“Prophecy” Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Feather and Skull”, (2013)
Nothing in the history of mankind was smaller and more humble in its beginnings than the kingdom of heaven. It’s founder was born in a stable, in abject poverty. He grew up in poverty, and worked as a humble carpenter for the first 30 years of his life, unrecognized and completely unknown.
He completed his mission, the mission for which he came into the world, in only 3 years of preaching to poor people. His doctrine was so simple that even the unlearned peasants could understand it. His public life ended in his murder by the religious and civil authorities of his day.
When Jesus died the Church was established by a mere dozen ordinary men gathered about a humble peasant woman, Mary. But this tiny core grew with such vitality that in only a few years it spread into all the countries of the vast Roman Empire.
This growth, unfolding in spite of vigorous persecution, started in the hearts of the Virgin Mary and a few poor fishermen and unfolded over a few centuries into a gigantic tree, extending its branches into all regions of the globe, with people of every tongue and nation taking shelter in its shade.
Hilaire Belloc, by Emil Otto (‘E.O.’) HoppÈ, vintage bromide print, 1915
The Church is more than just a society of men. As Hilaire Belloc famously wrote: “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine—but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”
Harsh sentiments indeed but a harsh truth withal. How is it than only one institution in the history of mankind has lasted through the millennia?
For example, (All Hail the mighty Wikipedia) we can trace one civilizational (is that a word?) line, the Mycenaean civilization emerging in circa 1600 BC. Around 1100–1050 BC, the Mycenaean civilization collapsed. Numerous cities like Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns were sacked and the region entered what historians see as a “dark age”.
During this period, Greece experienced a decline in population and literacy. Ancient Greece refers to a period of Greek history that lasted from this dark age to the end of antiquity (circa 600 AD). In common usage it refers to all Greek history before the Roman Empire.
Traditionally, the Ancient Greek period was taken to begin with the date of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, and the traditional date for the end of the Classical Greek period is the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, so roughly 4 or 5 hundred years (give or take a few hundred years) depending upon which “historian” one is following on any given day.
Roman Empire under Trajan ca 117 AD
The Roman Republic and the mighty Roman Empire dates from about 500 BC (Republic) until 1453 AD (fall of Constantinople). The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. , with large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Africa and Asia.
The city of Rome was the largest city in the world c. 100 BC – c. AD 400, with Constantinople (New Rome) becoming the largest around AD 500, and the Empire’s populace grew to an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world’s population at the time).
The 500-year-old republic which preceded it was severely destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict, during which Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and then assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and executions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the annexation of Egypt.
Octavian’s power was then unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic. The imperial period of Rome lasted approximately 1,500 years compared to the 500 years of the Republican era. The first two centuries of the empire’s existence were a period of unprecedented political stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana, or “Roman Peace”.
Anyway, the point of that little history lesson about the typical chaos of human affairs in all societies, institutions and civilizations is to illustrate the passing nature of even the most robust human efforts.
With only a little mental effort, in some other alternate history where human civilizations are less fragile and less prone to collapse, we can imagine us still speaking ancient Greek “Mycenaean” in an everlasting Mycenaean world civilization, or maybe some ancient Chinese tongue in another “time line”.
And of course, the chaos of “modern times” points to ever increasing self-destructive imperative as we become more “advanced and more efficient” in our killing and destruction of each other.
What is different about the Church, the mystical body of Christ? What’s different is that the Church is more than merely a society of men, but rather a society of men who have for their Head, Jesus, the son of God; the Church is the whole Christ, that is, Jesus and the faithful incorporated in Him, and forming one Body with Him.
Occam’s Razor points to the simplest, most likely, explanation, that being that the Church is in fact NOT a human institution.
“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)
Even as thou seekest the truth, the truth that thou seekest thou shalt find. So finding a relevant post while considering the mocking commentary of the trolls whenever I include some portion of “Divine Intimacy” in my posts I herewith re-post from Fr. Hunwicke’s site:
“Continuing to consider Archbishop Lefebvre’s book, from my own background in Catholic Anglicanism, I discern in it more than a whiff of that admirable Anglican Ulsterman,C S Lewis. Not that Archbishop Lefebvre, I am sure, will have read him; but because first-rate Christian thinkers so often, laudably, converge.
Take a particular tricky theological problem: explaining how souls rooted in a false religion may find their way to God, without asserting – or leading others to think you mean – that all religions are more or less as good as each other: ‘syncretism’ or ‘indifferentism’.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
Mgr Lefebvre writes ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it! Therefore, the respect that is owed to these souls would not imply that respect is owed to their religion”.
