Life in a small town

Are You Saved?

Desolation Row”, Bob Dylan, from the album “MTV Unplugged”, 2013

Just The Facts, Ma’am

Are you saved? Ha, if only!  Excellent article here on the Catholic position and answer to this super-critical question concerning all eternity. Cherry picking one line or fact out of context has always been a favorite tactic of the enemy, knowing as he does humanity’s propensity for wanting simple answers that make them feel good about themselves and thus being able to preach superiority over those who do not share their particular point of view … otherwise known as PRIDE.

We see an awful lot of that these days on social media, don’t we? The howler jungle of Facebook is full of screaming and poop slinging between all the little monkey tribes. The world and the things of the world are going to hell in a hay-basket and the whole damned thing is going faster and faster. Does anyone not see this?  Seriously???

Just cast your eyes at the latest manifestation here. Some are claiming a conspiracy to establish martial law and confine us to our homes under a state imposed curfew … I see their point but I don’t think there is any widespread conspiracy … this is all just normal human fear, aided and abetted by the demons of fear that are never very far away these days.

Fear uncertainty and doubt, FUD, and the biggest fear among the governments everywhere, the legions of faceless bureaucratic corner office vampires and their worshipful drones is the ultimate fear … the FEAR OF BEING BLAMED!!!!! Of course Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) is perfectly augmented by Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

Now, I have it on good authority that here in Canada all senior bureaucrats are being instructed to “Work from home”. The implied assumption being that what they do is actually “work”. If we get lucky they will all spend their time writing press releases about what they are all doing to save us from ourselves and they won’t do anything real for the duration of this crisis. This is the “best case” that will save us all.

I have been in the position described at the beginning of the linked article “Are you saved?” and my answer has always been “Absolutely! And I continue to work hard on it every day in order not to lose my salvation through sin and to fall again into condemnation“. Our Lord Himself has said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone … ” and we all know how that turned out.

And I fail in my mission every day in one way or another and then have recourse through sincere contrition and the sacrament of confession to the good God’s forgiveness in absolution and penance administered through the priest “In Persona Christi Capitis“. The facts are that there is no one without sin and every man (and woman) needs to work hard every day to cling to their salvation, by Faith in our Lord and by all the Corporal Works prescribed by scripture and the magisterial tradition, aided by the sacraments as administered by the Church.

Drawing from the linked article above we read the Truth that there is no salvation outside Christ’s Church as handed down through the Apostles after Pentecost.  As I quoted a couple of days ago, Outside the Church, there is no salvation … The first part of the teaching of the Catholic Church —”all salvation comes from Christ the Head”—is quite easy for all Christians, even non-Catholics, to understand and embrace. It echoes Jesus own words recorded by John: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6).

So, Christians unanimously agree on this first part. But is this all that needs to be said about how one may be saved? The Catholic Church has historically recognized the importance of explaining further the means through which salvation is offered through Christ.

When speaking of salvation, Jesus offered more details than just his words quoted above. Skip past the cherry picking and the efforts to weasel out of the meaning of Truth for just a moment … for example, consider these three verses:

  • He who believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mk 16:16)
  • Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Lk 13:3)
  • He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jn 6:54)

The Tribute Money is a 1612-1614 painting by Peter Paul Rubens,

Notice that in these three verses Jesus associated salvation with baptism, confession, and the Eucharist, respectively. Catholics recognize that these sacraments are administered through the Church.

In fact, in the case of the latter two, a validly ordained priest is necessary for their administration, so the sacrament of ordination must also be associated with salvation. A primary role of the Catholic Church in conjunction with salvation is becoming quite clear.

This brings us to the second part of the Catechism’s formulation of the doctrine being considered: “. . . through the Church which is his Body.” What we know as “The Mystical Body of Christ”. For over two thousand years now folks have been trying to trap Christ and twist His teachings to suite their own worldly agenda.

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As scripture relates:

1 At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them. 3 And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. 

6 But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea(Mat 18:1-6)”

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Look people!!!  We are the little ones to whom Christ refers … this bit of scripture isn’t about child molesters!  It’s about people who know better misleading we little ones into heresy and damnation. Since Jesus established the Catholic Church as necessary for salvation, those who knowingly and willingly reject him or his Church cannot be saved. We see this in Jesus’ teaching: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Mt 12:30).

Also: “If he [a sinning brother] refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Mt 18:17). Paul warned similarly: “As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Ti 3:10-11).

So, my disquiet with the current situation in our church, and my equally strong misgivings with the state of society and our culture of death, dismemberment and disregard for responsibilities both personal and national (witness Boy Justin’s NATO Summit efforts last term) here in the frozen north, that is Canada and the direction Canada seems to be heading. What is one to do? Aided by my reading of many other’s comments in various blogs and so on, my thoughts are moving in a definite direction.

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

Rhetorically speaking, is it OK to make like a medieval peasant, to choose the “Benedict Option” as some have advocated, and either not know or not care who is the current National Leader, and who is Pope, to not worry about the directions of church and state, but to remain faithfully and cheerfully ignorant of the day-to-day pronouncements that come  down from our betters in Ottawa, and Edmonton, and from the Vatican?

Must a Catholic read and understand all the latest encyclicals and exhortations and synodal papers and all the latest progressive malice and pronouncements vomiting forth from the mealy mouths of our political and bureaucratic masters in their tower of power somewhere isolated from the realities of day to day citizens, one of whom recently committed suicide on the steps of the legislature?

