Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

The Murky Mirror of Self-Love …

Looking at the mirror of the world today … what we see daily unfolding within the church of Rome and, coincidentally, outside the church, in the citadels of power throughout western society leads to a thought. I just read an interesting article here.

It would seem that such a thing  as “due diligence” is found to be seriously absent in both Roman and international ecclesial administrative and theological policy and procedure.

It seems even more absent than experience suggests is the case outside the church, especially if that diligence would mitigate against moving in the direction which the current bureaucratic leadership desires. The school of “I didn’t know” is in session.

One of the hallmarks of the great cultural revolution in China was the compromise of the entire population by involving them all as active agents in the purges. That model seems to be paralleled in the conduct seen since 1967 in our polite Canadian society and our Roman church, worldwide.

I know The Book of Wisdom does not have a place in the Canon outside of the Catholic Church, and most definitely does not appear in the required reading library of Progressive Managers everywhere.

So it seems relevant that, in the name of ecumenical confraternity, some of the alleged theological and ecclesial conduct in the church of Rome, parallels conduct which is described in the Book of Wisdom, as Progressives in the Roman hierarchy have risen to the top of the pool:

*****

“Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us, and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for our sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

He professes himself to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts: the very sight of him is a burden to us and his ways are strange, and he avoids our ways as something unclean.

He calls the last end of the righteous happy and boasts that God is his father.. Let us see if his words are true and let us test what will happen at the end of his life, for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him and will deliver him from the hands of his adversaries.

Let us test him with insult and torture that we may find out how gentle he is and make trial of his forbearance.” (Wis. 2: 12-19).

*****

The "Dubia" Cardinals

The “Dubia” Cardinals

We are looking at the results of serious attempts to “change the rules” to suite and promote the desired direction of travel.

Objectors are marginalized and removed, silenced until death takes them. Ironically, the removal of the objectors seems to have removed many of the most credible episcopate in the Roman church.

Those who remain are mostly silent, although, fortunately there are still outspoken members of the Catholic Episcopate surviving and speaking truth in spite of the risk. I am in mind here of men like Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Bishop Robert Baron, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,  and Archbishop Georg Gänswein, to name a few. There appears to be light on the horizon far off under the edge of the current gale force winds, thunder and lightning and heavy overcast.

I liken our current ecclesial storm to a storm disaster from the the 20th century, “Fastnet, Force 10, only now it is “Vatican, Force 10”. Trust me, a Force 10 is nothing you want to experience, and I speak from experience.

Robert Cardinal Sarah

Robert Cardinal Sarah

The “Rainbow” no longer appears in the heavens as a sign of God’s promise, rather it has a much more malignant connotation in our “enlightened” times.

I am becoming a sort of Robert Cardinal Sarah “fanboy” in my appreciation of his writings on reverence and silence, for example, found in “The Power of Silence”, through Ignatius Press and also found on Amazon.com for the Kindle reader.

Another impressive book is “The Benedict Option”, by Rod Dreher, also available on Kindle from Amazon.com.

The Benedict Option is a manifesto, and a rallying cry for all Christians who, if they are not to be conquered, must learn how to fight on culture war battlefields like none the West has seen for fifteen hundred years.

It’s for all mere Chris­tians—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox—who can read the signs of the times.

Neither false optimism nor fatalistic despair will do. Only faith, hope, and love, embodied in a renewed church, can sustain believers in the dark age that has overtaken us.

These are the days for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.

Is it becoming reasonable, even charitable, to pray for another cleansing flood?

Cheers

Joe

This is a bad storm, and only the Master of the vessel can be trusted.

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

… A Time of Grace

Excellent articles here, and here, and here

, and here and also here.

20The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 5: 20-21
Cheers

Joe

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

… If … “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“ …part 1

Winter is coming. It has been snowing all day. Its only September 13th. Blahhh!  A Facebook meme:  Mother Nature: “It is not possible to have all seasons in one week!”  Alberta: “Hold My Beer!”

I guess this effort will be part one, of I don’t know how many parts, over how many days, dealing with the current media scrum relating to misbehavior and crime on the part of nominally catholic prelates of the highest rank.

Pope Francis and Scalfari

Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari

What a mess, its what PF likes to call a “lio”. Speaking extemporaneously he likes to encourage others, like young fans, to “Start a “Lio! Make a big ruckus!”. Well, Pope Francis wanted a “lio” and now he has got himself a nice big “lio”.

His problem is that he didn’t expect it to be in his courtyard and his publicists have dropped the ball big time. Where is Eugenio Scalfari when one needs him?

I guess PF didn’t understand that his darling media friends are not his friends, they just want blood, whether it’s PF’s enemies blood or his own blood doesn’t matter to the media devils.

So now we are expecting a big bishop’s conference to … to what? To deal with the problem that has come up? I wonder how that will play?  And really, truly none of this matters.

This is the long defeat, mentioned by J.R.R. Tolkien who expressed this well in his stories. Borrowing somewhat from the Norse mythos of the “twilight of the gods,” the Elves of Middle-earth fight what they call “the long defeat,” both against the evil forces of Morgoth and Sauron, and against the decay of all things.

The immortal elves themselves do not age, but as the world around them does, it wearies them. Thus great elf-lords like Elrond and Galadriel use their power to preserve their havens of timelessness, Rivendell and Lothlorien.

Tolkien wrote in his letters that this was not simply a story convention, but a basic belief of his, derived from his Catholic faith. He wrote:  “Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory. (Letters, 255)”

“Quid Hoc Ad Aeternitatem”.

If mankind were actually holy, as his Creator commands him to be:  1 Peter, 1: 15  then the current crisis in the Roman church would not exist.

Rome

Rome

We have a crisis today because we did not and do not strive to be holy, and this has been a human constant since long before Christ and the Catholic Church came into the world.

Rather, we always strive to do whatever we want, whenever we want, as often as we want, and then rationalize why its OK for us to do what we want. This is so even though there are many rules of behaviour for everyone else, and our one article of faith is that the rules do not apply to us.  And now we are ruled by Pandemonium, are we not?

And if anyone does object to our current peccadillo, we belittle, discredit, and attack our detractors with all manner of ad-hominum character assassinations, or if that doesn’t scare them away we deny, deny, deny, and shove the blame off onto any handy scapegoat we can lay hands on. Everyone does that, right? And all right minded people know this to be true.