And: ” … these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.
But none of these values belongs in its own right to these false religions … The wholesome elements that can subsist still belong by right to the sole true religion, that of the Catholic Church; and it is this one alone that can act through them”*.
I think this is admirably expressed, and it reminds me strongly of the penultimate chapter in Lewis’s The Last Battle. A young Calormene, brought up in the worship of the false god Tash, meets the Lion Aslan, the Christ-figure in Lewis‘s rich narrative. “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days, and not him. …
But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.
He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true … that thou and Tash art one?
The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?
I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.
Note: “…these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.”
Truth-teller: At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, historian Robert Conquest had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment
But what is one to find in the worship of self and the corollary deprecation of all others of all religions which might kindle a “flame of dawning faith”? What can one find in Atheism, the ultimate worship of self, which might kindle the “flame of faith” in the Divine?
Back in the day, there was a term in use in some quarters which precisely described those who sincerely believed a ideology or philosophy which was empirically provably wrong. That term was “useful idiots“.
Robert Conquest was the principle proponent of of this “Useful Idiot” terminology to describe the “Brights” of his day.
Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear. It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War (WW III) seemed. Across the Western world, many (including most in the military) doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.
The Trudeaus and Castro
What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) (and coincidentally one of Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s professors during PET’s time at the London School) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the (Soviet) regime whenever it was criticised.
Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood. It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.”
So too in the spiritual realm, the “Useful Idiots” uphold the narcissistic adoration of self as the “ultimate good” and consider man as the pinnacle of all things.
These poor benighted souls are the useful idiots of the spiritual world, those unknowing followers of the dark one, the “Father of Lies”, who has existed for all of man’s history and never ceases to strive to drag all souls down to his realm of darkness.
Perhaps one of the best portrayals of how this process works in the spiritual realm is C.S.Lewis’s book: “The Screwtape Letters”.
The principle tenant of the doctrines of communism, socialism, fascism, secularism, and all the currently fashionable “isms” of the progressives is that man is the measure and pinnacle of all things, in other words “self worship”.
This is THE fundamental plank of the platform, the defining characteristic of all secular progressives and a defining characteristic of all those who mock believers of every stripe, lumping all who do not share their religion of self worship into the single pot of “those superstitious fools”, not the enlightened elite like “We Brights” who have put aside the “crutch” of religion.
This “crutch” is in reality a “life-ring” in a sea of desolation, and this action by the worshipers of self is a blessing for traditional religious believers, namely all those who believe in a Supreme Being above man, because:
“… The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. … “
This mockery of the “Brights” strikes directly to the roots of pride in ourselves, our attachment to esteem and the respect of others, hence the blessing in such mockery. Our attachment to the things of this world must be ripped up root and branch and replaced with attachment to God.
“Inner Thoughts” Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)
So much of what I wrote, back three years ago when I started this blog, now seems petty, trite and selfish, considering the following:
” … Let us consider how great a spirit of faith (is) necessary to accept from the hand of God all the circumstances which afflict and humiliate, contradict and mortify us.
It will sometimes be easier to accept heavy trials which come directly from Our Lord, such as illness and bereavement, than other lighter ones where creatures enter into play, and for which, perhaps, we experience greater repugnance.
The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. … ”
“If you wish to see how far your love of esteem for God has reached , examine your conduct, and try to discover the ultimate motive of your preoccupations, fears, desires, and joys; if this motive is not God, but creatures, your own interests and satisfaction, you ought to acknowledge humbly that you have not yet succeeded in esteeming God above all things; for you weigh “in the balance against God that which … is the greatest possible distance from God” (St. John of The Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, I, 5,4).
Searching your heart more deeply, you will see that you frequently place on the same plane your will and the will of God, your tastes and His good pleasure, your interests and His glory, your convenience and His service.
Furthermore, although in theory you protest that you esteem God above all things, in practice you very often give the preference not to His will, desires, and interests, but to your own, and that is why you fall into so many imperfections.”
from “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. pp 1027 & 1043-1044.
“where there is true love of God, there enter neither love of self nor that of the things of self” (St. John of The Cross, Dark Night of The Soul, II, 21, 10)
“Inner Thoughts” Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)
Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen
“… God generally purifies souls through the ordinary circumstances of life. In the life of every Christian, every apostle, every religious, there is always a measure of suffering sufficient to effect the purification of the spirit.
