The Inner Struggle

Sincerity …

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

A Colloquy:

O Lord, if I wish to reach You, who are the Way, the Truth, and the Life, I must travel the road of truth, without any pretense or dissimulation, renouncing reason that is darkened by self-love and human respect. I must act with simplicity, wholly dying to myself and to creatures.

Teach me, O eternal Truth, how to act sincerely and frankly. Let my soul, simple as a dove, fly to You to build its nest in Your heart, and nourish itself with the knowledge of You and of itself; thus despising its own malice, it will find nothing in itself to satisfy it, and therefore, it will be unable to stay far away from You, not finding where to repose outside of You.

Teach me to walk in the straight path of truth without stopping, but always advancing, hurrying and running swiftly, in order to follow You. eternal Truth, my guide and my way.” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, from the book “Divine Intimacy” Meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.  .pp 827).

Cheers

Joe

I fall quickly, I am quickly overcome, easily disturbed and discouraged. I have nothing in which I can glory but many things for which I ought to humble myself, for I am weaker than I am able to comprehend.

 

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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:

*****

“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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The Inner Struggle

The Mass … This fountain of grace …

“Christ’s title “the Son of Man” meant that He was representative not of the Jews alone, nor of the Samaritans alone, but of all mankind. His relation to mankind was similar, as we have said, to that of Adam.

He was made man and qualified Himself for copartnership with human nature. He entered into the reality of common humanity. He assumed a human nature into His sacred person.”  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

*****

“The heart of liturgical worship is the Mass. Just as the redemptive work reached its culminating point on Calvary by His death on the Cross, so too, the liturgical action, which continues His work in the world, has its climax in the Mass, which renews and perpetuates on our alters the Sacrifice of the Cross.

Jesus has willed that the precious fruits of redemption, which He merited on Calvary for the whole human race, be applied and transmitted to each of the faithful in a particular way by their participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

This fountain of grace which Jesus opened on Calvary continues to pour over our alters; all the faithful are obliged to approach it at least once a week by attending Sunday Mass, but we may approach it even daily, each time we are present at the Holy Sacrifice.

Holy Mass is truly the “fountain of life”. By offering and immolating Himself continually on our altars, Jesus repeats to us, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink.” (Jn 7,37).

“The august Sacrifice of the Altar,” says the Encyclical Mediator Dei, “is not merely a commemoration of the Passion and death of Christ, but a true and proper sacrifice, in which, by immolating Himself in an unbloody manner, the Great High Priest renews His previous act on the Cross.”

The Victim is the same, so is the Priest; nothing but the manner of offering is different — bloody on the Cross, unbloody on the altar. If we do not see in the Mass, as Mary did on Calvary, the torn Body of Christ and the Blood flowing from His wounds, we do have, by virtue of the Consecration, the real presence of this Body and Blood.

Moreover, as this divine presence becomes actualized under two distinct species, the bloody death on Calvary is mystically renewed by the real separation of the Body and Blood of the Saviour.”

(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 478).

Cheers

Joe

“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,”

 

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The Inner Struggle

Penitence as a way of life …

Mother of Sorrows”, Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent At Ephesus”, (2014)

I started this yesterday and posted the beginning  at the end of yesterday’s post. Nothing here is “Real Joe”, just a brief quote from “Divine Intimacy” and a rather long, but extremely important and moving excerpt from Father John A. Kane’s “How To Make A Good Confession”.

Gentle Reader’s mileage may vary if you are not in this head-space … I wouldn’t have given this much thought a few years ago, but when one is ready, then it speaks.

“… This is a sign of real fidelity, to persevere even in the darkest moments, when all seems lost, and when a friend, instead of triumphing, is reduced to defeat and profound humiliation.

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

It is easy to be faithful to God when everything goes smoothly, when His cause triumphs; but to be equally faithful in the hour of darkness, when, for a time, He permits evil to get the upper hand, when everything that is good and holy seems to be swept away and irrevocably lost — this is hard, but it is the most authentic proof of real love. (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 400).

And from Fr. John A. Kane:

“Repentance (from the Greek: Metanoia) is the mind itself changed and transformed. It is the supernatural conquering the natural. It is the assumption of the spirit of Christ according to the words of St. Paul: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. (Phil. 2:5)  Thus it is evident that penitence, in its entirety, is perennial.

It has not always the same quality, however. It assumes different phases, and in this respect it is like a lifelong grief. The first outbreak of sorrow will subside. The wilderness of desolation will bloom again with fragrant flowers. In resignation to the divine will, the soul will be flooded with light, peace, and joy. Then it will glory in the consciousness that it is suffering with Christ.

