The Inner Struggle

Naked came I …

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

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20naked JobThen Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped,

21And said: Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.

22In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God.  Job 1: 20-22

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From Job 1: 20-22 Old Testament to Luke 22: 1-13 New Testament

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SatanThe treason of Judas. The last supper. The first part of the history of the passion.

[1] Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the pasch, was at hand. [2] And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death: but they feared the people.

[3] And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. [4] And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them.

[5] And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. [6] And he promised. And he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude.

[7] And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed. [8] And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go, and prepare for us the pasch, that we may eat.

[9] But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? [10] And he said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he entereth in.

[11] And you shall say to the goodman of the house: The master saith to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? [12] And he will shew you a large dining room, furnished; and there prepare. [13] And they going, found as he had said to them, and made ready the pasch.

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All is gift, and nothing have we here which we deserve or earn but by talents and abilities given us at birth by God the Father. And all that we earn is apportioned in goods of this world, all of which have their origin in God the Father. We do not create anything but rather are more or less talented manipulators of what the Creator made or set in motion.

Jesus betrayed by JudasSt. Luke directs our attention to the actions and motivations of Judas Iscariot, and points out that  Satan entered into Judas. Satan made use of Judas’ free will and his natural human propensity for self interest and evil.

All that follows is orchestrated by Satan using his “minions” and “useful idiots”.  The conduct of the humans  in this account and in the affairs in this world down through the ages reveals clearly what Satan desires.

Destruction, dissension, selfishness, suffering, dishonesty, suffering and misery, all the clear outcome of Satan stirring up all that is evil in the human heart.

And yet Christ has intimate and detailed knowledge of all that is to come, and Satan and humans, all creatures of the Father, have free rein because the omnipotent Father and the Son embrace that freedom in their creatures.

Satan and Judas freely decide to betray Jesus and Peter and John freely decide to obey Him. And all four of them equally prepared the Passover  in accordance with God’s will.

C.S. Lewis calls these aspects “simple good” and “complex good”. The obedience of John and Peter is simple good, the good that comes out of the evil of Satan aided by Judas is a complex good, in other words good wrought by God out of the evil of mankind.

We are all of us faced daily with exactly this choice, to obey, or to disobey, and thereby choosing our path and the next set of choices we are faced with.

Cheers

Joe

Desert walkIt is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Tolkien, “The Return of the King

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The Inner Struggle

Some Troubling Thoughts …

Eternity’s Sunrize, Bill Douglas, 2000

Do you ever do or say things that, on later thought, you are not real proud of? I can think of lots of things over the last 65 years or so. Saying I was sorry or made up for it or didn’t know any better or … whatever still doesn’t make them OK in my own estimation and I am very much self loving and self centered. How does it look to a loving Father to see His child behaving so badly?

Not real comfortable with yesterday’s post. Can’t take it back, but there it is, not comfortable with the actions and opinions of my yesterday self. Blogging has this good/bad side, in that you can reconsider what you have opined at a later date and no matter how hard you thought about it at the time, it comes about that later you may not feel that way or may see problems with your thinking, see the smart remark or acid image for what it really is, none other than a reflection on your own lack of charity and poor judgment.  At the same time, having posted it one cannot deny that you thought and said it, can’t pretend to a personal superiority you don’t have.

Yesterday I posted a caustic image reflecting judgement upon some prominent people who I don’t really know at all, simply finding myself offended by their stated views I judge, and judge harshly. No only that but I share that judgement by way of this venue with other like minded viewers thereby compounding the harm that I do by my harsh judgements.

So is it serendipity or is it the whisper of an angel? Today, while surfing around, I came across “Pope Leo’s Vision of Satan’s 100 years of Increased Power, and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”

and another interesting, even frightening site “A Sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice“which concludes with the following:

“Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well.

As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.

Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and confirming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned.

What is the use of knowing whether few or many are saved? Saint Peter says to us, “Strive by good works to make your election sure.” When Saint Thomas Aquinas’s sister asked him what she must do to go to heaven, he said, “You will be saved if you want to be.” I say the same thing to you, and here is proof of my declaration. No one is damned unless he commits mortal sin: that is of faith. And no one commits mortal sin unless he wants to: that is an undeniable theological proposition.

Therefore, no one goes to hell unless he wants to; the consequence is obvious. Does that not suffice to comfort you? Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved. Why torment yourself so? For it is certain that you have to commit mortal sin to go to hell, and that to commit mortal sin you must want to, and that consequently no one goes to hell unless he wants to. That is not just an opinion, it is an undeniable and very comforting truth; may God give you to understand it, and may He bless you. Amen.”

Rather Sobering … not many “cheers” here.

Joe

knight_templar_battle_wearyFreedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free. In the end we are all free to choose whether to reject this world and all it’s temptations or acquiesce to the easy path. We choose to be free or to be slaves.

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The Inner Struggle

Contemplating the Transcendental … part deux

A Place Called Morning, Bill Douglas, 2001

Albert_Chevallier_Tayler_-_The_Christmas_Tree_1911Continuing in my visit to “Finding True Happiness” by Robert Spitzer, PhD.  The last post ended on the feeling of “cosmic emptiness”. We continue with “cosmic alienation”.

” …We may now consider cosmic alienation. Alienation from the vantage point of this world generally signifies “not having a place in” or not  being “at home  in”  family, friends, workplace, community, or the culture. This sense of being an outsider not only brings with it “loneliness” but also an absence of worth or respectability — a sense of “not  being welcome”.