These are the sufferings which God Himself chooses and disposes in the way best suited to the different needs of souls; but, unfortunately, few profit by them because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them.
Illness, bereavement, estrangement, separation from dear ones, misunderstandings, struggles, difficulties proceeding sometimes from the very ones who should have been able to give help and support, failure of works that were cherished and sustained at the price of great labor, abandonment by friends, physical and spiritual solitude — these are some of the sufferings which are met with more or less in the life of every man (and woman), and which, we will find in ours.
We must understand that all such things are positively willed or at least permitted by God precisely to purify us even to the very inmost fibers of our being.
In the face of these trials, we must never blame the malice of men, or stop to examine whether or not they are just; we must see only the blessed hand of God who offers us these bitter remedies to bring perfect health to our (eternal) soul. …”
from “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. Passive Purification, pp 1026 -1027.
As mentioned previously, I can’t say enough good about “Divine Intimacy“.
“It greatly behooves the soul, then, to have patience and constancy in all the tribulations and trials which God sends it, whether they come from without or from within, and are spiritual or corporal, great or small. It must take them all as from His hand for its healing and its good, and not flee from them, since they are health to it.” St. John of the Cross, (Living Flame of Love, 2, 30).
few profit by (suffering) because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them
Into the West, Annie Lennox, Howard Shore, LOTR, 2003
Laurence Binyon is most famous for “For the Fallen“, often recited at Remembrance Sunday services in the UK, and an integral part of Anzac Day services in Australia and New Zealand, and November 11th Remembrance Day services in Canada.
The third and fourth verses of the poem (although often just the fourth) have been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation.
“They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”
Remembrance Day(sometimes known as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.
Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.) The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
The memorial evolved out of Armistice Day, which continues to be marked on the same date. The initial Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a “Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic” during the evening hours of 10 November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace the following morning.
The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. After reading the poem, Moina Michael, a professor at the University of Georgia, wrote the poem, “We Shall Remember,” and swore to wear a red poppy on the anniversary. The custom spread to Europe and the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth within three years.
Madame Anne E. Guerin tirelessly promoted the practice in Europe and the British Empire. In the UK Major George Howson fostered the cause with the support of General Haig. Poppies were worn for the first time at the 1921 anniversary ceremony.
At first real poppies were worn. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I; their brilliant red colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war. This blood spilled by the secular progressive powers who declare that they do not need God and Religion.
The saddest fact of their death is that in fact they died in vain. Evil triumphed. WW I, II, and III only slowed it down momentarily. Everything our fathers and grandfathers fought against is now running rampant at the very heart of our own society. In government, health and academia the policies of death triumph everywhere.
I had an atheist acquaintance who returned several years ago to his homeland to live out his days and has since died. I suspect that he has discovered that real “reality” isn’t even close to what he imagined it was.
Occasionally, when things get tough here, and I start to feel sorry for myself, I think I might just run away somewhere like there, but not this day.
His favorite theme when running down believers, especially Christians, was all the evil killing of all the Christian religious wars of all the centuries of history. And, as with the current “Global Warming” and “anti-carbon” religious fads, the data simply do not support the rhetoric.
But, as one gent across the counter in my store once said “I DON’T CARE ABOUT FACTS! Everyone knows it’s true.”
Uh-huh, and the Socialist Secular Progressive governments at the Provincial and Federal level who are striving to expand the state role are fulfilling all our dreams?
In fact, now, at the Federal level, under the drama coach’s regime, one is no longer allowed to even run for office unless one agrees to support killing babies and seniors as required, in the name of “Woman’s Health” or “Quality of Life”.
With the drama coach looking on fondly our newly minted Governor General publicly denigrates religion as unscientific superstition and mocks religious people of all stripes (that would be two thirds of Canadian voters lately).
How did we get here? Why did we vote for these people? Doesn’t ANYONE understand that decisions and actions have consequences?
Funny thing how Christians in general and Catholics in particular are every gutless pseudo-intellectual non-believer’s favorite target, isn’t it?
I would be astounded to see any of the usual suspects running down Muslims publicly. “Je Suis Charlie”, right? Color me amazed at the sheer overwhelming unashamed hypocrisy of the whole damned lot of them.
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 America’s history alone, the 4 year re-conquest of the secessionist states in theCivil War with a death toll of more than 620,000 killed and millions more injured, was a far bloodier event than the several hundred years of re-conquest of the Holy Land by the now despised Crusaders.
