The Inner Struggle

Messages from the Right … the bullies are scrambling to protect “their” schoolyard from those who are “different”.

Ballad Of A Thin Man”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Highway 61 Revisited”, (1965)

A number of my recent posts have been focused on the distraction, drama and noise with which “the world” and the Father of Lies, the Lord of This World, strives continuously to keep us away from reality and focused on the self love and self interest of this world.

This noise and distraction is not one sided, but employs streams of noise from all parts of the spectrum in the never ending river of distraction.

For example, this morning a message popped up in my inbox from a writer and blogger who I used to subscribe to who espouses a point of view which I am sympathetic to and have been since I was a teen.

Now, even though Canada has pretty well shut down ALL discussion in a tidal wave of leftist propaganda, it still seems that our southern brothers in America are still able to muster an articulate response to evil.

But the distraction and noise of this discord is even more apparent now that I am starting to see my love of my own opinion and those who agree with me as just another worldly attachment distracting me from the Truth.

Hey, Al

Hey, Al, doesn’t censorship smell funny, do you suppose that censorship has a Carbon footprint?

So here is an example of “noise and distraction” in action … a far cry from Robert Cardinal Sarah’s writing about “silence”.

First it was censoring conservative content on Google, by downplaying content they disagree with as “not generally accepted“.

Then it was censoring conservative content through the “Web Of Trust” spyware ratings system, branding content and sites they disagree with as “dangerous”  and redirecting browsers when they are searching.

And now we have YouTube actively censoring conservative content on YouTube by the following means (some of this content is from an email in my inbox this morning):

“IT HAS BEGUN!!
Hi everybody, it’s Bill Whittle here with some disturbing news: There has been a zombie outbreak of unknown size at YouTube!

The Zombie army of clueless Social Warriors ...

The Zombie Army of clueless Social Warriors …

These brain-dead zombies are being QUARANTINED by YouTube Censors, who systematically see to it that conservative common sense DOES NOT GET VIEWED!

YES! Unbelievably,  YouTube is ACTIVELY attempting to prevent their target audience of zombies from being exposed to any opinion which they disagree with …

WTF guys, wasn’t I just writing about exactly this logical and moral disconnect in the two posts about the Left hating anyone who disagrees with them and their moral relativism?????

How do they do it?

Clueless Haters

Clueless Haters

Well, in many cases they simply tell the sharing algorithms to suppress conservative messages, meaning they don’t get shared among subscribers as frequently. Because they don’t want the “Useful Idiots”, the hate bigots screaming their message on the streets, exercising their “Right” to free hate, to ever get a clue.

They suppress conservative videos when people search for a topic. They restrict certain videos — on the Korean War, or the Electoral College, for example — with a “YOU MUST BE 18+ TO VIEW THIS VIDEO,” guaranteeing that very few young people get the message.

More Clueless Haters

More Clueless Haters, gotta keep the herd restless …

And they also quarantine the left-wing zombies by de-monetizing conservative content. The self appointed herders of this hate stampede don’t dare let the street cattle bellowing their thoughtless chanting to ever get the whole picture.

Gotta keep them stampeding down the streets in the world of their dreams. Just have to prevent them from being exposed to any other view and everything will develop according to plan.

They isolate their target audience of sensitive young minds by inserting their opinion that this content is “NOT SUITABLE FOR MOST ADVERTISERS”.

They thereby actively discourage advertisers from sponsoring any content they disagree with – and you maybe thought I was exaggerating in my posts about how the Left reacts to differing opinions.  That demonetizing process looks like this:

From Bill Whittle.com

From Bill Whittle.com

 

 

And why is YouTube doing this?

BECAUSE THE MESSAGES ARE WORKING, THAT’S WHY.

So I’m asking you to join us in getting into these quarantine zones and inoculating young people while there is still time.

We have to buy page views that used to be free to us, because these self-described socialists at YouTube will censor a message they do not like but they will still take our money.

We are winning hearts and minds out there. They have George Soros and his billions.

I have you.

Become a member today, and we will whip these Social Justice Zombies out of their boots (and out of our throats).