Or if the rules do actually apply to us then we change the rules … most of the current “sexual misconduct” incidents reported in the current spate of media frenzy, something in the order of 80% to 90%, actually involve adult males indulging in mutual attraction, lust, and drug use. This is now legal in most western nations so what’s the big deal? Whatever … the real crime here is the breach of trust and the subsequent coverups at all levels.

This sort of behaviour has been very much the norm in our current polite progressive culture, which flagrantly does whatever it wants every day around us and has done pretty much all my life.

Oh Canada … why should we be hypocritically pretending to be shocked or upset by some inappropriate diddling in another elite management hierarchy in the good old US of A, eh?

It doesn’t matter the brand or the organization, senior bureaucrats are all highly susceptible to temptation and corruption. They place high value on the perks of power, have a lot to lose, and are very willing to compromise, go along to get along, especially if they have no particular faith except in themselves.

And everyone does it, right? Didn’t the Elder Trudeau, way back in 1967, begin that round of charades with his famous line “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation“?

Then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau (Justin’s old dad) was everywhere a media darling when he introduced modernizing reforms to the Criminal Code1 in 1967 that decriminalized homosexual acts. It’s now cool to be a tool.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on February 28 1997

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, February 28 1997

None of this is in any way new and shocking. These sort of things have been going on within and without, both society at large and all churches pretty much since the day that  churches and politics came into existence.

What about Billery and Intern-Gate? Ever hear of Profumo? Corrupted power always turns to abuse and eventually to sacrifice to their chosen god. At least Bill and John were into girls … seems that is not so exciting any more.

This whole bucket of filth, along with a serious dearth of answers from ecclesial authority figures, was a huge part of why I left the Roman Catholic Church as a youth back in 1969 … Vatican II and the “Spirit of Vatican II” and never ending homosexual sex scandals … No more trustworthy authorities …

No cred, no cred, no cred,  so I decided, in my know-it-all 16 year old mind, that I would Do It My Way!  First of all, let’s observe that no 16 year old boy even has something resembling a mind, and secondly, “doing it my way” is the penultimate foundation of all Liberal Progressive evil in the world. The 60’s were just our generation’s edition of the book which humans have been writing since there were humans on the planet.

I returned across the Tiber about 25 years go after exhausting all avenues looking for Truth – no other religion or political system had it.  Not Communism, not Fascism, not Zen Buddhism , not Shinto, not Democracy or Socialism, … Monarchy had a clue but only in the context of being under God. But where is the Truth?

Christ and Christ’s Church is the sole repository of Truth regardless of the corrupt and fallible sinners working within that church. It’s not about the human beings wading through the muck of corruption and perversion for their own ambitions. Its all about Eternal Truth.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890)

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890)

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890) was a French critic, journalist, and novelist. His epigrams are frequently quoted, and the first link line, plus ça change, is one of his best.

Another of Karr’s targets was a proposal of the period to abolish capital punishment, which injustice, that is capital punishment, was recently inveighed against by Pope Francis thusly: “Pope Francis has once again appeared to contradict two millennia of clear and consistent scriptural and Catholic teaching.

The Vatican has announced that the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be changed to declare the death penalty “inadmissible” given the “inviolability and dignity of the person” as understood “in the light of the Gospel.”

Karr’s acerbic opinion is “je veux bien que messieurs les assassins commencent” or “let the gentlemen who do the murders take the first step”, or “I wish the assassins to go first”, a view which I happen to share.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

And, indeed, there is absolutely nothing new about deviant sexual shenanigans in the hierarchy of the Roman Church, and all the other western churches as well.

Here is just a short timeline to give us a better perspective not only on how serious the current crisis is but also on how often men and women, human souls, insist on pursuing their own diverse objectives in search of worldly pleasure and gratification.

Even before there was a real established Catholic Church we can start our little reminiscence. What was the societal norm before the Catholic Church? First, just a bit from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

St. Paul

St. Paul, Pieter Paul Rubens

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, 

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

30They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

As in the pre-Christian world, so now in post Christian Canada … they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. These days, just you try to get nominated as a Liberal Candidate in any Canadian Federal election anywhere any time … HA!

Good luck with that unless of course you literally signed a statement, on the line, for Justin and the Liberal Party, affirming that you personally support killing babies and seniors and endorse putting your pecker into places it really shouldn’t be put EEEEWWWWW! Personally, and in writing. That’s Justin’s rules – you don’t like it …To Bad So Sad for you.

So, enough for this little post. Much to follow from St. John Chrysostom, the Medici Popes, The Avignon atrocity, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Josemaria Escriva, St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Clement, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Julian of Norwich.

And also from St. Thomas More, St. Francis de Sales, St. Isidore of Seville, St. John Vianney, St. Claude de la Colombiere, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, etc. etc. and possibly others.

Not necessarily in that order but more or less progressing historically as things continued to develop and be preached against by the true practitioners of the One True Faith, unless, of course, I get sick of writing about all this evil BS or lose interest before I finish.

The one thing that all of this evil has in common is Human beings. Its a very good thing that ALL Humans die.

Now its Friday the 14th, and David Warren has a good post on the same theme but better written …

*****

“A gentleman who wears the collar expresses surprise at the surprise. He has been wearing that collar for some time. He was in the seminary so long ago, that he can remember when the classes were taught in Latin. He has lived with degeneration in the Church since before Vatican II — has seen it all, and heard it all, and now he is seeing and hearing more.

“I find it hard to stomach all the misplaced surprise. I hear echoes of Genesis‎: ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ …

“Where were these alarmists as our children’s catechism was denuded, our altars disobediently despoiled, our Catholic institutions‎ demolished? … Catholic Children’s Aid, gone‎. … Catholic Hospitals, gone‎. … Catholic Schools, no longer Catholic. … Immigration Services for Catholic immigrants, gone. … Seminaries, not even a shadow of their former institutional selves. … Convents turned to condos. …

“As to clerics who lived lifestyles not in keeping with their calling: one would have had to ‎be a member of the Orange Lodge not to have rubbed shoulders with a multitude of them in the ’sixties and thereafter. …”

***

I’d guess it is appropriate to end this post with a small passage from John 6: 67-71.

67“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

This is, after all, and forever, Christ’s Church, and we believe that He is the Holy One of God.

Cheers

Joe

 

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The Inner Struggle

The Hound of Heaven …

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

Winter is coming, and though harvest is underway, the cold wind and rain of fall is ripping us into single digit temperatures and in another few sleeps it will be minus thirty C, and howling a gale.