Current estimates found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war.place the highest estimated death toll for Christian religious wars at 18-20 million dead from all causes including civilian deaths from famine and disease, genocides and massacres. The lowest estimate is about 5 to 6 million.
It would seem that, whatever one’s views, reality lies somewhere in between, given the extraordinary range reported and the probable biases of the reporters depending on their religious or non-religious views. But even taking the highest estimates as veritable they are still dwarfed by the death tole inflicted by the godless progressive secular state and it’s multitude of minions in all it’s wars.
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.
Anduril, Howard Shore, LOTR, 2003
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.
And so we find ourselves surrounded and vastly outnumbered by the howling savages and zombies of the moral apocalypse, a kind of last ditch Fort Apache,and like others in history , sometimes you reach a place where you just have to stand and deliver.
I wear my Poppy to remind me of the generations wiped out by an insidious evil flowing through the rivers of self interest in the hearts of our secular masters who believe sacrifice is only for the other guy, the little guy, the suckers, and I thank God this is just boot camp.
Today at church, I think about Boy Trudeau and Red Rachel, and say a prayer for them.
A reading for Remembrance Day, November 11th, 2017 … something to think about …
2 hear this, you who govern great populations, taking pride in your hosts of subject nations!
3 For sovereignty is given to you by the Lord and power by the Most High, who will himself probe your acts and scrutinize your intentions.
4 If therefore, as servants of his kingdom, you have not ruled justly nor observed the law, nor followed the will of God,
5 he will fall on you swiftly and terribly. On the highly placed a ruthless judgement falls;
6 the lowly are pardoned, out of pity, but the mighty will be mightily tormented.
7 For the Lord of all does not cower before anyone, he does not stand in awe of greatness, since he himself has made small and great and provides for all alike;
8 but a searching trial awaits those who wield power.
9 So, monarchs, my words are meant for you, so that you may learn wisdom and not fall into error;
10 for those who in holiness observe holy things will be adjudged holy, and, accepting instruction from them, will find their defense in them.
11 Set your heart, therefore, on what I have to say, listen with a will, and you will be instructed.
“PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.
GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.
PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?
GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad. GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”
“Inner Thoughts” Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)
November is the month of all souls … a month dedicated to prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. There is a longstanding tradition in the Catholic Church, dating back more than a 1000 years and rooted in Jewish tradition going back even further to pray for the souls of the deceased.
How did this tradition come about and why is it still important today? This is a good time to remember some words of wisdom about souls … about the Pope and the Catholic Church … and the rest of us … and loving one’s enemies …
Joseph Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI
“… The more vigorously the primacy was displayed, the more the question came up about the extent and and limits of [papal] authority, which of course, as such, had never been considered.
After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West.
In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word.
The pope’s authority is bound to the Tradition of faith. … The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition.”
Joseph Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy
so the Pope is not the “Top Dog” he is simply another man and what makes him human would be a soul …
Hilaire Belloc – by Emil Otto (‘E.O.’) HoppÈ, vintage bromide print, 1915
“The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine—but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”
… and the knavish imbeciles would be souls …
A commentary on “Government” and “the Masses” … (I suppose that would be us? All souls, every one of us.)
Albert Jay Nock wrote in “Our Enemy The State” – “Everyone knows that the State claims and exercises [a] monopoly of crime … and that it makes this monopoly as strict as it can. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien.
Alfred Jay Nock
There is, for example, no human right, natural or Constitutional, that we have not seen nullified by the United States Government. Of all the crimes that are committed for gain or revenge, there is not one that we have not seen it commit – murder, mayhem, arson, robbery, fraud, criminal collusion and connivance.” Albert Jay Nock, from Our Enemy, the State
But “Government” is not a monolithic entity, it is rather composed of a multitude of little individuals all more or less “doing their duty” and they are All Souls …
And in another quote from an article published in Atlantic Monthly in 1936, Albert Jay Nock opines on the qualities of the common man, the masses as he calls them … about “the masses“:
“… In the year of King Uzziah’s death, about 740 B.C., the Lord commissioned the prophet Isaiah to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come. “Tell them what a worthless lot they are.” He said, “Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don’t mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them.
Antonio Balestra (1666-1740) – The Prophet Isaiah
I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you,” He added, “that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”
Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job – in fact, he had asked for it – but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so – if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start – was there any sense in starting it? “Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point.
All Saints …
There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.”
