The Inner Struggle

So, Sin, and Fomenting Spirits … where to now?

Setting Your Rocks Back …

I hope you all remembered to set your rocks back one hour to adjust for the end of “daylight savings time”, whatever that is. Didn’t we invent electricity so we didn’t have to worry about daylight and darkness?

I’m just trying to inject a little “light” humor since my last two or three posts, if given consideration and thought might be a real downer, a reminder of just how miserable folks can be.

I can’t imagine any honest review of the lists that wouldn’t find something familiar for virtually every one alive today, probably every human who ever lived starting with Adam.

So, “Daylight Saving Time”, what a joke … a friend of mine sent this stony humor picture to me Sunday morning as a bit of a pick-me-up. I needed it after the last week. Another Facebook post was the Old Indian meme from kevin-stafford.weebly.com.

Old Indian

Old Indian

Humor is good. Without humour, dark or light, life would truly be a never ending grim slog to death and desolation.

And without being able to laugh at ourselves, we would have a grim old time getting through the crap that we create ourselves so that we can continue to pretend that we are really “nice, good” people.

On the mundane side of the ledger, I started watching a new series on Netflix, “Designated Survivor” staring Kiefer Sutherland.  I actually am enjoying it in the same way I enjoyed “West Wing” with Martin Sheen, as satire rather than political drama as the left wing reviewers and publicists on the Left Coast like to present it.

The series message is a glaring exposition of the efficacy of the big lie in our materialist lives. The words of the prophets truly are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls …

The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel, 1964

The publicists rather obvious underlying intent is that a “political drama” has some resemblance to truth and reality, some street cred, as opposed to satire which is obviously a mockery of the point of view espoused in the entertainment.

C.S.Lewis presents an ideal of satire in the “Screwtape Letters” but far enough down the path to perdition, a reader might in fact fail to appreciate the satire in the book and find it rather a boring training manual for liberal bureaucrats and publicists.

The series “Designated Survivor” follows the structure of: “if you are going to tell a lie make sure its a WHOPPER”, and make sure that the fabric of the lie is at least entertaining and invites one to suspend belief for the duration of an episode, even if it will still be obviously a lie to anyone with two neurons firing. When we watch Superman fly we all know its a lie, but it is fun to suspend belief for an hour or two.

As “political drama” it falls “flatter than piss on a plate” as we used to say in the NAVY, but as “satire” it is hilarious. and while we are in the neighbourhood, just take a look at “Heartbreak Ridge” starring Clint Eastwood for another variation of this sort of satire. Even the plays of Shakespeare combine “political drama” and “satire”, and let the audience take what they will from it. Watching others take themselves too seriously is always rather entertaining.

“Designated Survivor” was actually cancelled for primetime in May 2018 and its fate was said, by ABC, to have been sealed by a ratings plunge in season two and its loss of traction in delayed viewing. Whatever, and maybe some people believe that, but why did the ratings drop is the real question.

In its first season, the show regularly registered triple-digit gains in Nielsen’s live-plus-7 ratings, but the second season it averaged 8.6 million viewers and 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 in L7, compared to 12.1 million viewers and 2.9 in adults 18-49 in season one.

In the absence of a clear narrative road map for a third season and declining poll numbers, “Designated Survivor” couldn’t recover from the loss of its base. Like politics, primetime TV is a fickle business.

Well, like it’s previous version, “West Wing”, the primetime “Designated Survivor” failed because, at its root, it is a big lie. Politics, and the media representation of it really is all about the big lie. Lets take a look at the fact based reality of recent history. Who are the haters?

Ya can’t fact check Facebook, nor is it possible to disagree with the trolls who just scream down any voice of dissent in the belief that theirs is the only “right” truth.

Lies sell well on Facebook and amongst progressive leftist cliques and their dupes like “Occupy Wall Street” in big urban centres, and lies can even be entertaining for a while as one watches the true thoughts and “feelings” of the authors pour out in all their malicious ugliness.

But when the fundamental premise of anything passing for “entertainment” is a bald faced lie, a re-writing of reality to suite the producer’s circle-jerk fantasy du jour, it’s demise is foreordained regardless of the excuses offered.

That meme, the entire “Not My President“, Evil Military Masterminds, evil Republican congressperson, evil treacherous treasonous military hero meme, is in fact, entirely the position, the fortress of solitude, the religious belief of the Democratic party, and all their thoughtless legions of supporters, media, voters and academics.

Thinkers and those even slightly interested in fact check-able truth and reality and having more than a 10 minute event horizon and a bit of memory are definitely not the target audience.

And “The Folks”, as O’Reilly calls them, are not even remotely as stupid and gullible as the left seem to sincerely believe.

The knuckle-dragging, red-necked, bitter clinger, in flyover country only ever existed in the minds of left wing haters like Obama and Trudeau, and the rest of the parasitic horde.

These are folks, just like everyone else, but they find the idea that someone doesn’t share their perverse and deviant system of beliefs simply “inconceivable!”. This whole mindset is just so “sophomoric”.

This series premise, in re-writing and reversing the clear evidence of recorded history, is a reliable indicator that even the producers of this cartoon series understand at a deep level that they are on the wrong side of history and will be remembered as “useful idiots” at best.

Truth be known, their true role is as malicious purveyors of evil, divisive, propaganda on behalf of shadowy interests whose only goal is the destruction of America and what it once represented in the world.

The goal, of course is to re-write history into the ‘acceptable” version for enough voters that it will become politically incorrect to ever mention the historic truth. And if enough people believe the lie, then we really get the government we deserve, with collapsing banking systems, declining manufacturing, a service economy of burger flippers and dog walkers, valueless dollars and social welfare all around.

The end game is the total dependence on a government which has now made it perfectly legal to kill anyone and everyone who is found to be “inconvenient”. This all seems so “Eastern Block” somehow, doesn’t it?

Oh Canada

Do you doubt it? What do you call Abortion, and Euthanasia, and Eugenics, and how do you explain the total absence of Downs Syndrome sufferers, crippled seniors, and other handicapped people in Iceland and Belgium and soon Canada.

Right here at home, in “Toronto the Good”, the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children is now offering both full term partial birth abortions and even euthanasia for children covered by federal “health” funding, free, without parental consent or involvement.

And that’s just  the start of the slippery slope aimed at creating the master race, Lest we forget, Canada has a long and proud tradition of eugenics going back to the 19th century. Ever hear of the “Famous Five”? George Bernard Shaw?

Those are just a few of the famous folks, lauded in Canada, who subscribed to the “too many of them and not enough of us” social philosophy that inevitably results in the sterilization or murder of those considered “socially undesirable”, those lesser races, like Blacks, and Slavs, and Gypsies, and Catholics, and Jews, well, you get the drift ….

And here you thought this was a NAZI problem? Ha! Welcome to reality. I learned about all that stuff in History class, long before History was sanitized into politically acceptable “Social Studies” by our “self esteem” focused indoctrinators in our public “education” system. The left wing Socialist, NAZI regime had nothing on the super efficient modernization of the Canadian Final Solution. Evil is evil is evil, no matter how you dress it up.

So ATTENTION CLASS! Pay attention now, remember Arbeit macht frei ? This is a German phrase meaning “work sets you free”. The slogan is known for appearing on the entrance of Auschwitz and other popular Nazi summer camp programs.

So the question is, for extra credit, “What is the moral difference between the Nazi social policies which gave rise to death camps, or Soviet social policies which gave us the Gulag, and the current Western government policies which facilitate cleaning up the population by killing inconvenient people?” Anyone?  Anyone? Evil, is evil, is evil, even if we would prefer to believe that we are nice good people.

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When we tolerate the killing of people simply because of who they are, we lose our own moral standing (and our right) to exist. Recall what Abraham Lincoln wrote about the justifications offered in defense of slavery.

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly?—You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.

Do you lose your right to life because of who you are? Because you are gay, or a girl, or a Tutsi, or black, or a Jew, or a Christian, or have an extra chromosome?

Does a person lose his right to live because of his geography? Did a person lose his right to live in Mao’s China because of where he was? Would he have retained that human right had he been in Taiwan? Does a person not have a right to live because he is a few centimeters inside the birth canal and then gain it when he is a few centimeters outside of it? “

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This is all just part of the big lie, that killing people is a “solution” as long as the people in question are not me, and maybe not you, but the jury is still out on you. Accepting and not questioning the big lie in our entertainment makes accepting the big lie much easier in our social policies.

So back to “Designated Survivor”.  How about the lies in this series, the distortion of truth, the re-writing of history … ?

Traitors in Michigan ...

Traitors in Michigan …

Just one tiny example of the lie in the TV series, is casting Michigan as a hotbed of treachery and malice. In the context of historical fact, this is an understandable revenge attack, dressing up slander in nice makeup and flashy clothes.

The ignored “Sure Blue Union State” produced a Red Tide of betrayal when election night rolled around. They need to be punished for their treachery! So, lies sell,  lies sell well, because at the root of all things we all want to believe that we are actually  “good” people, not tools of evil.

We all want to “feel  good” about ourselves, no matter what the truth is.

Remember all that BS about “self-esteem” that became the bulk of our academic curriculum in the last few decades?  Well, what we see around us now is how unfounded “self esteem”, “it takes a village”, “no child left behind”, plays out in the real world.

The masses, sincerely believing that the world owes them, simply because they have a pulse, produce and consume lies as reality, they vote for the sunshine pumpers, and the Kool Aide just keeps flowing.

circa 1965: Head shot portrait of American comedian and actor Flip Wilson (1933-1998), (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, that fantasy doesn’t play well in reality. Evil is evil and always will be evil, and evil doers are not “good” people, no matter how many mountain ranges of propaganda come out of the progressive media everywhere.

There are no “good” people. We all do evil. And in the end, lies are just lies. and the liars are merely useful idiots working for the Father of Lies, shoveling coal for Satan, as some wag once remarked.

I just finished re-reading through the lists of my last 3 posts, and I find it chilling. Our modern society has perfected the art of pretending that demons and evil spirits do not exist, “that stuff” is all just silly superstition, simply superstition or imagination.

And of course if we are believers, that doesn’t give us all a free pass for bad behavior, as Flip Wilson used to say “The Devil Made Me Do It!”, well … that just doesn’t cut it. We are personally responsible for our behaviour, our acts and our thoughts.

My last two posts are rather grim if one is even a little interested in the problem of sin, and eternity. If one is not interested then there is just no problem, everything in life is OK and these posts are just the delusional rambling of some old school superstitious peasant in the boondocks of rural Western Canada.

Here we are, church going riflemen, out standing in our fields, the Great White North, last bastion of the Bitter Clingers. That’s certainly what my urban Atheist sisters would say, or my equally urban Wiccan Priestess auntie, and all my non-religious, but “very spiritual” extended family and in-laws.

Whited Sepulchers

We have perfected the art of pretending that these are just “human” problems, demons and evil spirits do not exist, they are simply superstition or imagination, and of course I don’t have any of these problems because I am practically perfect in every way.

Really? Superstition? Imagination? Of course, I really don’t have any of these problems, and they have government Programs for those people who do have these sorts of problems or there’s an App for that. Really? This view is not actually very helpful, is it?

Pope Francis recently referred to Pope Paul  VI, who, in 1975, covered this well in his speech on Christian Faith and Demonology: placed emphasis on the fact that:

Pope Francis

“… evil is not simply a force in the background but rather (is) truly present, a living being who is spiritual, perverse, and who renders perverse (everything it touches). … (It) is a horrifying reality, a mysterious force who spreads fear.”

I am thinking about millions of people completely ignorant of actual demonic and evil spiritual activity in the material world and the manipulation of the minds and self of human beings by these spirits.

It is chilling, an unimaginable horror story involving all humans, both the innocent and the guilty everywhere, every day.

The lists are literally a catalogue of almost every imaginable social problem, iniquity and misery afflicting our modern progressive materialistic society, our “polite”, “nice”, “friendly” Canadian culture.

So once again, I think that I am faced with an apparent binary choice … to accept the massive cognitive dissonance radiating from literally every Canadian News report and polite cultural meme,  OR to reject it all in favour of measurable reality  and abandon hope of ANY possible positive resolution to the “challenges” I see before us on every side.

I am invited, tempted in fact,  to see a binary choice and only a binary choice … accept that the media talking heads and the politicians know the truth and are telling the truth and things things are better than they have ever been and are getting better, if only we acquiesce to their chosen “solutions, OR … accept the despair of a no hope future where all ends in misery and death.

But that is really a false choice, offered by one who has everything to gain by the misery and despair inevitable on the track we are following. The real choice is actually GOD, or no god. We always find ourselves falling short, full of miseries, failures and sin, always indebted to GOD. We deny and lose faith in GOD because our souls always shiver with fear because we are aware of our failing and dread how GOD will receive us,

Will He turn us away and punish us for our failure and lack of faith? Our miserable selves always answer yes to the punishment concept when in fact that is the age old lie that led Adam to hide himself when he heard God walking in the garden. We don’t trust that GOD loves us. Our limited God holds guilt and justice for us or worse as god we refuse to acknowledge His very existence.

And how can that turn out well? Because we are literally “dead” wrong about GOD. GOD is different from what we believe. I believe that GOD loves me and wants to take me back if only I will acknowledge my sins humbly and simply and sincerely ask for forgiveness as did the thief on the cross beside Jesus. “The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me and I will hear you, and I will bring back your captivity from all places.” these are consoling words taken from the Catholic Mass. they open our hearts to the sweetest of hopes. GOD loves us in spite of all.