This pretty much encapsulates all human life … Winter Is Coming. This is a rather long post because the poem to which it is addressed is long and included.

Winter Is Coming” is also the motto of House Stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros. The meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance. The Starks, being the lords of the North, strive to always be prepared for the coming of winter, which hits their lands the hardest.

The popular series “Game of Thrones” is a perfect example, a metaphor of our society,  of how we can, and do, run off the rails full speed into the chasm and still, the fans seem mostly to watch it for the titillation and thrill of deviance.

Humans, in their concupicence, are always hugely attracted to the dark side of their nature, definitely NOT angels, and really, not even demons, we are so weak … indeed, Winter is Coming, and still Truth pursues …

The Hound of Heaven … by Francis Thompson, This Christian poem has been described as follows:

The name is strange. It startles one at first. It is so bold, so new, so fearless. It does not attract, rather the reverse. But when one reads the poem this strangeness disappears. The meaning is understood. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit” J.F.X. O’Conor, S.J.

Francis Thompson at 19

Francis Thompson at 19

The Hound of Heaven” is a 182-line poem written by English poet Francis Thompson (1859–1907). If poetry doesn’t float your boat this may be a daunting read but seeking Truth makes necessity of difficulties …

The poem became famous and was the source of much of Thompson’s posthumous reputation. It was first published in Thompson’s first volume of poems in 1893.[1] It was included in the Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917).

Thompson’s work was praised by G. K. Chesterton, and it was also an influence on J. R. R. Tolkien, who presented a paper on Thompson in 1914.

The Hound of Heaven

Francis Thompson

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’.

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to:
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateway of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossom heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or, whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ‘thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’

I sought no more after that which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
Wantoning
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
Banqueting
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that’s born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine:
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet
‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.’

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou has hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o’ the mounded years
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amarinthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must
Designer infinite!
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
‘And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

‘Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’

Thanks, and for those who made it through, God bless you … this poem always leaves me in tears.

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

… and walk humbly with your God

Frances Hogan

Frances Hogan, 2013

Happy Labor Day Weekend. Harvest is in full swing, although momentarily delayed due to rain. Found and interesting Irish Scripture Scholar, Francis Hogan on YouTube …  just amazing.

But first a couple of relevant quotes from scripture touching on our current crisis in the Roman Church, Europe, Ireland, and, really, all of Western civilization, or what used to be known as Christendom,”

People did not think of Europe as a distinct place until after the Middle Ages. Instead, they spoke of “Christendom,” or the community of Christians. Christianity was the most important influence of the Middle Ages in Western Europe. It is why we used to be significantly different than anywhere else on earth.

And finally I have linked to an hour long talk by Frances Hogan, well worth the time … IMHO …  Frances Hogan is a prophet in the true biblical sense and in the true biblical tradition … and in true biblical fashion she is ignored by “all right minded people” …

Micah 6:8 … He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Psalm 106: 35-39 35but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did.
36They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
38they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
39Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.

Psalm 85: 8-11 …8I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.
9Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.

 

Cheers

Joe

Werken Van Barmhartigheid Meester Van Alkmaar 1504

Werken Van Barmhartigheid Meester Van Alkmaar 1504

Corporal Works of Mercy

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Sincerity …

“A Dhia Ghleigil” (Oh Glorious God) Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, 1996

A Colloquy:

O Lord, if I wish to reach You, who are the Way, the Truth, and the Life, I must travel the road of truth, without any pretense or dissimulation, renouncing reason that is darkened by self-love and human respect. I must act with simplicity, wholly dying to myself and to creatures.

Teach me, O eternal Truth, how to act sincerely and frankly. Let my soul, simple as a dove, fly to You to build its nest in Your heart, and nourish itself with the knowledge of You and of itself; thus despising its own malice, it will find nothing in itself to satisfy it, and therefore, it will be unable to stay far away from You, not finding where to repose outside of You.

Teach me to walk in the straight path of truth without stopping, but always advancing, hurrying and running swiftly, in order to follow You. eternal Truth, my guide and my way.” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, from the book “Divine Intimacy” Meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.  .pp 827).

Cheers

Joe

I fall quickly, I am quickly overcome, easily disturbed and discouraged. I have nothing in which I can glory but many things for which I ought to humble myself, for I am weaker than I am able to comprehend.

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Charity, Justice and Purgatory …

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

Harvest Time 2018

Harvest Time 2018

Days finally starting to turn cool, got down to about 5 degrees last night. Welcome relief from the 30 to 40 degree days of a couple of weeks ago. Harvest is getting into full swing around this part of the Shire. No complaints yet from anyone about a “bad year”. We can always hope, right?

Thanking God today, for time, for life, for insight, more opportunities for repentance, remorse and regret, atonement and perhaps an efficacious do-over with each new day, and in the end, absent complete reparation at the time of death, thanking God for merciful Purgatory and eternity of reparation, in hope, to look forward to. Ad Aeternitatum …

Sincerely hoping the prayers of others might have some transferable benefit in this economy of prayer and suffering. Pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you. Pray for your enemies and those who make your life miserable. Forgive, forgive, forgive, I have read somewhere that sins forgiven in this life are not held to one’s account in the particular and in the final judgement. Sincerely hoping that this memory is not simply the wishful thinking of a lost soul.

That is what one would do, should do,  as a charitable effort towards saving the souls of our neighbors, especially the ones we don’t really like. That is the effort of making one’s actions fit the idea of “fraternal charity”. Hoping that a rising tide of prayer lifts all souls, not only the praying, but the prayed for as well, in this great economy of prayer and suffering.

Love your enemies

What benefit is there to me of treating well those who treat me well? Of what spiritual utility is reciprocity of self love and self regard?

As Christ says, you have already had your reward for that. Everyone does that, there is nothing special or particularly meritorious about returning good will for good will.

But, the rubber hits the road when we start to put into practice the idea of loving our neighbor, even our neighbor who is our enemy. By demonstrating it in the reality of our daily conduct, the logical application of the moral idea, we live Truth as we find it in the Gospels..

I can’t speak well to history but in this day and age it appears that there are two paths. The first is the difficult path on which our actions follow on from and derive from our ideas, no matter how distasteful or difficult that may be. That path is known as the path of principal, that path which Albert J. Knock referred to in his paper on the “remnant” and the “masses”..

Ideology on the nature preserve. ideology needs protection to survive.