Fr. John A. Kane

Fr. John A. Kane, 1912 – 1962

Its sorrow is now more abiding; it has taken root in the very depths of the soul’s consciousness; it clings to the soul far more tenaciously than the first convulsive paroxysm of grief. Without any external evidence, sorrow has silently transfigured the soul’s life, uniting it more fully, more consciously with its God. A calm and permanent sorrow, which at first terrorized the soul, now lovingly embraces it and gradually sinks into its extreme depths, while externally there may have been no sign of its existence.

Penitence acts likewise. The initial expression of grief will cease; the tears will by degrees diminish; the would inflicted by sin will gradually close. The first instinctive feelings of disappointment with self, loathing, and remorse will quiet down and become more reasonable. But the awful realization of the soul’s spiritual state, the one all-absorbing thought of the horror of sin, will be more vivid, immeasurably truer, and will assume a more disciplined form.

And as the interior spirit of repentance grows and at the same time becomes calmer, gentler, and more enlightened, the sense of the meaning of sin will intensify, and the thought of God’s mercy to sinners will rouse the soul’s hope and dispel the mists and shadows of that first anguish of somewhat unrealistic sorrow and remorse. The soul’s powers, thus renewed, will now live their life in the eternal sunshine of the mercy and love of God.

Peter Paul Rubens - Vision of Ezekiel

Peter Paul Rubens – Vision of Ezekiel

To the superficial observer, repentance may then appear to have ceased. It has, however, only sunk deeper into the soul. It is invisible because it has rooted itself in the soul’s innermost being. Its very hiddenness robs it of all external assertiveness. It has thoroughly intermingled with the soul’s deepest source of life, like food completely assimilated by the body.

It has made the soul far more responsive to grace; it has sensitized the soul’s faculties; it has silently and secretly developed the soul’s realization of God’s most wondrous prerogative: mercy;  it has bound the soul irrevocably to Christ and revived the soul’s adoption by Him who “desires not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Cf. Ezek. 33:11) thus it has become the impetus of the soul’s advancement in virtue, the inspiration of its power for good, and its daily shield in its struggle for eternal life.

The Apostle Matthew and Angel (Rembrandt, 1661)

The Apostle Matthew and Angel (Rembrandt, 1661)

The soul now serves God more freely and more lovingly because it realizes the contrast between its past sinfulness and its present holiness, and the marvelous way in which the mercy of God has affected the change. This perennial penitential state, because of its hidden and profound depth, is all the more real. It is a creature of intelligence and calm confidence, not of blind instinct and selfish sorrow for sin. It transcends the natural because it is born of faith.  A pious legend states that even to the day of his martyrdom, St. Peter, whenever he heard the crowing of the cock, wept anew.

The mighty flood of sorrow still flowed that broke forth within him when, on the night of his denial, he went out and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75). In his epistles, penitence is not mentioned. But no other letters are more replete with soul stirring pleas for humility, watchfulness, and fear.

St. Peter

St. Peter

“Be ye subject therefore,” he says, “to every human creature for God’s sake.” (1 Pet. 2:13)  In like manner, ye young men, be subject to the ancients. … Insinuate humility one to another, for God resisteth the proud, but to the humble He giveth grace. Be you humbled, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation, casting all your care upon him, for He hath care of you. Be sober and watch, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5:5-8) “Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:7) “Fear God.” (1 Pet 2:17) “Converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here.”

St. Paul’s letters, on the contrary, are striking for their tone of repentance. The great apostle cannot forget the sins of his youth. “I am,” he says, “the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.” (1 Cor. 15:9)

Saint Paul The Apostle, probably by Valentin de Boulogne

Saint Paul The Apostle, probably by Valentin de Boulogne

“A faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. But for this cause I have obtained mercy, that in me first Christ Jesus might show forth all patience, for the information of them that shall believe in Him unto life everlasting.” (1 Tim. 1:15-16)

Penitence deserving the name, then, is not a mere passing act but a permanent state — a supernatural sorrow not fitfully but continually welling up within us, a condition of soul lasting until death. At no stage of the spiritual life may we dispense with it. It is necessary for the one who has advanced in virtue, as well as for the hardened sinner.

King David Playing the Harp - Gerard van Honthorst

King David Playing the Harp – Gerard van Honthorst

We are reminded of this in Confession. When slight imperfections form the subject matter of our accusation, the priest may well ask us to recall, in a general way, some former mortal sins, if any, or other venial sins, and to include them in our act of contrition. This is done to enliven our sense of sin and to increase our repentance.

Wonderfully retentive is the sinner’s memory. The reason is that the remembrance of past guilt and of God’s grace, which raised the sinner from spiritual death to spiritual life, can coexist in the soul.