More on GOD’s love and mercy later

Cheers

Joe

Frodo … was asleep almost before the words were spoken. Sam struggled with his own weariness, and he took Frodo’s hand; and there he sat silent till deep night fell.

Then at last, to keep himself awake, he crawled from the hiding-place…. The land seemed full of … noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim….

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.

For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself.

Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

 

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The Inner Struggle

Sins & Fomenting Spirits – part 2

Adam Blai

Adam Blai

To quote Adam Blai , from the larger quote at the end of this post, “… It is easy to become distracted by the drama of deliverance and exorcism and lose sight of the fact that the source of demonic problems is a relationship with sin, and usually involves the First Commandment. It is often the case that, over time, emotional wounds lead to sin, which becomes habitual.”

Quoting from Father Chad A. Ripperger’s little book : “Deliverance Prayers”, here is what the first commandment and sins relating are all about:

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THE FIRST COMMANDMENT: I AM THE LORD THY GOD; THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME

Sins contrary to the First Commandment are the following:

neglect of prayer; ingratitude toward God; spiritual sloth; hatred of God or of the Catholic Church; tempting God (explicitly or implicitly, e.g. by exposing oneself to danger of soul, life, or health without grave cause); not behaving reverently when in church (e.g. not genuflecting to the Blessed Sacrament when entering or leaving the church, etc.); excessive attraction to things/creatures (e.g. over-affection to animals, being a sports fanatic, having movie star /music/TV idols, love for money, pleasure or power);

idolatry (worshiping false gods such as giving honor to a creature in place of God (e.g. Satan, science, ancestors, country); superstition (ascribing powers to a created thing which it does not have); hypnotism (without sufficient cause); divination (communication with Satan, demons, the dead or other false practices in order to discover the unknown;

Father Ripperger

Father Ripperger

consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, fortune telling); attaching undue importance to dreams, omens or lots; all practices of magic or sorcery (e.g. witchcraft, voodoo); wearing charms; playing with Ouija boards or rotating tables; spiritism (talking with the spirits);

sacrilege (profaning or treating unworthily the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, and other liturgical actions, as well as religious persons, blessed things such as sacred vessels or statues, or places consecrated to God); sacrilege by receiving a sacrament, especially the Holy Eucharist, in the state of mortal sin; simony (buying or selling of spiritual things); profane or superstitious use of blessed objects (sometimes done in order to remain in sin);

practical materialism (one believes he needs and desires only material things); atheistic humanism (falsely considers man to be an end in himself, and the sole maker with supreme control of his own history); atheism in general (rejects, denies or doubts the existence of God, either in theory or practice, i.e. ignoring Him in the daily living of one’s life); agnosticism (postulates the existence of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about which nothing can be said or makes no judgment about God’s existence declaring it impossible to prove or even to affirm or deny).

Sins against Faith: Wilful doubt of any article of faith; deliberate ignorance of the truths of faith which ought to be known; neglect of instructing oneself in the faith according to one’s state in life; rash credulity (e.g. giving credence to private revelation too easily or believing in a private revelations which has been condemned by the lawful Church authorities); apostasy; heresy; indifferentism (to believe that one religion is as good as another, and that all religions are equally true and pleasing to God, or that one is free to accept or reject any or all religions); reading or circulating books or writings against the Catholic belief or practice in such wise as to jeopardize one’s or another’s faith; to remain silent when asked about one’s faith; engaging is schismatic or heretical worship; joining or supporting masonic groups or other forbidden societies.

Sins against Hope: despair of God’s mercy (to give up all hope of salvation, and the means necessary to be saved), or want of confidence in the power of His Grace to support us in trouble or temptation; no desire to possess eternal happiness in heaven or after this earthly life; presumption (to hope for salvation without help from God or to assume God’s forgiveness without conversion, or to hope to obtain heavenly glory without merit); presuming on God’s mercy or on the supposed efficacy of certain pious practices, in order to continue in sin; refusing any dependence on God.

Sins against Charity: not making an act of charity at regular intervals during life especially during times of necessity; egoism (one cares only about himself, praises himself, selfish, enjoys receiving praise) wilfully rebellious thoughts against God; boasting of sin; violating God’s law, or omitting good works through human respect.”

Ripperger, Father Chad A.. Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity (pp. 112-114). Sensus Traditionis Press.

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Here then, are the rest of the lists, part two, and the conclusion. Remembering the instructions from Fr. Ripperger on the subject of “Fomenting Spirits” and reading the lists … is to bear in mind that since so many demons and evil spirits identify with the vice or attitude they seek to foment, they answer to these names.

As a result some of the entries in these lists will correspond to those vices, disorders and attitudes which these spirits and demons foment. However, other entries can be such that they correspond with a purely natural problem or disorder, or even in some cases not a disorder in itself  but something which may become disordered by the involvement of demons and spirits.

Some of the list entries indicate nothing harmful in itself but may describe the victim’s interior struggles in that fashion, such as “marionette/puppet” may describe how a person might feel interiorly in their struggles.

So, while reading through the lists, one should not presume that a natural activity which in itself is not disordered is somehow by nature driven by diabolic influence. Remember, these “fomenting demons” or “fomenting spirits” are evil spirits whose primary task in our material reality is to incite or cause troublesome acts; to encourage; to instigate and to otherwise get humans to misbehave in more or less serious ways, they indeed are … all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls”. And my main question is “Where do all these spirits come from?”

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Matthias Grünewald - Temptation of St. Anthony, Isenheim Altarpiece Detail. 1515

Matthias Grünewald – Temptation of St. Anthony, Isenheim Altarpiece Detail. 1515

Spirits Against Matrimonial Sacramental Unity: Neglect of Responsibilities toward Children Physically, Emotionally, Mentally, Spiritually; Cursing of Children, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Incest, Betrayal, Abandonment, Inability to Give Love, Detachment & Indifference Due to Self-Absorption, Abandonment of Religious Practices & Teaching the Faith to Children, Lack of Affection, Over Affection, Lack of Tactility, Lack of Affectivity, Lack of Nurturing, Misuse of Authority, Religiosity & Abandoning Children & of Family for Church; Lack of Availability, Competition for Attention with Children for Spouse, Pitting against Spouse with Children-Putting Children in the Middle of an Argument, Putting Children above Spouse in the Family Relationships, Living out Your Identity in Your Children, Manipulation, Control, Dominance, Over-protection-Stifling because of Fear, Non-protection-Abandonment, Permissiveness, Allowing: Provocative Clothing, Movies, No Discipline, Over Eating of Junk Food; Swearing, Crude Language, Abusive Language, Unapproachability, Fearful Dominance, Deceiving Children, Over-Doting on & Spoiling Children, Disordered Love & Affection for Children, Preferring One Sibling more than Another, Pitting Siblings against Each Other; Disordered Shame & Guilt about Their Character or Bodies, No Discipline, Disciplining without Explanation or Full Cycle of Love, Teaching Error, Mocking or Belittling of Children; Allowing Cynicism, Sarcasm or Critical Humor, Uncontrolled Use of the Tongue, Preferring Friends to Family, Not Allowing Children to Express Themselves, Fighting with Spouse in Front of Children, Allowing Children to be the Parents to their Parents; Adultery & Its Effects, Any Disorders in Children Produced by any Unnatural Sex in Home; Sarcasm, Critical Humor, Gossip, Belittling & Allowing Sibling Rivalry, Permissiveness: Teaching Contraception & Giving Contraceptives to Your Children, Teaching Immorality to Children, Exposing Them to Loose Conduct & Alcoholism, Exclusion in their Rooms; Permissiveness: No Chores around House, No Responsibilities, No Money Management; Occult: Harry Potter, Pokemon, Monster toys, T.V., Books; Non-Protection of Child’s Soul or Spiritual Development & Schooling, Non-Protection & Non-Awareness of Relationships within Family Members & Friends, Herding Children with No Personalized Attention (Large Family), Allowing Uncleanness & Chaos in Family; Murder in Womb, Abortion, Contraception, Scheming, Plotting, Deviant Plans; Non-Explaining & Training in Sexual Behavior, Addictions: Alcoholism, Drugs, Smoking, Gambling, Sexual Addiction

Children: Defiance, Deviant Behavior, Laziness, Unruly & Wild, Out of Control, Temper Tantrums, Hitting Parents; Deceiving-Lying, Curiosity in Sexual Behavior; Procrastination, Rebellion, Stubbornness, Assertiveness & Independence, Leading Parents Around on a Leash; Sibling Rivalry, Fighting, Bickering & Belittling Siblings, Pouting, Daydreaming, Coquettishness, Provocativeness, Mischievous, Impishness, Troubled Behavior, Non-Attentiveness; Coercion of Parents, Manipulation of Parents, Pitting Parents against Each Other; Negative Attention Behavior, Fascination with Occult and Powers, Too Much Time with: Video Games, Sports, TV, Internet; Sexual Perversion, Animal Torture, Stealing & Theft, Anti-Social Behavior, Rebelliousness, Indulgence, Fear, Nightmares, Thumb-Sucking, Bed-Wetting, Nail-Biting; Touchiness over Corrections, Anger & Rage, Fear, Rejection, Sulking & Pouting, Abandonment & Fear of Abandonment In Utero, Fear of Death & Dying, Unwanted Pregnancy, Attempted Abortion, Cord Around Neck, Traumatic Delivery, Following a Miscarriage or Abortion: Suicidal Thoughts, Darkness, Death & Fear of Death, Sadness, Sorrow; Fear of Dark, Nightmares, Emotional Trauma: Panic, Guilt, Shame, Reclusion, Shyness, Ineptness, Low Self Esteem, Bad Self Image, Aggravated Abuse & Jealousy of Others

Sexual Spirits: Seducing, Perverse, Whoredom, Bondage, Masturbation, Sexual Fantasy, Romanticism, Infatuation, Daydreaming, Pornography, Romance Novels, Lust, Fornication, Promiscuity, Contraception – Condoms, Adultery, Disordered Love Relationships, Bestiality, Necromancy, Unclean Thoughts & Desires, Prostitution, Homosexuality (Baal), Lesbianism (Ishtar), Incubus, Succubus, Pedophilia, Jezebel (Seduction) (N.B. re: Homosexuality, she is called the Pestiferous Queen of the Sodomites), Incest, Voyeurism, Coquettishness, Flirtation, Petting, French Kissing, Fondling, Provocativeness, Internet Porn, Lewd Conduct, Lewd Dancing, Molestation, Oral Sex, Unnatural Intercourse, Lack of Modesty, Nudity, Shame, Guilt, Child Perversity, Sadomasochism, Perverted Acts, Sexual Delusions, Obscenity, Wasting of Seed, Indecency, Pleasure Seeking, Premarital Sex, (Need to Forgive Sex Partners & Remove Hooks & Tentacles), Murder of Spirit, Murder of Purity, (Necessary condition to see God), Sexual Gluttony, Sexual Addiction, Ritual Sex, Ritual Sexual Abuse, Insatiable Lusts, Sexual Gratification, Predator, Prey, Orgy (Sexual Carnival), Exhibitionism, Porn Films, Porn Magazines, Dirty Jokes, Squalor (Unclean), Permissiveness, Immorality, Impurity, Sexual Rage (for denying pleasure), Rape, Sodomy, Lack of Custody of the Eyes, Sacrilegious Sexual Abasement (Priests), Gender Mutilation, Ray Knee Kay Fee, Shay Knee Kay Lee (they work together to destroy our God given maleness/femaleness-Gender Mutilation)

The Garden of Earthly Delights is the modern title given to a triptych oil painting on oak panel painted by the Early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was between 40 and 60 years old. It has been housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939.

