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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Politics and Economics

It’s a Mess … and silver linings

Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dillon, from the album “Bringing It All Back Home”, 1965

Whenever I start to get depressed about the state of our local economy and the morality of our Socialist Progressive governments (see last post here) I tend to take a step back and consider all the good things globally, that’s right, I see many good things globally — good for Canada and Alberta at least.

Friend or Foe in the Middle East

Friend or Foe in the Middle East

On the right is a wonderful chart from one of the many newsletters I read …  as a proud resident of the only province in Canada with a future (in spite of looking grim right now) I see reason for hope on the horizon. Alberta’s future is intimately tied to energy and the production and export of energy resources.

To say that the Middle East is a powder keg just waiting for a spark is actually an understatement of the reality on the ground, at least as far as I can determine reading all the international news feeds, newsletters and blogs.

Now God forbid that we should pray for a major melt down in the Arabian peninsula but any way you paint a situation where our mortal enemies and OUR major competitor in global oil markets destroy themselves without our intervention is just plain good news for western Christian oil producing nations (there’s just got to be a sin in there somewhere). And Canada is at the head of the pack when it comes to production and proven reserves amongst nominally Christian oil producing nations.

OPEC Oil Exports 2014

OPEC Oil Exports 2014

One can safely assume that literally anyone trying to pretend that things there will be OK and we don’t need energy independence is taking the same drugs as the Main Stream Media and the “Trump Hate” crowd.

A determined terrorist campaign in Saudi Arabia would (hopefully) completely revise the global economy. Do you think that world oil production just might be impacted by a full scale war in a more chaotic Arabian peninsula?

Do you suppose that such an event wouldn’t be great news for North American oil and coal producers? Do you think passing laws against coal and oil consumption makes the resource mysteriously disappear? Seriously folks, “Stupid is as stupid does”, and a firm belief in a fantasy  no more alters reality than writing “Darkness!” on the wall of your padded cell extinguishes the Sun.

“Alberta”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Self Portrait”, (June 1970)

While the Progressives crow about our coreligionist’s lack of proof of God and the foundations for our religious beliefs, they never think to question the complete absence of any evidence for their own beliefs or, for that matter, for any intelligent consideration of the impacts of their own religious beliefs on the populations over which they claim to rule. C.S. Lewis’s mandarins of N.I.C.E. in his book “That Hideous Strength”  haven’t got a patch on the modern crop of mandarins in the halls of power in our fair land.

Current reality places Canada (Alberta) as the 7th largest oil producer in the world, but three of the highest producers ahead of us on the list are Muslim nations who are prominently center stage in the chaos of the Arabian peninsula. In fact it is not unreasonable to attribute all the chaos in the geopolitical environment found today in the Arabian peninsula to the internecine rivalry between these three Muslim nations.

Countries by Oil Production

Countries by Oil Production – CIA factbook 2013

Any significant change in the geopolitics of the Middle East could catapult Canada (Alberta) to 4th place in the production charts at 3.6 million barrels a day after Russia, U.S.A. and China.

This in spite of the willful stupidity of her government(s). Even the NDP are essentially powerless to screw up the global economy, and I am optimistic that they will not be able to permanently damage the most productive Province in Canada.

An even more important part of the picture is the proven reserves picture. Another slice of reality is that Canada (Alberta) is currently in 3rd place  after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia in proven reserves. In a world economy suddenly deprived of access to half of global energy resources “Who Ya gonna Call?”. If you are looking for stable sources for your energy supplies do you pick a nation where violence and corruption are the rule of the day, or do you pick the nation where peaceful rule of law prevails?

Now a little corruption goes a long way to grease the wheels of governance and Canada has fallen a long way from the 50’s when we had the international reputation as the most honest bureaucracy on the planet. I suspect only the slightest nudges would be necessary to move our political masters in the appropriate direction. After all, our current governments are full fledged players in the “Pay to Play” schemes historically developed in other world capitals.

Oil Producing Countries

By Ekrub-ntyh at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1914119

It may come as a shock to some but we have enough energy reserves right here in Alberta alone, including all sources, to fuel current and projected demand in North America for the next 4 to 5 hundred years. You read that right, enough energy to fuel current and projected demand in North America for the next 4 to 5 centuries.

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s I worked as a contract administrator for a company called JOY Manufacturing. Among other things we produced electrostatic precipitators and bag filter systems for heavy industries like steel mills, foundries, paper mills and especially for coal fired electrical generation plants.

For at least 40 years now we have had the technology to clean emissions from coal to at least approximately the levels produced by natural gas. These systems are currently in use all over the world. The only thing preventing their adoption here is religion and politics.  Canada also developed and produces the safest nuclear reactors on the planet and a large chunk of the fuel for those reactors

But using that clean energy technology flies in the face of the religious position of the Socialist Progressive ninnies in our governments. It’s just A-OK with them to impose their version of the “final solution” to eliminate inconvenient babies and seniors but Gaia forbid we should use clean coal technology to give every one cheap electricity.

The only thing standing in the way of Canadian global dominance in oil production is weak prices and government policy. The Venezuelan government did a pretty good job of destroying the rosy future for it’s people and Alberta’s government is looking to try the same path right now.

Given the current state of “Rule of Law” in Canada I think we are a long way from following the Venezuela model. Notwithstanding the rule of law there are still legions of zombie voters in Redmonton who could conceivably keep the NDP in power for more than 1 election. We will no doubt see that play out since we are not considering moving away just yet.

So the point of this polemic is that there are actually lots of reasons for optimism despite current conditions in the neighbourhood.

Cheers

Joe

cooling stacks steam plantSo we can pay $100.00 per month for electricity using steam , or $1200.00 per month for electricity using wind and solar.  Seems like a no-brainer to me. So come on voters, we’ve had our Friday night stupidity binge, let’s change the landscape of Canadian politics and turf the Progressive parasites out.

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Spiritual 5th column … part 2

The time will inevitably come when we have to choose to stand and fight, but that time is not yet, maybe not in this generation, maybe not in five generations, but the time WILL come.  And imagine the surprise and fear on the faces of the brights when all the proles rise up and drive their bill hooks into their master’s bright, silken clad, backs. Hmmm …  not very Christian that, not Charitable, gotta work on that. What did Christ say about that? Love your enemies. What did Maccabees say about that … Am I still stuck in the Old Testament mind set?

Return Of The King,  Howard Shore

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.,  Mat 5, 43-48

Pretty clear, that one, eh?  No nuance or spin. The ultimate “no spin zone”.Nicaea_icon

How about:

“14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” , Mat 6, 14-15

7 “ 1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Mat 7, 1-2

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Mat 7, 3-5

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

So I decide to pray for forgiveness rather than the downfall of those who I judge to be sinners. How can I possibly know what is in their minds and what God’s plan is.

Cheers

Joe

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