God’s own eternity seems to be stamped upon the sinner’s conscience, that he may not be without fear for forgiven sin, that the abiding knowledge of former sin and the punishment thereof may, all his days, wring from him the wail that will finally remove the last vestige of both sin and punishment. “Wash me yet more from my iniquities and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps. 50.4  Ps, 51:2)

St John the Apostle

St John the Apostle – Pieter Paul RUBENS – Flemish (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp) – ca. 1611 / Prado Madrid

As in the physical order, there is no light without its shadow, so , in the moral order, although the light of grace illumines the soul, the dim reflection of the hated past still remains.

The God who assumed our flesh so that sinners might “have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  the God of infinite compassion who came “to seek and to save that which was lost,” (Luke 19:10) would have us ever reflect on our past sinfulness — not to weaken our confidence in His unspeakable mercy and to fill us with despair, but to enliven our sorrow and to strengthen our love of Him, so that “where sin abounded, grace might more abound.” (Cf. Rom. 5:20)

The habitual thought of former sin will invigorate present repentance. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) True self knowledge will beget “the sorrow that is according to God,” which “worketh penance steadfast unto salvation.”

St. Luke The Evangelist - Claude Vignon

St. Luke The Evangelist – Claude Vignon

Thus, the prayer of the publican — “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13) we can never repeat too often; his humility we can never assimilate too well. The yearning to return to the God whom he had outraged, the conscious recognition of his sin, which convinced him that he was utterly unworthy of pardon, justified him fully in the in the sight of the divine majesty. “I say to you, this man went down into his house justified.” (Luke 18:14)

Realizing that we are sinners, we must have a godly, and thus a deep, humble, sincere, perennial, and efficacious sorrow for our sins, a sorrow that forces us to quit the broad, rough road of sin and, with renewed spiritual strength, to advance in the way of God.

If we evade the stern obligation of repentance, we shall be lost. “Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) Sorrow for past sin is the infallible means of avoiding future sin. Penitence is, then, the rock foundation of a virtuous life. We must clothe ourselves with the penitential garb here, if we would escape the terrors of the judgement hereafter. “If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord, who will stand it?” (Ps. 129:3 (RSV = Ps. 130:3)

Cheers

Joe

“If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord, who will stand it?” (Ps. 129:3 (RSV = Ps. 130:3)

 

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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.)

*****

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:
*****

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.”

*****

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?

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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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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Humility … revisited.

Hamachidori“, by Ryutaro Hirota, played by Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra & Kazumasa Watanabe, from the album “Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)

“Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)

“Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)

Been writing about all the NO JOY places in my life, my personal raised bed garden of negativity and resentment. So, where to go from here?  Presumably to a better place, I hope, a place more accepting of my own failings and the differences of opinion and point of view encountered every day. A place where the resolutions I have made about change and dealing with my failings actually get realized in my daily life and not just muttered about when I am talking to myself, by myself.

How about trying to spend more time contemplating my own faults and less time opinionating (is that even a word?) about the faults of others. So what to do about the EGO thing, namely MY ego. No fragile shy retiring flower is THAT ego, just one forged titanium armor plated battle bot, which believes that the best defense is a good offense.

I love my opinions, and I enjoy having them, and I enjoy writing about them in this blog. After all, that’s why I started writing so many posts ago, to get this stuff off my chest and this is all about me, right?  Isn’t it?  You mean it’s not all about me?  (8-(

My opinions are big brain opinions, and require serious judgement, and thinking about what the judgements point to. And where’s the fun in opinions that are flawed and imperfect, no, I’m aiming for “practically perfect in every way”, I want Poppins Opinions! 

Oh, anyone at all can have lots of opinions, even without any thought at all, but where’s the fun in that? I hear all about that in the media every day whenever I bother to turn on the news. Anyone can do that, anytime at all. No, what I want are opinions with real weight and credibility, and these sorts of opinions require some amount of critical thought in order to at least determine if they pass the sniff test, and that is what I’m trying to achieve, right?

If I hope to achieve “respected” opinions, I have to give some consideration of the likelihood of this opinion balloon getting a lift, if this particular batch of hot air has more lift than the surrounding hot air.

No point in judging and articulating exactly what is irritating and frustrating in others, in what they say, in what they do, in making wild ass guesses about motives and intentions if I can’t prove logically and in detail why I’m right about them being ass-hats.

Hairy Roaring EGO!

Hairy Roaring EGO!

Great big hairy legged EGO roaring it’s superiority for the whole world to applaud. This is the driving desire underlying the whole opinion thing, and there is truly “No happiness here for Joe” … DAMN!

Seriously, I just have to chuck all these NO JOY modes of thinking, gotta chuck all these judgemental habits, the resentment of opinions and actions which differ from mine … No Joy HERE! My life depends on this.