Fear: Ministering Spirits, Fear, Torment, Violence, Fear of Death, Murder of Spirit, Spirit of Death-Ichabod, Suicide, Impending Death, Tension, Fear of People & their Opinions, Human Respect, Torture, Trouble, Anguish Darkness, Grief, Night, Black Disordered Grief, Trauma, Weeping, Oppression, Morbidity, Fixation, Helplessness, Hopelessness, Insomnia, Disturbances, Apprehension, Edginess; Phobias: Heights, Crowds, Cars, Planes, Water, Elevators, Hospitals, Claustrophobia, etc.; Inner Conflict, “I am not worthy”, Self Condemnation, Self Abandonment, Ruminating, Unworthiness, Fear of Disapproval, Fear of Persecution, Fear of Reproof, Fear of Accusation, Fear of Failure, Perfectionism; Crisis, Implosion, Nightmares, Excitement, Turmoil, Horror, Dread, Disgust, Gloom, Doom, Desperation, Disappointment, Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Fear of Pain, Fear of the Cross, Fear of Being Hurt, Repression, Suppression of Joy, Suppression, Panic, Anxiety, Worry, Paranoia-Suspicion, Fear of Condemnation, Fear of Judgment, Fear of Rejection, Projected Rejection onto God & Others, Fear of Close Relations, Disordered Fear of God or Hell, Restlessness, Nervousness, Tremors, Tension Headaches, Roaming Around, Nervous Habits, Shackled, Pressured, Viced, Trapped, Barbed Wire, Squeezed, Captive Spirit, Frozen, Isolation, Negativity, Reclusion, Staying Alone, Abandonment-Betrayal, Seclusion, Withdrawal, Indifference, Blockages, Numbness, Closed up, Shut up, Stupor, Locked up, Paralysis, Immobilization, Shut Down, Wall, Coldness, Apathy, Sloth, Escape, Loneliness, Fear of Loneliness, Sluggishness, Listlessness, Sleepiness Others: Yawning, Stress, Laziness, Lethargy, Withdrawal from God & People, Stoicism, Discouragement, Foreboding, Darkness, Sadness, Despair, Despondency, Dismay, Distrust, Disheartenment, Powerlessness, Fatality, Melancholy, Joylessness, Fear of Loss, Fear of Failure, Separation Anxiety, Fixation, “Don’t touch me”, “Leave me alone”, Heaviness, Depression, Neglect, Lost, Strangulation, Suffocation, Immobility, Recoil, Defeat, Weakness of Will, Seductibility, Sentimentality, Blues, Bondage, Bound & Gagged, Tied up in Knots, Chained, Caught, Snared, Trapped, Imprisoned, Netting, Webbing, Black Tar – Verbal Barrage in Hearing Faculty, Self Preservation, Avoidance, Humiliation, Inability to Overcome, Workaholic, Attachment Disorder, Fear of men, Fear of women, Fear of Abduction, Secrecy/secretive, Uselessness, Non-existent, Claiming, Hoarding & Owning Negatives, Holding on to Good Things, Attachments, Bigotry, “I’m not allowed to be here”, “I should be punished”

Womb: Darkness in Mothers Womb, Unwanted Pregnancy, Fear of Pregnancy, Cord around Neck, Undue Sadness from Mother to Child, Birth Trauma, Incubator Abandonment, Adoption, Non-bonding at the Breast, Blood Transfusion, Oxygen Tent or Hospitalization, Previous Abortion, Previous Miscarriage, Premature Pregnancy

Self: Narcissism, Self Awareness, Inadequacy, Self Rejection, Rejection, Self Pity, No Self Confidence, Self Hate/Ugliness, Self Contempt, Self Love, Self-Seeking Behavior, Self Gratification, Self Will, Self Destruction, Self Abandonment, Self Aggrandizement, Ego, Independence, Bad Self Image, Self Depreciation, Sensitivity, Inferiority, Self Absorption, Blockages to God Because of Self Absorption, Self Idolatry, Introspection, Insecurity, Timidity, Ineptness, Shyness, Loneliness, Cowardliness, Self Indulgence, Uselessness, Ideas & Dreams, Agenda, Preconceived Notions, Presumption, Disordered Love, Disordered Responsibility, Disordered Compassion, Self Assumed Heavy Burdens, Self Assumed Pious Burdens, Self Assumed False Burdens, Inability to Receive Love, Inability to give Love, Faith Crisis, Shame, Guilt, Self Reliance, Self Sufficiency, Feeling Accused, Blame, Impulsive, Labor & Toil, Obedient Toil, Drudgery, Aversion, Avoidance, Feeling Unloved, Feeling Unwanted, Pessimism, Indifference, Tepidity, Lukewarmness, Defeat Spirits That Say: “I must be punished”, “That’s not fair”, “I am not allowed”, “This cannot happen for me”, “I am not worthy”, “I can do it myself, “I can’t”, “I wont”, “God can’t”, “God won’t”, “Oh yes I can”, “You can’t make me”, “You can’t help me”, “I can’t be healed” Others Continued: Mine, Perfectionism, Rigidity, Give Me, Doubt, Incredulity, Unbelief, Paranoia, Suspicion, Irrational, Instability, Unstable, Fickle, Folly, Unmovable, Changeability, Unpredictable, Surprise, Irresoluteness, Weakness of Will, Inconsistency, Sloth, Slovenliness, Non-Forgiving of God, Non-Forgiving of Self, Messiah Complex, Imbalance, Deaf & Dumb Spirit, Distorted Hearing, Perverted Judgment, Perverted Thinking, Indecisive, Scrupulosity, Procrastination, Postponement, Postponing Prayer, Inability to be Influenced by Grace, Trance, Anesthetized, Numbness, Spiritual Blindness, Wall, Dazed, Fog, Indecision, Obstruction, Inability to be Taught, Blockages, Non-Formed Conscience, Analysis Paralysis, Distorted Thinking, Hardness of Heart, Wounded Heart, Disconnectedness of Thoughts & Feelings from Head & Heart, Disjointed Spirit, Fractured Spirit, Split/Severance, Undo/Breaking, Opposites – Dual, Paralysis, Forgetfulness, Attention Deficit, Memory Lapse, Memory Loss, Obsessive Compulsive, Passivity, Imprudence, Impulsiveness, Compromise, Displaced Feelings, Transferred Feelings, Negativity, Non-Creativity, Grotesque Self Image, Preoccupation with Appearances & Body, Ignorance, Attachment, Concerned with Things Outside One’s Own Realm, Passive Aggressive, Finality, Dead End, Stunting, Halting, Interruption, Hesitation, Cutting Off, Dismissal, Defilement, Shock, Entrenchment, Temptation, Passivity, Slave of Constraint, Unfixability, Repudiation & Condemnation, Coveting, Being Served, Not Serving

The last Judgement, Hans Memling, painted between 1467 and 1471

The last Judgement, Hans Memling, painted between 1467 and 1471

Anger: Anger, Rage, Outrage, Blind Rage, Resentment, Unforgiveness, Spite, Animosity, Brooding over Injuries, Vindictiveness, Violence, Temper, Temper Tantrums, Out Bursts, Revenge, Lashing Out, Retaliation, Murder, Murder of Spirit, Abortion/Never, Bitterness, Bitterroot, Defiance, Avenging, Mercilessness, Belittling, Biting, Cruel, Inconsideration of Others’ Feelings, Inability to Feel Others’ Pain, Wicked Penetration, Agitation, Destruction, Accusation, Disfigurement/Mutilation, Relentless Rage, Pulverizing, Overkill, Compassionlessness, Torture, Predator, Stubbornness, Rebelliousness, Contempt, Vehemence, Contrivance, Strife, Division – Dabbles, Contention, Arguing, Quarreling, Bickering, Fighting, Rejoicing in Evil, Sadism, Masochism, Pouting, Impatience, Marital Discord, Hatred for Parents, Opposition, Disagree, Enmity, Cruelty, Envy, Bludgeoning, Jealousy, Spirit of Wickedness, Spirit of Wicked Penetration, Screaming, Feeling out of Control, Blame, Vulgarity, Foul language, Uncontrolled use of the Tongue, Name Calling, Cursing, Lying, Discord, Disorder, Dysfunctional Behavior, Havoc, Chaos, Confusion, Calamity Calumny Verbal Abuse Physical Abuse Addictions: Drugs, Alcoholism, Sex, Smoking, Gambling, Deviant Behavior, Curtness, Gossip, Talkativeness, Spitting, Blasphemy, Sarcasm, Cynicism, Jeering, Wishing Evil, Relishing Evil, Holding Secret Antipathies & Hatred, Coldness, Hatred, Hatred of Men, Hatred of Women, Bigotry, Willfulness, Mockery, Mimicry, Criticism, Yelling, Dirty Jokes, Critical Humor, Cursing of Children By Parents or Grandparents, Tearing of Flesh, Mutilation, Self Inflicted Pain, Destruction, Spirit of Detraction, Hurtful, Ruinous of Others’ Reputation, Destruction of Others’ Property & Reputation, Depreciation, Fault Finding, Frenzy, Adversity, Emotional Hostage-Taking, Disunity

Pride: Boasting, Bragging, Haughtiness, Pride, Arrogance, Detraction, Obstinate Pride, Conceit, Wounded Pride, Aggrandizement of Self, Grandiosity, Judgmental, Spiritual Wrath at God, Pride of Vocation, Nursing Wounds, Insolence, Vanity, Vainglory, Superiority, Indignation, Self Righteous, Resistance, Non Submissive, Repelling, Opening Ears to Evil, Cloak & Dagger (political), Reverse Polarization, (Repels Self from God (Magnets), Supremacy, Challenge, Opposition, Spoiled, Will not receive correction, Willfulness, Worldly Success & Achievement, Prowess, Fanaticism, “I will do if,” Self Idolatry, Holding Secret Antipathies, Distortion of Truth, Agitation, Religiosity, False Sense of Confidence, Self Magnification, Machismo, Egoism, Worldliness, Competition, Exaggeration, Bloated, Control, Manipulation, Dominance, Domineering, Power, Exalted Feelings, Scheming, Plotting, Dishonor, Disprove, Cunning, Conniving, Idolatry, Intellectual Prowess, Intellectualizing, Self Actualization, Self Elevation, Judgment Comparison, Acquired Situational Narcissism, (Adulation in Early Life-Complicated with Pressure), Buffoonery, Jocularity, Party Foolishness, Uncontrolled Behavior, Intemperance, Drunkenness, Gluttony, Mirth – Gaiety – Foolishness, Debauchery, Minimalization of Sin, Undisciplined, Unruly, Wild, Free Spirit that Obeys & Follows No Law, Lawlessness, Self Righteous Indignation, Spiritual Superiority, Sacrilegious Communions, Aversion to Others, “Below My Dignity”, Unrest, Agitation, Irritation, Spiritual Wrath Directed at God, Because of No Consolation, Emphasizes Letter of the Law & Not It’s Spirit, Burning Desire to Justify Self, Burning Desire to Correct Others and Judge Them, Rebelliousness, Rebelliousness against Leaders & Authority, “I will not serve”, “I will not submit”, “I will not”, Touchiness over Correction, Hypocritical, Self Righteousness,

Judas Spirit: Betrayal, Won’t Forgive Self, God Can’t Forgive Me; Divided Loyalty, Pharisee, Sanctimoniousness, (Pretending to be of High Morals without Being So), Self Denial & Discipline for Worldly Gain, Self Achievement, • “I will do it”, • “Only I can do it”, Diabolic Strength – Strength apart from God, Empowerment, Severity, Disciplinarian – Dictator, Workaholic, Stubbornness, Curiosity

Ripperger, Father Chad A.. Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity (p. 101- 111). Sensus Traditionis Press.

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There is another interesting and helpful article at St. Paul Center, by Adam Blai . Blai is an expert on religious demonology and exorcism for the Pittsburgh Diocese. He has been an auxiliary member of the International Association of Exorcists in Rome for a number of years. Blai is the author of Hauntings, Possessions, and Exorcisms, a field guide to defense against the demonic. thus:

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“… Over the last fifty years or so, most deliverance work was done by Protestant denominations, and the books on deliverance over that time were from those perspectives. One erroneous idea that comes out of this tradition is that anything commanded to a demon by a baptized Christian in the name of Jesus will be obeyed immediately.

This is a magical-thinking approach as it doesn’t take into account the free will of the person in relationship with that demon. We cannot foist our choices onto other adults; they have their own free will.

In some Protestant books on deliverance, one is encouraged to speak directly to, and command, the demons. This is imprecatory prayer, a direct command. It is critical to understand that imprecatory prayer directly commands a demon, which is a tacit acceptance to a personal battle with that demon, while deprecatory prayer asks God to act against the demon.

The Catholic Church has understood that the full authority to command demons was given to the Twelve Apostles, therefore a priest needs Apostolic authority given to him by a bishop before he engages in a battle with a demon. Of course a bishop, cardinal, or pope can do an exorcism at any time.

It is easy to become distracted by the drama of deliverance and exorcism and lose sight of the fact that the source of demonic problems is a relationship with sin, and usually involves the First Commandment. It is often the case that, over time, emotional wounds lead to sin, which becomes habitual. The person grows in the wrong direction, like a tree that is bound and canted to the side as a sapling.

The deception of the demon is to hide in these wounded feelings and distorted sense of self, seeming integral and necessary while fomenting more harm. People affected by demons must begin their healing by letting go of their own sins through repentance and of the sins of others through forgiveness.

The cycle of repentance and forgiveness is bolstered by reaffirming one’s loyalty to God, such as with the recitation of the Apostles’ Creed, the renewal of baptismal promises, and participation in the sacraments. God works with the person where they are and they are usually given as much insight into their own wounds and sinfulness as they can handle at the time. It is like training that tree to now grow in a new way: change too fast and the tree breaks. …”

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis

That’s plenty long enough, isn’t it? I find just reading through these lists to be chilling. Our modern society has perfected the art of pretending that demons and evil spirits do not exist, that they are simply superstition or imagination and this is not actually very helpful.

And of course if we do believe, that doesn’t give us a free pass for bad behavior, as Flip Wilson used to say “The Devil Made Me Do It!”, just doesn’t cut it. We are responsible for our behaviour, our acts and our thoughts.

Pope Francis recently referred to Pope Paul  VI, who, in 1975, covered this well in his speech on Christian Faith and Demonology: placed emphasis on the fact that,

evil is not simply a force in the background but rather truly present, a living being who is spiritual, perverse and who renders perverse. He is a horrifying reality, a mysterious force who spreads fear. Anyone who refuses to recognize his existence is distancing themselves from the framework of Biblical and Church teaching.

This really is the end of this topic. I find the whole thing chilling. Thinking about millions of people completely ignorant of actual demonic activity in the material world through the manipulation of the minds and self of human beings.

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Sins & Fomenting Spirits – part 1

This has turned into a rather long post, perhaps too long for comfort, so I just decided to split it into two parts with the division being in the middle of the lists. So this becomes part one and the next post is now part two probably to be posted tomorrow or the next day.

I started this post in order to just to get all this stuff into one place where I can think about this and work with it. I am creating this post and the next one,  to hold my new list. The “new” thing for me here is the realization of the actions of evil spirits on the real material world, rather than simply their existence in the spiritual plane.