Apparently, then, if the Lord’s word is good for anything – I do not offer any opinion about that, – the only element in Judean society that was particularly worth bothering about was the Remnant. Isaiah seems finally to have got it through his head that this was the case; that nothing was to be expected from the masses, but that if anything substantial were ever to be done in Judea, the Remnant would have to do it.
A woman lights a candle on the grave of her relative before praying at a cemetery during the observance of All Souls Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
This is a very striking and suggestive idea; but before going on to explore it, we need to be quite clear about our terms. What do we mean by the masses, and what by the Remnant? As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, labouring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority.
The mass-man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses.
The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either. …”
and the Masses and the Remnant both are All Souls …
Now, I have always both enjoyed Albert Jay Nock’s piece and at the same time have been troubled by it, because we are ALL souls, and I just don’t believe that the Lord writes folks off because they don’t meet some transient human standard of character, ability, and discernment.
“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)
Here in Canada we are used to being routinely insulted and dismissed by our “betters” in high office and we are routinely expected to obsequiously kowtow and bow and scrape and generally just be nice when treated in this way, after all, we are just “the masses” and Canadian masses at that, eh?
Lately we were all ridiculed in public by our new Governor General, Julie Payette, (appointed by the drama coach and in office for about a month now), and all courtesy of her bright big brain persona and her personal religious beliefs namely Atheism and Scientism.
Rex Murphy reports in the National Post as follows: “Delight in one’s own intellectual capacity is a delusion both frequent and foolish (ouch!), and the desire to have others share in that rapture is almost always a disappointment.
That we are all partisans for our own opinions is of course a truism, as is the consideration that opinions, particularly political ones, many times follow just as much from temperament as from reason.
Governor General Julie Payette, by Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press
There is no Ideal Reasoner, and the truth of some questions is always a quarry and never a capture. That is why our finest sages, present and past, have always counseled against certitude, and cautioned that when we are most certain of something is precisely the time we should go over our sums.
Our recently minted Governor General, in one of her inaugural appearances, has been very quick off the mark to make her declarative presence known.
She gave a talk at a science conference this week, a speech notable for its confident strength of assertion and readiness to pronounce determinatively on matters large and trivial, and which was unfortunately inflected with a tone of condescension that will do little to buttress the appeal of the mainly ceremonial office she now inhabits.”
Just in passing, I note that in spite of all the fondly held opinions and beliefs regarding the efficacy of science and the silly superstitions surrounding the concept of “God”, I have not heard any reports that NASA and the Brights have yet created life, or anything else, for that matter, in fact they have not even found any signs of life anywhere that their limited talents can take them. Oh yea, we are definitely “the masses” … including all our elected and appointed progressives currently running the asylum.
As Chris Selley writes … and “the chorus of defenders who took to social media on Thursday, including many who are generally very conservative about what a GG should and shouldn’t say. What she said was empirically true, they argued, and what’s more she’s a scientist! Why shouldn’t a scientist, appointed as the Queen’s representative in Ottawa, take the odd jab at the two-thirds of benighted Canadians who believe in God (per Angus Reid in 2015), and the 53 per cent who believe God is “active in this world.” Someone’s gotta tell ‘em, right?”
and we are all souls, no matter what some of us would like to believe …
Plato bust …
Now, as Mr. Nock writes, Isaiah’s testimony to the character of the masses has strong collateral support from respectable Gentile authority. Plato lived into the administration of Eubulus, when Athens was at the peak of its jazz-and-paper era, and he speaks of the Athenian masses with all Isaiah’s fervency, even comparing them to a herd of ravenous wild beasts.
Curiously, too, Plato applies Isaiah’s own word remnant to the worthier portion of Athenian society; “there is but a very small remnant,” he says, of those who possess a saving force of intellect and force of character – too small, preciously as to Judea, to be of any avail against the ignorant and vicious preponderance of the masses.
But we are all souls … regardless of our personal beliefs, mere thoughts in the mind of God in the eternal now.
I wonder what Mr. Plato would think of Julie Payette, or even Drama Coach Justin Trudeau, for that matter? “Ravenous wild beasts”?
Still more of the quote from Mr. Nock: “The picture which Isaiah presents of the Judean masses is most unfavorable. In his view, the mass-man – be he high or be he lowly, rich or poor, prince or pauper – gets off very badly. He appears as not only weak-minded and weak-willed, but as by consequence knavish, arrogant, grasping, dissipated, unprincipled, unscrupulous.
