Life in a small town

Incarnation and Resurrection … reality and fantasy and Happy New Year?

This post was supposed to come out the day after New Years Day but took much longer to write than I anticipated. Sometimes one spends more time thinking about how to say what one is thinking about than in the actual writing of it. Can’t be helped.

The gateway to Belief is flanked and supported by the two pillars of reality, the Incarnation and the Resurrection supporting the lintel of Faith … how can one express such a reality to any person confined to, imprisoned in, secular material reality? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. ( Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio). But how are we to describe color to the blind or music to the deaf?

Much of what we learn in life, what makes up our daily lives and the manner in which we conduct ourselves, at home, at work and in public and private is learned by following the examples and instructions of others. Parents, friends, teachers, people in positions of authority, people we respect as worthy authorities, and even, without much thought, we believe and trust relatively unknown people, characters on social media, and the news are all sources and examples, because “all right minded people know this” but have these sources of our learning acceptable behavior and thinking brought us to joy and happiness or led us into ever deepening wells of despair and distress? Do these examples spark joy?

So what about those “examples” and joy? Or is it more about “examples” and envy? Most of our society, at least here in the West, what was once known as “Christendom”, is deep in the throes of an era of self worship and infatuation with self. Our lives, and the lives of our “examples” are certainly not the lives of saints nor anything remotely resembling saints. And daily our society tells us and reinforces the mantra that man is the measure of all things, and this is OK. Joy is found in a new trip, a new car, a new girlfriend or boyfriend, a faster computer, a new dress or suit, a new house or a new husband … a nice coffee and a couple of donuts? Really? Joy?

It’s OK to be “bad”, even fun to be “bad”, to “reward” ourselves with bouts and binges of “bad” behavior for sticking to some middling good behavior for some arbitrarily short period of time, some New Year’s resolution which lasted for a week, maybe, if we really, really, tried hard. “Bad” in this context refers to behavior lacking in “virtue” and in a cultural twist, the 7 deadly sins have been “rehabilitated” into acceptable and perhaps in some cases even desirable behaviors in a self gratification centered life style. Most lately we see Narcissism being raised to the exalted state of a “secular virtue”. And where did Love, as in self sacrificing Love go in this blizzard of self worship?

We were created and called to strive to be good, “as our heavenly Father is good”.  We do know what is good and what is not in the same way we know what is quality and what is not. It is written in our DNA, some call it “Natural Law”. Yes, the God deniers are legion and yet none would exist absent God the Creator calling them into existence with love and keeping them in existence with an even greater love, imprinting us with the Natural Law at conception and calling us endlessly home to Him.

Examples …

These days we are all like riders on a train thinking that reality is contained in the vista dome car of our little lives, looking out through the windows of our screens at whatever Potemkin Village our “Examples” care to show us, with no awareness of the rest of the train, nor where it came from nor where it is headed and how it all ends. And who are our “examples”? Justin? Donald? The beautiful people of “The 5”, of the Golden Globe awards? Whichever celeb has risen to the top of the Social Media pond this week?

At the very pinnacle of the man-centered universe are our real examples, right? The intellectual giants of modern academia, the self declared “Brights”, whose wisdom we are expected to accept and implement in our daily lives. We are talking about the academics, authors, journalists, and media stars who are arguably the shapers of what matters to modern enlightened society, our attempt at “culture”.

We have been obediently marching down this road at least since the French Revolution, a watershed event in modern European history that began in 1789 and ended in the late 1790’s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. And that road, that “road to perdition” has led us inexorably to what we have today. Looking around you, can anyone believe that this is the best of all worlds, the realized daily experience of our society following the wisdom of the “Brights” for the last 200 or so years?

This road, this man centered “road to perdition” has lead us into 200 years of more savage death than all of previous human history combined. In a mere 2 centuries we have flipped over our whole system of beliefs, from a culture of life, focused on the seasons, on growing, on harvest, on children as necessary and even desirable, on large nuclear families and religions folks believed in, had true faith in, faith in the divine, in God, now flipped over to a culture of death and destruction ever more deeply buried in euphemism and baffle-gab but clearly death focused in a most horrifying way and we have much more faith in government and our alleged leaders and their civil servants than medieval man ever had in the church. And we think the Medievals were gullible superstitious peasants … what does that make us?

Our New Society, our “Enlightened” modern culture, with man at the center, at the pinnacle, finds itself enslaved to our self gratifying passions. Are we not enslaved by anxiety, sadness and obsessions, by hatred, fornication, and envy, enslaved by thoughts of jealousy, rage, and death? We have gotten so desperate that we turn to thoughts of suicide and abortion, for distraction we turn to many forms of sinful sexuality, we are oppressed and enslaved by divisions in our families, and by harmful friendships, and in our despair we turn to every sort of emotional fantasy, and spells, and rituals, and strange beliefs in primitive pre-Christian paganism and even to witchcraft, and the occult masquerading as New Age Gnosticism, and pride ourselves in being “spiritual”.

I recently read a list of the 50 top atheists at the “Best Schools” web site. The BS site is all about the best of the best in academia and one gets the impression that the writers consider “atheism” to be one of the hallmarks of an intelligent human being, in fact it seems at first blush that philosophical academia and journalism is peopled exclusively with atheists and anyone who is not an atheist is somewhat primitive and “unsophisticated”. And yet, we see in these “Elysian Fields” nothing but the promotion of death.

Now, Elysium, also called Elysian Fields or Elysian Plain, in Greek mythology, was originally the paradise to which heroes on whom the gods conferred immortality were sent. It has come to refer to any promised desirable future to which we are being steered by our “betters”. But all we have seen in reality is death and death and more death, death industrialized and raised to a higher order of efficiency with “modern tools and technologies. And while there has been a soundly demonstrated efficiency at killing and destruction in our secular humanist culture, not one of these elite thinkers have ever created life, except by the usual human procreative way of the last hundred millennia or so … 1 man and 1 woman intimately exchanging fluid. None can claim any positive knowledge or origins and virtually everything they claim is as unprovable as the claims of any of the billions of believers.