This is a list of “fomenting spirits” together with quotes from source documents and articles, drawn from my recent reading of works  by and about exorcists, about the (probably) billions of evil spirits referred to in this popular Catholic prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel:

Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.”

Destroyer, Heavy Seas

Destroyer, Heavy Seas, Please! GAWD! HELP US!

My father taught me that prayer, or at least tried to when I was a youngster, although, after leaving the Catholic Church of the late 60’s in my all knowing teenage arrogance,  the prayer which I prayed most in my military service in my late teens and 20’s was:

GAWD! PLEASE! Help us survive this and I swear I will be good for the rest of my life. I will never have another drink and I will go to church and I will never again lust after women! Please! GAWD! HELP US!

prayed with deep sincerity as we found ourselves, again and again, in situations and conditions which seemed at times to leave no hope of survival no matter how professional we might be. It’s funny how we all promise to be good when death is eminent, God gets real when situational things over which one has absolutely no control, are getting worse and you might actually be stepping through the last door in a moment.

Anyway, on with the subject of “Fomenting Spirits”, I never really held this sharp a focus on the action of evil spirits in this world as opposed to their mere existence. Important things to remember when reading entries on these lists is to bear in mind that since so many demons and evil spirits identify with the vice or attitude they seek to foment, they answer to these names.

As a result some of the entries in these lists will correspond to those vices, disorders and attitudes which these spirits and demons foment. However, other entries can be such that they correspond with a purely natural problem or disorder, or even in some cases not a disorder in itself  but something which may become disordered by the involvement of demons and spirits.

Some of the list entries (below or in part two) indicate nothing harmful in itself but may describe the victim’s interior struggles in that fashion, such as “marionette/puppet” may describe how a person might feel interiorly in their struggles. For example, were a demon or spirit to succeed in inducing a contemplative religious to compulsively bite his nails it would be a great victory to distract that would-be man of prayer from that which he and the world need most.

So, while reading through the lists, here and in part two, one should not presume that a natural activity which in itself is not disordered is somehow by nature driven by diabolic influence. These “fomenting demons” or “fomenting spirits” are evil spirits whose primary task in our material reality is to incite or cause troublesome acts; to encourage; to instigate and to otherwise get humans to misbehave in more or less serious ways, they indeed are … all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls”. Where do all these spirits come from?

Pascal's Wager

Pascal’s Wager for modern progressives … The “I am going to heaven because I am nice” crowd

I consider my incredulity regarding the popular modern notion of “everybody goes to heaven because God is merciful and doesn’t send souls to hell”. And then I look at the observed actuality of the majority view always getting things wrong about pretty much everything that there is a majority opinion about, from politics, to science, to social structures, to economics.

In all these fields of human endeavor, it is pretty much a given that if most folks agree on something then it is probably wrong or mistaken. Probably the Pareto principal applies here as in every other thing, that is 80% of the people are wrong 80% of the time. Remember that Pareto formulated the 80/20 rule for wealth distribution and curiously it seems to apply to many other fields of observation.

Anyway, with that likelyhood in mind, I inevitably find myself thinking about the alternative view, the 20% view, which incidentally seems also to be Christ’s words  when answering questions on things like this in scripture, namely that God truly doesn’t send anyone to hell.

It’s all about the wide road and the narrow gate and realizing too late that the door is now closed, and few go to heaven. OOOPS!

And scripture tells us in many places, that God truly doesn’t send anyone to hell, God is indeed merciful, and he gives everyone the gifts and grace to get to heaven. The trouble is, that we reject those gifts. In fact souls actually choose hell because they cannot stop loving themselves. Souls in the depths of their self love cannot, humbly, and with sincere contrition, acknowledge their sins, beg God’s pardon for their sins.

And while they are at it, they cannot accept that literally everything in our lives is a gift from God, because we really cannot do it ourselves. Humility and gratitude have gone missing. This necessary “attitude of humble gratitude” just doesn’t line up very well with the prevailing modern opinion that “of course I am a nice person, a good person, I don’t sin, and I am practically perfect in every way … what I have taken to calling “Poppins Syndrome”. Lets visit a paraphrase of some ideas by Ulrich L. Lehner, in his book “God Is Not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture Theology …” thus:

Ask yourself: “If you died tonight, why should God let you enter heaven?” The most frequent answer I, Joe, personally have heard to this question, namely: “if you believe in heaven, do you think you are going there?” are simply variations of “I have done good things, and I haven’t killed anybody or committed adultery or theft. I am a good person.

It seems that most folks I have talked to seem to have some warm and fuzzy idea of some place after death that equates to “heaven” and they feel somehow that it is their right to go there. But that is definitely not what the Church really teaches. What the Catholic Church teaches is that no one actually deserves heaven.

So lets do a little walk through that logic, the logic of “I am going to heaven because I am nice and a good person…”, a little thought experiment  (German: Gedankenexperiment, GedankenExperiment, or Gedankenerfahrung,) considering this heaven hypothesis, for the purpose of thinking through its logical consequences.

Well, I am 66 years old now. Let’s say I live another 14 years, to eighty years. Of these eighty years, I will have been able to use reason and be morally responsible for perhaps between sixty to seventy of them. Within this 60 year time span I sacrifice a bit, put it all on the line for others for a while, I get married, have a kid, maybe some grand-kids, maybe I help a few people along the way, give a bit to charity every year, and retire happily and live out the remainder of my short life doing good deeds and singing in church.

The question then becomes: “For the relatively few good actions in a very short life, should I earn an infinity of bliss and happiness?” That sounds a lot like fraud, like an impossible Ponzi scheme!” To remind us, a Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒnzi/; also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors.

The Church rejected that view in the fourth century by declaring Pelagianism a heresy. Pelagius was a pious monk who lived in the fourth century and believed in free will but also stressed that it is our good works that save us. For St. Augustine, Pelagius’s view did not make sense. If we can merit our own salvation, then Christ died in vain, Augustine reasoned.

So, Pelagianism was opposed by Augustine, bishop of Hippo, who asserted that human beings could not attain righteousness by their own efforts and were totally dependent upon the grace of God. Pelagianism was condemned by two councils of African bishops in 416, and again at Carthage in 418, Pelagius and his disciple Celestius were finally excommunicated in 418; Pelagius’ later fate is unknown.

The controversy, however, was not over. Pelagianism proved to be a right pernicious heresy.  Julian of Eclanum continued to assert the Pelagian view and engaged Augustine in literary polemic until the latter’s death in 430. Julian himself was finally condemned, with the rest of the Pelagian party, at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Another heresy, known as Semi-Pelagianism (q.v.), flourished in southern Gaul until it was finally condemned at the second Council of Orange in 529.

So the teaching of the Catholic Church is that nobody can work herself or himself into heaven. If we are saved, it is only by the grace of Jesus Christ, and our works are only meritorious because of Christ’s merits. Only if we “bet” on Christ and his grace, as the philosopher Pascal said, (see Pascal’s Wager graphic above) will we win eternal life. So why do so many of our contemporaries have a problem with this basic, universal Christian doctrine?

Calvin & HobbsWhy is it that almost all Catholics, and almost all Christians these days, are secretly (whether they realize it or not) Pelagian? I think one of the main reasons lies in the development of modern transactional thinking in the last three hundred years, the notion of receiving wages and a “just compensation package” for fulfilling our side of the transaction, combined with the current culture of self love, namely we actually deserve whatever we want as a “right”. We don’t feel gratitude for something which is our right.

By throwing out gratitude, we also got rid of humility. And the departure of these virtues has changed our image of God. Now we seem to, sort of, think of God as a fuzzy, nice guy, sort of insurance policy which pays out bliss and happiness for eternity. We have paid our premiums by living a “good” life and the payout comes when we die. It is our “right ” as part of the transaction.

If we are no longer fundamentally grateful and humble, God is no longer in the picture because “we can do it our own way.” I am not saying that we should not be proud of our achievements, but rather that we should realize where they originate. Everything is “Gift”. If we fall into the trap of believing that we are “lords of our lives,” we will also go down the road of deceiving ourselves that we can make it to heaven without God.

paraphrased from: Ulrich L. Lehner, “God Is Not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture Theology and Discovering the God Worth Living For” (pp. 29-31). Ave Maria Press.

My take on scripture is that, absent humility, contrition and atonement, and absent a state of grace, the default destination is Hell for the majority of humanity throughout time. I don’t believe this in a “Jansenist” sort of way but rather that this outcome just seems to be the logical outcome of the evidence observed throughout history and in the world around me. And this leads to the next thought, namely, if these souls, these spirits don’t end up in purgatory or heaven, then where exactly do they go?

The only answer left, allowing for a “spiritual” world view, is hell. But hell is really the absence of God, and Revelations 12:4 tells us: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son“. So presumably, along with a third of the angels, the fallen angels or demons, these spirits who reject God end up wandering throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. So, numbering them in the billions doesn’t seem such a stretch.

So if it is accepted as true that only a “few” souls get to heaven, and the rest all become wandering evil spirits here on earth, we are subject to the ultimate form of “peer pressure” that of all these evil spirits encouraging us to believe lies and to behave badly, and to indulge ourselves in our desires and attachments and self centered behaviour, and all the while we tell ourselves that we are good people.

Because ultimately, all these spirits want us to stay in the “evil” club, the “No God” club, or group, or clique, the ultimate “cool clique” for all eternity. In a way it is a lot like Socialism and its direction to deliver all people to a lowest common denominator of misery, we are all “equal” in our misery.

I first read about these sorts of spirits, “Fomenting Spirits”, while reading about the Desert Fathers, Saints, and other Christian mystics, for example the Torment of St. Anthony. The following lists are found in Appendix 1 of “Deliverance Prayers for use by the laity” by Fr. Chad A Ripperger PhD . The following are lists used by exorcists to determine the sin, vice or (fomenting) spirit involved.  So, finally, here are the lists! These are:

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The Torment of Saint Anthony, Michelangelo

The Torment of Saint Anthony, Michelangelo

Lying Spirits: Pretension, Unreality, Denial, Delusion/Labyrinth, Convoluted Thinking, Cheating, Neglect of Responsibilities, Irreverence, Circumvention, Folly, Concealment, Blindness of Spirit, Evasiveness, Deceit, Mask, Game Playing, Deception, Illusion, Diversion, Error, Drama, Marionette-Puppet, False, Farce, Hallucination; Smoke & Mirrors, Harlequin Mask, Imitation, Pantomime, Counterfeit, Role Reversal, Fraud, Detraction, Incredulity, Coy, Cunning, Undermining, Aping, Dichotomy, Juggling, Duplicity, Facade, Dual, Showmanship, Theatrics, Show, Acting, Trickery, Magic, Mockery, Appearances, Fantasy, Heresy, Legion, Subversive, Irony, Mimicry

Unclean Spirits: Unclean & Offensive Conditions, Compulsiveness to Clean, Involuntary Vices (Obsessive Compulsive), Compulsion, “I have to”, Distortion of Truth, Busybody, Nosey, Curiosity, Violation of Confidentiality, Rumors, Critical Judgment, Perverted Judgment, Perverted Thinking, Scandal, Spirits that cause Accidents

Theft: Stealing, Greed, Avarice, Materialism, Possessiveness, Hoarding, Covetousness, Collecting, Exclusiveness, Making Excuses for Sin & Infidelities to God; Neglect-Omission; Inability to Pray Because of Worldly Cares; Inability to Give or Share, Stingy; Inability to Give Praise & Thanksgiving to God or to People

Mental Illness: Dyslexia-Learning Disabilities, A.D.D., A.D.H.D., Schizophrenia, Multi-personality, Bi-Polar – Manic Depressive, Mania, Insanity, Depression, Borderline, Neurosis, Psychosis, Paralysis, Post-Traumatic-Stress Syndrome, Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Disconnected Spirit, Disjointed Spirit, Fractured Personality, Split Personality, “Undo”, Opposites, Retardation, Tension, Chronic Fatigue, Eating Disorder, Memory Loss, Distorted Thinking, Distorted Hearing, Mental Torments, Confusion, Procrastination, Compromise, Indecision, Doubts, Anorexia, Bulimia, Stuttering, Death Wish, Physical Ailments: GI Problems: Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, TMJ – Grinding Teeth, Spoliosis, Night Sweats, Night Tremors, Palsy, Paralysis, Parasites, Crippling Disease, Enuresis, Bleeding, Vomiting, Coccyx Bone Crack, Sinus & Respiratory Problems, Birth Defects, Migraine Headaches, Back Problems, Vision Problems, Hearing Problems, Speech Problems, Metabolic Problems, Gland & Hormone Problems, Tumors, Cancer, Arthritis (unforgiveness), Smell, Taste, Throat & Vocal Cords, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Liver, Lungs, Exhaustion, Weakness, Life’s Breath, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Insomnia, Hay Fever, Deaf & Dumb, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Allergies, Asthma, Lyme Disease

Torment of St. Anthony, Martin Schongauer, 1470

Torment of St. Anthony, Martin Schongauer, 1470

False Religions & Philosophies: Jehovah Witness, Christian Cults, Christian Science, Scientology, Eastern Religion, Zen, Buddhism, Ancestor Worship, Taoism, Islam, Karate-Martial Arts, Yoga, Mind Science, Paganism, Pantheism, Druid, Celtic, Bahai, Heathen Worship, Lodges-Masonic, Renew 2000, Future Church, Protestantism, Schism, Mormonism, Rainbow Girls, Rosicrucians, Moonies, Unity Churches, Secret Societies, New Age Religions, Social Agencies, Freemasonry, Indian Religions, Socialism/Communism, New Age, Quakers, Shakers, Native American Spirituality, Indian Powwow, Shamanism, Hinduism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Heresy, Anti-Clericism, Mafia, Nationalism-Nazism