41-christmas-shopping-getCosmic alienation has many of the same attendant feelings but does not arise out of “this worldly” contexts.

It is not unusual for people to feel perfectly at home with family, friends, community and culture yet still feel a pervading sense of not being at home or not being welcome, or being an outsider.

If they are reflective, they are likely to ask “Why do I feel a lack of acceptance or welcome, a sense of being left out in my own home, when I have a wonderful family and friends as well as an agreeable community and culture?”

They might notice that their feeling has a much more general context than the specific context of family and friends. “I feel out of sorts with everything, not at home with the totality of things, an outsider in the whole cosmos … they are at home in small and intimate contexts but not at home in the biggest context of all.

Atheistic existentialists would interpret this as yet another sign of the absurdity of life and the inevitably of despair… religious existentialists see this as God’s invitation to move more closely to our ultimate home — the transcendent, perfect and eternal home.

If we do not respond to this invitation,the feelings will persist and they can produce a sense of purposelessness, malaise, and cynicism about life. Yet these feelings need not do this, for they can incite us to search for the ultimate and the transcendent, which can lead us to our ultimate home.

Homeland, Bill Douglas, 2002

Hope you had a peaceful and happy New Years Eve and on into the coming year.  Next post we look at cosmic loneliness …

Cheers

Joe

Hobbiton, near Matamata, North Island, New Zealand

Hobbiton, near Matamata, North Island, New Zealand

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The Inner Struggle

Contemplating the Transcendental …

Deep Peace, Bill Douglas, 1996

This time of year invites consideration of things beyond the daily trail. I’m reading a very interesting book just now titled “Finding True Happiness” by one Robert Spitzer, PhD. He has many answers to questions and feelings which have been recurring themes in my thoughts for years.

Some brief excerpts: “… our five transcendental desires for perfect truth, love, goodness, beauty, and being (home) will continue to affect us whether we acknowledge them or not. We will still want to know everything about everything, even if we abandon the pursuit of truth;  still desire perfect love, even if we think it does not exist; still desire perfect justice and goodness, even if we have been disappointed by people’s conduct and the judicial system; still desire perfect beauty, even if we believe that it is unattainable; and still desire perfect being (home) , even if we believe  that there is nothing beyond us but emptiness and darkness.”

“… It seems that we have been created for transcendent life and fulfillment, and if Plato and many schools of transcendental philosophy are correct, then God (perfect truth, love, goodness, beauty, and being) is the source of our transcendental awareness, desire, and nature. We might infer that through our transcendental desires, God is giving us a gigantic clue about who we are and what will make us ultimately happy.”

EeyoreAnd like so many things in life there is always two sides to the question, observation, view, depending on which way one chooses to look at things. Who has not felt, strongly at times, emptiness, alienation, loneliness and guilt? Who has not at times asked “Just what is the point of all this?”

Maybe we felt this way so strongly at times that the temptation to just end it all loomed large? Doesn’t everyone have these times, these dark nights where one questions everything? I wonder if everyone feels these things? I suspect that we all do, since I certainly don’t see myself as unique and special, that I have some elevated perception of reality that gives me a special take on things. I am just old ordinary Joe, like everyone else in this corner of the swamp.

O course Spitzer also has something else to say on the opposites to the above transcendental desires. He brings up the four negative states of being elucidated by existentialists like Kierkegaard, Marcel, Scheler, Jaspers, and Buber. These states are Cosmic emptiness, alienation, loneliness, and guilt. These cosmic states are something beyond this world’s feelings of absence of purpose in life, not fitting in or being rejected by people or institutions, the absence of family or friends, or feelings arising from doing harm to a person or a group of persons.

Eternity’s Sunrise, Bill Douglas, 2000.

“… Before examining them (the four cosmic negative states) we need to define the term “cosmic”. This term is used here with one of its common connotations —- “infinitely or or inconceivably vast”, which implies “the totality of being”. Thus “cosmic emptiness” is a feeling that there is nothing outside of us except emptiness, darkness, and coldness, “cosmic alienation” refers to a feeling of not fitting into or not having a real place in the whole order of things, “cosmic loneliness” refers to a sense of being alone in the totality of things, and “cosmic guilt” refers to a feeling of living beneath our true calling and responsibility in the cosmic struggle between good and evil. 

These four feelings are perceived as negative because they indicate a radically incomplete state of being and suggest not only that something is missing, but “what is missing” is essential to our happiness, completeness, purpose, and fulfillment. … we feel like we are not our whole selves.

… let us begin with “cosmic emptiness”. For Kierkegaard and other religious existentialists, this feeling arises out of an absence of purpose not in the immediate world around us but in the totality of being. This is manifest by an overriding sense of boredom present even amid a beautiful family, a successful career, material comforts, terrific friends, and just about everything a person could want in this world. The boredom keeps telling us  that there should be something more — yet it does not seem to be apparent in the natural world. the longer we submit to the emptiness, the closer we come to despair.

… Atheist existentialists like Camus and Sartre exclude the possibility of transcendental fulfillment, meaning that these feelings of emptiness cannot be overcome. This makes life absurd and despair inevitable.  However, religious existentialists believe that this cosmic boredom and emptiness are not a pure negative but rather a call beckoning us to go beyond (transcend) a merely superficial purpose in life. … “

More next post, read if interested or skip on to the next pasture if this is “boring”.

Cheers

Joe

Madonna_col_bambino,_palazzo_medici_riccardi,_filippo_lippi“May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”

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