The other way is the more common or easy way in that we choose our ideas, our friends, our activities, and so on to cast ourselves in the best possible light and we espouse those ideas and beliefs which best make our actions out to be reasonable. Virtue signalling as a national Mantra …

This choice is embracing ideology instead of reality and truth, instead of the provable facts of daily existence. While the generally accepted rule of social conduct today is “all right minded people know this to be true” there is still the other path, the hard path, and it will not be denied no matter how loud the opposition gets.

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

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Fulton Sheen said: What a blood transfusion is to the body, reparation for the sins of another is to the spirit. Instead of separating when there are difficulties and trials, the Christian solution is to bear the other as a cross for the sake of his sanctification. The wife can redeem the husband, and the husband the wife. This transferability of sanctification from a good wife to a bad husband, or from a good husband to a bad wife, follows from the fact that they are two in one flesh.

As skin can be grafted from the back to the face, so merit can be applied from spouse to spouse. This spiritual communication may not have the romantic satisfaction in it that carnal communication has, but its returns are eternal. Many a husband and wife after infidelities and excesses will find themselves saved on Judgment Day, as the faithful partner never ceased to pour out prayers for his or her salvation.”

Fulton J. Sheen,  “Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity” (pp. 167). Ignatius Press.

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Praying Together

Praying Together

As I have remarked previously, real food for deep thought here, food to nourish consideration of love of neighbor as a real, active, concrete, pursuit rather than merely sterile words as part of some ritual.

As between two people in a marriage, between spouses, so also between siblings, and between children and parents, and even between friends and acquaintances, and neighbors, after infidelities, and excesses, after strife and turmoil and betrayal, and oceans of pain, the sinners will find themselves saved on Judgment Day, as the faithful never ceased to pour out prayers on their behalf for their salvation.

Even the prodigal son upon his return can storm heaven’s gates on behalf of the lost sheep of his or her family and friends and neighbors, and in so doing perhaps atone and make reparation for the multitude of sins of his and their past. So how does this apply to “Loving One’s Neighbor”, “Loving One’s Neighbor as One Loves Oneself”?

Working Together

Our self love, that love with which we regard ourselves and all our actions and thoughts is a very concrete love. It includes all our peculiarities, needs, tastes, feelings, beliefs and habits.

We are geniuses at rationalizing our own way of thinking, and in making excuses for our many faults and failings. We each have a vast sea of sympathy and understanding for our self in all these areas. And we should flood the sins of our neighbor with that vast sea of sympathy and patience and understanding.

This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 13, 34 – 15, 12).

But we seem to continue, mired in our self love to the exclusion of all else, and that self love expresses itself in outrage about the conduct and sayings of others, our neighbors.

Reflecting on the writings of Robert Cardinal Sarah, it is easy to see that our modern polite media society drifts from moral rebellion to sentimental rebellion and back to moral rebellion, virtue signalling like a bitter wind on a winter afternoon, striving, like Sisyphus, desperately, ceaselessly, climbing the mountain, always pushing the rock of their discontent and outrage.

Our media, Facebook, Twitter culture demands its rebellion, its hatred, in the moment, of whatever it  self-centeredly defines as unjust and unfair today.

This is the howler jungle, the parrot jungle, screeching its outrage, proud of its correct opinions, which are, in reality, the most pretentious pompous ideas we could ever find, baseless and founded in emotion and self love.

Cynical and shameless, it despicably revels in its dislikes. “I don’t care about the facts, Joe, I just want to have a pleasant hate with my friends”. Our modern polite existence is a propped-up life built entirely on noise, artificiality, and the tragic rejection of Truth.

What is Truth? Well, it depends … From revolutions to conquests, from ideologies to political battles, from our frantic crusade for “equality” to our pathological fixation on “progress”, silence is impossible.

The more noise, the more we “run in circles, scream and shout”, the less the likelyhood that we or especially others will notice what is wrong with us, our failings, our sins, our deviance.

And even worse, our “transparent” societies are all in hot pursuit of anonymity in noise, with an implacable hatred of silence, which we regard as contemptible, a backward primitive defeat, “What have you got to say to that?” “What do you think of that?” “There! that will shut up your jabber!” Let the bright light of noise shine on everything, just as long as it doesn’t shine on my own darkness, my own crimes, my own sins.

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

Charles Pierre Baudelaire,  April 9, 1821 – August 31, 1867 was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, a book of lyric poetry titled Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century.

Baudelaire’s highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé, among many others. He is credited with coining the term “modernity” (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and art’s responsibility to capture that experience.

During Baudelaire’s day there was then perhaps even more scandal and turmoil in the Catholic Church than we now see. Starting with the French Revolution and it’s bloody trail of excess, the massacre of the Vendee, and up to Pius IX’s “Syllabus of Errors,” which was often held up to ridicule as an absurd statement of the church’s stand against the modern world and progress. The Syllabus is certainly comprehensible against the reality of these threats from modernity. In hindsight doesn’t theSyllabus of Errors seem prophetic in the light of secular modernism realized in our society of today.

My dear departed mother often remarked of my Atheist sister that she was “deeply spiritual”, also in commenting on her own sister, my Wiccan Priestess Auntie, that she was a “wonderful spiritual person, so good”. Baudelaire, in one of his most famous aphorisms says: “Everyone believes in God but no one loves Him, no one believes in Satan, but his smell is everywhere“.

My mother, in her short 92 years on this earth, went from devout Christian to total non-belief … dragged down by Vatican II, Church Scandal and personal tragedy … refused the counsel of a priest and extreme unction, the last rites on her deathbed. And her prodigal son storms heaven’s gates daily on behalf of the lost sheep of his family, in hope against hope that the sinners will find themselves saved on Judgment Day, as the faithful never ceased to pour out prayers on their behalf for their salvation.

This is the tenor of our times; evil, evil everywhere and ne’er a drop of good … love of self, love of our plan, our way, begetting a never ending, ever strengthening, downward spiral of deviance and rationalization of ever greater excesses, no escape from the mirror of our self regard without the grace of the Divine Will and the Word..

Why, when I am so conscious of my own misery and sins, my utter failure to be the creature God willed and wills me to be, without Whom and without Whose gratuitous gifts I am all misery do I have so much room left over in my soul to look with cynicism and censure upon the sins and failings of my fellow man, my neighbor who God wills me to love as myself?