The mass-woman also gets off badly, as sharing all the mass-man’s untoward qualities, and contributing a few of her own in the way of vanity and laziness, extravagance and foible. The list of luxury-products that she patronized is interesting; … in another place, Isaiah even recalls the affectations that we used to know by the name “flapper gait” and the “debutante slouch.”
It may be fair to discount Isaiah’s vivacity a little for prophetic fervour; after all, since his real job was not to convert the masses but to brace and reassure the Remnant, he probably felt that he might lay it on indiscriminately and as thick as he liked – in fact, that he was expected to do so. But even so, the Judean mass-man must have been a most objectionable individual, and the mass-woman utterly odious.”
Not a pleasant picture at all … hmmmm. and still … all souls
On the other hand we have:
“Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.
Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from 161 to 180,
But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him, For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth.
To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two.
“No man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine in what I think, say, do , achieve.
And conversely my life spills over into that of others: for better or for worse.So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other – my prayer for him – can play a certain part in his purification”
Pope Benedict XVI “Spe Salvi”
all souls …
I wonder (figuratively speaking of course) which attitude, Justin’s and Julie’s, or Benedicts’s and Marcus Aurelius’s, has a better outcome? Which evolves into a better, more positive, more loving society, a culture of positive rather than negative lenses.
Tell one person that you love him or her. Forgive the person who insults and ridicules you. All of them.
” … The truth is that people like to appropriate things that do not belong to them. And then they like to justify what they did. Ah, what a tangled web they weave. We have had five hundred years of this particular run of “progress,” through which Protestantism itself has “evolved”: largely into extinction, but partly into other evanescent things, such as the current fad in social justice warriorism. … ”
(ed. and if they pay you a lot of money to go away and stop making trouble then you know you are really on the right track)
“Latin is a precise, essential language. It will be abandoned, not because it is unsuitable for the new requirements of progress, but because the new men will not be suitable for it. When the age of demagogues and charlatans begins, a language like Latin will no longer be useful, and any oaf will be able to give a speech in public and talk in such a way that he will not be kicked off the stage. The secret to this will consist in the fact that, by making use of words that are general, elusive, and sound good, he will be able to speak for an hour without saying anything. With Latin, this is impossible.”
“Hamachidori“, by Ryutaro Hirota, played by Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra & Kazumasa Watanabe, from the album “Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)
“Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)
Sunday morning again … dark and cool, with a howling wind … +2 Celsius, 35 Kph wind … translates into +36 F and about 21 Mph for my American friends.
Spent a couple of hours over coffee with some gentlemen friends of mine yesterday who came by for a visit from a much larger city than my little village here in the Shire. While we get along great and have many things in common we also have great divides and differences.
One is a librarian by trade and the other is in the media business, both highly literate, both card carrying Canadian Liberals, and both very sure of the truth of their Liberal articles of faith regarding socialism, people, voters, guns, gun crimes and violence, and non-Liberal players.
They also have the typical Canadian knee–jerk reflex regarding the relative civilizing virtues of Canadians and Americans, and other non-Canadians, especially in the media, academia, and government.
While they do not exactly share my opinion that academia is the agar in the petri dishes of the Liberal Progressive weaponization lab called “university”, they acknowledge that a lot of the “qualities” of academia might lead one to that opinion absent the un-examined qualifiers inherent in the Liberal worldview.
We continue to be friends, and in reality became friends in spite of rather than because of our political and religious differences. The hallmark difference between both of them (and a few others) and the legions of zombies we all contend with when we move out of our comfortable shire is that they do not automatically assume that everyone who disagrees with them is just plain stupid.
These gentlemen assume that there must be a reason (more or less valid as the case may be), for our differing views and that people who are seeing a different world and draw different conclusions based on different life experiences are not automatically relegated to the dumpster of group opinion.
The Right of Free Speech …
What they (and I, I guess) are exhibiting are the human qualities of affability, thoughtfulness, courtesy, sociability, sincerity, and understanding. My considered opinion about the zombie hordes is just that – considered – after countless attempts to make friends with many of them, employing all of the above mentioned qualities, and being rejected, sometimes violently, by the majority and vilified for my efforts.
Eventually I step back and and consign them to the zombie straw-man dumpster for convenience, always leaving the door open for pleasant surprises and always understanding that one of my responsibilities in the universe is to protect all of them from the inevitable consequences of their affliction. Gee! I’m just so great and loving and understanding! I’m just such a nice guy … NOT!
