and groups who still misuse religion as a reason for violent behavior, but modern nation states don’t need religion as an excuse for going to war. Every major war in the last 300 years has been fought by nation states, not by the church. (death toll so far: 251.53 million conservative estimate and counting)
In our own history, the re-conquest of the secessionist states in the Civil War was far bloodier than the re-conquest of the Holy Land by the now despised Crusaders. The state apparatus for investigating civilians now is far more extensive than anything dreamed up by the Spanish Inquisition, although both were created to serve the same purpose: to preserve a government’s public ideology and control of society, whether based on religion or on modern constitutional order.
Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence.
Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.
God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history.
Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.”
The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters. … entire societies, especially in the West, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history.”
And yet, we go on, believing our own BS about how great things are and how wonderful man is. I read somewhere a long time ago that 98% of the world population had an IQ below 131 or something like that. There was a time, briefly, in the 60’s, when IQ as a measure of worth was popular with the progressive elites. All the kids in the high schools were being tested.
The Guidance Councillors (a new minted position in those days) were going ape-shit because they discovered to their horror that their pet theories were not proving out in reality. I suspect it was rooted in their ongoing fantasy that they could use IQ to “prove” that their constituency didn’t deserve their fate. That didn’t last long. Holly Shit! How could one of those ignorant thugs from the back of the class have an IQ 25 points higher than the elite Councillors?????
Those in need of a more erudite discussion of IQ should check out “The Bell Curve“. After that brief 60’s flurry of activity the Western Progressives went into total denial about IQ as a concept and measure of anything. Sigh … kinda like the global warming Kool-Aid drinkers making all the hot air these days. Wait 10 years until the next fashionable fad to wring grants out of bureaucrats. Global warming will be as dead as IQ.
Anyway, as the years went on it became apparent to me that intelligence was something of a curse – to be always aware of and feeling compelled to act upon awareness of factors which did not appear to be obvious to most of my contemporaries at every age is really quite painful.
Biblically we read that “to whom much is given much is expected“, I thought I knew better, but the MENSA crowd turned out to be mostly a stuck up bunch of snobs who thought they were “better” humans because of an accident of birth and genetics. They believed that high IQ gave them license rather than responsibility. I remember an old Playboy spread on “The Girls of MENSA!”, Proof positive that high IQ was no charm against bad decisions.
So where was I going with this, right, you KNOW better so you have a responsibility to behave better. No way to weasel out of it. And behave better certainly does not include feelings of “Nuke em all and let God decide!” or “What’s the point?“, you can’t just dodge it all by pretending you don’t get it. (cognitive dissonance hurts). The self proclaimed “Brights” know better, are capable of behaving better, could do so much good in the world, and instead they cry “NON SERVIAM!” quite reminiscent of another “Light Bringer”.
I just keep coming back to the Church, with all her myriad human problems, as the only hope for the world. And the louder they all yell that the Church is the problem, the more I believe, even though I find myself to be an occasional liar by John’s standards.
It’s April 19, 2015. We have had 2,015 years of being told, and told, and told, and shown, and shown, and shown, but failing, and failing, and failing, and yet …
“The new people of God manages to survive over the course of the centuries even though it encounters all kinds of obstacles. “If you do not trust words, believe in deeds. How many tyrants have tried to oppress the Church? How much boiling oil! How many pyres and sharp teeth and raised swords . . . ! And they have not triumphed! Where are they now, those who waged ware against her? And where is the Church? She shines brighter than the sun. The power of her enemies is spent, but the strength of the Church is endless. Even when there were very few Christians, the Church was not overcome; now that her faith and piety have spread throughout the world, do you think you can defeat her? ‘Heaven will pass away but my words shall never fail’; it is clear: God loves the Church more than heaven itself. He did not take for himself a heavenly body but an ecclesial one. Heaven exists for the Church, not the Church for the sake of heaven” (St John Chrysostom, Sermo antequam iret in exilium, 2).
On a concluding note a blog post from another site I follow (and love) …
19 April 2015
Sweet little lambs and family memories
We walked up to the Trout, passing on the way fields with new lambs. Ah … memories … when our family was young, and all the other kiddies were Ahhing and Ooing at the sight of the lambs, our five, who had not been brought up to be sentimental, were climbing up the field gates and yelling “Mint Sauce! Mint Sauce!” at the lambs.
How tempus does fugit. Trinity Term is about to start with what is nowadays called Noughth Week, and Senior Granddaughter is coming up again today. At the end of last term, she got 88% in her Koine Greek paper; I gather that anything above 70% is currently reckoned first class.
It’s all in the genes, y’know. In this case, her Grandmother’s.
Posted by Fr John Hunwicke at 15:47 No comments:
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