There is a confusion in our day … modernity has conflated poverty and misery as if these two states are one and the same. They are not … misery seems to be the most common state of those who are the least afflicted with poverty. Attachment and ownership and the failure to find satisfaction in these seem to be at the root of misery

From Robert Cardinal Sarah, his commentary regarding noise … “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise”

327. Unless we seek to suppress all the superficial aspects of our lives, we will never be united to God. By detaching ourselves from everything superfluous, we enter little by little into a form of silence. Throughout her life, Mother Teresa sought to live in great poverty so as to find God better in silence. Seeking God in her heart was the only wealth she had. She could spend hours before the Blessed Sacrament without uttering a single word. The nun drew her poverty from the humility of God. The Father possesses nothing, and Mother Teresa wanted to imitate him. She asked that her sisters be absolutely and sincerely detached from all material goods.

Sarah, Robert Cardinal. The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (Para 327). Ignatius Press.

To paraphrase a famous hymn … “My life flows on in endless noise about earth’s lamentation, I catch the faint, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.”  Yes, the far off hymn … that hails a new creation … the undiscovered country … beyond my self love and attachment to all the “stuff” to which I am so enamored … to leave the self behind and all the misery of stuff … to embrace the poverty and silence of God, impossible without His gift of grace … Aye, there’s the rub.

Maybe this blog is just part of all the noise? I have to consider that thought some more … what am I trying to achieve with this scribbling. I have changed quite a bit from when I started this work back in 2014.

Back then I was consumed with what was wrong with everything and everyone else, and how it all could be fixed, if only … pick my bright idea of the moment … Wow, watch me string all these disconnected events together … looking at them from the “right” perspective, look at what they reveal about motives and intent of the faceless ones … so in love with my cleverness …

so much self love … so little “fraternal charity” …

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Psalm 139 … God’s Self Restraint …

Today is the nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Today’s Gospel reading is John 6: 41-51. John 6 is all about belief and Eucharist, as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and then we have Psalm 139:

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

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

Cheers,

Joe

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Common Sense & Love …

Inner Thoughts”  Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

John Martin, Sodom and Gomorrah, 1852

John Martin, Sodom and Gomorrah, 1852

Good Sunday morning, Gentle Readers … thinking about “Common Sense” these warm summer days …

“Common Sense” is the foundational apologetic for our modern polite society, the cornerstone upon which rests all manner of vacuous, unfounded, Potemkin Villages of unproven assumptions regarding whatever we are needing to justify according to the appetites of the moment and our animal desires at any particular time.

As I have been told at times, in no uncertain terms, “we don’t care about your facts Joe, we just want to have a pleasant conversation with our friends”, which logic justifies everything from pushing into the lineup at Starbucks to cutting across five lanes of traffic to make our exit, to murdering any inconvenient creature which might interfere with our “practically perfect in every way” lives.

WHOA! Tsunami of cynicism … who pissed in your coffee this morning Joe?  Yeah … whatever …

John Martin, painted “Sodom and Gomorrah“, oil on canvas, in 1852, 100 years before the birth of Joe. Many regarded Martin, while he lived, as a great British artist, perhaps one of the great British painters of the nineteenth century, he was a contemporary of  and surpassed only by his older contemporary colleague J. M. W. Turner, who he had a competition with for recognition.

John Martin, Le Pandemonium, 1841, in the Louvre.

John Martin, Le Pandemonium, 1841, in the Louvre.

But John Martin’s reputation declined after his death. His vision of reality and eternity seemed at odds with the tenor of the times, the acceleration of the precipitous slide into degenerate ruin touched off by the disaster of the French Revolution and culminating in the anti-christian progressive Charnel House we see all around us today.

We find ourselves comfortable ensconced in the visitors gallery at “Pandæmonium” watching the debate among the “Stygian Council” in the council-chamber of Pandæmonium.

John Martin, Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council, 1824

John Martin, Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council, 1824

Of course we need not travel to the capital to view the proceedings, they are available for all the public on any “parliamentary” channel on virtually every Main Stream media channel selection on every network.

What passes every day for the “wisdom of our times”, “what all right thinking people know is true”, is accepted more readily than our own mother’s milk as the truth and reality to which we should strive … “its only common sense” to … “fill in the blank with whatever you feel like doing or saying” at this moment.

For example, something “common” … these days it seems that it is only “common sense” to abandon one’s partner of the moment at the drop of a hat, if they fail to amuse and edify, if they fail to build up our “self”. The trophy wife and the accessory husband or child, our latest hook-up, like a coordinated purse or a good suit, part of the desired image, of keeping up. As soon as they might become a liability, or even just “boring” it is only “common sense” to “move on”.

And those of us , the remnant, rejected and repudiated, for our antiquated views, mores and beliefs, are chastised to “get with the times” … “Oh please, why don’t you grow up?” …  or cries of “Treason! Kill the traitor!

For “traitors” indeed are we, those who once emphatically embraced our modern way and now have turned their coats and found another path, now questioning the current meme which informs all our lives, no longer running with the herd but questioning the current direction of polite society. We knuckle dragging neanderthals, questioning what everyone knows is true.

We are the fifth column of the past, the “resistance” left behind, the “Pathfinders” lighting beacons for the coming invasion of Truth, the Centurions who left their shields in the heather and took barbarian brides because Rome was no longer that shining city on the hill and Jerusalem was laid waste, plowed up and sown with salt.

There is another way to look at this and no better explanation than that given by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, in his great little book.  “Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity” (pp. 164-167), from Ignatius Press.

So I am going to quote about 4 pages on Christian Marriage and Love, because there is no way I could write better and because the sentiments and ideas expressed here go straight to one of the largest problems with modern culture and our polite society:

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

*****

In the days of romance, the eternal emphasis was on the ego’s durability in love; (but the days of romance wear off, don’t they? ed) and … in the crisis of nothingness, the eternal element is God, not the ego.

Love now says, “I will love you always, for you are lovable through eternity for God’s sake.” He who courts and promises eternal love is actually appropriating to himself an attribute of God. During the dark night of the body, he puts eternity where it rightly belongs, namely, in God.

Once purified (by the nothingness, by mortality. ed), love returns. The partner is loved beyond all sensation, all desire, all concupiscence.

The husband who began by loving the other for his own sake, and then for her sake, now begins to love for God’s sake. He has touched the depths of a body, but now he discovers the soul of the other person.

This is the new infinite taking the place of the body; this is the new “always”, and it is closer to the true infinite because the soul is infinite and spiritual, whereas the body is not.