The “no god” theory is simply another hypothesis upon which many academics, authors and journalists have built prestigious and lucrative careers, another sterling example of BS baffles. No ordinary person can hope to have even a minor meaningful conversation with these “Brights”, we are “not in their league”. And in human terms they are certainly charter members of the cultural elite, and it is interesting to note that “in human terms” it is certainly difficult, perhaps even impossible, to fruitfully imagine how “a god” might work.

And certainly none of these opinion leaders can even begin to offer any reasonable certainty beyond the very same certainty that is on offer throughout the Social Media universe. “All right thinking persons know this to be true”, right? The difference between them and us is the difference between a Tweet and real blog post … anyone can Tweet but it takes sheer genius to write thousands of words on subjects and in ways of writing that only another genius can understand. And they all seem to inhabit a “swamp of sorrows” with no joy and no future after a brief flickering life. What’s the point?

So then, what example are we to take to heart, what example are we to follow to gain peace and happiness, surely one of the primary desires of all human beings, even atheists. Well, let’s look at some people first who even the “no god” crowd would certainly agree led good lives. Let’s look at some saints. Are their lives a good example to take to heart when deciding how to live our own lives.

I believe that the study of inspired writings, that is in Scripture, and the accounts of the lives of blessed men and women, that we find a living breathing example of how to live godly lives. If we devote ourselves to trying to imitate the lives of these saintly people then no matter which virtue we seem to be lacking we can find it in Scripture and the lives of the saints, like finding the particular medicine in God’s own clinic for the particular ailment that is troubling us at that moment.

St. Joseph, my name saint, teaches chastity and firm self discipline, Job teaches endurance, so absolutely necessary to persevere on the godly path in this world of distraction and diversion, St. Augustine teaches repentance and humility, and insight into the perennial human condition, even of the highly intelligent. I have found over the last 25 years or so that St. Augustine’s “Confessions” continues to speak to me like a personal letter from a much respected older brother … someone whose example is truly worthy of following and emulating. What did Saint Augustine have to say about GOD?

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For who is Lord but the Lord? Or who is God save our God? Most high, most excellent, most mighty, most omnipotent; most merciful, and most just; most hidden, and most near; most beautiful, and most strong, constant, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; renewing all things, yet bringing old age upon the proud, without their realizing it; ever working, yet ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; supporting, filling, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and perfecting; still seeking, though you lack nothing.

Thou lovest, but without agitation; art jealous, yet free from anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, but not Thy purpose; embrace what Thou findest, yet didst never truly lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet demanding a profit. (Men give to you more than required and) Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe (hoping to put you in their debt) ; and who hath aught that is not Thine? (all is your gift)

Thou payest (those) debts, yet owest us nothing; remittest (forgive) debts, losing nothing. And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? Or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? (Is all this that I have said enough? Can anyone who speaks of you ever say enough?)

Saint Augustine. “The Confessions of St. Augustine” ( 1 pp. 2-3 ).

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And where did Love, as in self sacrificing Love, go in this blizzard of self worship? I have been reading St. Augustine off and on for 25 years, he has much to say about Love. And again, I have been reading meditations daily from a very special book for three years now.  Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.Dwrote a book Divine Intimacy,  Meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year”.  Where is Love? This is what Fr. Gabriel has to say about the reality of the Incarnation:

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God is Love; everything He does, both in Himself and outside of Himself, is a work of love. Being the infinite good, He cannot love anything outside of Himself from the desire of increasing His happiness, as is the case with us; in Himself He possesses all. Therefore, in God, to love, and hence to will creatures, is simply to extend, outside of Himself, His infinite good, His perfections, and to communicate to others His own Being and felicity.

Bonum diffusivum sui, St. Thomas says. Thus God loved man with an eternal love and, loving him, called him into existence, giving him both natural and supernatural life. through love, God not only brought man out of nothing, but chose him and elevated him to the state of divine sonship, destining him to participate in His own intimate life, in His eternal beatitude. This was the first plan of the immense charity of God with regard to man.

But when man fell into sin, God, who had created him by an act of love, willed to redeem him by an even greater act of love.  See then how the mystery of the Incarnation presents itself to us as the supreme manifestation of God’s exceeding charity towards man. “By this hath the charity of God appeared toward us, because God hath sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we may live by Him. In this charity … He hath first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4-9.10).

After having given man natural life, after having destined him for the supernatural life, what more could He give him than to give Himself, His Word made flesh, for his salvation.

God is Love. It is not surprising, therefore, that the story of His benevolent action on behalf of man is all a poem of love, and of merciful love. The first stanza of this poem was our eternal predestination to the vision and to the fruition of the intimate life of God. The second stanza relates, in an even more touching way, the sublimity of His mercy: the mystery of the Incarnation.

The sin of our first parents had destroyed God’s original plan for our elevation to a supernatural state; we had forfeited our claim, and could never atone for the sin. God could have pardoned all, but it was becoming to His holiness and infinite justice to exact an adequate satisfaction; man was absolutely incapable  of providing this. Then the most sublime work of God’s mercy was accomplished: one Person of the Blessed Trinity, the second, came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Behold the Word, God’s only-begotten Son, “who for us men and for our salvation, descended from heaven and became incarnate” (Credo).

The merciful love of God thus attains its highest manifestation: if there is no ingratitude and misery greater than sin, there can be no love greater than that of Him who inclines over so much ingratitude and abjection to restore it to its primal splendor. God did this, not by the intervention of a prophet or the most sublime of the angels; He did it personally: all three Persons of THE Blessed Trinity acted in the Incarnation, the end of which was to unite a human nature with the Person of Word. In this mystery, the immensity of the love and mercy of God for man appears and shines forth.

