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:

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“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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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Second Thoughts … (part three) implications of the New Paradigm …

(continued from my last post)

Your Dying Heart”, Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Requiem”, (2011)

Requiem (2011)

So, when did the Assistant to the Director of the IMF’s Communications Department get the right to make the calls on who gets censured and who gets excommunicated in the Roman Catholic Church? And why is a senior Catholic cleric agreeing with him?

Well, just who is Anthony (Tony) Annett:

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(Tony) … is currently Assistant to the Director, Communications Department, International Monetary Fund. In this capacity, he handles outreach on the sustainable development agenda.

An economist by training, his work centers on the intersection of ethics, economics, and sustainable development. (so definitely not a shepherd).

Tony Annett

Tony Annett

He plays a leadership role in the Ethics in Action initiative—a project that brings together religious leaders, academics, business and labor leaders, development practitioners, and activists to develop and promote ethically-grounded practical solutions to sustainable development challenges.

He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University, and a B.A. (first class degree and gold medal) and an M.Litt. from Trinity College Dublin. He was awarded a doctorate in humane letters, honoris causa, in 2017 by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, and was inducted into its College of Fellows.

He is also Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. (and a double Ph.D.)

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Tony is probably not an atheist or the Dominicans would be unlikely to be granting honorary degrees or having him inducted into their College of Fellows. But is he plausibly a leading “Bright”, a stalking horse for a “higher order” agenda at the U.N.?

A cursory read of of his blurb at his U.N. site  gives one the impression that he pretty much embodies the new paradigm as a charter member the tiny minority of “elite” worshipers of “man”, and “self”, as the higher order personified, the “Brights” of the new paradigm, which seems at odds with the Dominican connection.

Our “New Paradigm” seems intimately tied through Sustainable Development”,  and Tony, to the U.N. agenda of controlling the population of Africa through encouraging birth control and freely available abortion.

So Pietro Cardinal Parolin’s “New Paradigm” of  apparently casting doubt on two millennia of authentic Catholic teachings on marriage and the family, seems being pushed through by force and bluster and press releases by the Bergoglian mafia in Rome and by removal or transferring, by our good Pope Francis, of all vocal clerical opponents in Rome and globally,

Some thoughts from the “New American Standard Bible” … we have:
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Parable of the Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

1“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2“But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.

3“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

5“A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.      

7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13“He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

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What the heck is going on here? The hired hands seem to be making a peace of convenience with the wolves of this day. Is all this just arrogance in action? After all, it is not exactly my responsibility to point out perceived irrationality in my putative betters. Hmm … Gotta be a sin here somewhere. How about “Pride”?

Is this just a great big fat circle jerk of Pride? Pride on the part of all the major players, but also pride on my own part for thinking that I might not only recognize wrongdoing and maleficence on the part of my superiors but that I might actually believe that I know better.

Apollo 13 Mission Control

Grey Tribe: In Mission Control the Gold Team, directed by Gerald Griffin (seated, back of head to camera), prepares to take over from Black Team (Glynn Lunney, seated, in profile) during a critical period.

Houston, We’ve Had a Problem”  … April 13th, 1970,  Apollo 13 was a riveting Grey Tribe drama.

Our picture on the right is: “In Mission Control the Gold Team, directed by Gerald Griffin (seated, back of head to camera), prepares to take over from Black Team (Glynn Lunney, seated, in profile) during a critical period.

Seven men with elbows on console are Deke Slayton, Joe Kerwin (Black CapCom), Vance Brand (Gold CapCom), Phil Shaffer (Gold FIDO), John Llewellyn (Black RETRO), Charles Deiterich (Gold RETRO), and Lawrence Canin (Black GNC).

Standing at right is Chester Lee, Mission Director from NASA’s Washington headquarters, and broad back at right belongs to Rocco Petrone, Apollo Program Director. Apollo 13 had two other “ground” teams, the White and the Maroon. All devised heroic measures to save the mission from disaster.

It seems that the loud explosion WE just heard, which the Bergoglian Curia are blowing off as a “New Paradigm” this time, might just end in the death of the crew, the traditional human heads of the Roman Catholic Church. Who are we going to call, with our leadership doing their best to get rid of all our grey tribe Gold Team?

Where is our Curiae, our Roman Catholic “Grey Tribe”, our “Amicus Curiae” to devise “heroic measures” to save our mission from disaster? Absent Divine Intervention, as we have seen so many times in the past two thousand years, the future doesn’t seem friendly no matter what the Telus cell phone commercials tell us.