Bill still seems to be able to get a different point of view out to the folks in spite of the huge opposition of the Left and the Socialist Progressives who have been so successful in monopolizing the media message, the “socially responsible narrative” as they so fondly describe their point of view … here is just a bit of one of Bill’s recent emails:

Fellow American,

We began this week by paying homage to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We paid tribute to all those who lost their lives on that day which will live in infamy, when radical Islamic terrorists struck at the very center of American strength and power.

We remember those who perished, including the first responders who sacrificed their lives in order to save the countless innocents who were trapped in the Twin Towers and the courageous and fearless heroes who confronted the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93.

These individuals were the epitome of what it means to be an American.

It is our duty to never forget that day, when the whole country stood still, shellshocked by what was happening. The events of September 11, 2001 may fade away from the mainstream, but they will remain as fresh as ever in the minds of all patriotic Americans.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at info@billwhittle.com.

Here is a review of this week’s videos.

Cheers

Joe

Hating Protestors in Philadelphia

Screaming Hating street cattle in Philadelphia

Is this (on the left) what we want? Or is it this on the right?

Hobbiton, near Matamata, North Island, New Zealand

 

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

“Spirited Away” and living a lie … part II

So, here is  the rest of  “Spirited Away” and living a lie …

…  back to the discussion of movies in popular progressive culture. We were talking about a secular humanist review of the movie “Spirited Away”, which describes as “a refreshing and unusual characteristic” (of this animated feature by Hayao Miyazaki) is its refusal to set up a dualistic battle between the little girl and an evil adversary. (Seriously folks, is it really “refreshing and unusual” not to differentiate between good and evil?).

All the central characters have both a light and a dark side (is this not an essential characteristic of being a human, of being a member of “Mankind”). Our heroine must overcome the forces of fear, entitlement, selfishness, gluttony, and greed within herself (aren’t these part of simply being a human being, that is possessing these evil characteristics?) as part of the blooming of her soul. (But where did the soul come from? Who created the soul?)

Little Chihiro does what spiritual seekers (humans on the path of actualizing or developing their “self”) will recognize as “shadow work” — taking back her projections (evil is just a projection), and learning to love all parts of herself, including those mirrored by others — healing both herself and those around her in the process (no God needed here since we are the pinnacle of perfection already, all we have to do is “heal” ourselves). (This is just more of the psychobabble described in C.S. Lewis’s “Bulverism“.)

The film “Spirited Away” is a follow-up to Miyazaki’s extraordinary “Princess Mononoke” (1997). Once again he has fashioned an animated feature which transports us to a mysterious and always surprising world of spirits. In Shinto folklore, everything in nature has a god living within it. For the purpose of this discussion we ask “Is the deprecation of Christian Truth as “Exclusive” supported by the mere existence of another spiritual tradition in another culture?

How do the beliefs of “Shinto” discredit the Truth of Christianity? Why is the Shinto based model for an animated feature film presented as an argument for moral relativism and against Absolute Truth? What is transcendentally “good” about beings and characters in an animated feature film being presented as vulnerable to the excesses and defilements of (presumably religious) humanity?

Yes, this film is a touching story, but in the hands of this reviewer, like a computer virus, it is hiding a deadly payload of doubt, doubt about the importance of Truth. The story of “Spirited Away” begins as Chihiro (voiced by Daveigh Chase) and her parents (Lauren Holly, Michael Chiklis) are driving to their new home. She is sulking in the back seat,  anxious about the future.

Her father takes a wrong turn, and they wind up driving through a bumpy forest road to a hillside tunnel. When her adventuresome parents decide to explore the place, Chihiro is frightened and doesn’t want to go ahead. But she follows them, and they enter what her father decides must be a deserted theme park.

When her father smells the odors of food, they follow the scent and come upon a row of restaurants and one empty one where food is piled high on the counter. Chihiro’s parents begin devouring the fare and, to their daughter’s dismay, are turned into pigs. Chihiro flees this scene and soon realizes she has stumbled into a world of spirits. A strange boy named Haku (Jason Marsden) comes to her assistance, shows her how to keep from becoming transparent in this world, and how to cross a bridge without being detected as a human.