Torches and Pitchforks …
And that is MY affliction … that nasty red-necked neanderthal knuckle dragging a-hat is indeed one of the passengers in my personal bus of self on whom I keep an especially tight reign.
But he is still there and probably will be until I die. I pray that, if I manage to stay out of hell, that he stays there, but worry that eliminating him may be one of the contingent requirements for admission to heaven, or at least purgatory. I’m working on it.
So, these human qualities … passing lightly over the fact that they are godlike because they originate with God who is all goodness … are what one might reasonably qualify as the “better part” of humanity.
The degree to which we cultivate these qualities and apply them in our daily lives is the degree to which we ascend to some level of sanctity in our relations with our neighbors … what our church talks about when it exhorts us to practice “fraternal charity”.
“Hotaru” by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)
St. Teresa of Avila (St. Teresa of Jesus)
Saint Francis de Sales used to say that “More flies are attracted by a drop of honey than a barrel of vinegar”, and Saint Teresa of Jesus recommended “The holier you are, the more sociable you should be with your sisters (brothers). Although you may be sorry that all of your sisters’ conversation is not as you would like it to be, never keep aloof from them if you wish to help them and to have their love. We must try hard to be pleasant and to humor the people we deal with” (Way, 41).
“… Let him learn, then, and show by his works, the dignity proper to human nature and to society; let him regulate his countenance and bearing in a dignified manner and be faithful and sincere; let him keep his promises; let him govern his acts and his words; let him have respect for all and not harm the rights of others; let him endure evil and be sociable …”. (Pius XII, 1951)
These words drop into the dark well of our current society, politics and media and echo like the death knell of our civilization. These words encapsulate everything wrong with our current excuse for human relations.
How do we step back from this brink? How do we extricate ourselves from this hometown “quagmire” of our own making? There is an answer which has been around for about 4 thousand years … is anyone listening? I doubt it.
The answer is doing the “right” thing no matter what the cost, no matter how painful, no matter how we “feel” about our immediate personal interests … sometimes you just have to stand and die for the right thing … ever has it been so, world without end, amen.
Our polite society’s view of “friend or foe”? Aren’t we just a little confused about what matters?
I used to have a friend, who I haven’t seen in years, who always used to remark “Joe! This is not a hill to die on!” And he was mostly right, but every now and then those hills come around and the choices made set the direction for the future, and the path leads up or down as we make the choice.
Things are not as bad here as in the Middle East, but it gets really confusing when everyone who disagrees with us is “the enemy”, when we make the choice to take the easy, the complaint, the self interested way out.
How can we survive without “Fraternal Charity”, without Love?
“ゆりかごの歌”, William W. Spearman IV and Tomoko Okada, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs”, (2006)
The “Excellence of Love” has been in the public domain for at least two thousand years …
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
“ゆりかごの歌”, William W. Spearman IV and Tomoko Okada, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs”, (2006)
Here is a Body Composition Dexa Scan of ME! Joe the bonehead! This is AFTER loosing 35 pounds of fat by fasting. What is a DEXA scan some of you may be asking? Some folks may even be asking where they can get one if they are following my fasting saga, or Jason Fung, or Bert Herring, or the Keto Dudes.
Body Composition DEXA Scan
The DEXA (duel-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan provides one of the most highly accurate measurements of body composition available, registering fat and lean mass distribution throughout the entire body.
Most major universities with solid exercise physiology research programs have these units, and will gladly provide evaluations to the public.
(This may be true in Texas, but I seriously doubt that Canadian Universities would welcome the public unless you were part of some government funded program or some high profile celeb with high level political ties ed.).
Otherwise, some healthcare facilities (Like Glenwood Radiology in Edmonton) have these units as they are used (and were originally developed) to measure bone mineral density.
And the scan itself is no more invasive than an X-ray. Which, in fact, it is – imparting about as much radiation per scan as a TSA body imaging device.
The scan involves little more than lying face-up on a table while dressed in snug fitting clothing – cycling shorts and, for the ladies, a sports bra work well – while the scanning device makes a single pass over the body.
The results are immediate and, at least at the University of Texas in Austin, where I’m located, come with a personal, detailed results debrief from a knowledgeable staff member (mine too at Glenwood Radiology) .
I got my scan at a radiology clinic in Edmonton Alberta. My scan cost me $75.00 Canadian and could have been $65.00 if I was willing or able to fit myself into the clinic’s slack periods, which unfortunately I was unable to do.
Still $75 bucks for anything health related in Canada is nothing short of a miraculous deal any way you look at it.