Will the U.N. agenda take over the mission of the Roman Catholic Church?  Fortunately most humans only live 70 or 80 years so there is still hope, especially if one keeps in mind that it is Jesus’ church and God’s plan. I keep in mind that we have the eternal Gold Team on our side.

Always remember, when the Scribes and Pharisees declared “better that one should die than that all suffer”, they were not talking about “all” the people, they were not talking about us, they were talking about all the entire crop of Scribes and Pharisees of that day …. they were talking about the “all” of themselves and the threat to their own power, pride and honor which Yeshua  embodied.

Saint Teresa of Avila says “However slight may be our concern for our reputation, if we wish to make progress in spiritual matters we must put this attachment right behind us, for if questions of honor prevail we will never make great progress or come to enjoy the real fruits of prayer, which is intimacy with God.”

The Saint also says that concern for their honor is the reason why many people who have devoted themselves to the spiritual life, and are very deserving on account of many good works, are still “down on earth” and never succeed in reaching the “summit of perfection”.

They remain mired because they are so insistent on preserving their reputation, so extremely attentive to every small point, every minor rule and little detail, so strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions with regards to their station in life.

To paraphrase Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy”:  Attachment to the things of this world, especially to our honor, is shown in all those large and small susceptibilities arising from our attitude that wishes to affirm our personality, hold onto the esteem of others and make our point of view prevail.

This attitude shows up in the various schemes, conscious and petty or not, to obtain and keep privileges and honorable positions where our own views, which we always think are good, will prevail. In this way we hope to make obvious our abilities, works, and our own personal merits which are always worthy in our own eyes.

Pride, pride, pride, it is always about pride. It is also about obedience and the lack of same …. more on that later.

Quid hoc ad aeternitatem, as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

Cheers

Joe

Ready, Aye Ready! Ad Aeternitatem …

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

On Second thought … another look at “A New Paradigm”

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

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

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

03:30AM … Silence, and unanswered questions, and doubts, and “Nacht und Nebel”  or the modern variation, FUD, that is Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Hiding … Why does talking about this make me uncomfortable?

Revisiting this particular train of thought to see if it takes me anywhere new, can I see any new peaks from the metaphorical dome car on the way through the Rocky Mountains of my mind?

*****

7And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.

8And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. 9And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? (Genesis 3: 7-9)

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Where art thou? Things always seem grimmer after a relatively sleepless night … Where art thou … indeed … separated at birth … separated  ourselves … broke with our creator … self inflicted wounds … will not serve … and death entered in …

Was there ever a time in human history when mankind was not completely mired in sin and evil? Was there ever a time in human history when mankind wasn’t playing “Russian Roulette” for pride and personal ambitions and frequently blowing his own brains all over the wall of life?

Cardinal Gerhard Müller

Cardinal Gerhard Müller

I find this inner struggle of developing spiritual awareness is frequently made more difficult by the reported antics of those charged with my instruction.

Is the error, my sin in this, my curiosity, that I seek after this reporting? Or perhaps is it that I deceive myself in believing that I somehow know what is right, is this all just my pride?

I don’t know, so I cling desperately to Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s explanation that this is simply a misunderstanding. Again and again, Cardinal Müller has been the victim of criticism in some Traddy circles. This, in Father Hunwicke’s view, is totally unjustified:

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” …  (Müller’s) stance on Amoris Laetitia is perfectly rational and it doesn’t need guarantees of its perfect orthodoxy. His is one way to skin a cat.

4 Cardinals

His Eminence Walter Brandmüller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences, His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna (Italy), and His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany)

The other skinning method is that of the Four Cardinals (the Dubia Cardinals – two of whom have since died); to seek a clarification which will put its orthodoxy beyond the doubt which they judge some prelates and some hierarchies have created.

Each Feline Modality is directly aimed at the affirmation of the same orthodoxy. Whether as a matter of fact there is ‘doubt’ about what AL teaches, is for individuals to assess.”

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Or is the error in this distress, an error of my honest expectation that those who have devoted the entire course of their lives to this struggle for awareness should not have found meaningful examples and left trail blazes to guide me easily on my travel?

Or is this train of thought really just some sterile version of self-pity? This post started out as a momentary “what the heck” exclamation prompted by the latest “pontifications” emanating from the Vatican.