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So we find in Scripture, specifically in Malachi 3, The Coming Day of Judgment:

1 Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold, he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. 2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller’s herb: 3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. 4 And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years. 5 And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts.

And the thought, the belief that we can deny God … that if we say so then it must be so … is just insane … as C.S. Lewis said: ““A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ― C.S. Lewis, “The Problem of Pain”.  Our culture, our enlightened society has bought into the lie that by denying God we can get away with robbing Him.

6 For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 For from the days of your fathers you have departed from my ordinances, and have not kept them: Return to me, and I will return to you, saith the Lord of hosts. And you have said: Wherein shall we return? 8 Shall a man afflict God, for you afflict me. And you have said: Wherein do we afflict thee? in tithes and in first fruits. 9 And you are cursed with want, and you afflict me, even the whole nation of you. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, saith the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance. 11 And I will rebuke for your sakes the devourer, and he shall not spoil the fruit of your land: neither shall the vine in the field be barren, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord of hosts.

13 Your words have been unsufferable to me, saith the Lord. 14 And you have said: What have we spoken against thee? You have said: He laboureth in vain that serveth God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts? 15 Wherefore now we call the proud people happy, for they that work wickedness are built up, and they have tempted God and are preserved. 

But all will be remembered, nothing is forgotten, not one little jot … all is inscribed in The Book of Remembrance:

16 Then they that feared the Lord, spoke every one with his neighbour: and the Lord gave ear, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord, and think on his name. 17 And they shall be my special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment: and I will spare them, as a man spareth his son that serveth him. 18 And you shall return, and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked: and between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.

So we come to the end of part 1 … next post maybe I will touch on the Resurrection, or maybe not until Easter … if the Resurrection is not all true then Christianity is an evil lie, the Cross without redemption, and the god deniers are right about everything and this really is the best of all worlds possible under the rule of man as the measure of all things.

Enough for now.

Cheers

Joe

The Angelus, JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (Museo_de_Orsay, 1857-1859)

 

Peasants …

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Christmas Holiday 2019 …

Revisiting posts from Christmas’s Past, to remind myself that the past was not all gloom and doom even if it feels that way this week. Wishing and praying that everyone had a Very Merry Christmas, all my friends and acquaintances (and apparently a 100 or so followers and a few dozen other daily search engine hits). Notoriety of the really small potatoes variety on the scale of things on the web, where The Donald gets thousands of hits with a poorly thought out ten word tweet, sigh, everyone is a one hit wonder these days.

Except, of course, the Dems’  who are the acknowledged centre of the known universe (after Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada). It is rather crowded at the center and those occupying that enviable position are perennially front and center in their long running endless impeachment soap opera drama, or in Canada the endless trashing of the evil Albertan Global Warming engine which the progressive media happily give endless hours of coverage without even a minimum of concern about facts and reality on the ground. Ah, such joy to live out one’s days in a drugged haze of self worshiping fantasy. Just for the record here in our small town we had about four inches of new fallen Global Warming to clean up our muddy street and make everything look pristine and perfect for a few hours.

I do hope that your Christmas has so far been as peaceful and blessed as ours has been here among the western frozen chosen … the happy (Any Small Town, Flyover Country ) Bagginses of the Plains. Currently listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRXrqURyRy0 which is 3 hours of easy listening Christmas themed musical compilation. Also have a YouTube fireplace running an endless loop of a 30 second fire place bite. These are the best kind of fireplace really, which I can display on my 60″ flat screen monstrosity in the “living” room giving me all the aesthetic benefits, sight and sound, of a cheerful fireplace scene with none of the downsides attendant in cutting wood, and smoke, and cleaning up the incessant ash piles, and the inevitable buildup in the chimney.

After the steady grind of the worst year we ever had in business with larger than usual losses and many deaths, illnesses, and sufferings amongst folks we know and also some we don’t know but rather know of,  we here ended up having one normal week of business instead of a Christmas rush.  The first “normal” business week since May at the end of which the main street construction project destroyed access to our store until mid October. Our latest “Annus Horribilus”  ended with a good week leading up to Christmas day both in the business and in the family. We celebrated Christmas Day with a small gathering of close family and feasted on a decidedly non traditional fish chowder and rare steak. Our youngest family member is now coming up to 25 years old so we were spared the happy chaos of youngsters rowdily enjoying their holiday festivities.

Except for a short visit with other relates in our nation’s capital via Face-time, things were mercifully quiet and restrained here. We enjoyed much quiet commentary on the quality of the meal, the nice music and how mild the weather has been this year and how enjoyable everything was. Ironically, my vision of Christmas was for many years something along the lines of the song by The Chieftains – “St. Stephen’s Day Murders” featuring Elvis Costello.

These days my Christmas is more along the lines of this offering by Yo-Yo Ma, and Alison Krauss performing “The Wexford Carol”,   or, this song, written and sung by Jackson Browne, “On The Side of the Rebel Jesus”. If we seriously lived the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ, it would be a different world … I love this take on the Holy Season … living in a thoroughly pagan society, and heartsick at the suffering that flourishes everywhere in our nominally christian, capitalist countries. The numbers of homeless and hungry, victimized and disenfranchised powerless little people in both Canada and the US should be a source of shame to every person but instead … well, “I’m all right Jack.

INGSOC logo from 1984

INGSOC logo from 1984

Today is our first day back to work after a very welcome break. It is overcast with sunny periods and not too cold, a nice mild -15 degrees Celsius, which around these parts is almost shorts and sandals weather. You probably know that I read a lot of blogs. There’s a lot of good, provocative, and perceptive writing going on in the blogosphere now. I wish I had the time to read everything. Of course, blogs, like all things resulting from human activity, are subject to Sturgeon’s law, that of being 90% crap, and many who try to blog either become bored and quit, or have little to say which would be of interest to anyone other than their immediate circle of friends (a sort of “Facebook” post writ large).

