Life in a small town

1 December 2019 – First Sunday of Advent …

Winter is upon us in our little town, a dead truck abandoned in front of our place and minus 17 degrees Celsius yesterday AM while getting ready for church.

I find myself thinking a lot about how dire is the state of the world and the state of our church, and the state of our country these days.

Looking out from my library window over the vast panorama of my domain I find myself surprised at agreeing with David Warren, not at the agreement, but rather at what we are agreeing about.

We are agreeing about one of the few bright lights in the darkness of the Dead Marshes of our 21st century Canadian wasteland looking eastward towards the pass of Cirith Ungol and 24 Sussex Drive, the lair of Prime Minister Shelob.

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As David recently wrote: A sign of the times, as it were. At any given moment, approximately half of the (American) population is baiting the other half, or vice versa. There are (legions of) Internet sites devoted to supplying verbose ammunition to the respective sides …

Scenic view from the living-room windows and homes of my idolatrous Atheistic extended  family along the Ottawa River somewhere in Eastern Ontario. Pray for them all …

In Canada of course, it is different. This is because our Thanksgiving falls earlier in the autumn.

Another (big) difference is that one side seems to have succeeded in cutting off the other’s ammunition supply, so that if you are a “conservative” — and nearly half the population is, up here, too — you tend to be very peaceful.

(Israelis know better) … “The Israelis are also, about half-and-half, “liberals” and “conservatives,” but behave differently from us, because both sides know that if Israel loses just one major skirmish, they must all either escape, or be annihilated.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be the first time in history this had happened to them.” … “An old Jew once told me, that when he was young, he would see graffitoes declaring, “Jews to Palestine!” Now he was old, the signs read, “Jews out of Palestine!”  … 

(and) What has Trump to do with this, you ask? Apart from the fact that there are a surprising number of Jews in his family, and his entourage?  (This is the surprising agreement) … Well, I feel affection for him, and anxiety. The hatred directed at him, and all he stands for, constantly from the Left, has taken on the murderous, bigoted quality.

(Like the Israelis) If he loses one election, or one significant legal decision, his whole Party is finished; the jackals will be all over the Republicans. That’s how he has come to command the loyalty, even of people like me, who disagree with many things he says, and regret some of his policies.

For Merican Thanksgiving this year, after considering the matter from numerous angles, I would like to thank God, for Trump. In a time of real darkness, and civilizational despair, he has become, paradoxically, a point of light. I think that’s why the devils hate him so.

He is among those who still understand that Norman Rockwell poster, as it was before the caption was added. Which was sentimental, corny, and good. For as I would paraphrase:

“Stand beside him, and guide him, through the night with a light from above.”

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Paul Corrects Peter

Yesterday’s 2nd reading was from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and we find:

11And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 

13Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof . (Romans 13.11-14)

Truly, truly we live in times of almost universal revelling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness, quarrelling and jealousy. Don’t believe me?  Just look about you at our movies, our news, our politics, our social lives, our families. Sad, sad, so sad.

And Popes have been making mistakes and errors more or less serious since the very first Pope, St. Peter.

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Fr Hunwicke

From another perceptive blogger who I follow regularly … Fr. Hunwicke writes:  Here is an extract from a very fine Advent homily given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008:

“The cry of hope of Advent expresses all the gravity of our condition, our extreme need for salvation. Which is to say that we await the Lord not as some beautiful decoration to a world already saved, but as the only way of liberation from mortal danger.”

What was so noteworthy about this is that it represented a turning away from the semi-Pelagianism which characterised the post-Conciliar selection of Advent Sunday collects; Benedict instead turned back to the authentic tones of the Sunday collects which they replaced.

Three of these … did a moderately unusual thing in the Roman Corpus of collects: they began with an imperative verb for their first word. This, in turn, was taken from psalm 79/80: ‘Excita potentiam tuam et veni ut salvos facias nos‘ … a cry from Israel to her God to come and save His vineyard; a psalm full of a sense of dereliction and of pressing supplication. …

Here is the translation which the good old English Missal gives for the collect of Advent I: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come: that by thy protection we may be found worthy to be set free from the dangers of our sins which beset us; and to be saved by thy deliverance.

Compare this with (my translation) the OF collect: Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, this will unto thy faithful people, that, running with good works to meet thy Christ as he comes, they may be set at his right hand and be worthy to hold fast the kingdom of heaven. … 

Lorenzo Bianchi says this about the newer selection of Sunday Collects in the post-Conciliar Missal:  ‘A Pelagian turn of thought becomes apparent: which does not show itself in a failure to speak about grace, but in the way it is separated from a realistic consideration of the human condition; and the manner in which the grace of Jesus Christ is made into an optional extra: just an unnecessary ornament … [in the Advent Sundays and Christmas collects of] the new Missal … sin does not appear, or even expressions explicitly linked with this concept … [instead] we find phrases which, making no mention of the fragility of the human condition, tend to bring to the fore the aspect of man’s commitment’.

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Pope Francis

We, in our inordinate self love have forgotten sin, explicitly forgotten our own sins … and brushed aside our desperate need for Christ’s grace as unneeded ornamentation.

This vanity lies at the root of the evil settling over our land and our church like a noxious vapour from the bowels of Mount Doom.

Gone are the days of sin … we are no longer sinners … and perhaps our church is no longer Catholic … In this time of judgement by subjective conscience, and the Sincretism of all religions are equal, and the pagan rituals involving the idol “Pachamama”.  

Dark days indeed … we enter a prolonged era of a sort of UltramontanistPapolatry“, where none dare speak out against the current incumbent of the Chair of Peter.

BUT! No matter the evil, no matter what may come to pass, whatever lies before me going to keep on singing and never give up.

Here is another opinion: November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Popular blogger Father John Zuhlsdorf bluntly told a reader considering leaving the Catholic Church because of Pope Francis that doing so could lead to his eternal damnation. “No. And NO! And HELL NO!” the priest wrote on his Fr. Z blog.  And Zuhlsdorf was equally blunt that leaving the Catholic Church would be a failure of courage: “Fast. Give alms. Pray. But don’t be a coward,” he wrote. … “Look, friend, popes come and popes go,” explained Zuhlsdorf, who is based in Madison, Wisconsin.“Only one thing is clear about popes, and the Romans get this right: Muore un papa se ne fa un altro … A pope dies, you make another. We make another until Christ returns. Somehow that’s the way Church will always be even if we don’t like the choice.”
Gonna sign off for now with a YouTube link of a worship song we have been recently leading in church … this is one a lot of folks sing loud and with enthusiasm … we are not alone …
“And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore”
Cheers
Joe

From generation to generation … take up the torch … 10,000 years and then forever more.

Never give up … never surrender … Ten thousand years and then forever more …
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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Michael The Archangel

Saint Michael The Archangel

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

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

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

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

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

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“My Dear Wormwood,

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter VII”

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

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

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

Satan's Subtle Art of Destruction

Satan’s Subtle Art of Destruction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Joe

The Long Defeat …

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