It seems that much of what comes out of Rome these days is a freeway to sin rather than guidance towards the good, that is, a preferred guidebook on the narrow path to Divine Intimacy.

Fear in Rome

Fear in Rome

I end up experiencing sadness instead of joy every time I wander into that neighbourhood. Continuous flashbacks to late 60’s early 70’s, and the chaotic fall-out from Vatican II.

Flashbacks to a time when, in my all-knowing youthful pride, I decided that I didn’t give a rat’s backside about the Catholic Church since they (the Curia) obviously didn’t know their own backside from a hole in the ground.

How can one reform “Truth”? Only “Not Truth” can be reformed, only “Not Truth” can give rise to “A New Paradigm”, a bureaucratic “Policy Change” with a new “Briefing Book” full of platitudes, half baked excuses and accusations.

So the post grows and grows with each new thought … again I am realizing that this spontaneous outpouring of angst is now around  5000 words and I’m still writing. Realizing, as when I first attacked this discomforting subject that it is just too long.

I have decided that this needs to be broken into multiple parts – again … like multiple therapy sessions on the couch … whoever is sitting on the chair behind my head must be VERY patient. Who knows, when we start, where the train of thought is going? Maybe it needs a disclaimer at the start of each part, or maybe a warning about toxic waste?

When the Scribes and Pharisees declared “better that one should die than that all suffer”, they were not talking about “all” the people, they were talking about all the entire crop of Scribes and Pharisees of that day …. they were talking about the “all” of themselves and the threat to their own power, pride and honor which Yeshua  embodied.

Saint Teresa of Avila says “However slight may be our concern for our reputation, if we wish to make progress in spiritual matters we must put this attachment right behind us, for if questions of honor prevail we will never make great progress or come to enjoy the real fruits of prayer, which is intimacy with God.”

The Saint also says that concern for their honor is the reason why many people who have devoted themselves to the spiritual life, and are very deserving on account of many good works, are still “down on earth” and never succeed in reaching the “summit of perfection”.

They remain mired because they are so insistent on preserving their reputation, so extremely attentive to every small point, every minor rule and little detail, so strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions with regards to their station in life.

To paraphrase Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy”:  Attachment to the things of this world, especially to our honor, is shown in all those large and small susceptibilities arising from our attitude that wishes to affirm our personality, hold onto the esteem of others and make our point of view prevail.

This attitude shows up in the various schemes, conscious and petty or not, to obtain and keep privileges and honorable positions where our own views, which we always think are good, will prevail. In this way we hope to make obvious our abilities, works, and our own personal merits which are always worthy in our own eyes.

Pride, pride, pride, it is always about pride.

Cheers

Joe

And “The Guardian” is announcing that the Vatican has reached an agreement with the Peoples Republic of China … Seriously?!  They can’t actually mean that, can they? Interesting times indeed … I wonder where this new “Orient Express” is heading?

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The Inner Struggle

Seeking Truth …

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

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Mgr Lefebvre writes: ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it!

These religions … can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.

C.S. Lewis writing at his desk

C.S. Lewis writing at his desk

C.S. Lewis writes (in The Last Battle):  “… He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. …  I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

In “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , writes: ” … The soul is never alone in its efforts to attain union; God goes to meet it, giving it His helping hand and drawing it to Himself by means of the holy inspirations which enlighten its mind and the interior touches which inflame its will.

These inspirations and divine touches are none other than the actuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, by which God directs the soul and works within it, first to purify and dispose it for union, and then to unite it effectively to Himself by love.

It is most consoling to consider that this wealth of divine help enters into the normal course of the development of the life of grace, and hence is encountered even in the ordinary way of holiness. This is the heritage which God has prepared for every soul, provided it is generous in giving itself to Him.”  Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition.  meditation 363 “Divine Assistance” pp 1063.

That is the point of this post. That these holy inspirations and divine touches are the heritage which God has prepared for every soul, provided it is generous in giving itself to Him. All souls are loved by God and all souls can aspire to divine unity and heaven regardless of their faith or lack thereof, so long as they are willing to surrender their self worship for the worship of God and submission to the will of God.

Cheers

Joe

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.(Matthew 11:28–30)

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Self Regard …

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

So much of what I wrote, back three years ago when I started this blog, now seems petty, trite and selfish, considering the  following:

” … Let us consider how great a spirit of faith (is) necessary to accept from the hand of God all the circumstances which afflict and humiliate, contradict and mortify us.