Still, Chihiro is pretty scared. Then comes the bit when Haku has just taken Chihiro/Sen to see her parents in the pig stable, and he gives her a rice ball to eat, and she starts tearing up as she takes the first bite, and then halfway through finishing, just begins bawling from all the trauma she has accumulated over the past 16 hours or so, the overwhelming “reality”. 

This overwhelming reality is one of realizing her true situation, her true nature, and is, in reality, a vivid metaphor for man’s realization of his true relationship to God.  Truth is overwhelming. The understanding of Truth brings tears to the person that sees Truth! This is the natural reaction of every person who encounters God. It is important to understand this great little anime film is NOT about the superiority of moral relativism, it is actually about the inadequacy and unworthiness of man and about meeting God.

But in the skilled hands of this reviewer we easily lose that glimpse of Truth as we drift away into a Shinto based human centered alternate reality. Haku tells her that to save herself and her parents she needs to seek employment in a huge bathhouse that caters to all kinds of strange-looking nature spirits.

He sends her to the boiler room where the keeper, Kamaji (David Ogden Stiers), is assisted by hundreds of little soot-balls that carry coal to the furnace. They take quite a fancy to the human girl. Eventually, she meets Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), the greedy and selfish sorceress who runs the bathhouse.

This dominating woman puts her to work as a bath-attendant but not before taking away her name and giving her a new one, Sen. She is assigned to Lin (Susan Egan), another human. Their biggest challenge comes when they must deal with the “Stink Spirit,” an incredibly foul smelling being.

Only after his bath do they discover that he is a once noble and proud River God who is filled with sludge and worthless junk. Sen also proves her mettle in her relationship with Kaonashi (or No-Face), a lonely figure who follows her around and eventually brings havoc to the bathhouse spirits by drawing out their yearning for gold.

The Japanese version of “Spirited Away”, was the most successful film ever to play in Japan, and won the coveted Golden Bear Award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival. The English language version, which uses the same animation, was guided by executive producer John Lasseter of Pixar Studios (Toy Story), director Kirk Wise, and producer Don Ernst.

Similar in spirit to “Princess Mononoke”, this animated feature can be thoroughly enjoyed by both adults and children. This anime is truly a great little film but it fails utterly when used as a pedagogical tool teaching the religion of modern secular humanism. “Spirited Away” is a masterpiece that takes us to an unfamiliar world where we see familiar things with fresh eyes. Miyazaki provides an ongoing commentary on contemporary society in Japan with the characters of Chihiro’s gluttonous parents who are turned into pigs; Yubaba’s gigantic baby, a spoiled brat who gets whatever he wants; and lonely No-Face whose efforts to use his wealth to make others like him backfires.

But the film fails as an exercise in humanist apologetics because it is not intended for that purpose. Unlike Abrahamic religions this film is actually and truly intended as simply entertainment and viewers ARE an audience, not a Congregation of Believers.

The transformation of Chihiro from a sulky, clinging, and fearful little girl into a resourceful, loving, sensitive, and respectful person is a marvel to behold. Her most magic moment comes when she embraces Haku’s dark side which manifests as a dragon. Seriously folks? Embracing the dark side is a “magic moment”?  This feels like a desperate leap to justify a desperate lie. Oh, absolutely, Darth Vader is really just misunderstood, and I guess so were Stalin and Pol Pot. “Useful Idiots” sure seem thick on the ground around here.

In this “magic” moment, instead of turning against him, she reaches out to help him in his mission to discover his true identity. That’s what is so remarkable about Spirited Away, it acknowledges the shadow elements in everyone and works with these warps as part of the process of soul-making.

The problem with this is that we DO NOT make our own soul. Our soul is a created gift from God at the moment of conception which establishes us as human creations with person-hood. Instead of working to fix the warps the reviewer rationalizes them as normal parts of everyone. The reviewer has intentionally twisted the message of the movie. We, all humans,  are conceived with souls, they are not made by our own process of growth. The soul is what makes us human from the moment of conception and it is created by God out of his infinite love for mankind.