But with so many people trying, even among the residual 10% of non-crap there are now thousands of people writing good content. And some of that good content I have alluded to in previous posts, most recently on the unlikelihood of any sort of cultural reform going forward in our society, and the stark reality of the passing of Christendom.

These days, most of what passes for entertainment falls into the twin categories of Dystopian fiction, or thinly disguised, and often not so thinly disguised, pornography. Observed at arms length, we as a society, revel in blood, oppression, violence and sex of various colors and species in all our imaginary distractions. And most dystopian fiction of the last 70 years or so centres around the eventuation of a godless totalitarian state enforcing draconian social control measures to limit and control the proles, the “citizens” and fashioning those organic resources into a more or less compliant state asset for the realization of inhuman objectives to “protect us for our own good”.

I am in mind of “That Hideous Strength”“1984” or “Soylent Green” or “Logan’s Run”,  or “The Omega Man”, or the more recent remake “I Am Legend” with Will Smith in the lead role, and others really too numerous to list here. it seems to be a frequently recurring theme in literature, film and most recently in online MMOGs.

I have referenced Wikipedia links for information on the above stories and movies with a very precise objective in mind. They often have good information but in using the Wiki one must always keep in mind their obvious, and very thorough Atheistic bias in going to great lengths to  Bulverize any reference to the divine in their information items.

The Wiki is perhaps one of the most obvious poster children for the “Material Naturalist” world view. I wrote at length about that world view and it’s goals and ambitions here and here. Those posts might provide an interesting backgrounder to why we are now living in a real life dystopean drama. All the heroes in these modern religious myths are always Lone Wolf protagonists who rise up and take action against the monolithic state apparatus, by use of violence and subversion, and the mass audience for this product are the very people who are currently the “oppressed proles” in our current “dystopean” society.

One of my recent posts details why there will never be a real life uprising along the lines of all the admittedly entertaining fictional alternate realities with which our current crop of “bread and circus” addicts distract themselves. The primary plank of the Material Naturalist world view is that there is no God, that everything in the universe is purely and simply the result of random biochemical processes and survival of the fittest, according to the so-called “Theory of Evolution” courtesy of the Universal Church of Charles Darwin.

There is no God, we are all an accident of evolution, there is no point to anything except return on investment, no moral values, no virtues, no good or evil outside the context of profit and power. Everything which we perceive is the result of random chance working on the basic inorganic constituents of the observable universe, and when we die that’s it, that’s all she wrote.

There is no soul, nothing spiritual, no intrinsic value in any human life beyond the market value of our chemical constituents and/or the possible net positive value we can add to the economy by our efforts during our lifetime, said lifetime to be optimized in relation to our productivity. And beyond this world, relating to the unimaginably complex and numerous possibilities of “randomness”, there is the assumed but undiscovered possibility of endless numbers of more or less evolved “aliens” also living the same pointless random existence.

And the possibility of  “intelligent life” (i.e. creatures who could appreciate Bach)  is unquestioned … BUT, “real science” would say otherwise. I “borrowed” the next few paragraphs from a David Warren post from 2014 titled “Stardust”:

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“For if life truly “evolves” by happenstance, as the Darwinoids do vainly preach, something approaching to human smarts would have appeared here and there many millions of years before us, wherever conditions were favourable. Indeed, given the speed at which humans suddenly “evolved” here, we could ourselves have appeared on Earth, millions of years before we actually did.

David Warren

David Warren

We are extremely recent, in geological terms; have been here less than a second, if the history of the planet were scaled down to one day. We’ve come a fair technological distance ourselves, since the last Earth ice age, a mere twelve thousand years ago, and the pace appears to be accelerating. Imagine what we could do given, oh, another million years, or hundred million. I daresay we’d finally figure how to get out and about.

The Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, did this thought experiment before 1950. He realized that we did not need expensive, incredibly sophisticated tools, to detect extraterrestrial life. If it was there, it would already have got here. He reasoned that, even if it could not defeat lightspeed, a sufficiently advanced material culture could send self-reproducing probes to colonize its home galaxy in a blink of exogeological time, then leapfrog galaxy to galaxy in all directions. It would transmit messages that could not be missed.

Any mathematical extrapolation of the number of planets in the universe that could, possibly, “evolve” life, is defeated by Fermi’s Paradox. The more possibilities there are, the less likely it has ever happened. But of course, physics advances, and we now have a second indefatigable argument against ET. It developed from the “anthropic principle” in cosmology, which holds, tautologically enough, that the structure or “design” of the universe must be compatible with the existence of the conscious sapient creatures who observe it from within. (We would be they.)

Over the last few decades we have come to understand that life on earth absolutely depends on such an extraordinary number of extremely fine conditions, operating together at levels of coincidence that so stretch the odds, that the chance of finding another inhabited planet — even within something so large as our universe in space and time — is inconsiderably remote. Or to put this another way, it appears dead obvious that the purpose of the universe was to make us possible. It would follow that our lives must be in some strange way — beyond any passing subjective enthusiasm — worth living. For Someone went to a lot of trouble to put us here.”

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Jesus Christ, AD 30

Jesus Christ, AD 30

The Real Hero of OUR dystopean drama already rose up more than two millennia ago. The Rebel Jesus spread revolutionary teachings against the values, powers and things of the material world, the things that mattered a great deal to the authorities of His day. And they murdered Him, though there was “no crime in Him”, as Pilot declared. And the Light shone in the darkness and the darkness knew Him not.

Of all the works done by God in time and outside of Himself, the redemptive Incarnation of the Word is the greatest. Always we must be remembering that the vast universe which the materialists are so impressed with as “all there is” was formed in an instant in a “nothing” that GOD Himself had to create by withdrawing some tiny portion of his timeless Presence.

A Presence without beginning and without end drew back a portion of Himself and within that new “nothing” He created time and the material universe and all that developed in it after the Big Bang. The Incarnation of the Word is the greatest work because it has for an end not a mere creature, however sublime and unrepeatable by man that may be, but GOD Himself, the eternal Word who, in time, assumed a human nature and a material human body in this  material universe.