It will sometimes be easier to accept heavy trials which come directly from Our Lord, such as illness and bereavement, than other lighter ones where creatures enter into play, and for which, perhaps, we experience greater repugnance.

The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. … ”

“If you wish to see how far your love of esteem for God has reached , examine your conduct, and try to discover the ultimate motive of your preoccupations, fears, desires, and joys; if this motive is not God, but creatures, your own interests and satisfaction, you ought to acknowledge humbly that you have not yet succeeded in esteeming God above all things; for you weigh “in the balance against God that which … is the greatest possible distance from God” (St. John of The Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, I, 5,4).

Searching your heart more deeply, you will see that you frequently place on the same plane your will and the will of God, your tastes and His good pleasure, your interests and His glory, your convenience and His service.

Furthermore, although in theory you protest that you esteem God above all things, in practice you very often give the preference not to His will, desires, and interests, but to your own, and that is why you fall into so many imperfections.”

from “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition.  pp 1027 & 1043-1044.

Cheers

Joe

“where there is true love of God, there enter neither love of self nor that of the things of self” (St. John of The Cross, Dark Night of The Soul, II, 21, 10)

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Passive Purification …

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

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdelen

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen

“… God generally purifies souls through the ordinary circumstances of life. In the life of every Christian, every apostle, every religious, there is always a measure of suffering sufficient to effect the purification of the spirit.

These are the sufferings which God Himself chooses and disposes in the way best suited to the different needs of souls; but, unfortunately, few profit by them because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them.

Illness, bereavement, estrangement, separation from dear ones, misunderstandings, struggles, difficulties proceeding sometimes from the very ones who should have been able to give help and support, failure of works that were cherished and sustained at the price of great labor, abandonment by friends, physical and spiritual solitude — these are some of the sufferings which are met with more or less in the life of every man (and woman), and which, we will find in ours.

Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica

We must understand that all such things are positively willed or at least permitted by God precisely to purify us even to the very inmost fibers of our being. 

In the face of these trials, we must never blame the malice of men, or stop to examine whether or not they are just; we must see only the blessed hand of God who offers us these bitter remedies to bring perfect health to our (eternal) soul. …”

fromDivine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. Passive Purification, pp 1026 -1027.

As mentioned previously, I can’t say enough good aboutDivine Intimacy“. 

It is available at EWTN. Mother Angelica really loved this Carmelite work on meditation and used it for over 50 years. http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/Home+Page/SPECIALTY/Mother+s+Favorites/DIVINE+INTIMACY.axd

and at Baronius Press  https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1.

Read it daily. Save your soul.

It greatly behooves the soul, then, to have patience and constancy in all the tribulations and trials which God sends it, whether they come from without or from within, and are spiritual or corporal, great or small. It must take them all as from His hand for its healing and its good, and not flee from them, since they are health to it.”  St. John of the Cross, (Living Flame of Love, 2, 30).

Cheers

Joe

few profit by (suffering) because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them

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The Inner Struggle

The Motive for Fraternal Charity …

“ゆりかごの歌”, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

*****

Presence of God — O Lord, teach me how to love You in my neighbor and to love my neighbor in You and for You.

There  are not two virtues of charity, one the love of God and the other love of neighbor; for the charity by which we love God and the neighbor is one and the same. We love God because he is infinitely lovable, and we love the neighbor because faith teaches us to recognize in him a reflection of the lovableness of God. The motive for fraternal charity is the same as the motive for loving God, as we must always love God either directly in Himself or indirectly in the neighbor. Because fraternal charity has God for its ultimate object and last end, it is identical with the theological virtue by which we love God. …

… If I love my neighbor because he is congenial, renders me service, or sympathizes with me, or because I enjoy his friendship, if I love him because of his fine qualities and pleasing manners, my love is merely human and is not the love of charity. If I am good to my neighbor and help him because I am sorry for him or feel bound to him by human ties, my love may be called sympathy or philanthropy, but it cannot yet be called charity. …

… The more my love is based on human motives alone — like congeniality, natural gifts, ties of blood — the more it is simply human love which has nothing of the merit and value of charity. “Love of neighbor is not meritorious if the neighbor is not loved because of God”. (St. Thomas) …

fromDivine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. day 258, The Motive For Fraternal Charity, pp 751 -753.