According to the reviewer, “Spirited Away” frees us from excluding anyone from our world and helps us to see that we are all in this together — human beings and spirits, ghouls and benevolent ghosts, dragons and No Names, good and evil, are all the same under the skin. But what about those poor benighted human beings, those poor ignorant souls who disagree with the reviewer and are still stuck in the old fashioned simplistic exclusionist paradigm where the difference between good and evil matter?

I guess it’s just “too bad, so sad” for them, right? Those poor ignorant exclusionists are just so “yesterday”  As John R. Mabry has put it: “We must not despise the rough, the dark, the empty, the flawed or the crooked. It is a package deal.” I guess we just have no choice but to take the evil with the good because they are only a difference of opinion and are really all the same.

But on what authority do we base this belief? Who says it is so, that this is truth? What about Good and Evil? What about God? What about hating the sin and the evil but loving the sinner? What about Christ on the cross, forgiving his enemies and keeping them in existence even as they were murdering Him?

I don’t know how anyone else reads this, but I find this review of “Spirited Away” deeply disturbing in its appealing attractiveness. Am I alone in seeing this review of “Spirited Away” as a covert subversion of the Truth of a Divine Source of all Good, of all Natural Law, the truth of  God as the creator of all and the source of all good expressed in His creations? Is this review not actually a hymn to the supremacy of Man as the source of truth, as the natural pinnacle of all good and the arbiter of good and evil as man’s opinion and nothing else?

Another remarkably jarring thing about this film, and the reviewers interpretation and gushing praise of the film, is that it normalizes references to the “Dragon” as a “good” entity. But in the Abrahamic Catholic tradition we have Revelation 12: 1-17:

*****

1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

The War in Heaven

7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The Dragon Persecutes the Woman

13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

*****

In Abrahamic religions the dragon is the personification of Satan, the personification of evil, and the father of lies. Color me Curious about Truth. What do I see when contemplating Truth … This modern, man centered, view of reality, this vision of man as the penultimate being and arbiter of all value, this big lie is only possible for persons who have never experienced anything greater than themselves, who are totally wrapped up in self love. And the Dragon is the Father of Lies.

This modern religion of “worship of man” is characterized and evidenced in the fundamental sterility of the modern world, and modern culture, where creativity is measured in utilitarian terms and beauty is relatively worthless except to be commoditized or weaponized.

Where are the Mozarts of the 21st century, where are the Raphaels and the Boticellis, where are the Leonardo da Vincis, the Caravaggios, and  the Rembrandts,  where are the designers of Notre Dame and Saint Peter’s, where are the modern Donato Bramantes, Michelangelos, Carlo Madernos and Gian Lorenzo Berninis?

Where are the modern secular humanist artists, musicians, and architects? Who have we got that give our secular culture greatness to rival all the greatness of the historic masters?

All the greatest achievements of history were acts of worship rendered to a greater power, a Supreme Being, who was the creator of all and we, his creations, offered our best in praise of Him. There are very few places now where man can go to experience Power and Majesty greater than himself, to gain understanding of our true place in the universe, in “creation”. One of the few remaining places is the sea, that great blue water covering most of the planet.

The sea is a place of real hunger, real thirst, real death, and real spiritual combat, one is manifestly in the hands of a greater power, a Supreme Power. It is impossible to ignore the overwhelming power of the sea and by extension, it’s Creator. In the arms of the sea man is but a puny weakling and a pompous trespasser, held in existence only by the mercy of God.

Once one has survived a hurricane in a tiny 300 foot vessel one has no doubt about man’s place in the Divine scheme of things. A hurricane at sea is the ultimate reality check and no atheistic progressive survives a hurricane at sea. Blue water sailors are believers, without question or pause.

It is vitally important to understand the sea as a place to combat the dictatorship of the secular world which is filled with idols of technology and material goods, idols of convenience and comfort, the dictatorship of the secular world dominated and manipulated by the media and relativism, a world that flees God by taking refuge in distractions and noise, in effusive self worship. In the isolation of the sea we find the Chiaroscuro between silence and noise draws out and gently reveals a vision, an image of God.