Abandonment of Religious Practices: Minimalization of Sin, Spiritual Pride, Abandonment of Vows, Abandonment of Vocation, Anti-Christ Spirit, Religious Errors, Apostasy, Doubters of True Faith, Jansenism/Puritanism, Spiritual Gluttony, Spiritual Wrath aimed at God, Spiritual Envy of the Gifts of others

Those against the Spiritual Life: Spiritual Sloth – Sadness of the Things of God, Sacrilege, Sins against Vows, Scrupulosity, Fear of Vocation, Abandonment of Promises, Feminism, Liberalism, Hatred of the Catholic Church, Fascism, Racism, Marxism, Blasphemy, Apostasy, Contempt for God, Sacrilege of Priestly Sacred Character, Occult

Superstitious practices: Satanism, Divination (Methods of Seeking Guidance & Knowledge from the Demonic), Familiar Spirits, Witchcraft-Wizardry, Wicca, New Age Practices, Out of Body Experiences, Santeria, Voodoo, Celtic, Druid, Evil Eye, Bohomo, TM (Transcendental Meditation), Mantras, Crystals, Reiki, Eneagrams, Magic, Evil Levitation, Handwriting Analysis (the predicting of the future, the reading of the past of a person’s life by the analysis and so forth), Seance, Ouija Boards, Yoga, Black Masses, Devil Worship, Palm Reading, Tea-Leaf Reading, Tarot Cards, Horoscopes, ESP, Silva Mind Control, Hypnotism, Centering Prayer, Martial Arts, Any powers Apart from God, Acupuncture, Homeopathic Remedies with Ritual, Channeling, Contacting the Dead or Disembodied Spirits Through: seances, dreams, Divining with Tree Root, Curses of the Occult Against The Priesthood, Celebration of Halloween – Costumes of the Demonic, Wearing of: Devil’s Horn, Rabbit’s Foot, Pentagram, Tattoos, Mood Ring, Biofeedback, Dungeons & Dragons, Rock & Roll/Jazz, Bloody Mary, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, Good Luck Charms, Lucky Coins, Magic Eight Ball, Numerology, Spiritism, Astrology, Pyramids, Parental Spirits

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis

That’s plenty long enough, isn’t it?. I find just reading through these lists to be chilling. Pretending that demons and evil spirits do not exist, that they are simply superstition or imagination is not actually very helpful. And of course if we do believe, that doesn’t give us a free pass for bad behavior, as Flip Wilson used to say “The Devil Made Me Do It!”, just doesn’t cut it. We are responsible for our behaviour, our acts and our thoughts.

Pope Francis recently referred to Pope Paul  VI, who, in 1975, covered this well in his speech on Christian Faith and Demonology: placed emphasis on the fact that, “evil is not simply a force in the background but rather truly present, a living being who is spiritual, perverse and who renders perverse. He is a horrifying reality, a mysterious force who spreads fear. Anyone who refuses to recognize his existence is distancing themselves from the framework of Biblical and Church teaching.

Not much to cheer about in this and the next post … part two… a lot to think about, and pray about.

Joe

 

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The Inner Struggle

“Does It Spark Joy?” as an effective tool for discrimination.

Some of the sources which I read regularly have commented on the difficulty of giving up access to news, or what passes for “news” these days in virtually every medium and media. This is a particularly troublesome nail which needs some hammering and which is more difficult to deal with than obviously bad things like fighting, or alcoholism, or drugs and other addictions.

Attachments to my opinions and beliefs, are much easier to rationalize as “sensible and right” than are obviously bad behaviors that impact the material world around me. My “model” is focused on the “reality” of what I experience in the world, and it is obviously right, right?

A razor I have used more or less successfully when deciding what material things and possessions are truly important and what things should be consigned to the big blue bin in my back yard has become a sort of mantra for me: As I contemplate the possession in question I ask myself “Does it spark joy?”. Most often the answer is no, or even in fact the complete opposite, it sparks distress for myriad reasons.

I also try, more or less successfully, to apply this razor to my thoughts about our life and times, our culture, our news, our entertainment, our government, our health care system, our justice system, our leaders, our contemporaries, our church. This is especially useful when I start drifting into enumerating all the things that are wrong with whatever the object of my attention happens to be at that moment. Do they (my thoughts) spark joy? If not, why not?

The exercise moves the item from the realm of passion and spontaneity without intent, into acknowledgement of my own culpability in thinking that way … its rarely a pleasant experience. One must be absolutely brutally honest with oneself about the spark. No weaseling to avoid making a decision. If some thing, or idea, is stupid or bad or even evil in its influence it must be identified as such and let the chips fall where they may.

Looked at with private personal honesty it is fairly easy to differentiate between joy, and any other feeling. Once one honestly accepts the lack of joy in a possession, or an idea, or a habit of thought it becomes easier to identify the attachment, and it almost always involves some iteration of my high opinion of myself and my thinking, my model of reality, my centrality in this existence.

Usually, perhaps even always, any identified attachment is something that takes me away from trying to conform to the will of God, from having God at the center of all things, instead of myself … much more comfortable with myself at the center, where I have lived for most of my life. It is also true that not all things that spark joy conform to the will of God, but those sort of joys never last and soon I find myself looking for more, rather like “Chinese Food” as served up in North American restaurants, as opposed to “Chinese” food as one finds in China.

I can’t think of any thing or thought that isn’t effectively clarified by the tool of “Does It Spark Joy?”  Once a thing is identified as joyless it is consigned to the dump, thrown out for good, never to be retrieved. It is pretty effective for material things. Thoughts and habits are another kind of horse altogether, hard to harness and hard to ride herd on and very hard to throw away with any degree of permanence.

I find myself discovering again, and again, in the back of my mental closet, a pile of old shoe boxes containing all the little trash and trinkets of past lives and past modes of thought, past judgements and past sins. I have failed to dispose of these failed thought patterns, rather like Bilbo heading out on his final quest all the while firmly resisting parting with the One Ring of Power.

No matter how hard I try to apply Joe Friday’s rule, I always seem to slide into spin and opinion. And my opinion is often rather low, about rather more things than I am happy with. So months ago, I unhooked from Satellite TV, and all news programs because they were all a near occasion of sin. I simply no longer accept any form of “streaming” infotainment or fake news – which is almost everything which passes for “news” these days.

Not a Luddite by any stretch, I can happily search on a variety of search engines, from a variety of countries and cultures, and follow up leads using my TOR browser or PIA (Private Internet Access), a subscribed proxy service. Different media from different countries and cultures often have quite different takes on events.

As a teenager I subscribed to “Foreign Affairs”, “Pravda”, “Scientific American”, and “National Geographic” and read a number of newspapers found at our local library. I was often surprised at the different picture revealed through each lens about the same events.

While now under a complete “News” blackout, I still can find out what I am interested in finding out, and I can fact check away to my heart’s content, but can be much more discriminating (that must be a “bad” thing these days) than I used to be about what I allow into my head.

Cheers

Joe

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Through The Lens of Age … Conformity to God’s Will

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

So, on revisiting my last post it might seem that life is grim and depressing with nothing of joy to contemplate in the world. And this would be correct when looked at a certain way. The painful disassociation from all things secular and temporal is indeed depressing and grim, joyless even as the realization of how little of the secular human existence matters in the big picture, one discovery of dissatisfaction after another, failure in all the members, even in members which heretofore had been relied upon to provide some comfort in the storm.

September 1970: French naval officer and underwater explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau (1910 – 1997), who in 1957 was appointed director of the Institute of Oceanography in Monaco. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Jacques Cousteau remarked: “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” I spent almost 8 years of my young life as a blue ocean sailor. I would have to agree wholeheartedly with Jacques regarding the spell of the sea.

I do not recall ever reading anything by Jacques Cousteau on spirituality and GOD but have difficulty believing that a fellow ocean sailor would not have had deep thoughts and beliefs regarding GOD in His majesty. I would paraphrase that sentiment to say “GOD, once he casts His net of wonder, holds one in thrall for the remainder of ones days”.

GOD and His existence and his all encompassing plan for everything and everyone is only hinted at powerfully by the sea and the experience of those who travel thereon, feeling the full range of the power of the sea.

I do not include the millions of “cruise boat tourists” who “take a cruise” from year to year in the number of those “who go down to the sea in ships”. For all the exposure they get, in their multi-thousand head herd, to the sea, they might as well be at Disneyland of some nautically themed entertainment venue in Vegas.

And I wade through my personal mental virtual reality of Frodo’s “Dead Marshes”  where the public actions of our modern Roman Curia color my faith life, and the public actions and words of our modern political and social classes, and the media color everything by which I try to understand what might be happening in the world around me. And I have to continually remind myself that “telling it like it is” is really only “telling it like what I think it might be”.

The Dead Marshes – from Peter Jackson’s movie “The Two Towers” based on “The Lord Of The Rings”

The Dead Marshes – from Peter Jackson’s movie “The Two Towers” based on “The Lord Of The Rings”

It’s not really “like it is” because there is no way I can know what it is, very much like I could not tell what the outcome would be when in the midst of a life and death struggle to preserve our little vessel in the midst of the power of a hurricane driven sea.

What I “think it is” is colored, is filtered,  by my pride, my opinion, my attachments, and my desires regarding what I think it “should” be.  Filtered by what “makes sense” to me.  I am completely missing the “deep” game. Only God reads the heart.

And why then does it all seem so grim? Is it because I am, in fact, failing to conform myself to God’s will?  God communicates Himself most to the soul that has progressed farthest along in love, in the sense of “Agape”, that is, true charity, or so I am told.

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

And I am also told that true union with GOD brings true joy in its fullest sense. In real life, true love is made manifest in the willingness of the lover to do what pleases the loved one. True love is manifest, in this world, in the lover’s conforming oneself to the desires, tastes, and will of the loved one, not willing anything which could displease the loved one.

Saint Michael The Archangel

Saint Michael The Archangel

So, is it, the lack of, an abundance of joy, that is perhaps a real barometer of ones degree of conformity to God’s will? More joy more conformity, less joy less conformity? So it seems to me at this time, anyway. All the human foibles and sins to which I am prone interfere with and prevent full conformity with GOD’s will and therefore necessarily interfere with the development of joy in my life.

And what about outside influences? What about “all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.” as found in the last line of our “Prayer to Saint Michael The Archangel”?  I have been reading about exorcists, and reading books by real exorcists, there is even a “Priestly Society of Exorcists” called the Dolorans. I have also lately watched a couple of videos claiming to be about real exorcisms. I have moved firmly into the “I believe in spirits and demons and the Devil” camp.

As the Book of Revelations, (Revelations 12:3-4) says, “3And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son”.

So we are talking billions of evil spirits. Unfortunately, this whole area of demons and evil spirits, is not a popular subject these days since we are “too sophisticated” to believe all this superstitious nonsense. It is really quite dangerous to deny the existence of a powerful enemy.

This notion of the non-existence of Satan, and evil spirits and demons, and their influence in and on our lives, is a relatively new “truth” believed only by our sophisticated materialist secular society. Our “primitive” and “superstitious” ancestors believed otherwise, in all times and all cultures. C.S. Lewis mentions this in “the Screwtape Letters” :

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“My Dear Wormwood,

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves.

Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma.When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet.

I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work – the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits” – then the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark.

The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.

Chapter VII”

*****

So in this enlightened age we now have acknowledged the real “Materialist Magician“. We know them as Material Naturalists and their belief system is known as Material Naturalism. This is the belief that all that exists in the world is ultimately reducible to material phenomena. For example, from this perspective, Mother Teresa was just a unique bundle of brain chemistry with particular psychoneural processes acting predictably, prompting her to do what she did.

At all other times and places in history the belief in the demonic has been both fervent and well documented. Especially prevalent is the existence of “fomenting spirits”. That is, those evil spirits whose specialty is fomenting one or another kind of bad behaviour in humans who are more than ready to go along with any evil urging. Exorcists tell us that since so many demons identify with the vice or attitude they seek to foment, demons answer to these names.

As a result, some of the names of demons which I am listing here will correspond to various vices and disorders or attitudes which demons foment, but which we tend to think of as “natural” human behaviour because we don’t believe in demons. Here is just a short list of examples taken from the domain of

Satan's Subtle Art of Destruction

Satan’s Subtle Art of Destruction

Lying Spirits: “Pretension, Unreality, Denial, Delusion/Labyrinth, Convoluted Thinking, Cheating, Neglect of Responsibilities, Irreverence, Circumvention, Folly, Concealment, Blindness of Spirit, Evasiveness, Deceit, Mask, Game Playing, Deception, Illusion, Diversion, Error, Drama, Marionette-Puppet, False, Farce, Hallucination; Smoke & Mirrors, Harlequin Mask, Imitation, Pantomime, Counterfeit, Role Reversal, Fraud, Detraction, Incredulity, Coy, Cunning, Undermining, Aping, Dichotomy, Juggling, Duplicity, Facade, Dual, Showmanship, Theatrics, Show, Acting, Trickery, Magic, Mockery, Appearances, Fantasy, Heresy, Legion, Subversive, Irony, Mimicry”

Another domain is Unclean Spirits:Unclean & Offensive Conditions, Compulsiveness to Clean, Involuntary Vices (Obsessive Compulsive), Compulsion, “I have to”, Distortion of Truth, Busybody, Nosey, Curiosity, Violation of Confidentiality, Rumors, Critical Judgment, Perverted Judgment, Perverted Thinking, Scandal, Spirits that cause Accidents”.