Examining my conscience, thinking and listening, and trying to find what is wrong with me and not confirming it by expounding at length on what is wrong with others.

Thinking about anger and humility, thinking about meekness, cultivating detachment from the perceived “rightness” of my own opinion and the turmoil generated by defending that “rightness”. If I was not so attached to my superior position and the need for validation I would feel less anger and resentment (maybe none at all?) when not accorded the adulation I feel I deserve.

Meekness, Humility, aye, there’s the rub … sincerity … being completely honest with oneself about oneself …

So, being completely honest with oneself seems to be rather painful, admitting to myself that in fact I am not “practically perfect in every way” hurts. What to do about this?

Dune, Frank Herbert, 1965

Dune, Frank Herbert, 1965

I am thinking that I have to keep on doing this until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Or, at least keep on doing this until I can simply accept what is and accept the hurt … to paraphrase Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear:

I must not fear the hurt.

Fear of the hurt is the mind-killer.
Fear of the hurt is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear of the hurt.
I will permit my fear of the hurt to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear of the hurt has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

Reference the novel “DUNE” 1965  which I thought was a great book back in the early 70’s, along with Atlas Shrugged,  “The Virtue of Selfishness“, by Ayn Rand,   Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig  and  An Introduction to Zen Budhism by D.T. Suzuki.

Kumo ga Ngareru  Gogo”, Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)

Ah, those were the days … back when I was all knowing and immortal and certain that Man was the pinnacle of all things. Back then I hadn’t yet discovered that “man as the pinnacle” had all kinds of unhappiness attached to it.

But, back to “Only I will remain” … here I come upon a whole new world of effort, because if only “I” remain then where is the room for God? All these problems of judgement and arrogance and resentment and pride start with the foundational problem of “Only I Remain”. God cannot come to us if we are full of ourselves, if I am full of myself God has nowhere to sit in my soul. God is polite and loving and will not force Himself onto a “self” centered soul.

I can’t be God centered if I am self centered. And developing a “self” that is not “self-centered” involves chucking out all the “No Joy” opinions and behaviors of the past. Even the idea of a “Self” which is not “Self-centered” is kind of an oxymoron, right? It’s sort of like that stupid old joke favored by the Lefties about “Military Intelligence”.

Steering a course away from the shoals of “Self-centered” means adapting myself to the mentalities, preferences and needs of others and doing the right thing with good will. Yeah …  doing the right thing with good will … a whole world of struggle and discipline in that little task.

If I give myself a free pass to say whatever comes to mind because “the other” whoever, is wrong, rude, ungrateful, malicious, stupid, they don’t understand, they never learn … then I have already run aground on the reef of my ego.

The excuses I use to heal my self image and justify my bad behaviour are endless. And they are all completely useless in the quest to steer away from being self-centered. The fact is that if I am full of myself God has no room to come into my soul. The fact is that in everything … in essence and in act … in natural and supernatural … I depend on Him and I can do nothing without Him.

I continue to exist, even in my self-centeredness, because He wills that I exist. Divine Charity …

More thinking about humility and meekness … and charity … more thinking …

So far what this is all about is the Wimbledon of Pride, the endless back and forth of pride and the offshoot of pride, anger, and the endless search for approval so necessary to self. So lets see what Father Gabriel has to say about humility.

Charity is the essence of Christian perfection, for charity alone has the power to unite man to God, to his last end. But for us poor, miserable creatures, whom God wishes to raise to union with Himself, is charity the ultimate basis of spiritual life? No. There is something deeper still which is, so to speak, the basis of charity, and that is humility.

Humility is to charity what the foundation is to a building. Digging the foundation is not building the house, yet it is the preliminary, indispensable work, the condition sine qua non. The deeper, and firmer it is, the better the house will be and the greater assurance of stability it will have. Only the fool “built his house upon sand,” with the inevitable consequence of seeing it crumble away very soon. The wise man, on the contrary, “built … upon rock”; storms and winds might threaten, but his house was unshakable because its foundation was solid.

Humility is the firm bedrock upon which every Christian should build the edifice of his spiritual life. “If you wish to lay good foundations,” says St. Teresa of Jesus to her daughters, “each of you must try to be the least of all” That is, you must practice humility. “If you do that … your foundation will be so firmly laid that your Castle will not fall”.  Humility forms the foundation of charity by emptying the soul of pride, arrogance, disordered love of self and one’s own excellence by replacing them with the love of God and our neighbor.

The more humility empties the soul of the vain, proud pretenses of self, the more room there will be for God. “When at last [the spiritual man] comes to be reduced to nothing, which will be the greatest extreme of humility, spiritual union will be wrought between the soul and God.”  (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 301 – 302)

Cheers

Joe

Sitting under a tree, weeping, thinking … praying …

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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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