The other partner ceases to be opaque and begins to be transparent, the glass through which God and His purposes are revealed. Less conscious of his own power to beget love in others, he sees his poverty and begins to depend on God to complement that poverty. Good Friday now passes into Easter Sunday with the Resurrection of love.

Love, which once meant pleasure and self-satisfaction, changes into love for God’s sake. The other person becomes less the necessary condition of passion and more the partner of the soul. Our Blessed Lord said that unless the seed fall to the ground and die, it will not spring forth into life. Nothing is reborn to a higher life without a death in the lower.

The heart has its cycles as do the planets, but the movement of the heart is an upward spiral, and not a circle which turns upon itself. The planetary circles are repetitious; the eternal return to a beginning.

What if the husband becomes an alcoholic or unfaithful or beats his wife and children? What if the wife becomes nagging or unfaithful or neglects her children? Suppose the promise of marriage “for better or for worse” turns out for the worse; suppose either husband or wife becomes a chronic invalid, or develops antisocial characteristics. In such cases, no carnal love can save it. It is even difficult for a personal love to save it, particularly if the other party becomes undeserving.

But when these lower loves break down, Christian love steps in to suggest that the other person is to be regarded as a gift of God. Most of God’s gifts are sweet; a few of them, however, are bitter. But whether that other person be bitter or sweet, sick or well, young or old, he or she is still a gift of God, for whom the other partner must sacrifice himself or herself.

Selfish love would seek to get rid of the other person because he is a burden. Christian love takes on the burden, in obedience to the divine command: “Bear the burden of one another’s failings; then you will be fulfilling the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

And if it be objected that God never intended that anyone should live under such difficulties, the answer very flatly is that He does: “If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me. The man who tries to save his life shall lose it; it is the man who loses his life for my sake that will secure it” (Mt 16:24, 25). What sickness is to an individual, an unhappy marriage may be to a couple: a trial sent by God in order to perfect them spiritually.

The Apostle Paul, Peter Paul Rubens, ca 1612

The Apostle Paul, Peter Paul Rubens, ca 1612.

Without some of the bitter gifts of God, many of our spiritual capacities would be undeveloped. As the Holy Word of God tells us: “We are confident even over our afflictions, knowing well that affliction gives rise to endurance, and endurance gives proof of our faith, and a proved faith gives ground for hope. Nor does this hope delude us; the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom we have received” (Rom 5:3-5).

*****

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

(St. Paul, pictured on the above right, is all about sacrifice of self, self denial, dieing to self and suffering like Christ as atonement and reparation. Around 1612 Peter Paul Rubens made a series of portraits of the apostles, in commission of the Duke of Lerma.

All were shown with an attribute, a personal symbol. Rubens shows Paul with a sword and a book. The book refers to the teachings of Jesus which he helped spreading. The sword can have multiple meanings.

In his letter to the Christians of Ephesus Paul speaks of “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). The sword may also refer to his early life as a persecutor of Christians. Or it may refer to his alleged beheading: as a Roman citizen he had the right to be decapitated instead of being tortured to death.) But enough of St. Paul’s letters, back to Christian Love and Marriage …

*****

Christian love, on the part of one spouse, will help redeem the other partner. If a father will pay his son’s debts to keep him out of prison, if a man will give a blood transfusion to save his friend’s life, then it is possible in a spouse. As the Scriptures tell us: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband” (1 Cor 7:14).

This is one of the most forgotten texts on the subject of marriage. It applies to the spiritual order the common experiences of the physical. If a husband is ill, the wife will nurse him back to health. In the spiritual order, the one who has faith and love of God will take on the burdens of the unbeliever, such as drunkenness, infidelity, and mental cruelty, for the sake of his soul.

What a blood transfusion is to the body, reparation for the sins of another is to the spirit. Instead of separating when there are difficulties and trials, the Christian solution is to bear the other as a cross for the sake of his sanctification. The wife can redeem the husband, and the husband the wife. This transferability of sanctification from a good wife to a bad husband, or from a good husband to a bad wife, follows from the fact that they are two in one flesh.

As skin can be grafted from the back to the face, so merit can be applied from spouse to spouse. This spiritual communication may not have the romantic satisfaction in it that carnal communication has, but its returns are eternal. Many a husband and wife after infidelities and excesses will find themselves saved on Judgment Day, as the faithful partner never ceased to pour out prayers for his or her salvation.”

Fulton J. Sheen,  “Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity” (pp. 164-167). Ignatius Press.

*****

Real food for deep thought here.

As between two people in a marriage, between spouses, so also between siblings, and between children and parents, and even between friends and acquaintances, after infidelities and excesses, after strife and turmoil and betrayal, and oceans of pain, the sinners will find themselves saved on Judgment Day, as the faithful  never ceased to pour out prayers for their salvation.

Even the prodigal son upon his return can storm heaven’s gates on behalf of the lost sheep of his or her family and friends, and in so doing perhaps atone and make reparation for the multitude of sins of his and their past.

Cheers

Joe

Naked Came I ... Job 1:21

Naked Came I … Job 1:21

Things look pretty grim towards the end of this life … no more distractions … Hmmm

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Common Sense … & Wisdom …

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

Revisited my post from the 6th of July   especially the last half which was a quote from the Book of Wisdom … Wisdom 7 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) Seems the primary English translation from the Latin Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible is not “copyrighted”.

The Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the Catholic seminary English College, Douai, France. It is the foundation on which nearly all English Catholic versions are still based.

It was translated principally by Gregory Martin, an Oxford-trained scholar, working in the circle of English Catholic exiles on the Continent, under the sponsorship of William (later Cardinal) Allen.

The New Testament appeared at Rheims in 1582; the Old Testament at Douai in 1609. The translation, although competent, exhibited a taste for Latinisms that was not uncommon in English writing of the time but seemed excessive in the eyes of later generations. The New Testament influenced the Authorized Version.

Between 1749 and 1752, English bishop Richard Challoner substantially revised the translation with an aim to improve readability and comprehensibility. Bishop Challoner’s revised version is the one I use, published by TAN in the U.S. in 1989.

It was first published in America in 1790 by Mathew Carey of Philadelphia. Several American editions followed in the 19th and early 20th centuries; prominent among them the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition Version.

Wisdom 7: 1-3

*****

1 I myself also am a mortal man, like all others, and of the race of him, that was first made of the earth, and in the womb of my mother I was fashioned to be flesh.