As mentioned previously, I can’t say enough good aboutDivine Intimacy“,  it is available at Baronius Press https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1. Read it daily. Save your soul.

*****

So it seems to me that we need, very much need, the unlovable in our lives in order to facilitate the practice of fraternal charity. It seems to me that it is much too easy to fall into the trap of human love all un-noticed unless the loved one is of the unlovable category of folks – the difficult one, the malicious one, the unpleasant one, the narcissistic one, in other words, one can be fairly sure of the practice of charity only when the object of that charity is thoroughly unlovable.

What a drag!

Cheers

Joe

Shikamaru’s expression “What a drag.” was “めんどくさい (mendokusai)” in the original Japanese Naruto manga and anime.

Today’s quick Japanese phrase is めんどくさい (mendokusai) – “troublesome” or “bothersome”. This is a very common phrase to use when you don’t want to do something. The phrase is translated in the dubbed anime as “What a Drag”.

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The Inner Struggle

The Holy Trinity …

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

Holy TrinityWell, I’ve been feeling pretty depressed about the future since my post of June 30th and thus it always is when I spend any time contemplating our current society and the state of Canada and the world. Contemplating the abyss and spiritually “girding my loins” in preparation for stage 5 of the coming persecutions. Suck it up princess … ever was it so.

For quite a few years my limited understanding of the Blessed Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the quintessential Catholic mystery was aided by a metaphor of “images”, as in photographic images as created and produced by human’s but elevated to absolute perfection as God’s thoughts.

The analog of the flat 2D photo recording the “thoughts” and “affections” of the human creature is embraced to help one understand, as much as humanly possible, a concept of Divine Trinity. Even in our own imperfect way we have a mental image of the loved one like a photograph in our mind.

God, who always was, is now, and always will be in the eternal now, is perfection defined, all perfection, all goodness, and God’s “thoughts” are so perfect that His mental image becomes substantial, that is real in reality as a real person.

God’s first thought was about Himself, since there was nothing else but God “in the beginning”. That thought, of Himself, was so perfect that the thought substantiated as the Son, begotten  of the Father. Immediately the Son and the Father  regarded each other with a love so perfect that it substantiated as the Holy Spirit, the spirit of perfect love.  So in the beginning there was only The Blessed Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Divine IntimacyToday is day 365 of reading a wonderful book of daily meditations. “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. I really can’t say enough good about this book, and it has made a huge difference in my life. It is available at Baronius Press https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1

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

Yesterday I read in Divine Intimacy (pp 637-638) what is perhaps the best explanation of the Blessed Trinity that I have encountered anywhere, any time.  I am quoting it in full because it is so profound:

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God, the sovereign, infinite Good, is self-sufficient. He finds all His happiness in knowing and loving Himself. Because he is the infinitely perfect Being, knowledge and love are essentially fruitful in Him, and from this fecundity comes the mystery of His intimate life, the mystery of the Trinity. The Father knows Himself perfectly from all eternity, and knowing Himself, He generates the Word,the substantial Idea in which the Father expresses, and to whom He communicates, His whole essence, divinity, and infinite goodness. Thus the Word is “the brightness of the glory and the figure of the substance” of the Father (Heb 1,3); but He is a substantial brightness and figure, because He possesses the same nature and the same perfections as the Father. From all eternity, the Father and the Son contemplate and love each other infinitely, by reason of the infinite, indivisible perfection which they have in common.

In this eternal love, there is a mutual attraction, a mutual giving of Themselves, one to the other, diffusing Their whole nature and divine essence into a third Person, the Holy Spirit, who is the terminus, the pledge, and the substantial gift of Their mutual love. Thus the same nature, the same divine life circulates among the three divine Persons: from the Father to the Son, and from the Father and the Son to the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity is therefore the mystery of the intimate life of God, a mystery surging from the most perfect operations of knowledge and love by which God knows and loves Himself.

More than any other mystery, that of the Trinity shows us our God as a living God, as One whose life is essentially fruitful, so fruitful that the whole divine nature and essence can be communicated by the Father to the Son, and from the Father and the Son to the Holy Spirit without any loss or diminution, all Three thereby possessing the same infinite perfection. This mystery, above all others, reveals to us the perfection of God’s goodness. It tells us that God is good, not only because He is infinite Good, but also because this infinite good that He is, is communicated: from the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit. Whereas in works outside Himself God communicates His good only partially, in the bosom of the Trinity He communicates it integrally and necessarily, so that his intimate life consists precisely in this eternal, necessary and absolute communication of His whole good, His whole Being.