And yet another domain is Theft:Stealing, Greed, Avarice, Materialism, Possessiveness, Hoarding, Covetousness, Collecting, Exclusiveness, Making Excuses for Sin & Infidelities to God; Neglect-Omission; Inability to Pray Because of Worldly Cares; Inability to Give or Share, Stingy; Inability to Give Praise & Thanksgiving to God or to People”

So yes, lots of outside influences … and none of them good, the above lists are drawn from Appendix I of  Deliverance Prayers, for use by the laity” a slim volume published by Sensus Traditionis Press, and available at Amazon.com.

When we consider the subject of evil spirits, and demons, and demonology, it really is hard to ignore C.S. Lewis. In our modern times there have been very few authors to have so stimulated the imagination with regard to the spiritual realm as the author of The Screwtape Letters. The book, dedicated to his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, begins with two quotes:

The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn. (Luther)

The devill . . . the prowde spirite . . . cannot endure to be mocked. (Thomas More)

This Lewis then proceeds to do in masterful fashion. Through witty episodes, he captures the cleverness and wiles of Satan’s agents, the demons and spirits who “prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls”  as well as their ultimate shortsightedness and folly. The biggest part of the battle is to struggle against the tide of modern sophisticated disbelief and accept the truth of the existence of evil spirits.

Well, I guess that’s enough for now. I will read some more and think some more and perhaps post some more about this later, as I want to discuss some of this with my parish priest and get his thoughts on this topic.

Cheers

Joe

The Long Defeat …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Lens of Age …

“Oboe Concerto In D Minor: 2. Adagio”, Heinz Hollinger, Members of the Staatskapelle Dresden & Vittorio Negri, from the album “The Ultimate Baroque”, 2004

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon, artist unknown to me.

Sunday morning again. Finding myself sleeping less and less these nights. Not feelling like I would necessarily want more sleep than what I am getting because I do feel rested, but simply finding myself awake and thinking earlier and earlier in the morning. Find myself pondering on last things, end of life things, afterlife.

Spoiler … this is not a happy letter, not feeling warm and satisfied in my happy place this morning. If you are looking for happy, probably you should look elsewhere. Also, these thoughts are probably boring as hell for anyone else but me. But its my blog and I get to write what I want, so I can get things out of my head, so I don’t nag people around me with downer pontification.

I consider that most of the people I have known personally in this life are already dead, by age, or disease, or misadventure, having buried more people than I now have in my circle of friends, I feel the presence of the “The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come” here present in the library of my mind. Maybe there are a few others out there in the early morning fog wondering about the end of all things and the personal “eschatological” implications for whatever is left of my life, our lives.

I am certain that I am not unique, or the only one wandering around this particular dark forest. For clarity I use the term “eschatological” above, to indicate my personal belief in a doctrine concerning ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of my soul, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, and the Last Judgment.

These days I am waking regularly around 04:00 and sometimes earlier. Thoughts that clutter up my mind this early almost always revolve around mortality and the absence of distractions to look forward to with anticipation. The “things of this world” which once fully occupied my thoughts attract and distract less and less.

A good friend of mine gets out and walks whenever this happens, now he is walking 6 or 8 miles a day. His family seems OK with this, but mine would freak out if I started walking around town in “the middle of the night”. I have to understand and accept that I should stay right here and entertain them if they are awake, and if I get up and go out they always wake up immediately.

My mother was like this, never able to settle unless everyone in the family was doing whatever she believed was the “right” thing for them to be doing at that particular time of the day. “Snug in their bed” she called it. And of course I don’t really feel like walking that much anyway, courtesy of knees and hips which feel like they have shards of glass embedded in them if I tax them too much.

The last Judgement (Hans Memling painted between 1467 and 1471)

The last Judgement (Hans Memling painted between 1467 and 1471)

Still find myself wasting neurons mulling about things over which I really have little or no control, some concerns for developments and possibilities after my death, and as a result of my death. Trying to figure out how to minimize the impact of my decline and death on those around me, loved ones and friends as well as the service community.

Really, the only thing that seems to bother me about death is my wish that I do not become a burden to others in my death spiral. My dad did it right, aneurysm, all over and done with in 3 days. No wailing and gnashing of teeth, no vindictive repercussions as the disabled geriatric lingers on in the valley of death.

No risk of becoming such an inconvenience to others that the government’s euthanasia, assisted suicide, mercy killing, legal murder of elders, pick your euphemism, starts to look attractive. Just a desire to somehow atone, by suffering, in peace, as long as it takes.

Most of this mind mulling around is not about anything I can do anything about in the present, but it is difficult to break out of old ruts and habits of thought. Once one begins to pull back from all the little things that used to fill up one’s life, to “detach” from the little things like socializing, eating, visiting, playing games, sports, travel, “watching” media distraction, Netflix, Kindle books, what then is left?

Thinking about physical ailments about which there is really nothing that can be done as I age. That is just the cup of aging humanity, suck it up princess. Just pain and discomfort in varying degrees and parts, and no way to lay or sit that doesn’t hurt somehow.

Entertaining and socializing seems largely connected with eating in our culture and this becomes a challenge rather than a pleasure when one is trying to fast and detach from one’s attachments to sensual pleasures. It is sobering to realize what a huge part eating plays in our daily activities.

Thinking about meals that don’t really satisfy because the old satisfactions involved socializing, and drinking, and eating way too much, beyond what the body actually needs, which turns out to be very little. Thinking about “Meals” as a penitential chore, a sacrificial task derived from the needs of others.

It is an interesting way to look at the domestic function of meal preparation.  Definitely not fashionable these days, especially with the vertically integrated multinational food conglomerates selling cheap processed corn and wheat and entertainment via lips and tongue and throat.

Job 34:15

15All flesh shall perish together, and man shall return into ashes. (Job 34:15)

Thinking about books that are more and more difficult to read, not because of failing intellect, but because of failing eyes – thank God for electronic text and zoom. Thinking about the interior life, and the sins of the past, long forgiven but still not atoned for, and the growing sense of my own unworthiness, my own “wretchedness” and utter insignificance in the biblical sense, relative to Almighty God.

There is increasingly nothing left but misery and mystery. The weight of what I don’t understand is overwhelming. I thought I was just getting a handle on spiritual growth and I now find many statements from the Gospels more challenging in their greatness and gravity than I did before. In old age it doesn’t get easier, but harder. This has become a very troubling situation but there is a great truth here.

On the one hand, in older age I am more practised, smoother, more sure, more “professional”. I have figured out the easiest and most efficient ways to get through. Life has taken its shape and all the the important decisions have been made. It is in some ways a comfort, I may or may not actually understand that my bad choices have had bad consequences, but at least that light is starting to come on, if only for my personal audience of one.

On the other hand, as I age, I more clearly see the difficulty in life’s questions. It is not so much getting wisdom as the inevitable grinding down of my preconceptions and vanities about what I think I know. Ha, maybe that is what wisdom is? I don’t know anything any more except that I really know very little about anything.

As I age, I see more deeply, I feel the burden of my culture, of the secular humanist, fashionably progressive godlessness all around. I start to see just how deeply I am embedded in that culture. I see, like a neon sign flashing, the absence of faith in our polite society and even deep into the Church.

I see the glorification of perversion and deviance and all manner of corruption and evil, murder, fornication, sodomy, adultery, fraud, prostitution, all now legal in some guise or another under some euphemism or other – I feel like I am in the audience to whom Paul spoke in Rome.

Saint Luke

Saint Luke, by Claude Vignon

In spite of the temptation to just give up on faith, what else is there to turn to? I think about Christ’s words In Luke 18:

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“1And he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint, 2Saying: There was a judge in a certain city, who feared not God, nor regarded man. (ed. as with our current crop of Supremes) 3And there was a certain widow in that city, and she came to him, saying: Avenge me of my adversary. 4And he would not for a long time.

But afterwards he said within himself: Although I fear not God, nor regard man, 5Yet because this widow is troublesome to me, I will avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me. 6And the Lord said: Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard?

8I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8, Douay-Rheims Bible)

*****

Even so, in sacred scripture, I also feel the greatness of Jesus Christ’s words, which, more often than before, seem difficult to understand. Is this my personal cross, is this a distance from God’s nearness, the clouded “personal connection” obscured by my narcissism? Is my doubt rooted in the beginnings of understanding how far I am removed from the greatness of the mystery of God, of GOD.

But I also have these little AHA! moments, again and again. I find these comforting, little momentary consolations, juxtaposed against the depths of the Word never fully understood. And then there is judgement!  As an awareness of my own wretchedness percolates through my dim understanding, the words of God’s wrath, of accusation, the threat of judgement, have become more frightening, more grave and awesome than ever before.

And now, new to my thinking, there is the God/GOD gap which I referred to in previous posts. I now find the Old Testament, and the Gospels more challenging than I did before when I was feeling good about how I was getting more familiar with scripture and congratulating myself in finally making sense of everything. While certainly not claiming anything resembling holiness I get a glimpse of the thoughts of Simeon when he exclaimed:

29Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; 30Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: 32A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32, Douay-Rheims Bible)

Saint Peter Canisius, 1521-1597

Saint Peter Canisius, 1521-1597

In mind of the current rather chaotic and scandalous state of the Church I am going to close with a quote from Benedict XVI, and the ‘General Prayer’ of St Peter Canisius, the ‘Second Apostle of Germany’:

‘Almighty and eternal God, Lord, Heavenly Father! Look through the eyes of your gratuitous mercy at our sorrow, misery, and need. Have mercy on all the faithful Christians, for whom your only-begotten Son, our beloved Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, willingly went into the hands of sinners and shed his precious blood on the trunk of the cross. Through this Lord Jesus avert, gracious Father, the well-deserved punishment, present and future threats, shameful rebellions, war, famine, disease, sad, and miserable times.

Also enlighten and strengthen all worldly and spiritual rulers and leaders in all goods, so they convey what is to your divine honour, to our salvation, to general peace, and the welfare of all Christianity. Grant us, O God of peace, a right union in faith, without any division and separation; without any separation and schism, convert our hearts to true repentance and amendment of our lives; kindle in us the fire of your love, give us a hunger and a zeal for all righteousness, so that we are as pleasing and complacent to you as obedient children in life and in death.

We pray also, as you want, O God, that we should pray, for our friends and enemies, the healthy and the sick, for all sad and sorrowful Christians, for all the living and the dead, to you O Lord, is commended all our deeds, our trade and commerce, our living and dying. Let us enjoy thy grace here and get there with all the elect that we might praise you in eternal joy and blessedness, honour and praise. We want to give praise, honour and glory to you! Grant us that, O Lord, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your beloved Son, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit as the same God and rules from eternity to eternity, Amen!’

Benedict XVI, Pope. Last Testament: In His Own Words, Bloomsbury Publishing.

So, instead of Cheers, I will just say “Peace be upon you”.

Joe

 

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The Inner Struggle

Thoughts on Modernist Canonization ,,,

Briefly, a couple of thoughts on the Roman Catholic process of Canonization, that is, the official declaration that someone or other was an exceptionally holy person and is worthy of veneration and prayer within the context of the “Communion of Saints”.

1. It seems that the recent Vatican trend in canonization is related much more to the “policies” of the canonized, rather than to their de-facto holiness. We seem to be in favor of canonizing “policies” by proxy.

2. Some seem to be happy with the  canonization of Pope Paul VI because they seem to see it as a “Canonization of Vatican II”, and the ensuing “Spirit of Vatican II” as incorporated in the Winnipeg Statement and other Modernist fallout of the Council, so much in vogue these days among certain modernist factions in the hierarchy.

3. Others are unhappy with the  canonization of Pope Paul VI because they seem to see it as a “Canonization of Humanae Vitae” which ENCYCLICAL LETTER Pope Francis is making noises about “revising” or perhaps discarding altogether, because it doesn’t align with his intentions in Amoris Laetitia

4. The happy and the unhappy both seem to be in the same modernist faction … smoke and mirrors, confusion, fear, uncertainty, and doubt … sure hallmarks of human vanity and egos in action …

The new Saint himself writes in 1972:

It’s June 29, 1972. Paul VI has a clearer and clearer impression that there is something deep and negative that is increasingly afflicting the Church. The path towards secularization and the lack of internal unity are becoming two great problems for the Church throughout the world.

The pope, concerned, writes:

“… We would say that, through some mysterious crack—no, it’s not mysterious; through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God. There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation.

“The Church is no longer trusted. We trust the first pagan prophet we see who speaks to us in some newspaper, and we run behind him and ask him if he has the formula for true life. I repeat, doubt has entered our conscience. And it entered through the windows that should have been open to the light: science.”

Cheers

Joe

Winter is Coming …

 

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The Inner Struggle

Forgiveness … and humility … and forming one’s conscience …

Oh Earth Oh Earth Return”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Deep Peace” (1996)

Deep Peace, Bill Douglas, 1996

Deep Peace, Bill Douglas, 1996

An idea in gestation, that humility and forgiveness, and the getting of same,  are vastly more important than anything this world has on offer. The question seems to be “how to get these desirable pearls?”

“The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who would take an account of his servants.” The Gospel of Mathew (Mt 18, 23-35) refers to the account which all men will one day be called upon to give. It is a serious thought, which makes us reflect on the state of our conscience.