2 In the time of ten months I was compacted in blood, of the seed of man, and the pleasure of sleep concurring.

3 And being born I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, that is made alike, and the first voice which I uttered was crying, as all others do.

*****

“I myself also am a mortal man, like all others”, I especially like this chapter of Wisdom. It speaks to the true commonality of mankind, rather than our stylish modern “Common Sense”.  Commonality transcends cultures and societies and goes to the root of what is truly human.

These days, I enjoy watching foreign shows on Netflix, especially since most haven’t succumbed to the Hollywood direction of the main characters hopping into bed with every creature they meet on the first date, a kind of smorgasbord of passion and animal lust, all lungs and sweaty thorax and four hours in makeup to look hot in bed. No more western TV for me, no joy there at all, just a reflection of a dead end quest for sensate immortality and distraction.

So, I watched a show last night in which one of the protagonists explained to a grieving friend how it all passes away … “All joy passes away with time, but so does sorrow and sadness” or something to that effect. I thought is was an apt comment about our times and the goals and choices held up to us by the world as “desirable” and “satisfying”.

St. Paul said: “We are fools for Christ.” … “we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour. 11Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; 12And we labour, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. 13We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now.” (1 Corinthians 4:10-13)

Venerable Fulton Sheen

Much of the rest of this post is drawn from my readings of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Cardinal John Henry Newman. Specifically from:

John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, bk. 6, no. 7 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1977), 1241-45.

and

Fulton J. Sheen, Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity (p. 132). Ignatius Press.

Much is made these days of “Common Sense” as if somehow, “all right thinking persons” have common sense … hence, in our polite society, there is alleged a commonality of “common sense” amongst those “who think like me and agree with me”. This commonality permits me to virtue signal my esteem of others without ever taking my eyes off myself in the mirror.

Now, common sense never drove any man crazy, common sense supposedly defines “sanity”. But let’s think about this just a bit, this bald assumption about “common” sense.

Common sense never climbed mountains and certainly never cast a mountain into the sea in the biblical sense, common sense is not in any way about faith. Common sense is not violent and yet, violence is the commonest thing in our culture, in our society, and in our world.

Common sense never walked on the moon, or flew a plane or wrote a symphony, and common sense certainly never ran into a burning high rise to save lives.

Common sense never moves towards the sound of the guns, never makes a man willing to offer up his life, and yet it is in losing our life that we put into practice “greater love hath no man”.

Life sometimes can be saved by walking within an inch of death, facing the raging fire, standing firm against impossible odds, in jumping down a cliff, but common sense never makes those sort of jumps.

The soldier at times can cut his way out of his surrounding enemies, perhaps to save his comrades, or perhaps fall upon the grenade to save the rest, but he must have an uncommon carelessness about dying—and common sense does not permit that carelessness.

The Kingdom of heaven can sometimes be gained only by plucking out an eye—but common sense never plucked it out. Common sense is all about self, the “me first” knee jerk reaction.

Common sense makes a man die only for the sake of dying, for there is no choice about dieing, right? All that matters ultimately is dieing without pain, or loss of “dignity”.

It is not common sense, but love and a spirit of self sacrifice which makes a man choose to die for the sake of living—and it is the love of Jesus Christ crucified, which produces the wisdom of heaven at the cost of the foolishness of self sacrifice, of the abandonment of self, in the eyes of the world.

Al Pacino, Devil’s Advocate

Love makes men throw down their lives to take them up again, makes men sell fields for the pearl of great price, makes men treat the world as a trinket, laugh at death, and offer up everything for the one loved.

No matter the opinion of “common sense”, the opinion of the world, the Gospel of Christ is not a gospel of sorrow.

Our contemporary society’s view is that this life is made for pleasure and happiness. Any other view is ridiculed as foolishness. But to those who have actually experienced a few decades of this world, to those who have looked under the surface, it tells a very different tale.

Our doctrine of the Cross teaches the very same lesson which this world teaches to those who live long enough in it, who have much experience in it, who have lived it. Our doctrine of the Cross teaches this lesson more forcibly, but after all it is the very same lesson.

Even today, at this advanced age, some of my friends, when talking about other friends, not present, and often no longer in the world, will say “… and then he got religion”, as if this were like getting some illness. No doubt they say the same thing about me when I am not around. From my viewpoint this is simply the process of waking up … to a new dawn.

Someone famous once said: “The world is sweet to the lips, but bitter to the taste. It pleases us at first, but not at last. It looks gay on the outside, but evil and misery lie concealed within”. When a man has passed a certain number of years in it, he cries out with the Preacher, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’

And if he doesn’t “get religion” … he will be forced to say: “All is vanity and vexation of spirit; all is disappointment; all is sorrow; all is pain”. Without the doctrine of the Cross we are invited to accept the culture of death, to escape our pain and disillusion, to accept evil with only a whimper and a sigh, as we stare, runny-eyed into the chasm of the banal..

The judgments of God upon our sins, upon our worship of the god of self, are concealed within the very fabric of the world itself, and eventually these force all men to grief whether they want it or not. The doctrine of the Cross merely anticipates for us the experience of the world. It is a “sneak preview” of the truth of eternity.

The doctrine of the Cross interferes with the common sense superficial view, and with finding a vain transitory joy in what we see and taste and feel, and experience. The doctrine of the Cross forbids our immediate enjoyment, but it grants enjoyment in truth and fullness afterwards. It only forbids us to begin with enjoyment. It only says, if you begin with pleasure you will end in pain.

Blessed John Henry Newman

The doctrine of the Cross bids us begin with the Cross, and in that Cross we shall at first find sorrow, but in a while peace and comfort will rise out of that sorrow.

That Cross leads us to conversion, to mourning, repentance, humiliation, prayer, fasting; we shall sorrow for our sins, we shall sorrow with Christ’s suffering; but all this sorrow will only be undergone in, and result in a happiness far greater than the enjoyment which the world gives—though careless worldly minds will not believe this because it defies common sense.

Careless worldly minds, minds obsessed with “common sense”, ridicule the notion of happiness through sorrow, because they never have tasted it, and consider it a mere matter of word play, semantic gymnastics. In a world of ideology, that truth which religious persons think decent and proper, and try to believe themselves, and to get others to believe, is to the common sense mind impossible, no right minded person really feels that truth.