The sea is silence and isolation, a blue water sailor is a long way from safety and the comforts of home and there is no one to call when things go wrong. The experience of the sea is necessary, in order to survive this modern world and to see it for what it really is, it is absolutely necessary to have the experience of the great blue sea.

There, at sea, we get some distance from everyday events, some proper perspective about what is important, especially our own personal importance. We can flee the noise and the superficiality of a relativistic world where the self comes first. The sea is a place of the Absolute, a place of freedom.

It is no accident that the sea is a place where monotheism predominates. There are no syncretic modernists, no atheistic humanists at sea. The sea is Abrahamic and monotheistic. The sea preserves us from the multiplicity of idols that men make for themselves. In this sense, the sea is the domain of grace. Far from his preoccupations, man encounters there his Creator and his God in all His Mighty Majesty.

Great things begin and are found at sea, in silence, in power, in abandonment to a force greater than man can ever be. The sea is where God leads us in order to speak to us in a heart-to-heart conversation. A heart to heart conversation within the silence of our souls echoing the great silence of the blue sea.

Cheers

Joe

Canadian DDH in Heavy Weather

Canadian DDH in Heavy Weather

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Cake Made Of Flour And Rat Poison …

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

The first Sunday of the month we celebrate our Mass on the Saturday evening – last night. This leaves my Sunday morning free for thinking and reading and catching up on blogs and drinking good coffee. Every now and again I come across an outstanding post on someone else’s blog or an article in an online publication or some beautifully articulated observation.

A beautifully articulated observation about the reality which we like to pretend is a good society and within the shelter of which we pretend that we are good persons. But no amount of virtue signalling can change the underlying evil evident in our modern society, can disguise the fact that this is the worldly kingdom of the Father of Lies. Just such a beautifully articulated observation is an article by Anthony Esolen which I came across at LifeSiteNews:

*****

What is remarkable in our age is not that half of our citizens believe it is wrong to kill the child in the womb, the child whose existence, except in the rare case of rape, is owing to our own voluntary actions.  That would be like congratulating ourselves for believing that it’s wrong to steal someone’s car, to lie under oath to hurt an enemy, to throw our aged parents into the street, or to desecrate churches.

Where is the great moral insight?  What’s remarkable instead is that half of us believe it is all right to snuff out the life of that child – because nothing must be allowed to interfere with our “right” to pursue pleasure, as we use the child-making thing as a sweating-off spa on our way to money, prestige, a five-bathroom mansion for two, a tenured chair in Women’s Studies, the mayoralty of Camden, another year of nights out on the town, whatever.

How have we come to this pass?  Our imaginations are stunted or diseased, that’s how.
 Let churchgoers beware.  You cannot spread pro-life icing on a cake made of flour and rat poison.  Our children meet with rat poison everywhere.

Do they watch Friends on television, that un-funny amoral “comedy” about nihilist young urbanites trading depressions in the mattress with one another?  Rat poison. 

Do they watch movies like – well, the moronic Titanic, wherein a shrewish girl and a pouty boy fornicate before they are swallowed by the deep blue sea?  Rat poison. 

Do their school teachers feed them such exalted lyric poetry as that of Sylvia Plath, imagining what it would be like to smash her sleeping husband’s head like a rotten pumpkin? 

Or the bogus Laramie Project, making a hero out of a deeply disturbed young man, killed in a meth deal? 

Or Toni Morrison’s maudlin obsessions with race and adultery?

Is it an endless cafeteria of ghouls, vampires, girl-murderers – Lord of the Flies, without the severe moral imagination and the talent of William Golding?  Lord of the Flies, Lady of the Flies, Cheerleaders of the Flies, Lifeguard of the Flies, Mr. Goodbar of the Flies, Fight Club of the Flies, Hunger of the Flies? 