The mystery of the Trinity teaches us that in God there is a boundless, inexhaustible ocean of goodness, love, fruitfullness, and life. Precious knowledge this, because more than any other, it enables us to develop a sense of the infinite greatness of God.

*****

The Black Gate, Lord Of The Rings, The Return Of The King

The Black Gate, Lord Of The Rings, The Return Of The King

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

In an older time when life was often short and even brutal, bigotry was more overtly common, virulent and not selectively restrained and restricted to a few religious minorities by PC considerations, and literacy was not widespread amongst the common man.

But ancient prayers still survived. There were prayers still, in the time of my forefathers, powerful prayers, that had come down from ancient times and which are now lost to most modern peoples, prayers abandoned along with the sacraments by the progressive humanists of our “polite” society.

Sometimes called “The Deer’s Cry”, this is one of those prayers, translated from Old Irish around 1898, to be read aloud as a morning prayer, attributed to St. Patrick (ca 433?)

St. Patrick’s Breastplate
(“I Arise Today”)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Domini est salus, Domini est salus, Christi est salus. Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum. (Salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of Christ. May thy salvation, Lord, be always with us.)

OMNIA AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM

Joe

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Some More Thoughts on Humility …

Hamabe No Uta (Narita), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

Jean-Pierre Rampal, Japanese Folk Melodies, (1978)

Another Sunday rolls around, happening with ever increasing frequency, or so it seems to my “older” self. In my wasted yute the weeks seemed to stretch on forever and ever and ever. Not so much now when every precious second slips away like (insert favorite metaphor here). Weather brilliantly sunny, clear blue sky, only the slightest hint of a breeze

So, I continue to contemplate the ongoing difficulties encountered in the cultivation of the virtue of humility after a lifetime of having none. For most of my life I have considered humility the domain of cowards and hypocrites who were faking it.

There may be some truth in that belief regarding most of the people walking the earth but it really illustrates just how little humility has been happening on my part over the last 5 decades or so.

Even if we start out humble (truly) there is little to no encouragement in our society to remain humble and much is made of pride as essential to success in our culture which absolutely anathematizes humility and all it’s offshoots.

For just a tiny example of the truth of this assertion try this little thought experiment: “try to imagine a truly humble person with a Facebook page”, … wow! staggering, right? A humble person on Facebook is clearly an oxymoron of truly cosmic proportions to anyone with a neuron firing.

Kananaskis Range

That experiment illustrates just one tiny facet of the pride centered universe of self which is our culture. Try another experiment. Try for a moment to imagine your first job interview … are you going into that pushing “humble” or are you trying to paint yourself as the best human being that ever lived and the obvious choice for the position you are interviewing for.

Right … around the water cooler or at coffee break are we trying to be the lowest or are we striving to outdo everyone else in how great our weekend was, either especially wonderful or especially awful but either way ours was just the most – Ya think THAT was bad?

Anyway, you understand what I am talking about.  In our culture, humility is not one of the top 5 desirable traits on anyone’s list. I doubt it would appear in anyone’s top 100 list.  So humility and detachment appear to me like two High Himalaya ranges barring me from the passage to the much desired interior, meanwhile I languish struggling in the wasteland of Mordor.

But lets look again at what Father Gabriel has to say :

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The soul who desires to reach the sublime heights of union with God must walk in the path of profound humility, for as the divine Master taught, only “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk 18, 14).

The higher the ideal of sanctity to which we aspire, the more sublime the end toward which we tend, the more we will have to descend and excavate in ourselves the fertile abyss of humility “Abyssus abyssum invocat” (Ps 41, 8); the abyss of humility calls to the abyss of infinite mercy, of grace and the divine gifts, for “God resisteth the proud, but to the humble He giveth grace” (I Pt 5,5). We must humble ourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, sincerely recognize our nothingness, take account of our poverty, and if we wish to glorify ourselves, we must glory, like St. Paul, solely in our infirmities.

It is only in our weakness, humbly acknowledged, that grace and divine virtue work and triumph (cf. 2 Cor 12,9). Even if we are of the number of those good souls who sincerely desire to advance on the road to perfection but who are relying too much on their own powers and personal initiative, we can apply to ourselves to great advantage the valuable warning that St. Therese of the child Jesus gave a novice: “I see clearly that you are taking the wrong road; you will never reach the end of your journey. You want to scale a mountain, and the good God wills to make you descend … It is Jesus who takes upon Himself to fill your soul according as you rid it of imperfections (C).