But in order to truly enjoy this world one must begin with the world unseen, the supernatural world. We must first abstain from the world to truly enjoy the world. We must first fast in order to truly feast. Only those who have learned not to abuse the world are able to use the world. They alone inherit the world, who take it as only a shadow of the world to come, and who, for that world to come, relinquish this world.

“I myself also am a mortal man, like all others”. The “Common Sense” of self worship is a dead end. “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne. from “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and severall steps in my Sicknes“, written in 1624

Cheers

Joe

 Apollo 15 mission, 1971

Composite of photographs from the Apollo 15 mission, 1971

Common Sense?

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

True Love of Neighbor …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

Our title line, the instruction from our Safari Guide on this worldly adventure, derives from the person and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s will regarding love of neighbor goes so far beyond what we typically accept as “Love your neighbor as yourself” that it requires special mention.

I am riding on a lot of coat-tails with this post because the thoughts and sentiments have been expressed so well by others that I hesitate to change or paraphrase even a little. And yet these ideas are so moving I have to share.

These days I am trying to take the elevator to the third floor, the third floor I posted about elsewhere.  So, “if your head is not there” to paraphrase Valdy, this might not be for you. which is OK, each of us on our own part of the path, each of us searching for Truth in our own way …

I’m thinking, the way we live these days is akin to being roomies in a 3 story boarding house, sort of like “Friends”. Most of us, we the “masses”, live on the first floor and really don’t give it much thought other than to be vaguely aware that there is another floor above us where the sparkly vampires, the know-it-alls, the Brights, live their exalted lives, beyond our reach or influence, and where all the house rules and secular rewards and punishments descend from.

Now, Albert J. Knock, of whom I have posted before, put it like this: ” … The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.”

So, in the 3 story rooming house metaphor, all us easy going folks on the first floor are the “masses” as noted above, prone to temptation and failure and continual worship of self and our carnal appetites. And the folks on the 2nd floor of the rooming house are a sort of remnant in a strictly secular way, the elite, who “by force of intellect are able to apprehend … (some fashionable) … principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them“. Those are the ones who learned to handle stairs and doorknobs … our “betters” in a class conscious sort of way, just ask them if you get a chance in passing, they will tell you “of course”.

I am setting the stage for this next bit by quoting from Venerable Fulton Sheen:

*****

“Give me a man who loves and I will tell him what God is.” Such are the words of St. Augustine. Anyone who ever loved craved unity with that which he loved. Thus in marriage the ideal is the unity of two in one flesh; in religion the ideal is to be one with Christ. There is not a single person who loves Our Dear Lord, who does not strive to be united to Him in thought and in desire and even in body and mind.

Venerable Fulton Sheen

Venerable Fulton Sheen

But here is the problem: How to be one with Christ? His earthly life ended over two thousand years ago. Therefore to some He is only a figure Who crossed the stage of history, as did Caesar and Aristotle, and then was seen no more.

Such souls believe that the only way they can be united with Our Lord, is by reading what someone wrote concerning Him, or by singing hymns in His name, or by listening to a sermon on His life.

It is no wonder that such people soon begin to think of Our Lord as a teacher of ethics, or as a great humanitarian reformer like Buddha or Socrates, for they too also once lived, preached, and edified, and left behind them a beautiful memory. It is only minds with little power of penetration that say Our Dear Lord “was a good man”.

May I say that this is precisely what Our Lord was not, viz., a good man, because good men do not lie. If He is not what He claimed to be, what His Miracles witnessed, what the Jewish and Gentile prophecies foretold, viz., the Son of the living God—then He is not just a good man. Then He is a liar, a knave, a deceiver, and a charlatan. If He is not the Christ, the Son of the living God, He is the anti-Christ; but He is not just a good man.

Let us try to understand what Our Divine Lord really is. Begin with yourself. Have you ever thought of how wonderfully you have been made; that there is in you something which can be seen and touched, namely, your body whose nature is fleshy; but there is also something invisible about you, namely your mind and soul with its thoughts, its loves, and its desires.

Your soul is, in a sense, “incarnate” in a body (the word incarnate, as you know, means in the flesh); that is, your soul animates and unifies your body. Now consider the person of Our Divine Lord. He is the true Incarnation, not of a soul in a body, but of God in the form of man.

There is something visible about Him, namely, His perfect human nature, which can handle tools, pat little children’s heads, be thirsty and think and desire like other men. But there is also something invisible about Him, and that is His divinity. His divinity could no more be seen than your soul, though it could be seen working through His human nature, as your soul works through your body.

Just as your body and your soul combine to make one person, so in an infinitely more perfect way, His human nature and His divine nature make but one person, the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, true God and true man.”

Sheen, Fulton J.. Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity (p. 98-99). Ignatius Press.

Oh Earth Oh Earth Return”, Bill Douglas, (1996)

I feel like the blind man trying to describe an elephant to an audience who I cannot see or hear, and the concept of the “elephant” reflects back so critically on my own conduct and thoughts for so much of my life that I am at times reluctant to dive into it and reluctant to accept the conclusions which the elephant emphatically points to … mixing metaphors … I see the Ghost of Christmas past pointing at my own tombstone in silent judgement. The following from “Divine Intimacy”:

” … “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mt 22, 39). This measure is so great that it would be difficult to exceed it, when we consider how much every man is inclined to love himself. The good that each of us desires for himself is so great that if we could succeed in desiring just as much for our neighbor — for any neighbor — our charity would be truly magnanimous.

Jesus has said, “and as you would that men should do to you, do you also onto them in like manner” (Lk 6, 31) which, in practice, signifies that we treat others exactly as we wish to be treated ourselves; for example, showing, toward our neighbor, the same consideration if thought, word, and deed, as we would desire for ourselves; serving and pleasing others, accommodating ourselves to their wishes, as we ourselves would wish to be served, pleased, and condescended to.

Alas! our self-love incites us, instead, to use two different measures: one, very large — even exaggerated — for ourselves; the other, very small — even miserly — for our neighbor. The attentions we receive from others always seem to be so trifling, and how easily we complain that we are treated thoughtlessly! Yet very far we are from showing such thoughtfulness toward our neighbor; although in retrospect, we always think we have done too much.

We are very sensitive to the wrongs done us; and even when, in reality, they are slight, we consider them as almost unbearable; whereas we consider as mere nothings the things by which we offend others so freely. The greatest enemy of fraternal charity is self-love, which makes us too sensitive and demanding in what refers to ourselves, and very careless in what refers to others. (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy” meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 760)

Nuf for now …

Cheers

Joe

 

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