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

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

It is the greatest work because it is the supreme manifestation of the merciful love of GOD, and the work which above all others glorifies Him; and it glorifies Him precisely in reference to charity, that is love, which is His very essence. It is also the greatest of His works because of the immense good it brings to all mankind. The salvation, sanctification, and eternal happiness of the whole human race depends wholly upon the Incarnation of the Word, upon Jesus, the Incarnate Word.   (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 80).

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God the Father “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, (before time existed) that we should be holy and unspotted. … Who hath predestined us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself. … In whom we have redemption … the remission of sins according to the riches of His grace. … GOD hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.”   (Letter of Paul to the Ephesians 1, 4.5.7 – 2.5.6)

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Unlike the important things of this world GOD’s greatest work takes place in obscurity and silence, and under the most humble and most human conditions. Mary and Joseph are forced by civil authority to leave their humble home and to undertake a long journey. They travel on foot like the rest of the poor, in spite of Mary’s advanced pregnancy. They do not object and they make no complaint, but obey with promptness and simplicity. They are commanded by a pagan emperor, and they go, trusting in GOD’s Providence; GOD knows, GOD will provide; “To them that love GOD all things work together unto good.” (Rom 8, 28).

It is GOD’s will that His greatest work be accomplished here, in a wretched stable, in utter poverty, and Mary and Joseph embrace His will. They are humble and therefore docile to the will of GOD with complete humility. And GOD, as is His custom, made use of what was humble and despicable in the eyes of the world to accomplish the greatest of His works: the Incarnation of the Word.

And the winds howl, and the waters roughen, and Christ, the Incarnate Word, has come and is always coming. It is something to think about, for no matter how you look at it — whether you are a traditional Christian (there can be no other kind), or  a perfectly conventional, orthodox material Narcissist — the message of Christmas is not, never was, and by its meaning never will be, “all about us.”  It is all about everything that is not us, as the Lord said to St. Catherine of Sienna, “I am GOD, You are not”, and that GOD loves us all with an absolute everlasting LOVE … He loved us from before time was and will love us so for all of eternity. So Trust Him … and come home, to the Father who loves you no matter what.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night…

Cheers

Joe

This Too Shall PassAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course, the ever relevant “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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Life in a small town

Assumptions … authority can be wrong …

I have remarked in previous posts on the prevalence of politically correct fantasy over truth, over empirical reality … in these days we find ourselves living in a culture and society where keeping control is more important than truth, than reality. Over decades I have come to believe that a truth can always be proven, a truth can be defended, even against a vigorous attack. But a lie will not hold up to scrutiny.

Today, in the mainstream media, social media, state information organs and even in our churches we are witness to radical attempts on the part of many established authorities to vilify, demean and silence anyone, literally by any means possible, who dares to disagree with them. Anyone who is not advocating the current social narrative in lockstep with the talking heads and all the suits at the photo-ops is publicly ridiculed as (pick your favorite belittling and denigrating anathema, ban, curse, execration, malediction, malison, ).

Should you have the slightest doubt of the truth of this just take a cursory look at what passes for political, municipal, or even social dialogue as reported in all media in Canada and the good old U.S.A. today, eh? It’s a no brainer … anyone with even 1 neuron firing and 1 ounce of integrity would have to acknowledge the scarcity of polite consideration for the views of others or honest “good will” efforts to understand anyone who doesn’t agree with us.

So, continuing with my illustration of the gulf between what TROTKU (the rest of the known universe) spouts and believes about Christianity and what the Truth is, here is some more about bearing one another’s burdens.  I continue to be a little surprised when I discover how many heterodox modernist practitioners and followers still claim to be “christian” and even “catholic” when their daily performance is light years away from what Christ’s Truth was all about.

There were still traces of orthodox tradition to be found amongst the general population in “Western Christendom” up into the early 20th century and those Truths and Traditions are still practiced today in a few isolated locations on the planet. But the modernist progressives have made huge strides in establishing the kingdom of The Prince of This World in our “enlightened” 21st century. The Mystical Body Of Christ has been pretty well subverted by the mystical body of Antichrist over most of the planet in our day.

But what have we discarded in our “rush to belong”, our drive to “get with the times”, to “get a life”, as my family members and acquaintances are fond of remarking when they are feeling polite. Here is a sample:

If charity and grace unite us to Christ in such intimate and vital relations, it is evident that we must live this union, first with Him who is our Head, and then with our brethren, who like us have also been engrafted into Christ. Hence there will be a supernatural affection which will bind us to one another and make us one heart and one soul, ready to labor and suffer  for one another, to help and sustain one another.

`Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep` (St. Paul, Rom 12,15), Thus the Apostle teaches us to share the joys and sorrows, the cares and anxieties of others as if they were our own. They are, in fact, our own, because they are the joys, cares, and anxieties of that one Mystical Body of Christ to which we belong and which, therefore, is ours.

… Bearing one another’s burdens also means enduring the faults of others calmly and kindly. Faults are the inevitable consequence of human limitations. “The Imitation of Christ” tells us, “what a man cannot amend in himself  or others, he must bear with patience till GOD ordains otherwise” (I, 16, 1). (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 778-779)

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin, also known as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D., was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun who is widely venerated in modern times. She is popularly known as “The Little Flower of Jesus”, or simply “The Little Flower.”  In the last months of her life, she wrote “Now I know that true charity consists in bearing all my neighbor’s defects, in not being surprised at mistakes, but in being edified at the smallest virtues” (St, 10)

And yet another lesson which has fallen out of favor:

For Whom the Bell Tolls
by
John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne (1572 – 1631)

John Donne (1572 – 1631) was an English writer and poet.  As a Catholic in a time when that denomination was illegal in England, he endured constant prejudice and harassment and was ultimately forced into joining the Anglican church by King James I. Early in his life, John earned a reputation as a playboy and spendthrift, but at 25, he fell in love with Anne More. Despite her father’s scorn, the couple married, had a dozen children, and John became a devoted—if not financially successful—family man.