WE ARE NOT IMPRESSED!
And what did it tell me?
The image at top left in this post shows the the body regional distribution of bone (white), lean muscle mass (orange) and fat (yellow) for my body. My first thought when I looked at the image was “TRICK or TREAT!!!”.
Then I thought “Hmm-mm … bone is white, right? What the hey! Are they trying to tell me I’m a bonehead? Maybe that little grey dot in the middle of my head is my brain?
Seriously, the important takeaway for me was 150 pounds lean body mass and 75 pounds of fat, and the fat is mostly in my belly around my internal organs and waist. Bone density and strength were calculated at the high end of average and so was the fat – clinically obese according to BMI but I knew that already.
The calculations also told me that my daily caloric intake to maintain my current weight is about 2100 calories per day and since that is about what I am eating with my 1 meal a day fasting diet I won’t be loosing any more weight any time soon unless I switch over to full fasting mode a few days at a time.
So intermittent multi-day full fasts and 75 pounds of fat to kill – I guess I have target data and mission parameters laid out, now it is just an exercise in will power and self discipline … and my wife will be happy that adding an exercise routine like walking and so on, increases the caloric requirements so I can reasonably assume that keeping the same diet and exercising more will be a good route to fat burning and more weight loss.
So here is Fat Bonehead, signing off for the day – time to get walking …
Common Sense Revolution
It’s just common sense, right? Eat less, exercise more … now where have I heard THAT before?
Woke up today in a very dark place. At 5:00 AM the world is very dark here, but not as dark as the place where I was then. Looked at my wife of forty years, sleeping beside me. Thinking about detachment.
Death takes everyone … death is what binds us all together … no one escapes, no one buys their way out, no one. No one, no matter the extreme sacrifices made on the alter of self to appease the gods of our secular lives, no matter the banality of the attachments of this world of flesh and passion and decay. No matter the pride and achievements in this short night in this bad hotel … no one … escapes … Brother Death.
“I Am In thy Hands, O Mary”, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Doctor Scott Piper, Sir Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP & Sr. Maria Miguel Wright, OP; from the album “Mater Eucharistiae”, (2013)
Got up, had a long hot shower, put the wash on. Still in a very dark place. Thinking about detachment from material things, and especially creatures. Some creatures are hard to detach from, others go out of their way to make it easy, without realizing that is what they are doing, not realizing that they are so attached to themselves that there is no room for attachment to anything else.
Those self centered creatures are surprisingly easy to detach from but creatures where attachment is reciprocated, where there are mutual consolations experienced, are more difficult to approach true detachment from. Brother Death is the culmination of detachment. the ultimate detachment from material things and creatures.
Got dressed and headed out about 5:45 for a long drive in my 1 ton – I like to think while driving – silence – solitude – hum and rhythm of the pavement and the low rumble of the diesel … sometimes I get consolations and inspirations while driving like this.
I have been meditating on detachment for months now. Fasting brings a sharp focus to the concept of “detachment”. Been fasting, full fasts and 1 meal a day fasts since January 2017 now. Body is stable probably won’t loose any more weight unless I fast totally and continuously. Maybe that’s what I need to do. Having become seriously detached from food I now have a better understanding of what detachment from other material things and creatures involves.
Thinking about my father’s death 33 years ago. Thinking that he understood detachment, if not as a spiritual thing then as a rejection of a kind of slavery to material things. I think, like Roy Batty in the scene at the top of this post, he understood that it was “time to die”. At age 57 he stopped taking all his meds one day without asking permission and without consulting his doctor or anyone.
A few weeks later he collapsed and died after taking a long hot shower – massive brain Aneurysm – some of my family attribute the arterial weakness to an injury sustained while serving as a paratrooper in WWII. Whatever, he swore he would never grow old but would keep going full bore until he dropped and that is exactly what he did.
Detachment from all earthly things and creatures is certainly fully realized by Brother Death. And suicide is certainly not an option. On the other hand Brother Death has a comfortable feel, no fears, and end to all trials, peace, welcome. At times I envy my father. Here, at the end of all things, Brother Death takes our hand and leads us towards the light at the end of the tunnel of the tomb … and the light … is the glorious light of Eternity’s Sunrise, or the smoldering glow of Mount Doom.
We live, if we live at all, in Him. He is The Eternal Sunrise. Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Saviour of the world.
Changed my mind – lots of geese calling overhead on their southward trek … still lots of work to do before we are done … “Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep”