The Inner Struggle

Riches … and living in This World …

I Am In thy Hands, O Mary”, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Doctor Scott Piper, Sir Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP & Sr. Maria Miguel Wright, OP;  from the album “Mater Eucharistiae”, (2013)

Mater Eucharistiae, the Dominican Sisters of Mary - Mother of the EucharistLiving in this world it is astoundingly difficult to avoid becoming attached to the things of this world, not the least because we are almost completely unaware of those attachments unless things start going against what we want, in  terms of outcomes and tastes and opinions and the physical realities of enjoyment, food listening, seeing, entertainment, sex and so on and so forth.

Had a nice get together this weekend for a fish fry with friends and acquaintances, all more or less my age, all retired service members and or their spouses as have survived the vicissitudes of time and we share many views and opinions, no surprise there.  What hammers home as we all age together is that death is no respecter of political or economic or moral views.

How so very many are no longer with us for these get togethers, a mere half dozen from the 100 plus who entered boot back in 71, and in spite of the many claimed by misadventure, these days Cancer seems to be the weapon of choice of the Reaper. We have been completely loosing that war for well over 60 years now, billions and billions spent, and billions in profits to all the usual academic and commercial interests, and the gravy train keep on rolling and no victory in sight and something like 95% casualty rate among the sufferers. Why is it so hard to admit that the current model is not working? Anyway …

Death claims the virtuous and the deviant, the affluent and the poor, the liberal socialist and the conservative capitalist, the religious and the secular, the parent and the child … death comes for us all … often when we are really not ready to depart. The only thing that seems to stand out is that those who believe in eternity and live accordingly have Hope. The rest do not, just a grim journey down into despair, and all the “stuff” we spent our lives for has no saving grace at all. Puts one in a reflective headspace to consider all this.

I have recently posted a couple of articles reflecting on what I am faced with in the aftermath of our recent federal election and also the aftermath of our recent Amazonian Synod in Rome. Both events, and the surrounding actions and reactions surrounding these events, have left me, in the present, deeply depressed and trying to see a path forward in the gloom … looking for some glimmer of light to look forward to. I think Christ has an answer … of course … both to how to view the worldly antics of our secular and religious leadership and how to go forward dealing with the daily depression.

In Romans 8, 12-17 (old missal) St. Paul compares the two lives which always struggle within us, are at war within us. The Old Man and the New Man always struggle to control the man (or woman). The Old Man, is a slave to passion and pleasure, the things of this world, a slave to self indulgence, a slave to sin, from which come the fruits of death. The New Man, is the servant of, or even better, the child of God, producing the fruits of life, fighting for the right, without question or pause, willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause, and our smart polite secular society is truly hellish when one thinks about all those practices which used to be anathema and are now common place … no longer even commented upon, truly truly, Old Man to the core.

To paraphrase Paul, “If you live according to the Old Man, according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you live by the Spirit, if, by the New Man, you mortify the flesh, you shall live”. One of my favorite, perhaps my most favorite of authors, Rudyard Kipling touched upon this truth (the battle between the flesh and the spirit) in his poem “If”. For those of you who never heard of Kipling here is a bit of bio on the man who is perhaps one of the greatest non-Catholic Christian writers in our recent history.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is best known for his novels The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and Kim, and his most famous poem, “If—”.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born December 30, 1865, in Bombay, India, to a British family. When he was five years old, he was taken to England to begin his education, where he suffered deep feelings of abandonment and confusion after living a pampered lifestyle as a colonial.

He returned to India at the age of seventeen to work as a journalist and editor for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. Kipling published his first collection of verse, Departmental Ditties and Other Verses, in 1886 and his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888.

In the early 1890s some of his poems were published in William Ernest Henley’s National Observer and later collected into Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), an immensely popular collection which contained “Gunga Din” and “Mandalay.” In 1892 Kipling married and moved to Vermont, where he published the two Jungle Books and began work on Kim.

He returned to England with his family in 1896 and published another novel, Captains Courageous. Kipling visited South Africa during the Boer War, editing a newspaper there and writing the Just-So Stories.

Kim, Kipling’s most successful novel (and his last), appeared in 1901. The Kipling family moved to Sussex permanently in 1902, and he devoted the rest of his life to writing poetry and short stories, including his most famous poem, “If—“. He died on January 18, 1936 at the young age of 70 years; his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey. Kipling’s complete works are available as an e-book on Kindle for a pittance. The literary production values are poor (not flashy) but the works are original, pure, and beautiful.

“If…”

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

by Rudyard Kipling, in A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)

Paul Corrects Peter

If you mortify the deeds of the flesh you will live … Baptism has begotten us to the life of the spirit, but it has not suppressed the life of the flesh in us. The New Man must always struggle against the Old Man, the spiritual must always struggle against the corporeal.

Grace does not excuse us from this battle, but gives us the power to sustain it: “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

Grace gives us the power to “Hold on”, Grace gives the New Man the power to hold on and continue the struggle against the Old Man when things go in the pot and it looks like all is lost … “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

Grace …

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;

Grace …

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Grace …

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

Grace…

We must detach ourselves, from all these earthly things and creatures: “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much;” in order to keep all worldly things in their proper priority of place.

David Warren

As David Warren remarks: “Where Kipling goes wrong, predictably because he is not a Catholic, I think, is by omitting the one thing I could reliably do, to make the world a better place; however indirectly. It is to become Holy. This, truly, is “to advance one’s own cause” — in the highest sense, selfish.

It is the selfishness that is distantly reflected, as it were in mudwater at the bottom of a pit, in The Fable of the Bees. (In that, the ideology of Capitalism was foreseen: “private vices, publick benefits.” The author, Bernard Mandeville, was our English Machiavelli. He preferred selfish vices, to “virtue signalling.”)”

We are commanded “…to be Holy as your Father in heaven is Holy” … to “live in the Divine will”.  God must reign over all. There will always be attachments in the human heart, but they must be subordinate to God and to His will so that they can never usurp His place as the mainspring of our actions. The spiritual life, the life of the New Man, is a love affair with Jesus. Remember, as a small child, holding on tightly and trustingly to your father’s little finger and you walked out for the first time … remember trusting your father … we are called to Trust our Divine Father totally because he loves with an everlasting love that transcends the love of every human father who ever loved his little boy or girl.

We must be utterly convinced of the need to “Hold on …” so that we will not get self satisfied, or puffed up about our virtue, or perhaps discouraged when old sins come back to haunt us over and over again, even many years after we had thought them dead and gone. “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7,1) and “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence” (Mat 11,12).

But this never ending struggle should not discourage or frighten us. We are children of God and can call upon his paternal help without fear of being ignored or hung out to dry. St. Paul says “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba, Father.

It’s A Wonderful Life … with the right lenses we can see what is actually important.

This world never tires of selling us that which is not important. None of our daily serving of important worldly news and information matters even one wit or is worth the time to digest it. When we are busy admiring our beautiful front lawn we are missing the exquisite treasures sitting there in plain view for those who can stop worshiping the beautiful lawn. Nothing so fertilizes the field of despair as buying what this world is selling us, all the beautiful little ponies, all the little golden calves.

Sell everything and go for the eternal treasures with every power and ability that is in you. GO FOR IT! We should be putting at least as much effort and work and struggle into acquiring the things of the eternal reality as the children of this world put into acquiring the things of this passing world.

Nothing darkens our gaze on God, nothing weakens our striving to reach God, to live in God’s Will,  as much as a single strong attachment to anything of this world, a single attachment to the Old Man. That is the great source of all the trouble and trials in our lives, and I have absolutely nothing to be upset or depressed about since absolutely nothing of this world really matters … it all winds down to dusty death and passes away no matter what we do … any of us.

Ave Christus Rex! Viva Christo Rey! Hail Christ the King! Ave Christus Rex!

Cheers

Joe

 Galadriel, “The Lord of the Rings”
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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Michaelmas … The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

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

Malcolm Guite,

Malcolm Guite,

Ice on the puddles in the mornings now. At least we are not experiencing the Montana and Southern Alberta foothills blast of winter we are seeing on various social media. This is an edited re-post of a previous post from last year September 29th 2018, and the Feast has arrived again, as all good things do. Today is Sunday, September 29th 2019, the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

As previously mentioned, I have come across some interesting books of poetry while browsing my Amazon account like I used to do as a young man in my favorite used book stores in Montreal and Ottawa, long before the days of personal computers, the internet, and online anything. Remember the 60’s?  HA!  gotcha.

In this enlightened age, following the suggestions of the algorithm of choice on Amazon, or Netflix, or any other marketing bot attempting to sell us stuff, can really end up in a deep ditch of habit unless considered and actively rejected. Amazon’s latest “recommended for you” is “Winter World, a new ice age changes everything”. A refreshing change from dystopian Sci-Fi monologues by global warming zombies  predicated upon an “apocalypse by CO2” who pretend that their “Science” fiction is based on fact.

It would seem, on consideration, that most media coverage of “climate change” is really just “Science” fiction with an agenda, like George Soros’ rise to global domination in the fortress of F.U.D. It is sometimes surprising when one discovers that a Hungarian Billionaire is one of the major funders of Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Liberal Party, the Natural Governing Party, as they style themselves.

Predicting a coalition of Greens, NDP, and Liberals to maintain control of Ottawa and the direction that Canada goes for at least another 4 years. Sigh … open guess if we will survive as a business to see the next federal election after this one. Of course Trump prevailed against all the media and pundit predictions so maybe we will get lucky up here as well, not that I am a great fan of Trump but I would hold my nose and vote for him given the abysmal quality and morality of virtually every other contender from every party. There are probably not even a half dozen Secular Progressives in any party in any Capital that shouldn’t be imprisoned or perhaps terminated for “Crimes Against Humanity”. That’s not a very charitable point of view, is it? What would Jesus say?

Anyway, the Feast of Michaelmas, and how sometimes it pays to actually go on a quest for something different than normal, thinking for oneself can be refreshing … found this poet … Malcolm Guite, interesting man … and very worthwhile considering on our cool fall days. As Ned Stark remarked: “Winter is coming”.

St. Michael, Archangel

St. Michael, Archangel

Popularly knows as Michaelmas; also known as the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) is a minor Christian festival observed in some Western liturgical calendars on 29 September.

It is observed by Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, and Eastern Orthodox communions. From my Daily Roman Missal:

St. Gabriel

St. Gabriel, Archangel

“St. Michael (“Who is like God”) is the Archangel who fought Satan.  He is the protector of all people and reminds the faithful of the real existence of the Devil and demonic activity. He is invoked for protection from the snares of the Devil.

St. Gabriel (“Strength of God”) announced to St. Zechariah the birth of St. John the Baptist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary the birth of Christ. His greeting to Our Lady, “Hail, full of grace,” is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Church.

St. Raphael, Archangel

St. Raphael, Archangel

St. Raphael (“Medicine of God”) is the Archangel who, in the Book of Tobit, cared for Tobias on his journey. Every person on his or her pilgrimage through this life also has a guardian angel.”

In some denominations a reference to a fourth angel, usually Uriel, is also added. In Christian angelology, the Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the Archangels and is honored for defeating Satan in the war in heaven.

He is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence.

Michaelmas has also delineated time and seasons for secular purposes, as well, particularly in Britain and Ireland as one of the quarter days.

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St. Michael and All Angels

Michaelmas gales assail the waning year,
And Michael’s scale is true, his blade is bright.

He strips dead leaves, and leaves the living clear
To flourish in the touch and reach of light.

Archangel bring your balance, help me turn
Upon this turning world with you and dance
In the Great Dance.

Draw near, help me discern,
And trace the hidden grace in change and chance.

Angel of fire, Love’s fierce radiance,
Drive through the deep until the steep waves part;

Undo the dragon’s sinuous influence
And pierce the clotted darkness in my heart.

Unchain the child you find there, break the spell
And overthrow the tyrannies of Hell.

Malcolm Guite, This poem from “Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year” (London: Canterbury Press, 2012). Found on Amazon.com,

*****

Cheers

Joe

… and miles to go before we sleep …

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Imitatio Christi

David Warren has a timely post here. I completely agree with his view of “The Imitation of Christ”, by Thomas a Kempis. I have been reading it, both linearly and using the “open it anywhere” method for years now. It never grows old. My personal version of “The Little Brown Book” is a Baronius Press  imprint from 2008 of the Richard Challoner translation from the 18th century. It is available as a free eBook at Gutenberg.org. A couple of passages from where I am in the book right now are particularly comforting in my current state of mind:

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Chapter XLIV Deadness to Exterior Things”

CHRIST

SON, in many things it behooveth thee to be ignorant, and to esteem thyself as one dead upon earth; as one to whom the whole world is crucified. Many things also must thou pass by with a deaf ear and think rather of those things that appertain to thy peace.

It is more profitable to turn away thine eyes from such things as displease thee, and to leave to everyone his own way of thinking, than to give way to contentious discourses.

If thou stand well with God, and look at His judgement, thou will more easily bear to see thyself overcome.

DISCIPLE

2. O Lord, to what are we come? Behold a temporal loss is greatly bewailed; for a small gain men labour and toil, but the loss of the soul is little thought of, and hardly returns to mind.

That which is of little or no profit takes up our thoughts; and that which is above all things necessary, is negligently passed over; for the whole man sinks down into outward things, and unless he quickly recovers himself, he willingly continues immersed in them.

*****

and

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“CHAPTER XLV  Men Are Prone to Offend”

DISCIPLE

GRANT me help, O Lord, from trouble, for vain is the salvation of man. (Ps 59:13).

How often have I not failed to find faith there where I thought I might depend upon it. And how often have I found it where I did not expect it? Vain, therefore, is all hope in men; but the safety of the just is in Thee, O Lord. Blessed be Thou, O Lord my God, in all tings that befall us.

We are weak and unsettled, we are quickly deceived and changed.

2. Who is the man that is able to keep him self so warily, and with so much circumspection in all things, as not to fall sometimes into some deceit or perplexity? But he that trusts in Thee, O Lord, and seeks Thee with a simple heart does not so easily fall (Wis. 1:11).

And if he fall into some tribulation, in what manner soever he may be entangled therein, he will quickly be rescued and comforted by Thee; for Thou wilt not forsake forever him that trusts in Thee. (Ps. 36:28). A trusty friend is rarely to be found that continues faithful in all the distresses of his friend. (Ecclus. 6:10). Thou, O Lord, Thou alone are most faithful in all things, and besides Thee, there are no other such.

3. Oh, how wise was that holy soul that said, My mind is strongly settled and grounded upon Christ. (Eph. 3:17). If it were so with me the fear of man would not so easily give me trouble, now flying words move me. Who can foresee all things, or who is able to provide against all future evils? If things foreseen do nevertheless often hurt us, how can things unlooked for fail of wounding us grieviously?

But why did I not provide better for myself, miserable wretch that I am! Why also have I also so easily given credit to others! But we are men and but frail men though by many we are reputed and called angels. To whom shall I give credit O Lord? To whom but to Thee? Thou art the truth which neither canst deceive, nor be deceived. (John 14:6). And on the other side, every man is a liar (Ps. 115:11), infirm, unstable, and subject to fail, especially in words; so that we ought not readily to believe even that which in appearance seems to sound well.

4. How wisely didst Thou forewarn us to beware of men (Matt. 10:17), and that a man’s enemies are they of his own household (Matt. 36); and that we are not to believe, if anyone should say “Behold here, or behold there.” (Matt. 24:23). I have been taught to my cost, and I wish it may serve to make me more cautious, and not to increase my folly. “Be wary,” saith one, “be wary, keep to thyself what I tell thee.” and whilst I hold my peace, and believe the matter to be secret, he himself cannot keep the secret which he desires me to keep, but presently betrays both me and himself, and goes his way.

From such tales and such incautious people defend me, O Lord, that I may not fall into their hands, or ever commit the like. Give to my mouth truth and constancy in my words, and remove far from me a crafty tongue. What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun.

5. Oh, how good a thing and how peaceable it is to be silent of others (Prov. 25:9), now to believe all that is said, nor easily to report what one has heard:

To lay one’s self open to few; always seek Thee, the beholder of the heart; Not to be carried about with every wind of words; but to wish that all things, both within and without us may go according to the pleasure of Thy will.  How secure it is for the keeping of heavenly grace to fly the sight of men; and not to seek those things which seem to cause admiration abroad; but with all diligence to follow that which brings amendment of life and fervour. To how many hath it been hurtful to have their virtue known and over-hastily praised.

How profitable indeed hath grace been kept with silence in this frail life! All which is a state of temptation and a warfare.

*****

Cheers

Joe

 

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The Octave of Easter and the importance of Reverence in the Liturgy …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Continued on from my last post. First of all it appears that that large noisy crowds from the Easter Sunday morning Mass were actually not Catholic, that is they actually were a couple of families worth of non-catholic visitors attending for the rather large Easter First Communion of a couple of kids who are Catholic. That kind of behaviour is perfectly normal for unchurched secular modernist “none’s” who have no clue about appropriate behaviour in a church or place of worship. This morning the reverence and quiet returned together with the more normal behaviour of the congregation absent the unchurched sports bar crowd.

For the remainder, the regulars, the remnant, the Truth of our faith is that The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church his Spouse a memorial of his death and resurrection. As the Gospel of Matthew tells us:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)

The Last Supper, Da Vinci, 1495-1498, oil/tempera on plaster, in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

The words that Jesus used during the Last Supper about the unleavened bread and the cup echo what He had said after He fed the 5,000: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink” (John 6:35; 51; 54-55).

Da Vinci’s “last Supper” masterpiece (image above right) was commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza for the refectory of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. I am quoting much of the following from an interesting web site about the Italian Rennaisance.The scene we see comes from the Gospel accounts on the night before Christ’s Passion and Death when Christ and the apostles are together in a room for supper. We are watching them at a point in the “Supper” narrative after which Christ has made a great revelation to the apostles that one of them will betray Christ (“One of you is about to betray me”, Matthew 26:21 ).

He is, of course, referring to Judas, but at this point in the Gospel there is a great outburst of emotion as all the apostles want to know who the betrayer is. We can see this emotion in the various apostles, who are linked by their hand movements. Emotions range from protest (Philip, #8) to sadness (John, next to Christ) to acceptance (Christ).

Judas, 3rd on the left from Christ is, however, shadowed and turned towards Christ so that we only see part of his face while he clutches his money bag, presumably containing the 30 silver pieces. At the time this was painted, Judas was normally arranged across the table from the other apostles in Last Supper depictions, but here he is depicted in the same grouping as John and Peter.

All of these figures would go on to play prominent roles in the Passion of Christ (Judas in the betrayal, Peter with his denials, and John who remains with Christ at the cross)“. But the point I am trying to emphasize here is that this is the evening when Christ Himself gave us His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, the “Real Presence” living with us in every tabernacle in Christendom.

Sacro cuore di Jesù (“Sacred Heart of Jesus”), Pompeo Batoni, painting on the altar in the northern side chapel of Il Gesù in Rome, 1767

So we believe that Salvation comes through Christ and the sacrifice of His physical body on the cross. Recalling the words of Jesus, the Catholic Church professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest.

The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins.

This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. The real presence of the Creator of the Universe and everything in it including us, and who keeps us in existence moment by moment because He wills it. And we ignore this at our peril.

Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:51-55). This presence of Christ in the Eucharist is called “real” not to exclude other types of his presence as if they could not be understood as real (cf. Catechism, no. 1374).

The risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways, but most especially through the sacrament of his Body and Blood. The important point here is that GOD in the person of Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe and everything in it, is truly and actually present and residing in every Tabernacle on every Alter in the Catholic world. This belief is one of the defining understandings which makes a Catholic believer “Latin rite Catholic”.

If one does not believe this tenant then one is, by definition, not a “Catholic”. That person who does not believe in the Real Presence may be Christian, they may even believe that they are indeed Catholic, but they are not a Catholic Christian. They are, at best, an ecumenical “smorgasbord” catholic in the same way that a member of the Anglican communion are catholic.

So what if one’s church turns into a spiritual “Sunday Smorg” similar in intent to the ubiquitous Sunday “Chinese Smorg” found in many small Alberta towns. What is one to do if one discovers that their particular church is drifting away from “revealed truth” into some sort of modernist quasi-spirituality arrived at by means of a popularity contest amongst competing “personal” truths?

This is an important question to some of us.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sheds more light on this mystery thus:

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What does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine? How does this happen? The presence of the risen Christ in the Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery that the Church can never fully explain in words. We must remember that the triune God is the creator of all that exists and has the power to do more than we can possibly imagine.

USCCB headquarters in Washington April 28, 2011. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) (April 28, 2011)

As St. Ambrose said: “If the word of the Lord Jesus is so powerful as to bring into existence things which were not, then a fortiori those things which already exist can be changed into something else” ( De Sacramentis, IV, 5-16). God created the world, in time, in order to share his life with persons who are not God. This great plan of salvation reveals a wisdom that surpasses our understanding.

But we are not left in ignorance: for out of his love for us, God reveals his truth to us in ways that we can understand through the gift of faith and the grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We are thus enabled to understand at least in some measure what would otherwise remain unknown to us, though we can never completely comprehend the mystery of God.

As successors of the Apostles and teachers of the Church, the bishops have the duty to hand on what God has revealed to us and to encourage all members of the Church to deepen their understanding of the mystery and gift of the Eucharist. In order to foster such a deepening of faith, we have prepared this text to respond to fifteen questions that commonly arise with regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

We offer this text to pastors and religious educators to assist them in their teaching responsibilities. We recognize that some of these questions involve rather complex theological ideas. It is our hope, however, that study and discussion of the text will aid many of the Catholic faithful in our country to enrich their understanding of this mystery of the faith.”

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And there are, in fact, other “Catholic” churches, other rites in communion with the Latin rite.

Because we believe in “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church,” some might object, “There is only one Church, so how can we speak of many ‘Churches?'” It’s helpful to consider an analogy used by the Church Fathers: While there are three distinct Persons who share the One Divine Essence, there are likewise many autonomous individual Churches that make up the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. As it is with the Triune Godhead, we must be careful not to blur true and important distinctions of the individuals in order to emphasize their unity.

Eastern Catholic Churches, 2019

When Christ founded His Church, He commissioned the apostles to go out into the world to preach and baptize. Most Catholics are familiar with the founding of the see of Rome by Peter.

The primacy of that Church was sealed with the blood of Peter and Paul, and the succession of bishops continues to the present day. What many do not know is that the other apostles themselves founded churches, and that their own successions of bishops continue as well.

As presently defined, there are 24 Catholic Churches that can be grouped into eight different rites. A rite is a liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony of a distinct people manifested in a Church.

While each Catholic Church may have its own rite or customs, in general, there are only eight major rites. History, language, misunderstandings, nationalism, and basic human weakness have resulted in the current communion of 24 Churches. And then there are additional sources of orthodoxy in the form of  Prelatures, Ordinariates, and so on in which licit Masses and Sacraments can be found.

So, if one’s own particular church falls into unbelief and heresy either by active denial of a critical truth, or by passive denial in the manner of their lack of affirmation of support of said truths;  by their conduct against  or lack of conduct in support of a critical belief, are there then any other rites readily available to us and are they a viable alternative path in order to fulfill our obligations?

More to follow as I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Last Sunday …Easter Sunday & The Octave of Easter …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Notre Dame de Paris … not the only fire in the Catholic Church. The uncontrolled flames of the “Modernism” heresy seem to have gutted her.

A week ago, on Easter Sunday morning, at Mass in my parish church, the MOST important Mass in the entire liturgical year, I had an epiphany.

Now, to be clear, my understanding of “epiphany” is: “derived from the Greek word epiphaneia, epiphany means “appearance,” or “manifestation.”

In literary terms, an epiphany is that moment in the story where a character achieves realization, awareness, or a feeling of knowledge, after which events are seen through the prism of this new light in the story”.

My epiphany was a sudden clarity of perception at the point when the Mass was ended and priest blessed the congregation and instructed them “Go forth the Mass is ended”. And the congregation responded “Thanks be to God”.

This would “normally” be the moment when many parishioners would kneel and pray for a while thanking God for all His blessings and benefits, and for once again coming into our lives personally.

Even more people, perhaps the majority of those present, would file out onto the steps of the church to discuss how things were going in their lives and shake hands with the priest, and generally turn things into a social occasion for chatting after Mass with people who had not been seen for a week and so on and so forth. That would be pretty normal and has been the scene after Mass in the Catholic church in Canada since I was a kid.

What actually happened, what I really noticed this time around, is that the church suddenly turned into a loud sports bar with people turning to their neighbour and shaking hands and just in the space of a breath the quiet of the Mass was completely wiped out by loud boisterous voices  yelling and talking and shouting over each other and over the Recessional music which is reasonably supposed to hint at an orderly and respectful egress from our Lord’s Presence and from the place of worship.

The Last Supper, Juan de Juanes 1523 – 1579, oil on panel (116 × 191 cm) — ca. 1560, in Museo del Prado, Madrid.

I noticed it this time probably because I was in the midst of the shouters instead of actually singing the recessional from the ambo as cantor. The parishioners didn’t even try to leave the pews and meet outside on the church steps .. they just couldn’t wait to share their “Good News”.

Everyone turned their back on the Lord in His tabernacle and ignored and profaned the most important and revered person in the universe to get on with their social gathering.

And this continued for the better part of half an hour. Everyone ignored our Lord, real and present in His tabernacle behind the alter before gradually winding down and moving on to a better venue, perhaps with beer and wings or wherever – the grocery store, Sunday dinner, whatever.

And the epiphany was that I realized that my fellow parishioners were/are not actually Catholic. These parishioners (rather obviously) do not believe in the real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

And the more I thought about it the more I saw the truth of it. Almost no one believes in the real presence, no one believes in confession, no one believes in the importance of reverence in liturgy, no one believes in the traditions which have kept the faith alive for more than 2000 years. Our parishes have become nothing more than “Social Clubs”, much like all the Protestant parishes around us.

This is the norm in most Protestant sects, now so noticeably fragmenting and in decline across our land, but this is the first time that it hit me like a hammer blow to the heart that our nominally Roman Catholic congregations seem to share this lack of faith … they are, really, no longer “Catholic” in the most important matter of faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist … no longer Catholic.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Here in the early years of the 21st century the Catholic Church here in my normal modern parish is dead. This parish, perhaps this Archdiocese, perhaps the entire Canadian Catholic Church, is no longer “Catholic” by any traditional definition of “Catholic”.

So what is Joe supposed to do now? I don’t really know … I am at a loss and the ideas are not coming freely at this point.  So let me tell a short story about Joe. Well, as gentle reader no doubt knows, this blog is Joe’s blog, so it is no surprise that a story about Joe comes up.

I will continue this in my next post, perhaps … I need to pray and think on this and perhaps consult other more level heads as to what is appropriate to discuss and what is not.

More to follow as and when I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

They Also Serve … The Passion of Christ … Prayer and Atonement … Election Results

“Deep Peace”, Bill Douglas, from the album of the same name, (1996)

John Milton, ca 1629

John Milton was totally blind by age 40. “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” is one of the best known of the sonnets of John Milton (d. 1674).

The last three lines (concluding with “They also serve who only stand and wait.”) are particularly well known, although rarely quoted in context.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

by John Milton (d. 1674). This sonnet was first published in Milton’s 1673 Poems

The Gospel of Matthew, composed between AD 80 and 90

When Milton writes “that one talent which is death to hide” he is specifically alluding to the parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew.

And I would add, for a modern audience who might never have heard of it … they also serve who only stand and wait … and pray.  This was assumed in the day of Milton and his culture … and pray.

So here is a prayer for Passion Week, the week leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

*****

O Lord of my soul, how quick we are to offend You! But how much quicker are You to forgive us! What am I saying Lord! The sorrows of death have encompassed me. Alas! What a great evil is sin, since it could put God Himself to death with such terrible sufferings! And those same sufferings surround You today, O my Lord! Where can You go that You are not tortured. Men cover You with wounds in all your members.

Christians, this is the hour to defend your King, and to keep Him company in the profound isolation in which He finds Himself. How few, O Lord, are the servants who remain faithful to You! … The worst of it is that there are some who profess to be Your friends in public, but who sell You in secret. You can scarcely find one in whom You can trust. O my God, true Friend, how badly does he repay You who betrays You!

O true Christians, come to weep with your God! It was not only over Lazarus that He shed tears of compassion, but over all those who, in spite of His call, would never rise from the dead. At that time, my Love, You saw even the sins that I would commit against You. May they be at an end, and with them, those of all sinners. Grant that these dead may come to life. May Your voice, Lord, be strong enough to give them life, even if they do not ask it of You.

Lazarus did not ask You to bring him back to life, and yet You restored life to him at the prayer of a sinner. Here is another sinner, my God, and much more culpable than she was. Let, then, Your mercy shine forth! I ask it of You in spite of my wretchedness, for those who will not ask.”

St. Teresa of Avila,  1515 – 1582

*****

In a recent interview, given to The Catholic Herald, Robert Cardinal Sarah said in answer to question 8:

Robert Cardinal Sarah, in 2015

“First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and the peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment.

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature. The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches. The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples.

At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents. We are accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore!

I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism? Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.

Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

*****

…I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]… Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them..Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, Jesus to St. Faustina, n. 1160, 848

*****

And finally, for a criminally low price of 99 cents U.S. on Kindle, we have a treasure like unto “The Pearl of Great Price”. We have Daniel O’Connor, in his new book The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta

“In His revelations to Luisa, Jesus goes so far as to say that it is the enemies of the Church who are necessary in order to purge and purify her. It is difficult to think of stronger words; but it’s becoming increasingly impossible to ignore them. Today, it is sadly the Church’s enemies—Godless, secular people who have long hated her—who are doing what the Bishops should have done long ago: dealing with the sin of sexual abuse as strongly as it should be dealt with and exposing the perpetrators.

In this passage, Jesus prophesies today’s crisis to Luisa 100 years before it began; although He does not explicitly refer to the crisis as involving sexual abuse, I think it is safe to say that this is one of the major things (if not the major thing) He intended when He said to Luisa: I was praying blessed Jesus to confound the enemies of the Church, and my always lovable Jesus, in coming, told me:

“My daughter, I could confound the enemies of the Holy Church, but I don’t want to. If I did so, who would purge my Church? The members of the Church, and especially those who occupy positions and heights of dignity, have their eyes dazzled, and they blunder a great deal, reaching the point of protecting the false virtuous and oppressing and condemning the true good.

This grieves Me so much—to see those few true children of mine under the weight of injustice; those children from whom my Church must rise again and to whom I am giving much grace to dispose them to this… I see them placed with their backs to the wall, and bound to prevent their step. This grieves Me so much, that I feel I am all fury for their sake!

Listen my daughter, I am all sweetness, benign, clement and merciful; so much so, that because of my sweetness I enrapture hearts. But I am also strong, as to be able to crush and reduce to ashes those who not only oppress the good, but reach the point of preventing the good which they want to do. Ah! you cry over the secular, and I cry over the painful wounds which are in the body of the Church.

These grieve Me so much as to surpass the wounds of the secular, because they come from the side from which I did not expect it, and induce Me to make the secular rail against them.”[785] Here, Jesus says clearly what it has taken until now for the boldest of voices in the Church to acknowledge: The enemies of the Church, paradoxically, have now proven necessary for the Church in order to purge it. For the leaders of the Church—the Bishops—go so far as to “protect the false virtuous” (predator priests) and “condemn the true good” (traditional, orthodox-minded priests).

Daniel O’Connor, “The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta (p. 296).”

*****

Well, I gotta check the election results, cause I wouldn’t be a good little neanderthal knuckle-dragger if I went to bed without looking it up. I guess that is just about enough for now so I will say goodnight and “Hasta la vista, baby”.

Cheers

Joe

Good news tonight here in our little Rohan of the North.

The people have spoken, and the Now Word is “GOODBYE NDP”.

Does anyone remember de-Nazification?

Its time to Scour the Shire, and Jason Kenney is making noises about turning off the taps to the East and the West Coast. We can always pray.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Here We Stand … Hae nobis propriae sedes

“Waiting On The Night To Fall”, by “Casting Crowns”, from the album “Thrive” (2014)

Yes indeed … waiting on the night to fall … and it is falling, isn’t it?  I have a small selection of Web blogs which I read regularly, at least weekly and I am going to share links here because I have found these writers helpful in my own quest … expressing other insights into the same questions and helping me avoid “scope creep” in my own quest.

Letter of Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen, April 17th, 2018

Letter of Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen, April 17th, 2018

The first one (on the list that is, not necessarily in importance) is the Canadian blogger Mark Mallett and his blog “The Now Word, Reflections on Our Times”.   Mark Mallett, a one time TV reporter, is a Roman Catholic singer/songwriter and missionary. He has performed and preached throughout North America and abroad.

The messages posted on Mark’s website are the fruit of prayer and ministry. Mark is very current and he doesn’t pull any punches, but his views are charitable and restrained with respect to the human players. He sets my bar when it comes to “Fraternal Charity” and I often write something in my own posts and then after reading what Mark has to say I edit or rewrite what I have written about the event in question.

Any postings on Mark’s site which contain elements of “private revelation” have been subjected to the discernment of Mark’s spiritual director. I included a letter from his Bishop (image on the right) which he posted on his blog-site on the “about Mark” page.  For a recent example of his work, Mark writes on Robert Cardinal Sarah’s interview with The Catholic Herald:

CARDINAL Sarah has given a stunning, perceptive and prescient interview in the Catholic Herald today. It not only repeats “the now word” in terms of the warning that I have been compelled to speak for over a decade, but most especially and importantly, the solutions. Here are some of the key thoughts from Cardinal Sarah’s interview along with links for new readers to some of my writings that parallel and expand his observations”.

*****

Father John HunwickThe second Blog-site which I follow regularly is that of the British blogger Fr. John Hunwicke, titled Fr. Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment”   Father Hunwicke was for nearly three decades at Lancing College; where he taught Latin and Greek language and literature, was Head of Theology, and Assistant Chaplain. He has served three curacies, been a Parish Priest, and Senior Research Fellow at Pusey House in Oxford. Since 2011, he has been in full communion with the See of S Peter.

Fr. Hunwicke asserts: The opinions expressed on this Blog are not asserted as being those of the Magisterium of the Church, but as the writer’s opinions as a private individual. Nevertheless, the writer strives, hopes, and prays that the views he expresses are conformable with and supportive of the Magisterium. In this blog, the letters PF stand for Pope Francis. On this blog, ‘Argumentum ad hominem’ refers solely to the Lockean definition, “Pressing a man with the consequences of his own concessions“.

Fr. John has a deep (and sometimes obscure) interest and expertise in “old” liturgical rites and prayers, pre-Vatican II Catholic and Anglican liturgical practices and also a very current and even humourous eye for the goings on in the “modern Roman Curia, The Church of England Hierarchy, and the Catholic and Anglican church at large”.  I appreciate greatly his restraint, and at the same time his dry humour, irony and even satirical observations. He helps me to stay focused, restrained, and to practice “fraternal charity”, when confronted with some of the more egregious “missteps” of our current batch of Curial managers in Rome and in the rest of the Catholic world.

*****

Third, there is the American blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, writing at “Fr. Z’s Blog“, formerly entitled: “What Does The Prayer Really Say?” – Clear, straight commentary on Catholic issues, liturgy and life by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬)    In Fr. Z’s own words: “This blog is like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.” – Fr. Z

I don’t really have any images for Fr. Z. so I guess I will just include an excerpt from a recent post “The Internet Prayer” which I enjoyed:  “… Meanwhile, here is the English (version).  A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.

(and) Finally, I’m still waiting for an improved version in Klingon.”

And just for good measure another post on cooking and “traditional” recipes:  “Lately, Sundays have found me in the kitchen making something interesting… to me, at least. 

Yesterday I had a hankerin’ for Ragù alla bolognese.  When I say “ragù” I don’t mean something in a jar!  Ragù alla bolognese is a classic from one of the truly amazing foodie regions of Italy – and that’s saying a lot – Emilia-Romagna and, so they say, Bologna in particular. 

The denizens of Bologna, as a matter of fact, have codified the “official” recipe via their chamber of commerce.   You can use this ragù (French ragoût from ragoûter… “revive flavor”) directly on various shapes of pasta or as a layer with lasagne.   Broad, flat noodles, such as tagliatelle and pappardelle are great.  I used the latter, dried.  I was a too lazy to make fresh. This sauce is easy to make, but you need patience and time.”

*****

“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)

David Warren

Fourth and last, for today, but by no means least, is the Canadian blogger David Warren. He posts 4 or 5 times a week, a slightly less charitable view of the world than the above three, but no less elegant in his own way.

Because David is closer to my heart, I actually have his site as my default Home Page on my browser so the first thing I see each day when I log on is whatever new words of wisdom and repartee David has seen fit to share with the world.

Irony and Satire figure in many of his posts both on his own site at “Essays in Idleness, but also he aims for a broader audience with his occasional op ed pieces on “The Catholic Thing“. There are many other writers of worthy articles in the archives at “The Catholic Thing”.

Back in 2015, over at David Warren’s site Essays in Idleness we found “Hae nobis propriae sedes” Virgil, Aeneid 3 147-149,  in English I think it is something like “This Will Be Our Proper Place“, according to Google Translate, but I’m no scholar so I may have missed the mark on that. Anyway, David is a beautiful writer and I enjoy his insight. Here is an old post in full from October 2015, or better yet, just go and read his stuff at his own site, it would certainly be worth one’s time.

*****

Hae nobis propriae sedes

If the Viking priests from the age of the Orkneyinga Saga Orkneyinga Saga(composed eight centuries ago, about matters through centuries before it), returned suddenly to their old haunt on Papa Stronsay, they would have lively conversation with the current inhabitants. As they could not speak English, nor these new monks Old Norse, the chatter would be in Latin. The Mass they would celebrate together would also be in Latin, of course, and the Vikings would have no difficulty in following it. For it was their Mass, too.

The gentle reader who does not already know about the Transalpine Redemptorist presence in Orkney may inform himself (here, and perhaps also, here). For it is more than the “romantic story,” of a genuinely counter-cultural adventure. In some sense one might say that the living centre of the Catholic Church is now more on that bleak, and beautiful island of Papa Stronsay, than in the heart of today’s pagan Rome. This seems especially so in light of the recent Synod; as to me, after reading the current pope’s latest remarks at the conclusion of it — full of his characteristic slights and insults towards traditional practitioners of the Catholic faith.

I know that many faithful are hurting, or quite understandably angry; that they feel violated and betrayed. That is why I am writing like this, reminding that Christ will bind wounds; that He will not betray us. Christ goes where He is wanted, and under present circumstances that is far, far away, “to the peripheries” — or rather, let us cut the cheap sociological blather and say, “to the ends of the Earth.” He is in love with the bright-eyed peoples of Africa; and with those suffering under murderous tyrannies in Asia and the Middle East. By contrast in Europe, and here in the Americas, in our life of fat and consumption, we now have little use for Him; and so He leaves us to find our own way, progressively, downward.

Yet in many rural and remote places, and even sometimes in little neighbourhoods within the huge, fraught cities of these once-Christian realms, His Church is flourishing. The numbers may be tiny in proportion to the general population, but wherever that old Latin Mass is sung, there are vocations, and there is revival. Where it is not, the Church is dying out; and yet here, too, where the Mass of the Ages, and through it the teaching of the ages, is no longer made available, individual novus-ordo Christians still wait and humbly pray for relief.

Christ is there, forever in the Eucharist; and wherever it is taken by the shriven with real faith and the childlike understanding, the power of the Redemption is felt. (And where it is taken by appropriation, unworthily “by right,” the power of Judgement is visited instead.) He is present in the sincerity of all private prayer and petitions, extending from that Mass, and every good and virtuous deed, done in the communion of the Saints. Christ is crucified, dead, and risen; He is alive. Try as they will, His detractors will ever fail to kill Him.

This is simply how things are, and how they always were and will be. Within every cell of the true Church is the relation between that small Christian soul, and this Tremendous Lover. (See here.)

We have often before been abandoned by priests and bishops, with their own private agendas, or strutting their fake “humility” for the adulation of crowds. We have had bad popes; we have had every sin of which men are capable, done in sacred places. This is the world, and this is what men are: fallen. Let them seek forgiveness, and pick themselves up; do what they can to rectify the damage they have caused, the pain they have gratuitously inflicted. Let them open their eyes before Our Lord closes them forever. It makes no sense to choose the road to Hell.

There is nothing new under the Sun, and I see that Saint Peter Damian’s Liber Gommorrhianus, or “Book of Gomorrah,” from ten centuries ago, is once again circulating, in English translation. (Can be ordered here.) It is from another age, when clerical corruption, including rampant sodomy and pederasty, was threatening the integrity of holy orders. Damian was an ascetic, at home in the remote Italian hills, but as I recall from a previous translation of this book, he can be unpleasantly modern in his forensic descriptions of what priests and monks descend to, when they become depraved.

He turns, with a form of mercy that is excoriating, upon the most common crime: then as now, the satanic tampering with adolescent boys. He provides, too, the context for this corruption, through cross-allusion to simony and careerist self-advancement (his Liber Gommorrhianus ought ideally to be read alongside his Liber Gratissimus) — directing fearless, full-bore attacks on the princes of the Church who make themselves comfortable, and hide the crimes. The book made its author extremely unpopular, and the defence of him, by Pope Leo IX, though brave at first, became increasingly lukewarm. But the scandals it exposed were quietly acknowledged and gradually addressed. The shame that this saint had helped to reawaken slowly triumphed over the filth of this eleventh-century liberalism.

This is not the whole story of Petrus Damiani, some of whose miscellaneous writings on the spiritual and contemplative life are also known to me through the excellent translations of Patricia McNulty (1959, here). These are precious, very positive works, curiously contemporary with that saga of conversion in the northern wilds. This lonely Benedictine would likewise be at home with those monks on Papa Stronsay, so far away from him in space and time.

It was beloved Benedict XVI, incidentally, who through his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, brought the Transalpine Redemptorists back into full communion with Holy Church. They were a product of the SSPX reaction against the liberal innovations that followed from Vatican II, and the account of their relations with Rome is complex and often vexed. So it must be in a generation when the Vatican bureaucracy is more easily alarmed and scandalized by the persistently faithful, than by the faithless and glib. But that generation is already passing into ashes.

Our task is to keep our moorings in the true and unchanging Magisterium, clinging, as it were, “to our guns and our Bibles,” or to distant treeless islands as the case may be. For wherever Christ is — however cold, windy, and wet — we are at home in the breast of Our Saviour.”

*****

Cheers

Joe

I think it’s almost time to eat … fasting makes “EVERYTHING” taste so good.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Four Freedoms … Responsibility and Ownership.

“River Flows In You”, Yiruma, from the album “Yiruma Piano Collection” , (2001)

So, my resolution after my  last post was, going forward, to avoid pointing fingers, avoid divisiveness, and avoid setting up others as the bad guy, the enemy, the Strawman supporting MY argument. To strive to avoid badmouthing and criticizing and pointing out the faults and failings of others in ways that pump up my own pride and ego.

In the words of my Grandfather … “Joe, if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” To which my young self would usually reply … “But then there would not be much to say.” To which my Grandfather would then inevitably reply “That would be a nice change.” And Dad would laugh. Funny thing, the little vignettes which one ends up remembering out of all the adventures of one’s childhood.

I have repeatedly referred to GOD’s will in pointing out where many of my thoughts and my personal narrative stray from the will of GOD. And I have strayed a lot, usually in the same ways and about the same things, a kind of personal repertoire of sin. Knowing that an action or a thought is not in conformity with GOD’s will, I still fall into these habits and same old internal dialogue. Isn’t it about time to actually make a serious effort to stop.

So, going forward I resolve to work at “Living in the Divine Will”. What is the Divine Will and how do I conform my entire life to the Divine Will?  GOD has given me a template and a set of instructions and they are really pretty simple, ten basic Commandments. The Scriptures, and the Magisterium of the Church flesh out the details. And we have it from Scripture, the most important Commandment:

27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:27-28)

Now going forward I aim to look at what is good about what I see around me, even if that “good” is merely the absence of a more evil “bad”.  I want to take a look at the “Idols” of my personal world view … those things and persons and ideas which I have “worshipped” as ends in and of themselves, without GOD entering into the picture. I aim to try to illustrate how I can easily go astray whenever I lose sight of the fact that “All Good is Gift”.

So first, some Idols …  mostly things and a few people who I have thought to be “Just Awesome” and by their worship cementing the “superiority” of my ego in the firmament of my personal pantheon, all backed up by “facts” with which I can “Prove” that my judgements are correct and therefore not sinful. The First Idol … beautiful technology …  Ooooh, Aaaaah

150625-N-SN160-356 EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Jun, 25, 2015) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, join their signature Delta formation with the Canadian Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds, for a photo shoot over Evansville, Ind. The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform at 68 demonstrations at 35 locations across the U.S. in 2015. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Lindsey/Released)

150625-N-SN160-356
The Idol of beautiful Technology:  EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Jun, 25, 2015) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, join with the Canadian Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds, for a photo shoot over Evansville, Ind.  (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Lindsey/Released)

And what about the International Space Station, over 20 years old  now and still ticking amidst all the usual controversy and budget wars and disputes between the players. I linked to the Canadian Government Site where we can see the entire space program as one big photo op.

ISS at 20 …

And then all the rest of the “Goods”… trains, and planes, and automobiles, and toilets and sewers, and water systems, and cell phones, and stoves and refrigeration, and microwaves, and furnaces, and the internet, and supermarkets with every kind of food imaginable, good and bad, available in all seasons, 365 days a year and 24/7 in some places, and coffee shops, and bakeries and cake shops, and wine stores, and swipe cards and financial payment networks.

And the communications and transportation networks that make that all possible, and all the fuel to run the electrical generators, and the electrical grid so the lights and our large screen LCD TV’s all come on whenever we want them.

Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute

And fuel for the furnaces and to fire the engines, and fuel the planes, and fly us to our annual holidays in our favorite resort,  and last but not least in this litany a great medical/health system standing by to give everyone with a health problem free health care services.

The truth is that all this “stuff” is a tribute to courage, will power, determination, grit, hard work and sheer brain power, there is just so much good stuff, and these great things make us feel proud of ourselves when we take the time to think about it all, and all of these great things in some way become Idols. We did this … we must be great.

“Eternity’s Sunrise”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Eternity’s Sunrise”, (2000)

Canada’s budget for the Space Program is about 260 million a year and falling. It’s really a question of balancing optics and priorities, and cutbacks, and needing to make savings in one area because of uncontrollable growth in other areas.

And Canada’s budget for Health Care in 2018 was … who knows, we are always way over budget … but we do know that total health expenditures in 2018 in Canada reached $253.5 billion, or $6,839 per per man woman and child in Canada. In 2018  overall health spending reached 11.3% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). This s the biggest Idol in Canada. This is the Idol we all worship and sacrifice to, and sometimes it pays off and the gods give us a blessing, like my own recent surgery on my broken ankle.

It’s a question of optics and priorities. and “Free” Health Care is a huge vote magnet. And a 2 income family of 5 is paying $34,195.00 a year in taxes for “free” healthcare. And I and my wife (2 incomes) have been paying into this “free” system for about 45 years now, every year, year after year. There ain’t no free lunch, this is our sacrifice to our Idols.

The problem is that true “Freedoms” come with “Responsibilities”, and that is not the the same as “Rights”.

Free Republic of Albertastan

Back in ancient times, about 20 years ago, back before the Communists overthrew the government here and set up their little experiment in Social Equality, I and my optimistic friends used to entertain pleasant fantasies about a new kind of country.

We dreamed about setting up an independent Republic of Albertastan,  a kind of little Rohan of the west nestled under the looming Rockies, lots of open space for training and adventure, lots of internationally valuable resources, and with easily defended borders where everyone is welcome.  BUT the iron clad criteria for citizenship are:

#1: Prima Fascia evidence of real life Service and Sacrifice (eg. multi-tour military service with honourable discharge or equivalent non military service – equivalency to be determined by a panel of expert “citizens” and no one else)

#2: The criterion for eligibility for candidacy for political service is “citizenship” (see #1) and candidate acceptability determined on a scale relating brain power and willingness to work and accept basic subsidiarity and accountability in a hierarchy (no free rides ’cause you’re smart and/or good looking and/or related to someone and/or are a political hack, and so on and so forth). Wanting the position is an automatic fail. Only one position, one term,  per person, per lifetime. No exceptions.

#3: No person regardless of sex, creed, parentage, wealth, or belief system gets an exemption for any reason from #1 and #2. No person covered in #3 gets any say whatsoever in how the republic is run or what kind of programs are offered. Folks covered by #3 get normal respect for human life and dignity, as normal human beings, and as they have been recognized for, Oh … several thousand years … Natural Law is the foundation of civil law in this republic.

Those were the rules, the constitution as it were, of the Free Republic of Albertastan … real simple, easy to remember, and no exceptions, and everyone is welcome.

Albertastan Border Patrol

Any one who finds they don’t like this setup, or objects to any of the above or decides he or she or it demands his or her or it’s special “rights” and “privileges” will be given an escorted free ride to the nearest border crossing, 1 Gallon of water, a hamburger, and a map showing how to get to the nearest “other” place.

They would also be given a solid understanding that if they are still in sight in an hour they will be paint balled until they are out of site.  Well, it was a rather juvenile fantasy after all, but that didn’t mean that we were not proud of ourselves for “thinking” this all out … simple answers for simple people.

And we didn’t ever take into account the large Federal military presence, all under Liberal control of course as it was when we all served back in the 70’s. We just thought of them as our “little brothers”.

Freedom of Speech

But, the goal of setting up the Free Republic of Albertastan, the thought behind the dream, was in order to guarantee to all the inhabitants of Albertastan “The Four Freedoms”.

At that time we were concerned about the erosion of the Freedoms under the national and provincial government of the day, and all of us remembered the 80’s very well.

The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected, and Roosevelt proposed that the government would do it for us.

Freedom of Worship

The Four Freedoms images are a series of four 1943 oil paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—are each approximately 45.75 inches (116.2 cm) × 35.5 inches (90 cm), and are now in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Wikipedia tells us: “Throughout his political career Roosevelt championed the cause of human rights.[6] In his annual State of the Union address to Congress of January 6, 1941, which was delivered at a time when Nazi Germany occupied much of Western Europe,[15] he asked the American citizens to support war efforts in various ways.

He stated his vision of a better future, founded upon four freedoms: “In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms,”[2][16] some traditional and some new ones: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Freedom From Want

That was then, this is now. Most people have no memory of WWII, or the Nazis or the evils of statism.  Heck, most people have already forgotten 9/11. Many people seem to think that “Nazi” is what you call someone who disagrees with you on Twitter. Public memory is short and folks are mostly content and concerned with their immediate needs and wants. But there is a background undercurrent of change in our culture.

As a society we have already, mostly willingly, ceded Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship to the control of government and social media, that “erosion” we were worried about in our Albertastan fantasy. We no longer are willing to go to the line for someone else’s right to their point of view or their choice of world view. We seem to want more and more to shut down dissent.

We are still doing pretty good in the “Freedom From Want” category. We Nord-Americanos are doing pretty much better than most of the rest of the world when it comes to want. I think the next thing to erode will be Freedom From Fear, as a result of the loss of the first two freedoms over the last two decades.

Freedom From Fear

But the truth about all of this is that all these things we think we treasure are really Idols. None of them matter when looking at eternity. I mean they ARE nice and highly desirable, ideals even, but not as an end in and of themselves, except perhaps Freedom To Worship, but even that, when denied brings eternity into a much sharper focus, as we perhaps are witnessing in the underground Catholic Church in China. Maybe Faith benefits from some persecution.

What does it matter in eternity? So what does a country boy see out there in the “REAL” world? What are the “world problems” that I think might affect myself, my family and my life here in rural flyover country, what gets on the radar?

I am thinking about peace and conflict, and how I choose to drink at springs of peace or springs of conflict. After the data dump of calm emotion over the last couple of weeks, about observed events, I am thinking that I chose to observe and judge, and attribute, courtesy of lots of folks with nothing to do but emote about what is wrong in their life  and “create content”. Well guess what? I am doing the same damned thing.

Am I one of those “emoticons in suits”? Well, maybe an emoticon in Levis, and pretty thread bare Levis at that. No suits around here any more – that was all in a previous life, long, long ago. Don’t even have a tie anymore.

It’s 06:48 now and the sun is coming up on a cool dawn. With quiet time for second thought, the truth is, there are not really any problems anywhere which directly affect my immediate life … my “real” world is full of beauty, and peace, waiting for room in my soul … if I make the time and make the room to just let it in, if I don’t fill it up with other stuff.

So, I pray for “Purity of Heart”, that purity that goes beyond simple passions and pleasures. Speaking of purity here I am intending to evoke the purity which not only implies an absence of sin but goes much further to invoke the absence of all earthly affections. And I begin the quest to “Live in the Divine Will”.

I think I have quoted St. Bernard somewhere in a past posts like this: “Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

Cheers

Joe

I hear the snakes are back in Ireland … hmmm

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Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Back to Death … and Pride … Part Five …

Continued from Part Four …

graphic : “The Big Bang”

So , this is the fifth and final episode in what has become a great data dump of all the things that used to fire me up to write my posts. I am declaring an end to pointing at and yelling about “The Great Divide”.

There is way too much divisive stuff around these days and way too little of fraternal charity. I hope this five part series allows me to just put it all away and walk a different path. This is therapy for the terminally dissatisfied.

I am indulging myself today in an appeal to authority, some stage setting, some discussion of my metaphysical framework which supports my world view and by implication, my “caustic non PC musings” which musings I am trying to stop.

A few nights ago, over a period of nights, on the way to peaceful slumber, I watched all the  episodes of a new series on Netflix … “The Umbrella Academy”.

Now a couple of weeks later, after watching the whole series I now give it two thumbs down. I found it was mainly about how everything wrong with our lives is the fault of our parents and the world is ending in 8 days no matter what we do so just go and have fun.

This is just exactly what my last post was on about in as much as “Blaming Others” and “not taking ownership” is the root of all evil, or something like that but with a lot more words. Anyway, the story of the Umbrella Academy proposed a collection of protagonists (children in the first episode) with exceptional abilities and talents (ever was it so), one of whom shows the ability to manipulate his position in the timeline.

He, the child with this remarkable talent, is apparently able to somehow take a grip on the “fabric” of the “space-time continuum” and leverage himself to another position on or in that fabric much as we would grab onto a material object and pull ourselves over to a new physical location in our 3 dimensional material existence.

Nine Year Microwave Sky, The detailed, all-sky picture of the infant universe created from nine years of WMAP data. The image reveals 13.77 billion year old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. The signal from our galaxy was subtracted using the multi-frequency data. This image shows a temperature range of ± 200 microKelvin. Credit: NASA / WMAP Science Team WMAP # 121238 Image Caption 9 year WMAP image of background cosmic radiation (2012) Date 21 December 2012, 22:30:50

This is my description of what is shown by special effects (of course) in the show, there being no attempt to explain this “interesting” talent other than manifesting it as part of the story line accompanied by many wall covering equations, for which the protagonist is searching for “more accurate” values to plug into these equations.

Mathematical equations are always a good prop to impress a non technical audience, in fact much of what now passes for science in our modern society, our pseudo-science industry, is supported by arcane jargon and equations to baffle the audience and the budgetary gatekeepers who rarely have sufficient education to keep up with the argument, and who slip into nodding donkey mode to save face.

Anyway, in the midst of coming to an “understanding” of a plausible “why & how” for manipulating one’s position in space-time I started thinking about how our thought processes, intimately wrapped up as they are in a “time-centered” existence, can articulate the idea of “outside of time”.

I currently conceive of this “reality” as a “bubble” of time-centered reality totally submerged in and surrounded by an immense abyss of timelessness, rather like a tiny bubble of fresh water submerged in the depths of a great salt sea, which seems to make this idea easier to imagine and articulate.

graphic: “The Big Bang” projected from the the 9 year microwave image out to the present and into the future …

And this timeless, limitless, dimensionless, immensity is the domain of GOD, in fact there is nothing but GOD at this point in this model. The GOD of “I AM” exists, “is being” always and everywhere. In a timeless abyss everything exists in its totality at that instant (time creeping in to our thought articulation) always and forever.

The GOD of “I AM” had to withdraw a little of HIMSELF in order to even create the “nothing” within which HE then “created” everything we know and are able to perceive and think about.

“The Big Bang” theory is at least as good as or most likely much better as a hypothetical explanation of that creative spark than anything else currently on offer. It is an interesting point that “The Big Bang” theory was proposed by a Catholic priest and scientist, Fr. Georges Lemaître.

In 1927, the Belgian Catholic priest Georges Lemaître proposed an expanding model for the universe to explain the observed redshifts of spiral nebulae, and calculated the Hubble law. He based his theory on the work of Einstein and De Sitter, and independently derived Friedmann’s equations for an expanding universe.

“The first Friedmann equation describes how, based on what is in the universe, its expansion rate will change over time. If you want to know where the Universe came from and where it’s headed, all you need to measure is how it is expanding today and what is in it. This equation allows you to predict the rest!”

graphic: “Weak field limit around a single mass” (in this case, the sun)

In 1915, Einstein put forth his theory of General Relativity, which related the curvature of spacetime on one hand to the presence of matter and energy in the Universe on the other.

So the appeal to authority here involves the claim that the Big Bang theory is a part of the Christian world view and the Christian concept of GOD is Truth.

Part of this Truth necessarily includes the belief that, while some domains of other world views over lap in some way some of the claims of Christianity, it is Truth that only the domain of the Christian world view embraces all Truth while excluding all the errors in some of the other domains of the other world views.

We are all looking at reality through glasses and without the right prescription things can be a little “blurry”, and blurry vision can put you in the ditch with all the expected and predicted consequences.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or back in the Shire, I leap from the metaphysically cosmic to the mundane day to day of thoughts, sometimes angry (or “cranky” I am told) and sometimes sorrowful, about those who I see as “bad actors” in the stage play of my existence, and my ongoing development of “growing up” on my part in relation to “loving my neighbor”.

Now I am about to head off into another social commentary about how making the others on the other side of the great social divide that is our society into the bad guys, the enemy, is wrong. It is wrong because it is against the will of GOD.

I am also trying to come to terms with a recent understanding about my  thoughts and behaviour, namely that “being calm” is not an equivalent, or does not equal “not being angry”. Calmly angry is a brand new headspace for me, a new lens if you will, through which I think I may have been looking for a long time.

Col. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. Col. Tibbets (23 February 1915 – 1 November 2007) was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force.

With this insight, I now have no problem imagining being angry as I imagine calmly pressing the button that launches the missiles that turn a large part of the planet’s surface into it’s atomic constituents. I am thinking of Col. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr.

Col. Tibbets (23 February 1915 – 1 November 2007) was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the pilot who flew the B-29 Superfortress known as the Enola Gay (named after his mother) when it dropped Little Boy, the first of two atomic bombs used in warfare, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.

While we are touching on the only use of atomic weapons on civilian targets in world history so far, I discovered a little known piece of trivia, an aside, for all you Trivia fans … the Democrat 33rd President of the U.S.A., Harry Truman, whose biography is staring back at me from my bookshelf and whom I have always admired and my Dad admired, was a Freemason, and that’s common knowledge. But…

On October 19, 1945, Truman was raised to the 33rd degree of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite for the southern jurisdiction. The 33rd President became a 33rd Degree Mason a couple of months after the Little Boy Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima … weird coincidence, eh? Good Trivia question anyway. Bet ya didn’t know that, eh?

President Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States of America

He is the only President to have received this high distinction, which he considered with satisfaction to be the culmination of his Masonic career. Who knew?  Anyway, President Truman and Freemasons and Trivia bits aside, I imagine Col. Tibbets was pretty calm when he gave the command to drop the bomb.

The bomb which would soon wipe out tens of thousands of civilian non-combatants in a flash with hundreds of thousands of follow on casualties, in aid of delivering Allied surrender demands to the Japanese government. Its hard to imagine him not being a little angry, so “calmly angry” has moved from “oxymoron” to “plausible state of mind” in my world view. And we ended WWII, did we save more than we killed? Was there another way? I don’t know … no one can know except God.

So I am trying hard now to move away from the “angry” lens through which I have at times viewed the great divide, the “We” and “all the rest” who make up the “masses” who don’t see things the way I do.

Who the heck are “We” and why has that been so important to me over the years, so much a part of my personal world view, in spite of what I know to be the Christian world view mentioned above? Who are the “We”?

Well, “We” are fat and happy (relatively speaking). We are influential, we are powerful, we are wealthy. Why do all immigrants everywhere want to immigrate to North America with the U.S.A. as the first choice and Canada as the ugly sister second choice, sort of the Lobby of the desired address?

Freedom of Speech is the first of the Four Freedoms paintings by Norman Rockwell that were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms, which he delivered on January 6, 1941

Why is that? With a whole planet to choose from, everyone wants to come here. Why? That’s what used to be called a “no brainer”, everyone wants to be on the winning team, and unfortunately, not everyone makes the cut … see the seven characteristics in my previous post.

“We” are the successful servicemen and women, workers in industry, professionals, and business operators in western democracies, but in particular, whether the world likes it or not,  that “we” group are mostly Americans, in America, which is arguably the most successful of the western democracies by a long margin.

America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, economically and technologically and militarily and even culturally. While currently experiencing some troubling difficulties in the political, religious, and manufacturing, domains, Americans and America are also the most generous and the most patient people and nation on the planet. Remember, actions speak louder than words … look at what they do, not at what they say.

Look at yourselves in the mirror all you America haters, and what do ya see? It ain’t beautiful I’ll tell ya. I have American relatives in the American Mid-west, I’ve talked to them in the past, they seem to be decent regular folks, just like the folks I have met from Montana and North Dakota.

I have known and worked with many Americans, served with American service men and served under American Naval Officers. They are solid. They are what defines “The Good Guys”, even if some of them can be loud mouthy dicks at times. But I don’t know of any country some of whose servicemen are not like that at times. It seems to go along with the kind of personality that joins militaries. That is reality, folks, like it or not.

To launch from the personal to the general demographic, this is the truth Canada, look into your mirror and despair. Socialism always drags a culture down to the “equality of squalor” lowest common denominator. If we don’t abandon Socialism we are soooo dead.

Anything resembling success in Canada is in a large way due to our forced co-residency and trade with the most successful nation on the planet, and repeating anti-American rhetoric and decades old political protest memes on your University  campus or in your Starbucks or over dinner with your “special” friends doesn’t change reality. Look at Venezuela, there but for the grace of America go we.

While there used to be a solid case to be made for Alberta being the most successful polity on the continent (TD Bank Economic study from 10 or so years ago), that situation is now long gone thanks to the benevolent rule of the National Democratic Party in all their Socialist totalitarian blindness.

We are so materially screwed we are thinking of moving our provincial capital to Caracas. I am pretty sure that Red Rachel and her cronies would fit right in there. Isn’t it strange that virtually every totalitarian regime on the planet always wants to have the words “Republic” or “Democratic” in their name. The “Newspeak” is everywhere.

I love my country, but I am not proud of its conduct over the last ten or twenty years or so and in some domains for the last 50 years or so.  I despise it’s leadership at all levels. A greater collection of Keystone Cops amateur hour bad guys exists nowhere else on the planet, but in spite of everything it is still a pretty good place to live compared to anywhere else.

Witness my recent surgery which I was able to get within a couple of days of the medical event with only the presentation of a health care number. On the other hand, it is just as easy to kill my baby, or my granny, or my mentally retarded little sister, or to have a sex change operation, all dressed up as a “free” taxpayer funded, medical health care procedure, as it is to get a broken ankle fixed.

So IMHO the jury is still out on whether this is a net “good” health care system, and its bloody expensive, consuming the lion’s share of all tax dollars. And the government doesn’t provide much else except embarrassing public performances, taxes, and an ever increasing library of  restrictions, rules and regulations designed to control the population and protect government asses from liability for anything.

I think one of the better vignettes about Canada and Canadians was recently posted by David Warren here.  I include the first paragraph by way of a teaser:

“I will tell you a secret about Canada, but you must promise never to tell another living soul. We are secretly quite sane. We do a good job of hiding it, lest anyone notice and start asking us to assume adult responsibilities; for instance, we elected Justin Trudeau. But when no one seems to be looking, we do the right, or at least the practical thing. Then pretend it isn’t happening. Publicly, we may do something quite visibly insane, but just for a distraction. The Justin lad was good for that purpose. But then we act just as if we hadn’t done that, either. We have mastered the art of ignoring cause and effect. But privately, we can still tell most hawks from most handsaws.”

So what about America, that great western democracy right next door across the longest undefended border in the world. Well, keeping in mind that Alberta is still the “Texas” of Canada in spite of being run by the commies, there really isn’t much noticeable difference between us and our northern state cousins in Montana and Idaho and North Dakota and so on. Outside the cities we are the same kind of people, with the same kind of values, in the same kind of communities.

A 2nd Term for The Donald?

A large part of American success for the last 200 yeas or so has been their system’s ability to protect a large part of the population from the interference of their leadership. That is now in decline and we are starting to see the Canadian disease played out in American elections these days. It remains to be seen how long they will continue on their winning streak.

I am reminded of the Basketball hoop parable … Life is a basketball game, not a box of chocolates. Each time you sink a basket the hoop gets a little bit bigger, each time you miss the hoop gets a little bit smaller. America has sunk a lot of baskets, and missed a few as well. Canada has sunk some baskets too, but has missed quite a few more, so our game is harder to win.

The real world rewards hard work, responsibility, self discipline, precision and accuracy. But if enough of the people drink the KoolAide and start electing Socialists to give them something for free, then it’s all over but the crying and blaming. Then you end up with Venezuela.

And all of this is measurably true but so what? So fricken what? Why does it matter so much to me to be right about these sorts of things? Pride, Pride, Pride. All is vanity.

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. (1893-1953)

As Father Gabriel writes:Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return”. These words, first spoken by GOD to Adam after he had committed sin, are repeated by the  Church to every Christian, in order to remind him of two fundamental truths … his nothingness, and the reality of death.

His nothingness and the reality that all the things of this world are immaterial chimeras. The things we find so important today have no value whatsoever for eternity, they will all pass away. Our pride, our arrogance, needs to grasp this truth, to realize that everything in us is nothing.

“Drawn from nothing by the creative power of GOD, by His infinite love which willed to communicate His being and His life to us, we cannot, because of sin, be reunited with Him for eternity without passing through the dark reality of death.”

The things we find so important today have no value whatsoever for eternity, they will all pass away. But the sins we commit in pursuit of and defence of these worldly things will not pass away and will have to be acknowledged, confessed, forgiven and atoned for.

So thinking and writing unkind or hurtful things about others who disagree with me even if they are provably incorrect in their views have to be examined, confessed, forgiven and atoned for.

Jesus submitted to death in order to give all Christians the strength to accept it out of love. Nevertheless, death still exists, and we should reflect on it, not to distress ourselves, but to arouse ourselves to do good. The book of Sirach is wonderful …

In all thy works, remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin” (Sir 7,40)

So I resolve to reflect on my mortality every time I entertain angry or hurtful thoughts about another. I give myself all kinds of breaks, I am Oh so understanding of all my myriad faults, but I do not extend the same courtesy to those I see as attacking me or my well-being for spurious reasons. I am having a difficult time hating the sin but loving the sinner as the Church instructs.

Wow, finally done with this topic hopefully forever. Please help me Lord. Time to sign off now.

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You“.

The words of this prayer given to the young visionaries of Fatima may seem simple. But the words outline our responsibilities as Christians—to believe, to adore, to hope, and to love God. As well, to ask pardon for those who do not act in this way. And further, to beg pardon for them, we should make reparation for their sins too.

Joe

“Reaching for heaven”

 

 

 

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Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Back to Death … and Pride … Part Four …

Continued from Part Three …

Now I am about to head off into a social commentary about what seems wrong with and about the folks screaming the loudest about what is wrong. 

Into the West, Annie Lennox, Howard Shore, LOTR, 2003

Pandemonium, the Capital of Hell, by John Martin

Spoiler: This might not be a popular post with some folks because I shine a light at some of our obvious societal flaws and ask rhetorical questions which are not politically correct, not what we are supposed to mention over coffee. And, to a certain degree I indulge my pride that “I am not like those others”, that I am one of the “good guys”.

But it is also about how the making of the others on the other side of the great divide into the bad guys, the enemy, is wrong and is against the will of GOD. Casting others as the foil or fall guy for the story being told does not render onto them the love that God feels for them and which He expects us to understand and to ‘Love one another as I have loved you”.

For we struggle again principalities and powers, against powers not of this world as well as our own flesh and concupiscence, and one way or another we all become “useful idiots” in the hands of Lucifer the light bringer and his minions.

I am very aware of Matthew’s Gospel, specifically Mathew 5, while thinking and writing all of this and so to refresh it in my mind I will put a bit of it here:

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mat 5:43-48)

St. Matthew and The Angel,

For my part, I am trying to preach the gospel of responsibility and self control. That is my intent but in some senses this might be rather Pharisaical – all that PRIDE again, it’s insidious, and I drift back and forth between the poles of prideful self righteousness over how good I am, and trying to get my head sincerely around actually “loving” those who don’t see what I see, what seems so important and obvious to me.

That dichotomy places me in a mental conflict, sort of like trying to love and be tolerant and forgiving of others, while standing my moral ground and trying to explain and defend reality, all the while experiencing the effects of having the “loved” ones trying to metaphorically cut off my arm without anesthetic.

I firmly believe that GOD desires of me to love my neighbour as myself, and even more, to love one another as He has loved us. That’s a BIG love. What this means to me is wishing for anyone else the things which I believe to be good, for his or her sake but not for my own. And, even more, sincerely wishing for anyone else, the things which GOD has told us are good for their own sake.

I don’t mean this as the “permissive” will of GOD, as PF so recently alluded to but rather the “specific” will of GOD as presented to us in Scripture and the Teachings of the Magisterium, and as we encounter it in the myriad daily duties and responsibilities of our lives. I believe that we have to make every effort to ensure that we are following the “Manufacturer’s Instructions” the popularity of which seem to move in and out of fashion amongst many men of all walks of life as their convenience is impacted.

This translates into believing with certainty that all things, all creatures, were made by GOD and that GOD made all things GOOD, and so love of the other is best expressed by “It is good that you exist, that you have being” and that right direction and thinking flows from that starting point … it is good.

I also wonder if calumny and detraction enter into the effort but currently think “not” because I am not gossiping about or targeting particular individuals, cultures or nations, but rather commenting in a general way about observed trends and norms in our society.

I am being specific about generalities (if that makes any sense) on what I see and read and hear whenever I break my rules and visit any worldly media for some “news”.

Ralph Peters

It seems clear to to me that the traits or characteristics in the defining constellation of traits including responsibility and self control relating to success or failure, in life, are found in varying degrees across all nations, cultures, and individuals.

The difference in degree to which they are manifest is entirely due to self discipline and self control or lack thereof. And self discipline and responsibility are trained into people, they don’t come naturally.

Self Discipline and Self Control are, among others, two of the foundational virtues of Christianity and, if you pay attention to the teachings, the “Wisdom Books” are full of these teachings, which virtues are to be striven for at all costs. These seem to be MIA to a greater or lesser degree in all other religious frameworks, including Protestantism, along with “It is good that you exist, that you have being” .

Waiting On The Night To Fall”, by “Casting Crowns”, from the album “Thrive” (2014)

So,  what are those characteristics or traits which define us and the path we seem to follow? I used to enjoy reading Ralph Peters’ work long before he came and then went as a commentator and consultant at Fox News. He seemed to be very clear on what he observed and the results of same, and was excoriated in some some circles for that trait. He was not Politically Correct, rather he was precise in his observations and honest in his telling of them.

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson reminds me of Ralph in some ways and he also is a currently favored hate figure of the left. Both of them are all about personal responsibility and honesty in discourse which is a bitter pill in the Howler Jungle these days. They both are preaching “Ownership” of the problem … you have to own the problem to fix the problem.

Ralph is a believer, it is hard to imagine any military person as a non believer, but Jordan Petersen has not, to date, come out of the closet as a religious man. I believe he will in time since he seems to be on the right path but perhaps is too successful in life so far to separate what is gift and what is his own brilliance. To realize that all  is gift is a happy grace. He seems to have struck a chord with all those millions of young men which our society has glibly belittled and abandoned.

Anyway, there are seven characteristics or traits or choices which Ralph Peters identifies as condemning nations and cultures (and, I think,  individuals) to failure in the modern world. Peters was speaking about the international situation, but I think his logic and observations apply equally well at the local and individual level as well. I think Jordan Peterson would agree with Ralph’s assessment.

Peters makes a very convincing case that there is a correlation approaching unity between the extent to which a nation, or culture, (or social group or individual) embrace some or all of these characteristics and their inability to succeed in the 21st century. That “inability to succeed” produces serious fallout. I have “fleshed them out” a bit to better illustrate how they operate at the local and individual level. Here is the list”

1. Any restrictions on the free flow of information (Most Common), censorship, bias in reporting, intimidation, exclusion of opposing views, media bias, National Firewalls, Political Correctness, government and corporate secrecy, the “PMO” factor, Star Chambers and “Rights” Tribunals, “Hate Crimes” Tribunals, lieing, documentaries,  Fake News, Social Media untruths,  “Burn The Witch!”, to name just a few.

2. Any subjugation, objectification, or any other moral or intellectual abuse of women (Most Evil) as an objectified resource to be exploited, Radical Feminism, discriminatory rules for a woman’s inheritance, “free love”, free “choice”, pornography, prostitution, polygamy, discriminatory divorce laws, the glorification of “strong, independent” women as desirable sex objects or accessories (in popular magazines),  50 Shades, 2nd class citizens, glass ceiling, rigid roles, keeping them “in their place”, buying and selling women as sex slaves/concubines, covering women’s bodies and faces, honour killings, FGM, child marriage, punishing women for the “crime” of being raped, treating females as objects or slaves useful only for breeding and pleasure, and so on and so forth. This list of memes is particularly evil and deeply buried in many cultures, societies and sub-groups, for most of human history.

3. Inability to accept personal responsibility (endemic in western populations) for individual or collective failure and the results of those failures.

4. Seeing the basic unit of social organization as one’s immediate social class (Xenophobic and narrow minded), extended family or clan, clique, party, social group, sexual orientation, or academic silo, like your faculty, church, PAC, club, activist group, or Facebook group, leading to victimology, or refusal to integrate with society at large … “they” are all evil,  or at least “they” are too stupid to live!

5. Domination by a restrictive religion,(Only believes what their own social group says is so) like any kind of or combination of “Fundamentalism”, Material Realism, Islam, Marxism, Fascism, Secular Humanism, Socialism, Facebook Group, etc.

6. A low valuation of education, (figures prominently amongst the young) that is refusing education, or studying exclusively the dogma of one’s chosen religion, one’s political world view, sexual orientation,  social studies, soft “sciences” and all the rest instead of math, medicine, engineering, physics, chemistry, skilled trades, etc. pointing to aberrations like believing that qualifications in one narrow specialty domain automatically confer qualification in all domains, or another common situation of burger flippers with BA’s in political “science” or any field ending in “Studies“, or ghettos of unskilled “radicalized” xenophobic parasites, and so on.

7. Low prestige assigned to productive work (figures prominently among the young) … eg. remaining unemployed while living on student “loans” or grants, or social welfare, or EI, or Foreign Aid while engaging full time in “Occupy Wall Street” or political protests or anti social activities within one’s social class or ghetto, directed at  outsiders like, in the extreme, assault, kidnapping, vandalization of property, mass shootings, fire bombings, suicide bombing, and random sniping, vehicular homicide, etc.

Desolation Row”, Bob Dylan, from the album “MTV Unplugged”, 2013

Before we get back at it, there is a little story about the above tune along with lyrics and so on over here.

SO! … Seven characteristics of human behaviour. Seven predictions of outcomes. What Ralph, is saying, (and I agree),  is that “the more of these seven characteristics the culture or group or individual exhibit the more likely that culture or group or individual will be a measurable failure in the 21st century by any rational evaluation“.  And he also goes on to make the case that those cultures and individuals are essentially shame based and shame motivated, avoiding shame is more important than doing good.  For these groups and individuals, any behaviour is acceptable and even desirable as long as you don’t get caught.

These nations and cultures and especially groups and individuals know with absolute certainty that they are in fact failures, utter failures. They feel acute shame at that failure, and they hate everyone else around them for shining a light on the hater’s shame by their success in the world. There is no fixing this unless and until those cultures and especially those individuals start to take responsibility for their failure, to take responsibility for their actions and the results, to stop taking the “easy way out”.

There is no absolute moral difference between those in foreign cultures who for example would rape and crucify women for being Christian or Yazidi, or bomb a mosque or a market or a church, and those here in the comfortable “nice” West and even in Alberta who would support killing babies and handicapped children and Elders or who force the agenda and religion of Gaia down the throats of the population by destroying every trace of our carbon based economy in the name of “Environmentalism”.  No absolute moral difference.  Both groups, the activists, and the bureaucrats, inflict misery and death on innocent helpless others with whom they have a problem. 

C.S. Lewis once remarked: in his 1948 book “God in the Dock: Essays on Theology”: Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies”.  Another phrase comes to mind: “being gnawed to death by the teeth of a thousand rats”.

The only reason the Western Haters are not killing everyone who disagrees with them, as they do in Iraq, and Iran, and Palestine, and in Venezuela and other nations all over the world is that they are chestless poltroons, lacking in courage and unwilling to commit because they fear being held accountable for their actions by others outside their area of control …  they fear the Great Satan just next door. 

They are nothing but Terrorist Middle Managers, afraid of being caught and blamed … they are the Chickens in the Bacon and Eggs metaphor … The Pigs are real terrorists.  The chickens are involved, but the pigs are committed, the true believers. And all it takes is for the U.S. to burp or rumble and they start screaming and wetting their panties.

In 2018, the U.S. started increasing training of U.S. NAVY SEAL Ops in the Pacific Northwest, just a short chopper ride from our hotbed of dissident Environmentalist activity in B.C. and Alberta. Who knew? The Great Satan protects us just by sitting in the next pew. What a concept. The Great Satan, just by being close, protects not only our lives but our economy and our way of life such as it is.

There is such fear in the hearts of the evil ones that the Great Satan might intervene directly that they hesitate to carry out their desires completely as their brothers in arms in foreign lands do every day. Every Canadian living their life in more or less peace and tranquility should really pay  Jizya to the great nation of America for keeping the jackals in check,  keeping us more or less free and peaceful just by being our neighbour.

The haters, the jackals, don’t want to or can’t change because change requires responsibility and hard work, and they don’t want to live in isolation because they enjoy the toys of the successful, so they are left with only the destruction of the object of their hate by force or, when possible, by legal coercion to ameliorate their shame.

To paraphrase Bill Whittle, they must “level the playing field” so that there is nothing to make them stand out as failures. Many turn to the political field to address this desire. For example, all socialistic societies suffer from the “equality of squalor” philosophy. This is the Howler Tribe in all their glory. And in the West, they exploit the rules and structures and institutions established by the successful to destabilize and harm the very society that makes their existence possible. In literally any other culture on the planet, these failures would be ended by a bullet or worse.

They hate us. They hate us, the “successful”, because we are everything they are not. We are vibrant and fecund; we are are successful. Our achievements are magnificent. Our engineering and sciences advance at breathtaking speed and our standard of living continues to increase wherever these social failures are not able to interfere, or are prevented from interfering, politically or otherwise. Robert Heinlein (long the “racist Nazi” of the left) had a bit to say about this:

*****

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck’. ” – Robert A. Heinlein

*****

Of course, when “they” the Destroyers, do manage to grab political power they immediately set about sinking the ship as fast as possible, knowing full well that the folks might wake up soon and kick them out. That’s just the way our system works and I suppose it is better than prison camps, re-education camps, purges and pogroms better than “Cultural Revolutions”, and the Gulag.  Of course, those might at least bring things to a head so the boil pops and the infection bleeds out.

And the entire social tragedy roils and boils along oblivious to the damage all around, damage in health and happiness and standard of living and damaged communities and families and so on. and all because of Why? Why can’t I have what I want?

But  I don’t trust God any more, now I actually fear God because I know in my heart that I have done wrong, and I am hiding from God and I don’t trust that God really is “All Good” and is merciful and loving. I fear the “vengeful God” of my own vision, of my guilty conscience, the vengeful God of Lucifer’s lie in the Garden.

And eventually I turn far enough away that I no longer even think about God … and then I don’t even believe in God … but the society around me just keeps getting worse and worse and I keep getting unhappier and unhappier … Why? Why Me? There is something going on here, why is it all going wrong?

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You“.

The words of this prayer given to the young visionaries of Fatima may seem simple. But the words outline our responsibilities as Christians—to believe, to adore, to hope, and to love God. As well, to ask pardon for those who do not act in this way. And further, to beg pardon for them, we should make reparation for their sins too.

Joe

“Reaching for heaven”

 

 

 

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Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Back to Death … and Pride … Part Three …

Continued from Part Two …

Well, good Sunday afternoon to Gentle Reader. It is nice to welcome a sunny day with a good cup of coffee and an expectation that the temperature might stay above freezing for a while.  So on with part three of this article … Where were we going now?

So, the “Great Divide”, what’s going on? The “rational” proponents of a “fact based logical reality” just end up with anger, hurt feelings or worse, and the Howlers just keep on howling because there is not and never was and never will be anything resembling common ground.

The choice we are faced with, again and again, is between being “part of this world” with all that this implies for righteous self-love or being part of GOD’s Kingdom. The choice is between loving the chimera’s of this world or loving GOD’s will. The temptations to engage in worldly strife and more, become more obvious when we try to break away from the world’s disorders.

Robert Cardinal Sarah …

Two years ago I read Cardinal Sarah’s book “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise”.  I have cited Robert Cardinal Sarah in numerous previous posts on this blog. As we are tempted to dive into the next controversy or outrage it would be well for us to remember one of his insights: “If we give ourselves to ephemeral and insignificant things, we will understand ourselves as ephemeral and insignificant. If we give ourselves to beautiful and eternal things, we will understand ourselves as beautiful and eternal.”

This image below is a hierarchical pyramid  of prevalence of certain types of discourse in the public sphere, and is typical of the blogosphere.

The pyramid is self explanatory. This situation is rooted in the fact that both sides (all sides?) have forgotten GOD’s part in all this. GOD loves all of us, He created all of us on both sides of the divide, just like he created good angels and bad angels. GOD is way above the pyramid, outside of and surrounding and maintaining our reality with His infinite love and power. He wants us all to succeed and join Him in heaven.

But in a Social Media blizzard of confused directions and questionable directions dominated by Hollywood, the MSM, local rock-stars and a plethora of self proclaimed messiahs like Guru Eckhart Tolle, we find ourselves being encouraged and pushed willy nilly towards a social place where God is no longer needed, or even, for many souls to a place where the very existence of GOD is denied … we are encouraged to see ourselves as the center of all things, a place of self worship and reverence for our own will in all things. “Our mind is not ourself”.

And this turns out to be a VERY profitable gig for all our new “spiritual” messiahs leading us into the paradise of the worship of self. The website “Charity Navigator” lists the following financials for the Eckhart Tolle Foundation (in millions of dollars): Asset Amount $618,350,000, Annual Income Amount $87,453,000, Form 990 Annual Revenue Amount $86,253,000, and the Latest Form 990 Return is December, 2017.

Worship of self can be very rewarding if you can get a lot of people to buy into it. And there are Agents for that. There was a nice 2 and a half hour supernatural horror film released in 1997 … staring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino … Devil’s Advocate from certain perspectives this film is seriously chilling, it might have been a lot better but Hollywood while  lost its nerve, at least they didn’t have Pacino prancing around in a Red Devil suit. And and this little clip below is the final scene of the movie where the star and his wife have overcome all adversity and emerged victorious … is it just a film or is it something more? GOD brings good even out of evil … serious food for thought …

Unlike the angels we have the great good fortune to have the gift of time within which we can exercise our intellect and examine our views and make a decision to worship GOD and do GOD’s will in our lives, to live “virtuous lives”, or we can choose not to. We are blessed to be able to change our minds and our selves, change our souls. This is a gift unique to humans and it is all gift, we didn’t do anything to earn this and there is nothing to indicate that we deserve this mercy.  And this change can go either way. A reading from Ezekiel directly addresses this situation:

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Ezekiel: The Priest-Prophet of God; John Wesley’s House & The Museum of Methodism; by Frank O.; Salisbury, http://www.artuk.org/artworks/ezekiel-the-priest-prophet-of-god-133617

“19And you say: Why hath not the son borne the iniquity of his father? Verily, because the son hath wrought judgment and justice, hath kept all my commandments, and done them, living, he shall live.

20The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

21But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. 22I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done: in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live.

23Is it my will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?

24But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? All his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.

25And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse? 26For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die.

27And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive. 28Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die.

29And the children of Israel say: The way of the Lord is not right. Are not my ways right, O house of Israel, and are not rather your ways perverse? 30Therefore will I judge every man according to his ways, O house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities: and iniquity shall not be your ruin.

31Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which you have transgressed, and make to yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit: and why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I desire not the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God, return ye and live.”   (Ezekiel 18:17-32 Douay-Rheims Bible)

*****

And one of GOD’s laws is “Love your neighbour as yourself”. I interpret this to mean “give your neighbour the same considerations and breaks and charity which you would give yourself”. I am not saying we should love everybody in a group hug kind of way. And I am sure my understanding of this precept isn’t nearly as far-reaching as GOD intended. I have new insights of how far off the rails I am every day.

So, we have to be more tolerant of world views which differ from our own but also be discriminating about what we will accept. World views that harm the innocent must be resisted. Those world views which put the innocent in danger must be opposed, and that is complicated because sometimes even the bad actors are “innocent” in their vast ignorance … they sincerely believe they are doing the right thing even if it is provably harming others or even their loved ones.

So what defines a world view failure in my humble opinion? Well, one of the big symptoms is a lot of loud wailing and gnashing about those “others” who are responsible for all their pain. That’s a gold plated telltale, the wailing tantrum at not getting one’s way and blaming “others”.

The first and essential step in recovery, conversion and repentance is to recognize and accept the beam in our own eye, accept it and start working towards removing it before we even start to attempt to remove the splinter in our brother’s eye. This is all about taking responsibility for our problems and not blaming others.

So … where to now … This post is uncharacteristically short so I’ll stick in one more little bit about truth and facts.

Well, there is one group of loud wailers and gnashers, a loud group of Hollywood Narcissists who hope to overwhelm Truth and Facts  with their Loud Social Media and MSM message. Hi Ben, and Sean, and Alex, and the rest of you less well knows coal shovelers.

How are y’all doing this Sunday morning?  How’s your coffee? I mentioned them a couple of posts ago in connection with the currently fashionable “Boycott Georgia” Social Media meme … which meme will last until the next time some Hollywood star shouts “Squirrel!” and the Social Media pack changes direction 90 degrees and races off howling after whatever new crisis suddenly has their attention.

In the meantime there is and are sources of truth and facts which are consistent and honest and don’t suddenly change their minds about what is really important. Some of these truths have been around since at least the 60’s, (for us) and actually date back thousands of years.

These truths commonly affect thousands of women and men in our modern society, and are completely unreported because they flow against the narrative of narcissism prevalent in today’s culture at all levels. These truths shine a light on the reality behind the currently fashionable narrative of self gratification and license and self love.

One of the stars of this reality is a lady I recently started listening to, namely Vicki Thorn the founder of the International Project Rachel. Here is a short 15 minute interview she gave for Shalom  World. It’s worth every minute if one is looking for the truth, the reality, behind the Social Media curtain:

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You“.

The words of this prayer given to the young visionaries of Fatima may seem simple. But the words outline our responsibilities as Christians—to believe, to adore, to hope, and to love God. As well, to ask pardon for those who do not act in this way. And further, to beg pardon for them, we should make reparation for their sins too.

Joe

“Reaching for heaven”

 

 

 

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