His career forays included law, diplomatic service, and church leadership, but he is best remembered as the founder of a group called the “metaphysical” poets. Popular during his lifetime, then dismissed for many years as inferior because it was so different from other poetry of that time, John’s work is today considered brilliant and his influence on literature legendary among some who don’t get their daily reality from social  media, but he continues in obscurity amongst most modernists including some allegedly highly intelligent intellectuals and high leaders of church and state.

Well, I suppose that is about enough for one day …  just now I am thinking of a fictional “man of honor”, Ned Stark.

Ned Stark by Sean Bean

In A Game of Thrones (1996), Ned Stark is introduced as the virtuous and honorable patriarch of House Stark and the father of six children. The moral compass of the story, he is content to remain far from courtly intrigues and is unwavering in his view of loyalty and honor.

His family name, Stark, serves as an indication of his resistance to moral compromise, but his boundaries are increasingly tested over the course of the novel. Finding himself a key player in the escalating political intrigue of King’s Landing, Ned struggles as his own sense of honor draws him into corrupt goings-on at court.

Sean Bean said of the character, “he’s a good man trying to do his best in the middle of this corruption, he’s a fish out of water, he’s used to being up north in Winterfell where people are pretty straight and pragmatic, and he comes down to a place where people are playing games and backstabbing … he’s a principled man who tries to hold things together. This is a journey that he makes where ultimately his loyalty causes his downfall” … and death.

I thought the book and the show were pretty good right up to the early point where Lord Stark is executed. Things got too real for me at that point as both the show and the book abandoned any semblance of morality in the interest of the corruption of viewers and readers. The despair which the series invoked and the plot direction which kept it popular with viewers is a symptom of our cultural and societal moral turpitude.

Moral turpitude is a legal concept in the United States and prior to 1976, in Canada, that refers to “an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community”. In 1976, the Canadian government and legal community decided that no behaviour gravely violates the accepted standards of our communities and opted for another path of subjective relativism in which “it all depends”.

The precise definition of a crime that involves moral turpitude isn’t always clear, but in the U.S.A., the following crimes are always considered crimes of moral turpitude:

  • murder;
  • voluntary manslaughter;
  • rape;
  • statutory rape;
  • domestic violence;
  • prostitution;
  • fraud and crimes where fraud is an element
  • all theft offenses;
  • blackmail;
  • malicious destruction of property;
  • arson;
  • alien smuggling;
  • harboring a fugitive;
  • bribery;
  • perjury

Of course, in Canada, “It all depends…” on geographical location, on age, on employment status, on political allegiance, on social status, on voting record, on gender or lack of same, on language, on religious beliefs, on victim-hood, on racial profile, … whatever …

Cheers

Joe

Winter Is Coming …

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Life in a small town

Assumptions … onward from August 25th …

Lately I have been spending a lot more time thinking about my moral life in Christ and a lot less time writing. On August 25th I posted thus: “So, imagine a universe where authority can be wrong. Sometimes, a person in authority can be mistaken. A person who believes a lie, and who repeats the lie, does not do so out of malicious intent! And yet, he is repeating a lie! Sometimes people and authorities believe things that are later proven to be untrue and they act on those things with a clear conscience because it’s “for our own good”. If you forced these folks to take a lie detector test they would pass because they actually do not know it is a lie.

There are books, books written as recently as a few years years ago, books you can still find in the library, which include untruths. Did those writers lie to you? No, they’d told the truth, as they’d known it. But future generations discovered that their concept of the truth had been very limited, and knowledge is still advancing. And that is just the mild form of misinformation.”

And at the time I wrote this I was thinking in terms of various secular authorities and governing bodies and so on, but I realized, thinking about this, after finishing my routine morning meditation, and going about my daily duties, that the “wrong authority” meme applies equally well to the popular image of “religion” as delusional, superstitious, and as some Communist “thinkers” have expressed: “The Opiate of the Masses”.

And I also thought about some popular notions regarding “the Inquisition”, “Burn the Witch!”, and so on including categorizing “The Crusades” as militaristic aggression on the part of European culture against “innocent” Muslim nations, all of which are frequently cited as “reasonable proof” that religion, and more specifically Christian or even Catholic religion is a load of mind control malarkey.

Our accepted “authorities” have done a pretty good job of selling these mis-truths about religion to the general proletariat in the interest of maintaining control and rationalizing their social policy choices and directions and coincidentally, their power base. So, as previously posted “imagine a universe where authority can be wrong“. Imagine a situation where all those “assumptions” about Christianity are just … well … wrong. Imagine.

So I am just going to quote from my meditation book … a message shining a light on what Christianity is … in reality …:

“1. Everyone has some burden, more or less heavy, to bear: physical or moral weakness, the press of duties and responsibilities, fatigue or other troubles which weigh on his shoulders. Everyone feels the need of a friendly hand to help him carry this weight. This hand should be held out to him in fraternal charity, which for the love of GOD, knows how to be all things to all men. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ” (St. Paul, Gal 6,2)

A Christian knows that he  is not isolated, but is a member of a unique body, the Mystical Body of Christ. “So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (St. Paul, Rom 12,5). This knowledge of his solidarity with the brethren makes a Christian live, not enclosed in the tiny circle of his own interests, but with his heart open to the needs and interests of others. The mystery of our incorporation in Christ is more than an individual fact; by its very nature, it is a social fact. Incorporation in Christ by grace and charity connotes reciprocal incorporation among brethren, like branches of a vine, which, sprung from the same stock, are so closely united one to another that they live, grow, and develop together.

Love for Christ is the vital expression of our union with Him; the closer this union becomes, the more our love increases; so too, fraternal charity is the vital expression of our reciprocal union with the brethren in Christ, to such a point that if this charity were not living and operative, we would have to say that our union in Christ and with Christ is very weak or even absolutely null.” (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 778)

That’s definitely not the popular image of a “Catholic”. The world “KNOWS” that Catholics are the real bad guys… hmmm.