The sublime ideal of union with God totally exceeds our capacities, which are those of weak creatures. If we aspire to it, it is not because we expect to reach it by our own efforts and initiative, but because we trust that God Himself, according to His promise, will come and lead us by the hand. But God will not act thus with a proud soul. He stoops only to the humble; the more lowly He finds a soul, the closer He draws it to Himself. Humility deepens the soul’s capacity to receive the fullness of divine gifts.  (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 302 – 303)

*****

 Cheers

Joe

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Year-End, Prayer, and Fasting … Lent

Yashi No Mi (Ohnaka), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

Well, my Year End accounting efforts are bearing much fruit. For the first time in 8 years I am up to date and almost done on time.

This will be a first ever to be down to two months worth of accounting = about 2 weeks worth of work, and I am on track to get everything out to the accountants by mid April. WooHoo!

The fasting is progressing nicely alternating between total fasting for a week and 1 meal a day for a week. Have stopped all meds both for diabetes and blood pressure and the numbers continue to improve. Weight continues to drop.

All good on that front except that I wonder in passing if my pride at how well I am doing negates the spiritual benefits of atonement and and mortification.

Pride is such an insidious vice, informing almost every thought of every day.

A prayer for Lent – taken from my Carmelite meditation book “Divine Intimacy””

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“O God of my soul, what am I in Your presence! Have my acts ever been free from faults — my words, my will? But You, O Lord, are good and Your right hand is merciful.

O Physician of my soul, show me the fruits of my avowal. I confess because the admission of my miseries awakens my heart and keeps it from slumber; but even while saying I am incapable of doing good, my soul awakes again in the love of Your mercy and the sweetness of Your grace, by which every sick soul feels strong and becomes aware of its weakness.”

“I shall love You, O Lord, and return thanks to You and exalt Your Name because you have pardoned so many of my guilty acts.  If my sins have melted away like ice, it is the work of Your grace and mercy. All the evil I have not committed was likewise the work of Your grace. Was there any sin I could not have committed, I who have loved evil with so light a heart? I confess that all my sins have been forgiven, both those that I committed as well as those that, with Your help, I did not commit.” (St. Augustine)

O my God, You who by one single act of Your will created light — and light was made — speak again Your all-powerful creative word: fiat lux, and light will be created in my soul; and in Your light I shall be able to see myself as I really am in Your sight.

But light is not enough for me who am so weak and cowardly; I need strength, O Lord; I need a strong, resolute will to hate evil in all forms, to have a horror of my self-love, my pride, my sloth, to renew and strengthen my resolution to overcome myself for love of You.

Yes, Lord, with Your help I wish to conquer myself, not for the vain satisfaction of thinking that I am doing better, but solely to give You pleasure, to avoid even the smallest thing that displeases You.

O my God, infinite Perfection envelop and penetrate my soul with the reflection of Your holiness, and just as the sun illumines, purifies and makes the earth fruitful with its rays, illumine, purify, and sanctify my whole being.

Teach me to look at myself with Your eyes, to know myself as You know me, to consider my miseries in the light of Your infinite perfections, to open my soul to Your purifying, sanctifying light.”

*****

Cheers

Joe

Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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The Inner Struggle

The Way Of Nothing …

Saint John of the Cross (Spanish: San Juan de la Cruz; 1542[1] – 14 December 1591) was a major figure of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar and a priest who was born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.

001-el_monte_carmelo

El Monte Carmelo

John of the Cross was a reformer in the Catholic Carmelite Order of his time and the movement he helped initiate, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, eventually led to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites, though neither he nor Teresa were alive when the two orders separated.

He is also known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish Catholic literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church.

001-the-way-of-nothing

Ascent of Mount Carmel – The Way Of Nothing

The writings of St. John of The Cross figure frequently in a wonderful book of daily meditations which I have been using now for several months. “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition.

I really can’t say enough good about this book, and it has made a huge difference in my life. It is available at Baronius Press https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1

In that book, near to the beginning, is a wonderful image which I have reproduced here. It is obviously derived from the original but is much easier to understand, especially if one is not fluent in Spanish.

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertAlways remember to be charitable in your treatment of others and never take yourself too seriously.

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