Rat poison, with that peculiar character of rat poison, that the more the critter consumes, the thirstier it grows….”( READ THE REST HERE)

*****

And what has Jesus to say about the Father of Lies? Extra! Extra! Read All About It! In the New International Version of John 8: 34-47:

*****

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever”. 36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

*****

I tend to avoid LifeSiteNews  because, while what they report on is true and accurate, what they offer is an unrelenting reportage of failure, destruction, and the ever accelerating death throes of our culture and society.

I have difficulty finding any hope on the site and there are absolutely no viable solutions in a class with the dragons we face. If I had to report something good about the site I would have to mention an important insight first realized while reading this site, namely, to say that first, there is no hope, and second, that none of it matters.

None of it matters … this world is not important … the sweaty, reality challenged, daily dramas of our society Simply – Aren’t – Important! It’s all just so much Rat Poison.

What IS important is that ONLY Eternity is important. There is absolutely NOTHING in this world which is important in Eternity EXCEPT how we conduct ourselves in relation to this World, and in relation to Eternity. There truly is NO hope in this world, and this world, and the things of this world, are doomed to pass away returning into the cesspool from which they arose like the monster from the slab of our self worship. And make no mistake about it. If we ARE of this world (and who isn’t, to a greater or lesser degree?) we WILL pass away with this world and return to the cesspool as rats do after eating Rat Poison.

So what are we to do? How can we cope with the necrotic dissolution of everything we hold dear in this material world? Now, sitting here at 65 years old watching my friends and customers suffering and dieing and experiencing the utter powerlessness of the best of human efforts to find happiness and ease. It is a lot easier to imagine a universe where we are manifestly NOT the pinnacle of everything and most definitely not worthy of worship as we once found it so easy to do in our twenties and thirties.

In our twenties and thirties – anyone’s twenties and thirties – it is easy to love … ourselves … until the body knows discomfort, pain, death …

Once upon a time…young bodies…beauty woven around a knot of need…preening like the flowers of carnivorous plants. Each of us the most important thing in the world, such was the seduction of that knot of need. and now, only the moment, each tumbling into the next. The body knows discomfort, a slowly growing pain…over and over again…as firm and true as steps, the firm earth reverberating up through my boots, the tactile affirming reality over and over again and nothing else matters… paraphrase from “The Malazan Book of the Fallen

So why do I start to feel joy like a faint but growing light further down this sewage filled tunnel which we call “life” for want of something deeper, more accurate, less flattering to our self image? The answer to this is in a word — “prayer”. Not just a few minutes spent on my knees struggling to find something meaningful to say, or in my attendance at church for an hour, chanting the responses by rote while dreaming about what I will have for lunch, but prayer that turns every waking minute into a prayer.

Now, it has been my observation, that those of this world repudiate every mention of prayer as trite, ineffectual, quaint, superstitious, lacking in intellectual validity – in short, prayer is mocked and belittled as the refuge of idiots. And yet this is not so “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did.”

No, prayer, in reality, becomes a more or less continual awareness of Jesus living and growing within us. True, at first we are very much enmeshed in the less side of “more or less”. But as we persevere we become aware of Jesus working in us, molding us to his desire, which is our cooperation, our submission, our surrender, our companionship, as we begin to give up our own way and surrender ourselves to His way.

Mortification of self begins as a painful exercise but, practiced sincerely, one starts to get glimpses of mortification as invitation to Jesus to take the place of our self in our life. I am thinking that it is a habitual and determined opposition to the will of the Lord that is the greatest barrier to development of an intimate relationship with Him.

We continue to assert our self. We resist accepting that we cannot welcome Him into some parts of our life but steadfastly slam the door on other parts of that life. He is present everywhere and at all times and waits patiently for our surrender of those parts which we willfully try to “keep private”.

We start to realize that we want god in our lives but we insist on doing it on our terms, in our way, and not surrendering to God, to His will and His direction. That is why we only get glimpses of that light and joy at the end of the sewer.

It’s a stone cold merciless bitch, this forcing oneself to move away from the pool of narcissism and self worship and our attachments to the rat poison of our worldly lives. And it is the only path through the tunnel to Eternity.

Cheers

Joe

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

 

 

 

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