Enough for now … more in the next post and a parting jest:

 

Cheers

Joe

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Christmas Holiday 2018 …

Wishing and praying for a Very Merry Christmas for all my friends and acquaintances (and apparently a 100 or so followers and a few dozen other daily search engine hits).

Really small potatoes on the scale of things on the web, where The Donald gets thousands of hits with a poorly thought out ten word tweet, sigh, everyone is a one hit wonder these days.

I do hope that your Christmas has so far been as peaceful and blessed as ours has been here among the western frozen chosen … the happy (Any Small Town, Flyover Country ) Bagginses of the Plains.

Currently listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRXrqURyRy0 which is 3 hours of easy listening Christmas themed musical compilation. I also que up my Netflix fireplace video.

These are the best kind of fireplace really, which I can display on my 60″ flat screen monstrosity in the “living” room giving me all the esthetic benefits, sight and sound, of a cheerful fireplace scene with none of the downsides attendant in cutting wood, and smoke, and cleaning up the incessant ash piles, and the inevitable buildup in the chimney.

After the steady grind of a less than stellar year with many deaths, illnesses, and sufferings amongst folks we know and also some we don’t know but rather know of,  we here ended up having one of the best Christmases I can remember.

Our latest “Annus Horribilus”  ended with an excellent Christmas season both in the business and in the family. We celebrated Christmas Day with a gathering of family and feasted on a turkey and trimmings very nearly as large as the one in the Rockwell painting at the side. Our youngest family member is now coming up to 24 years old so we were spared the happy chaos of youngsters rowdily enjoying their holiday festivities.

Except for a short visit with other relates in our nation’s capital via Facetime, things were mercifully quiet and restrained here. We enjoyed much quiet commentary on the quality of the meal, the perfect turkey, the nice music and how mild the weather has been this year and how enjoyable everything was. Ironically, my vision of Christmas was for many years something along the lines of the song by The Chieftains – “St. Stephen’s Day Murders” featuring Elvis Costello.

These days my Christmas is more along the lines of this offering by Yo-Yo Ma, and Alison Krauss performing “The Wexford Carol”,   or, this song, written and sung by Jackson Browne, “On The Side of the Rebel Jesus”. If we seriously lived the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ, it would be a different world … I love this take on the Holy Season … living in a thoroughly pagan society, and heartsick at the suffering that flourishes everywhere in our nominally christian, capitalist countries. The numbers of homeless and hungry, victimized and disenfranchised powerless little people in both Canada and the US should be a source of shame to every person but instead … well, “I’m all right Jack.

Today is our fourth consecutive day off courtesy of Christmas falling in the middle of the week and a very welcome break it is having been limited to two days off at a stretch for most of the previous 8 years. It is overcast and snowing ever so lightly now and not too cold, a nice mild -15 degrees Celsius, which around these parts is almost shorts and sandals weather.

INGSOC logo from 1984

INGSOC logo from 1984

You probably know that I read a lot of blogs. There’s a lot of good, provocative, and perceptive writing going on in the blogosphere now. I wish I had the time to read everything.

Of course, blogs, like all things resulting from human activity, are subject to Sturgeon’s law, that of being 90% crap, and many who try to blog either become bored and quit, or have little to say which would be of interest to anyone other than their immediate circle of friends (a sort of “Facebook” post writ large).

But with so many people trying, even among the residual 10% of non-crap there are now thousands of people writing good content. And some of that good content I have alluded to in previous posts, most recently on the unlikelihood of any sort of cultural reform going forward in our society, and the stark reality of the passing of Christendom.

These days, most of what passes for entertainment falls into the twin categories of Dystopian fiction, or thinly disguised, and often not so thinly disguised, pornography.

Observed at arms length, we as a society, revel in blood, oppression, violence and sex of various colors and species in all our imaginary distractions.

And most dystopian fiction of the last 70 years or so centres around the eventuation of a godless totalitarian state enforcing draconian social control measures to limit and control the proles, the “citizens” and fashioning those organic resources into a more or less compliant state asset for the realization of inhuman objectives to “protect us for our own good”.

I am in mind of “That Hideous Strength”“1984” or “Soylent Green” or “Logan’s Run”,  or “The Omega Man”, or the more recent remake “I Am Legend” with Will Smith in the lead role, and others really too numerous to list here. it seems to be a frequently recurring theme in literature, film and most recently in online MMOGs.

I have referenced Wikipedia links for information on the above stories and movies with a very precise objective in mind. They often have good information but in using the Wiki one must always keep in mind their obvious, and very thorough Atheistic bias in going to great lengths to  Bulverize any reference to the divine in their information items.

The Wiki is perhaps one of the most obvious poster children for the “Material Naturalist” world view. I wrote at length about that world view and it’s goals and ambitions here and here. Those posts might provide an interesting backgrounder to why we are now living in a real life dystopean drama.

All the heroes in these modern religious myths are always Lone Wolf protagonists who rise up and take action against the monolithic state apparatus, by use of violence and subversion, and the mass audience for this product are the very people who are currently the “oppressed proles” in our current “dystopean” society.

One of my recent posts details why there will never be a real life uprising along the lines of all the admittedly entertaining fictional alternate realities with which our current crop of “bread and circus” addicts distract themselves.

The primary plank of the Material Naturalist world view is that there is no God, that everything in the universe is purely and simply the result of random biochemical processes and survival of the fittest, according to the so-called “Theory of Evolution” courtesy of the Universal Church of Charles Darwin.

There is no God, we are all an accident of evolution, there is no point to anything except return on investment, no moral values, no virtues, no good or evil outside the context of profit and power. Everything which we perceive is the result of random chance working on the basic inorganic constituents of the observable universe, and when we die that’s it, that’s all she wrote.