Or at least it should, and yet, this assumes the existence of a conscience, that one is conscious of sin, of being a sinner, of not doing God’s will, of being responsible for actions, thoughts, and desires redolent of evil and malice.

Ah yes, conscience and the formation thereof, aye, there’s the rub. Hamlet got it right, didn’t he?

We are terrified of death because at some deep level we know the accounting which awaits, and just how unprepared we are for even the beginning of contrition and remorse.

The king, out of compassion, forgives the destitute servant much

The king, out of compassion, forgives the destitute servant much

Far easier to sing and dance and pretend innocence and convince ourselves that we are really “good people” and we will be able to fool the king, and besides, there really isn’t a king at all anyway, is there?

So terrified at the thought of a reckoning that we deny reality and choose to live a fantasy as long a possible, as long as we can distract ourselves with the joys, diversions and rewards of this world.

Yet,  if we have an inkling of the magnitude of our guilt, perhaps we continue down this path. As we continue the reading of this parable, our hearts are comforted. God, represented by the king, manifests such kindness, mercy and compassion to the poor servant who cannot pay his debt.

He forgives him everything and sets him free. This is amazing, overwhelming, the sheer magnitude of the debt and the infinite mercy of God brings us to tears.

The number given by Jesus is 10,000 talents. Even to us the implication is that this is a large amount. When I dig a little more, I find that, even if I assume that the talent is a larger denomination than the denarius, I’m still not getting the full impact of the story.

Pen and a mathematical exercise
(calculations are real and solved correctly)

Here’s the calculation: 1 talent = 60 minas,  1 mina = 3 month’s wages,  60 x (3 months’ wages) = 180 months’ wages, 180 months’ wages divided by 12 months in a year = 15 years’ wages.

So, 1 talent = 15 years’ wages, and since the servant owed 10,000 talents he owed 150,000 years’ wages.

So, putting this into our own monetary language, assuming a yearly wage is, say, $15,000 (about 40hrs/week at min wage ($8/hr), the servant owed his master Two Billion, Two Hundred Fifty Million dollars, give or take a few hundred million!

Now, perhaps by a Government’s standard of debt, this amounts to mere rounding error; but for one man, a servant no less, a prole like you or I, to owe this much is absolutely unimaginable!

And our debts to God are so much greater and cannot be computed in talents, nor silver and gold, nor dollars. These debts must be reckoned in terms of the price of our redemption, the most precious blood of Jesus.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Our debts are our sins which needed to be washed away in the Blood of the divine Victim.

In spite of our good will, we increase those debts daily to a greater or lesser extent as a factor of our willingness to accept responsibility and acknowledge our guilt, to the extent that we feel remorse and contrition, and resolve to amend our ways, and actively work on that amendment every day.

From this path we shy away. We want to amend our ways, but we are totally attached to our ways, to our worldly consolations and rewards, our joys and pleasures. Hamlet’s thoughts are salient:

*****

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to?

‘Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause. There’s the respect
that makes Calamity of so long life:

For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
the Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
the pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
the insolence of Office, and the spurns
that patient merit of the unworthy takes,
when he himself might his Quietus make
with a bare Bodkin?

Who would Fardels bear,
to grunt and sweat under a weary life,
but that the dread of something after death,
the undiscovered country, from whose bourn
no traveller returns, puzzles the will,
and makes us rather bear those ills we have,
than fly to others that we know not of.

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
and thus the native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
with this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remember’d”

Hamlet, William Shakespeare‘s play Hamlet. Act III, Scene I.

*****

Hamlet

Hamlet

Yes, the terror of the reckoning stifles any temptation to just end it all and spare ourselves the suffering of this life. What then is left? Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, and we cannot bear to look at this ending, so grim is it.

If, at the end of our life, God were to place before us an exact account of our deficit we would find ourselves in a much more difficult position that that of the servant in the parable. But God, as infinite goodness, knows and has pity on our misery.

Each time we place ourselves before Him and humbly acknowledge our faults with sincere repentance, He immediately pardons us and cancels all our debts. God is magnificent in His pardoning, He does not reproach us nor does he keep an account of the faults over which we have already wept. His pardon is generous, and complete.

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

It is enough for Him to see us repentant, then every wound, even the most grievous and repugnant, is healed by the precious Blood of Jesus. Christ’s Blood is like an immense sea which has the power to cleanse and destroy the sins of all mankind, provided they are sincerely repented of.

Now, one of the “new ideas” to come out of the Second Vatican Council is the emphasis it gave to conscience, that “voice of God” that speaks to our hearts about loving, doing good, and avoiding evil.

Unfortunately, since Vatican II, there’s been a lot of confusion about “following one’s conscience”.

For instance, while it’s true that we should always follow our conscience, the part about “following our conscience” is all people ever hear about it these days. Since at least Vatican II, the actual formation of said consciences has been singularly missing in action. No formation happening anywhere to my knowledge at least since V-II.

So what the heck is going on?  The Winnipeg Statement, for example, in paragraph 17 starts in with “It is a fact that a certain number of Catholics, although admittedly subject to the teaching of the encyclical (Humanae Vitae), find it either extremely difficult or even impossible to make their own all elements of this doctrine.” …

But they should remember that their good faith will be dependent on a sincere self-examination (of conscience) to determine the true motives and grounds for such suspension of assent and on continued effort to understand and deepen their knowledge of the teaching of the Church.

And then, in paragraph 25, “In the situation we described earlier in this statement (par. 17) the confessor or counsellor must show sympathetic understanding and reverence for the sincere good faith of those who fall in their effort to accept some point of the encyclical.”

And in paragraph 26, “Counsellors may meet others who, accepting the teaching of the Holy Father, find that because of particular circumstances they are involved in what seems to them a clear conflict of duties, e.g., the reconciling of conjugal love and responsible parenthood with the education of children already born or with the health of the mother” …

In accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assured that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.”

And finally in paragraph 34,We conclude by asking all to pray fervently that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide his Church through all darkness and suffering” … The unity of the Church does not consist in a bland conformity in all ideas, but rather in a union of faith and heart,” …

If this sometimes means that in our desire to make the Church more intelligible and more beautiful we must, as pilgrims do, falter in the way or differ as to the way, no one should conclude that our common faith is lost or our loving purpose blunted.”

So, the Canadian Bishops played the “conscience” card as if somehow that was trump when they split with Rome at the end of Vatican II.  Instead of “conscience” what they got was a resurgence of “concupiscence”.

Moral relativism triumphed with a flourish of “It’s all OK if I “feel” it’s OK.  And the same logic translates precisely into the logic of  “Amoris Laetitia “.  The conscience Zombies of Vatican II are flourishing in the catacombs of Rome.

But there’s a whole lot more to the story. Yes, it’s true that we should always follow our conscience, but we also have a responsibility to form our conscience properly!  In other words, what we think is right and wrong may not actually be what’s truly right and wrong.

First Ministers, 2016

First Ministers, 2016

In fact, if our moral education comes from Hollywood and CNN, and CBC, and Facebook, and Justin Trudeau’s or Donald Trump’s tweets, and not from Sacred Scripture and traditional Church teaching over the last two millennia, then we’ve not formed our consciences properly, and what our conscience tells us will most likely be wrong.

We are obligated to follow our conscience under such circumstances. However, we’re also guilty of doing wrong if we didn’t take the time and make the effort to form our conscience properly.  So, the foundation of the entire moral life comes down to properly forming our conscience.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, June 17, 2015. REUTERS

Without proper formation of conscience the outcome of “sincerely examining one’s conscience” becomes license to do whatever we want and exponentially increase the daily deficit of our sins. Christ’s Blood is like an immense sea which has the power to cleanse and destroy the sins of all mankind, provided they are sincerely repented of.

All bets are off if we simply resort to more whitewashing and deflection in the name of “examining one’s conscience”.

The formation of conscience or lack thereof is born out by just a simple observation of that small percentage of Catholics who attend Mass regularly these days.

Back in the day, Confession used to be normally held, in two or even three confessionals for the hour or so preceding every Mass. And in my youth, the line up for confession was always “round the block”, or in this case, “round the church” (inside the church of course).

Parishioners

Parishioners

Nowadays, confession is limited to the presence of the priest in the confessional in our church a half hour prior to Mass and the lineup rarely exceeds one or two or three people and always the same people. And that is an improvement over the way it has been for years, where confession was by appointment.

Notwithstanding the absence of penitents in the confessional lineup every Sunday, the lineup for Eucharist always includes most of the congregation. This goes to the heart of the “conscience” question. There are only a couple of possibilities, a couple of obvious conclusions which the observed data begs.

1. There has been a remarkable change in the State of Grace of church going Catholics in the last 50 years, that is, there are very few sinners any more.

Or 2. The majority of those taking Eucharist are not doing so in a state of grace, in other words, in the absence of a well formed conscience they are as described in 1 Corinthians 11:29 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body”.

Humility and forgiveness, and the getting of same,  are vastly more important than anything this world has on offer. We are so screwed! The only consolation in this “conscience” debacle is Christ’s own statement to the effect that “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

Whited sepulchers indeed.

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Staying the Course … that we may not run in vain

Mother of Sorrows”, Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent At Ephesus”, (2014)

Pandemonium

Pandemonium

Writing this on a cool grey Wednesday morning … My mood and perception of reality in this moment are a reflection of the cold grey all around me this morning.

Mass in another hour, Mass is always good, wish I could go every day but that desire will not be gratified any time soon.

Wish there was another traditional rite available to us here but that also is an unrealized desire or dream.

Vatican II, 1967

Vatican II, 1967

The Catholic Church of Rome now uses the term “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite Mass among other terms.

The most widespread term for this form of the rite, other than “Tridentine Mass“, is “Latin Mass“. And the practice of the “Latin Mass” has indeed become “extraordinary”. Pity …

What have politics, social pressure and human pride to do with a Mass which has existed for around 2000 years now, and quite frankly has been debated very little until quite recently.

Paul gets in Peter's face

Paul gets in Peter’s face

Paul had things to say about this sort of thing. In Galatians 2,  Paul got right in Peter’s face and told him off about his mistakes and his hypocrisy. Peter was pretty much The Boss, he was the first pope, he couldn’t have been wrong, right?

This confrontation is perhaps THE most surprising thing in Paul’s letters. Some of the other apostles, and some of the church fathers found this difficult to accept, being that they were in the Jewish circumcision faction and so they made excuses for Peter.

They made excuses in pretty much the same way that Cardinal Ouellet is making excuses for Pope Francis. But Peter was wrong – in a way that we often go wrong, too, … peer pressure – everywhere and at all ages and states in life …

Cardinal Ouellet

Cardinal Ouellet

And I wonder about the peer pressure within our current crop of clerics, our current leadership, our current cadre of theological “betters”.

I wonder about the pressure to go along with certain points of view and certain agendas, certain life-style choices, which have been apparent to me since the 60’s. All this peer pressure aided and abetted by demonic stoking of the fires of normal human concupiscence.

Cardinal Brandmuller

Cardinal Brandmuller

The pressure to “not rock the boat” and voice one’s reservations even when those reservations are in the area of millennia long traditions and canonical doctrine.

Reservations about changing things just to be fashionable, to be more in step with the world, to be more “welcoming”, more “inclusive”.

Thinking about my own life … of sin … of self indulgence, the places and times when self sacrifice was not in the ascendance.

Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Burke

Lots of food for thought there, lots of decades of self-love and attachment to esteem, worldly praise, and rewards for “not rocking the boat”.  Lots of reasons for contrition and amendment.

When and why did my soul and my self start to diverge from the spirit of our times? How did I get so out of step with my own “welcoming”, “inclusive” church?

In what measurable way, what distinctive way, is the church of Rome different from any other popular protestant church? When did my church stop being a rock, a scandal to the Jews, and a stumbling block to the Gentiles and start being a “Me Too” “We have to be more open”, kind of church?

Cardinal Sarah

Cardinal Sarah

The Roman Catholic Church used to be all about the narrow path and holding true to the Word of God as handed down for two thousand years. Now we get smoke and mirrors and silence or obfuscation and confusion. Pity …

No matter what the cost, even of life itself, the Truth must be upheld even in the face of a world that rejects it all. “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” ― G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World.

Where did the narrow path get washed out and impassable?

Saint Theresa of Calcutta

Saint Theresa of Calcutta

Or, this time I can say, with passion, “But it is not This Day! This day we fight.” This is all just one more place where we are commanded to stand and deliver, to soldier on no matter what, hold to the last man when all seems lost, keep advancing towards the light even when all the officers have run away and all hope of victory seems dashed beyond recovery.

This feeling of almost despair is merely one more round of Satan’s lies. I have become a recent fanboy of Robert Cardinal Sarah. I rather suspect that the good Cardinal and others like him, and even Saint Theresa of Calcutta would be unhappy with the current state of the liturgy in our Canadian dioceses, on the other hand we are not yet in the news for abuse scandals, so perhaps things are not as bad as I feel today.

In any case, we will continue to fight the long defeat, and if and when the victory is hard won in Rome, we will still have to return to the Shire and undertake the bitter task of scouring our home to return it to the state of cleanliness suitable for the wedding feast. Lets not be the one spoken of thus: “Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. (Matt 22:13)

Cheers

Joe

A much needed Scouring of the Shire

A much needed Scouring of the Shire …

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The Inner Struggle

Is there even one good thing?

Kojo No Tsuki” (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album “Japanese Melodies” (1990)

The original tenshu of Aizuwakamatsu Castle (1868),

The original tenshu of Aizuwakamatsu Castle (1868),

Just muddling along in the snow these days. Thoughts all over the map, and have been doing a lot of thinking about the scandal and controversy in the Roman Catholic Church. Been reading “Church Militant” blog, off and on for the last few weeks. We are in a real “take-no-prisoners” battle these days, and it often feels very much like we are losing.

But there is a silver lining to this storm, and that is that one must revisit and rethink comfortable conclusions taken for granted for years. It is safe to say that one is even encouraged by all this controversy to think outside the comfortable box.

I find myself revisiting modes of thought regarding the Church which I have not experienced since the late 60’s, and the disruption brought on in the Canadian Catholic Church by the “Spirit of Vatican II”.

That “Spirit” as expressed in Canada resulted in such events as the “Winnipeg Statement of 1968. and began a decades long de-facto schism between the Canadian Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Canadian Catholic Church has not fully recovered from this schism to this day. The Progressives, who made up the vast majority of the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops (97 out of 100 bishops) took “their church” down a separate path from Rome which was decidedly not Catholic. The damage done by these men is incalculable, and we Canadian Catholics will be reaping this whirlwind for generations to come.

Now we are faced with an even more destructive leadership crisis emanating from Rome itself, but which has all its roots in “the Spirit” of Vatican II as well as many other crisis in Church history. Satan never rests:

*****

St. Louis de Montfort

St. Louis de Montfort

As St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1715) says ...”(Satan) knows that we have this treasure, which is worth more than Heaven and earth put together, in frail vessels, i.e., in a corruptible body and in a weak and inconstant soul, which a mere nothing disturbs and dejects: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7).

Because all the devils, are skillful thieves, who wish to surprise us unawares. They watch day and night for the favorable moment. and they go around about us incessantly to devour us and to snatch from us in one moment, by a sin, all the graces and merits we have gained for many years.

Their malice, their experience, their stratagems and their number ought to make us fear this misfortune immensely, especially when we see how many persons fuller of grace than we are, richer in virtues, better founded in experience and far higher exalted in sanctity, have been surprised, robbed and unhappily pillaged.

Ah! How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the firmament, have we not seen fall miserably, and in the twinkling of an eye lose all their height and their brightness! Whence comes that sad and curious change? It was not for want of grace which is wanting to no man; but is was for want of humility.

They thought themselves capable of guarding their own treasures. They trusted in themselves, relied upon themselves. They thought their house secure enough, and their coffers strong enough, to keep the precious treasure of grace. It is because of that scarcely perceptible reliance upon themselves, though all the while it seemed to them that they were relying only on the grace of God, that the most just Lord permitted them to be robbed by leaving them to themselves.  … 

It is difficult to preserver in justice because of the strange corruption of the world. The world is now so corrupt it seems inevitable that religious hearts should be soiled, if not by its mud, at least by its dust; so that it has become a kind of miracle for anyone to remain in the midst of that impetuous torrent without being drowned in it or stripped by the pirates and the corsairs, in the midst of that pestilent air without being infected by it.”

St. Louis de Montfort, “True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration” (Kindle Locations 1030-1040). KIC. Kindle Edition.

*****

One result of stepping outside my comfort zone, is a brief glimpse I have had that my “God” is not the “god” of our modern culture, nor, perhaps, the “God” of my Church, but rather something, someone, much, much, more, “GOD” for want of a better descriptor.

My “God” is not my buddy, not “nice”, not accommodating,  not fashionable, but he is Merciful, and Loving in sense of Agape, “the highest form of love, charity” and “the love of God for man and of man for God”, and He is above all a God of Justice who demands commitment … “Come, Follow Me”. He guarantees “Free Will” and the choices available with it. But He also insists on “Responsibility” for one’s choices and actions. And “Responsibility” is very much missing in action these days.

So what was I thinking about …  Oh, right, “god”, and “God”, and “GOD”.

Just going with a quote from another good book I have been reading, Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms, by Holly Ordway.

*****

Holly Ordway

Holly Ordway

There are various levels of self-involving statements. If,  walking down the street, I say ‘I think that was the Number 10 bus,’ the statement is only minimally self-involving; I do not want to go where the Number 10 bus goes, and anyway I prefer to walk.

But if, arriving breathless at the bus-stop on the way to a vital appointment, I look despairingly up the street and say ‘I think that was the Number 10 bus,’ knowing that the next one is not due for another two hours and that there is no other means of arriving on time, the statement not only involves me, it plunges me into gloom.

The point is that one cannot say ‘Jesus of Nazareth was bodily raised from the dead’ with the minimal involvement of the first of those statements. If it happened, it matters. The world is a different place from what it would be if it did not happen.

Saying that ‘Jesus of Nazareth was bodily raised from the dead’ is not only a self-involving statement; it is a self-committing statement, going beyond a reordering of one’s private world into various levels of commitment to work out the implications.

We cannot simply leave a flag stuck on a hill somewhere and sail back home to safety.”

N.T. Wright, quoted by Holly Ordway, “Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms” (Kindle Locations 1834-1844). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

*****

It seems to me, now, that the Resurrection is the signal Truth of Christianity. The Truth of the Resurrection is the foundation of everything handed down to us, which we have been taught to believe, or in our wilfulness, have refused to believe.

I get a brief glimpse, here and there, that the “God” I have believed in all my life is not in fact the “GOD” which the Apostles, and the Fathers, and the Doctors of the Church believed in. The “God” that I have believed in is not the “GOD” which the Magisterium of the Church was intended to hand down to us and teach to us.

I have a sense that I am standing in a hurricane of ecclesial controversy and I have a suspicion that even the “God” that the modern church of Rome is talking about is not in fact the “GOD” of Peter, and Paul, and the rest of the Apostles and the first century Christians. Fleeting though this vision is it seems hugely important, and I keep trying to get my hands on it in a more permanent way.

Nicholas Thomas Wright FRSE (born 1 December 1948)

Nicholas Thomas Wright FRSE (born 1 December 1948)

Once we have glimpsed the true portrait of God, the onus is on us to reflect it: to reflect it as a community, to reflect it as individuals. The image of the true and living God, once revealed in all its glory, is to be reflected into all the world, as was always God’s intention.

The mission of the Church can be summed up in the phrase “reflected glory.” When we see, as Paul says, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we see this not for our own benefit, but so that the glory may shine in us and through us to bring light to the world that still waits in darkness and the shadow of death.” N.T. Wright,

Are Catholics reflecting the true portrait of GOD right now? There is just so much more to the Truth than C.S. Lewis’ simple statement: Jesus was either mad, or bad, or he was “who he claimed to be.” Lewis was indeed trying to make it simple and did a very good job of it, but the Truth is further up, and further in!

Reading N.T. Wright is like cutting my way through a lush and fruitful jungle towards Understanding.

Cheers

Joe

 

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The Inner Struggle

Despair, “Dover Beach” … Matthew Arnold, 1822 – 1888

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

More poetry, and a bit of historical background, a sort of “how did I get here?” moment.

I once had a co-worker, almost 20 years ago now, who was an intelligent and articulate atheist, and who never tired of explaining to me how ignorant and superstitious was my embrace of the Catholic Faith. I think of Pauros sometimes, and the irony of his name, whenever I dwell upon the inevitability of self worship in any philosophy which denies the existence of God.

DelphiHe, Pauros the Greek, was an Ubber Geek, and knew not much at all outside of our shared programming specialties, namely COBOL, Pascal, Borland Delphi, and C++Builder. That was back when the civilized world was completely engulfed in its Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt regarding the approaching end of the world, the secular end-times, also known as Y2K.

We were both employed in part because of our knowledge of and ability to program in COBOL, and to maintain the COBOL based financial systems for a Health Region with thousands of employees.

These systems were running on a UNIX platform, a large-scale computer system, Hewlett-Packard if I remember correctly, although I was not the network admin. I think I might have also been employed there because I was the only other programmer in the whole department who could work with Pauros the Greek.

Anyway, the point was that he could not bring himself to imagine anything that couldn’t be tested and proven scientifically, empirically, he always insisted that he needed data to back up anything and everything. He refused to contemplate or imagine the universe and everything in it as a subset of reality, created by a being who existed outside the universe.

Solipsism

My fallback position when beaten down by yet another tirade about my “primitive superstitions” was “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio, or simply to drop some offhanded remark to the effect that “Solipsists are out of touch”.

This always provoked sulking followed by further tirades on the “stupidity” of my views. It was a really fun place to work. Pauros the Greek simply couldn’t admit that his “beliefs” were every bit as much “faith based” as mine.

He and another similar friend, Caoimhín the Celtic Prince, who I met later, have always personified what I see as wrong with Atheism. Behind all their precisely articulated views was the same premise: there is no God, no ultimate meaning beyond ourselves, beyond self.

SolipsismBut, if there is no real meaning to our lives, what is the point of living? No answers there … nada. Caoimhín the Celtic Prince, at least, would admit that his worldview was faith based like my own.

Both were fundamentally unhappy people, for example, Pauros was working hard on getting rid of his third wife without loosing any money and Caoimhín never landed a wife, though not for want of trying. They both were completely wrapped up in and focused on what was wrong with the world of their existence.

But, no answers were forthcoming to the “Why?” question. If life was meaningless, why didn’t they just kill themselves? Pauros’ reply to that question was, “Well, a lot of people do kill themselves because they don’t have the courage to live with the truth.” Caoimhín, on the other hand, believed that it was possible and desirable to be a good person (where did his standard of ‘goodness’ came from? No answer there).

Caoimhín, curiously a big fan of LOTR, maintained that life was worth living, even at a time when he was dieing of bowel cancer. Maybe Caoimhín, in his clear and present understanding of the end, was perhaps more of an “Atheism Lite” philosopher, maybe “meaning” was creeping in “at the end of all things”.

At the End Of All Things

Neither Pauros nor Caoimhín could ever explain how life could be worth living and yet have no meaning? This paradox was not even acknowledged. But atheism, when consistently, logically, lived out, seems to me to be a life of self-deception or despair, or some combination of both, a sliding scale of illogic and unhappiness, a pride in despair, so to speak.

This is all about pride, despairing pride, lonely pride, providing the self I worship with a dark comfort. This is sin, this feeling of superiority is terribly attractive, easy to get attached to, like so many of life’s pleasures.

Once you are there, in your despairing superiority, it is hard to to give it up. Its akin to the feeling of superiority one is tempted with when the current government, which one didn’t vote for, takes everything to hell in a hand basket, and one feels a smug “I told you so…”.

On the part of the atheist, any departure from this “rational” superiority of despair, any turn towards not having “the courage to live with the truth”, would mean that all those superstitious people you have so enjoyed mocking and sneering at really do know more than you. It would mean you’re not so special any more, it would mean giving up being special by virtue of the belief that everyone else is a fool.

Unfortunately, self-referential meaning is only a short-lived stop-gap: it is real only in the sense that the stage set of Elsinore Castle (see Hamlet quote above) or Darth Vader’s Death Star is a real place. We can suspend disbelief while the play (our life) is being performed, but at some point, the curtain falls and one must leave the theater. The “poor player” strutting his stuff must leave the stage.

So, if “Helping Others”, “Doing Good Work”, and “Having Friends” are just a “stage setting” and “green screen special effects”, then what? Pauros and Caoimhín seemed to share a vision, that vision which John Lennon articulated in the popular song “Imagine”, and it’s beautiful song . . . if you don’t think too hard about it. If we don’t think about it then the “nowhere” outside our “ME” universe surrounds our cold fortress of solitude, and there is nothing else, no joy, no forgiveness, no point in anything, just put your Ruger in your mouth and save the planet from your wasteful consumption of resources..

The vision: “Imagine there’s no heaven. Imagine there’s no hell. Imagine all the people, living life in” … WTF Man? Take religion out of the picture, and everybody spontaneously starts living life in peace? Whaaa?  Now I have been around the block a few times, my blog is named “notmyfirstrodeo” for a reason. In my experience, peace is not the default state of human beings. All I need to do is look at myself, and most of the people I have met over the last 50 years, to recognize that anger, jealousy, insecurity, envy, contempt, selfishness, fear, and greed are deeply rooted in the core of every human.

Even a cursory look and listen about us today with unjaundiced eyes reveals the big lie of our atheistic culture. There is no god, there is no devil, there is nothing outside of the self … and all the evil we see playing out everywhere around us is just a figment of our imagination. They are not really people, they have no value, out out brief flame. Medical malpractice, traffic accidents, abortion and euthanasia, mercy wagons, 9/11, all the same … erasing the inconvenient …

It seems to me that a cultural embrace of atheism, namely “Secular Humanism”, leaves folks with all the same problems as history suggests, but worse! The 20th century’s atheistic human rights track record, that is, the human-rights track record of atheist countries, like China, and the Soviet Union, and Canada, is poor.

I know and understand the difference between imagination and wishful thinking. If atheism is true, if life truly has no meaning, then all of our actions cannot have any meaning either, there is no right or wrong, no rights and no responsibilities, no justice, no love, entropy rules and at the end of all things we are just so much rotting meat turning into dust.

And the difference between imagination and wishful thinking is beautifully captured in the poem “Dover Beach” by Mathew Arnold:

Dover Beach

Matthew Arnold, 1822 - 1888

Matthew Arnold, 1822 – 1888

Matthew Arnold, 1822 – 1888

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast, the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Cheers

Joe

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… and miles to go before I sleep …

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