There is no soul, nothing spiritual, no intrinsic value in any human life beyond the market value of our chemical constituents and/or the possible net positive value we can add to the economy by our efforts during our lifetime, said lifetime to be optimized in relation to our productivity.

And beyond this world, relating to the unimaginably complex and numerous possibilities of “randomness”, there is the assumed but undiscovered possibility of endless numbers of more or less evolved “aliens” also living the same pointless random existence.

And the possibility of  “intelligent life” (i.e. creatures who could appreciate Bach)  is unquestioned … BUT, “real science” would say otherwise. I “borrowed” the next few paragraphs from a David Warren post from 2014 titled “Stardust”.

“For if life truly “evolves” by happenstance, as the Darwinoids do vainly preach, something approaching to human smarts would have appeared here and there many millions of years before us, wherever conditions were favourable. Indeed, given the speed at which humans suddenly “evolved” here, we could ourselves have appeared on Earth, millions of years before we actually did.

David Warren

David Warren

We are extremely recent, in geological terms; have been here less than a second, if the history of the planet were scaled down to one day. We’ve come a fair technological distance ourselves, since the last Earth ice age, a mere twelve thousand years ago, and the pace appears to be accelerating. Imagine what we could do given, oh, another million years, or hundred million. I daresay we’d finally figure how to get out and about.

The Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, did this thought experiment before 1950. He realized that we did not need expensive, incredibly sophisticated tools, to detect extraterrestrial life. If it was there, it would already have got here.

He reasoned that, even if it could not defeat lightspeed, a sufficiently advanced material culture could send self-reproducing probes to colonize its home galaxy in a blink of exogeological time, then leapfrog galaxy to galaxy in all directions. It would transmit messages that could not be missed.

Any mathematical extrapolation of the number of planets in the universe that could, possibly, “evolve” life, is defeated by Fermi’s Paradox. The more possibilities there are, the less likely it has ever happened.

But of course, physics advances, and we now have a second indefatigable argument against ET. It developed from the “anthropic principle” in cosmology, which holds, tautologically enough, that the structure or “design” of the universe must be compatible with the existence of the conscious sapient creatures who observe it from within. (We would be they.)

Over the last few decades we have come to understand that life on earth absolutely depends on such an extraordinary number of extremely fine conditions, operating together at levels of coincidence that so stretch the odds, that the chance of finding another inhabited planet — even within something so large as our universe in space and time — is inconsiderably remote.

Jesus Christ, AD 30

Jesus Christ, AD 30

Or to put this another way, it appears dead obvious that the purpose of the universe was to make us possible. It would follow that our lives must be in some strange way — beyond any passing subjective enthusiasm — worth living. For Someone went to a lot of trouble to put us here.”

The Real Hero of OUR dystopean drama already rose up more than two millennia ago. The Rebel Jesus spread revolutionary teachings against the values, powers and things of the material world, the things that mattered a great deal to the authorities of His day. And they murdered Him, though there was “no crime in Him”, as Pilot declared. And the Light shone in the darkness and the darkness knew Him not.

Of all the works done by God in time and outside of Himself, the redemptive Incarnation of the Word is the greatest. Always we must be remembering that the vast universe which the materialists are so impressed with as “all there is” was formed in an instant in a “nothing” that GOD Himself had to create by withdrawing some tiny portion of his timeless Presence.

A Presence without beginning and without end drew back a portion of Himself and within that new “nothing” He created time and the material universe and all that developed in it after the Big Bang.

The Incarnation of the Word is the greatest work because it has for an end not a mere creature, however sublime and unrepeatable by man that may be, but GOD Himself, the eternal Word who, in time, assumed a human nature and a material human body in this  material universe.

*****

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

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

It is the greatest work because it is the supreme manifestation of the merciful love of GOD, and the work which above all others glorifies Him; and it glorifies Him precisely in reference to charity, that is love, which is His very essence. It is also the greatest of His works because of the immense good it brings to all mankind. The salvation, sanctification, and eternal happiness of the whole human race depends wholly upon the Incarnation of the Word, upon Jesus, the Incarnate Word.   (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 80).

*****

God the Father “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, (before time existed) that we should be holy and unspotted. … Who hath predestined us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself. … In whom we have redemption … the remission of sins according to the riches of His grace. … GOD hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.” ( letter of Paul to the Ephesians 1, 4.5.7 – 2.5.6)

*****

Unlike the important things of this world GOD’s greatest work takes place in obscurity and silence, and under the most humble and most human conditions. Mary and Joseph are forced by civil authority to leave their humble home and to undertake a long journey. They travel on foot like the rest of the poor, in spite of Mary’s advanced pregnancy. They do not object and they make no complaint, but obey with promptness and simplicity. They are commanded by a pagan emperor, and they go, trusting in GOD’s Providence; GOD knows, GOD will provide; “To them that love GOD all things work together unto good.” (Rom 8, 28).

It is GOD’s will that His greatest work be accomplished here, in a wretched stable, in utter poverty, and Mary and Joseph embrace His will. They are humble and therefore docile to the will of GOD with complete humility. And GOD, as is His custom, made use of what was humble and despicable in the eyes of the world to accomplish the greatest of His works: the Incarnation of the Word.

And the winds do howl, and the waters roughen, and Christ, the Incarnate Word, has come and is always coming. It is something to think about, for no matter how you look at it — whether you are a traditional Christian (there can be no other kind), or  a perfectly conventional, orthodox material Narcissist — the message of Christmas is not, never was, and by its meaning never will be, “all about us.”  It is all about everything that is not us, as the Lord said to St. Catherine of Sienna, “I am GOD, You are not”, and that GOD loves us all with an absolute everlasting LOVE … He loved us from before time was and will love us so for all of eternity. So Trust Him … and come home, to the Father who loves you no matter what.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night…

Cheers

Joe

This Too Shall PassAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course, the ever relevant “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

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:

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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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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

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“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.)

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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?

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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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