Or can we just keep re-reading the Scriptures and the Catechism and the Fathers and the Doctors (and maybe the occasional private revelation) until such time as God sorts this all out? I don’t think that average Catholic lay people are obliged to follow any of this stuff. Priests do this, and then they teach appropriately, or at least are supposed to.

But lay people are not obliged unless, of course, they are teachers, and so on. Catholic lay people have vocations to live in the world. Their obligations are few: obey the 10 Commandments, follow the commandments of the Church, obey the laws that they are taught pertain to them, stick to the demands of their state in life, perform works of mercy, etc.

This is really not that difficult. People are not obliged to go chasing after the latest news in prurient curiosity. As a matter of fact, that might wind up being a sin called curiositas, especially if it endangers one’s faith and distracts from one’s state in life through which the will of God is made manifest in our lives.

It is just because our Church is Christ’s church that I disagree with any “serious considerations” of heading away from our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church towards one of the  Orthodox confessions or some conservative Evangelical congregation, or even some new age Pentecostal “feelings over objective Truth emotional consolation” because all those options also clearly lack the indefectability promised by Christ as in : “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Domine, quo vadis?

This specious tack, of abandoning the church in her hour of crisis, smacks of “taking my toys and going home” when the going gets tough and real sacrifice and pain and love is required to hold to the Truth in the storm.

Christ’s message is tough, “Take up your cross and follow me”, and folks shrink back from that, embrace the consolations of the world, have been abandoning the Church for all the specious reasons relating to self love and putting our own agenda above that of GOD for more than 2000 years now.

But this has been especially true for the last five hundred years in the West, and see how they are scattered … “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Mt 12:30). God introduced salvation to the world through his chosen people, the Jews. God’s revelation to the Jews found its fulfillment in Christ, the Messiah, who established the Catholic Church.

The grace necessary for salvation continues to come from Christ, through his Church. Those who innocently do not know and embrace this might still attain salvation but those who knowingly and willingly choose to reject it, reject salvation on God’s terms.

From scripture, carved on a slab of wood hanging on my kitchen wall: “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
-Joshua 24:15 (Douay-Rheims)

And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
-John 6:69 (DR)

’nuff said.

Cheers

Joe

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Peace of Mind … part trois

Casting Crowns, House of Their Dreams,

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Three universal aspects of human nature upon which so much is built, including the entire information technology industry. Just witness the massive duplicitous push by Microsoft to force users to adopt Windows 10. It beautifully illustrates FUD on both sides of the transaction. Where oh where is my miraculous woodpecker which will bring the entire edifice of FUD crashing down on the heads of the multitudes of con men and legions of quivering innocent ignoramuses? I have a bad case of Sampson Syndrome in which I feel like pulling the whole temple down on us all.  Good thing I can’t act on that feeling. In fact, it’s a damned good thing I have no power at all to make any of the changes I think are needed because I lack God’s mercy and God’s long view (as do we all).

So we loose our peace of mind, not necessarily because pain and fear affect us personally but because of the behaviour of individuals or groups who hurt us or preoccupy us. We are unsettled by something that is not directly ours, but which we are concerned about. often it is simply getting irritated when one close to us behaves in a manner unacceptable to us, in a way we feel they should not behave.

The only way to peace from there is to want and desire things which are good in and of themselves, that is, they are intrinsically good, and perhaps even more importantly, to want them in a good way, to pay attention to both what we want and how we want it.

Fanfare For The Common Man

FLASH!  My construction crew has arrived.

Today I feel a little like how I imagine the guys holding an outpost alone for 6 years on the frontier feel when the cavalry finally show up and take over the heavy lifting. I stand relieved, thankfully, and just a little anxious.  Once again things might get spotty over the next 6 weeks, or maybe I will have more time than I ever had before, hard to tell at this point. I hope the latter is how it works. And, God willing, in six more weeks I can throw away my multi-page to do list because everything will be done. Now all I have to do is come up with the money to pay for it all.Oh well, no one ever said it would be all roses.

But right now there are a bunch of little things to get wrapped up and out of the way so the crew can get rolling.

Cheers

Joe

cdn-ddh-heavy-weather-8747.jpg

“When going to a Party with wine, women, and song. Always ascertain the vintage of the first two.”

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The Inner Struggle

Peace of Mind … part deux

Annie Lennox, Into the West, LOTRANNIE-LENNOX

I posted a couple of days ago about the serious shortage of “peace of mind” in our culture. It’s election time and idiots are thick on the ground and loud. I must be more than a little nuts to think about these things in the context of a Canadian election campaign.

We move through life with a lurking certainty that all is not well and waiting for the other shoe to drop, the axe to fall,  with bated breath.  A sense of foreboding has deepened across our land … Spiritually, socially, politically, economically, the fierce consequences of our choices as a nation whirl around us and threaten us with catastrophe.

The storm clouds gather; the thunder rumbles; the darkness descends. While the tempest approaches, many are asleep. Others sense danger in the air but are uncertain of its source and scope. This all sounds like the intro video for a new online game “Storm Clouds Gather!” BWAHHAHAHAhaha!

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

But where is this much desired peace of mind we are all looking for, this holy grail of the psychologists and pharmaceutical companies and advertisers? We are agitated and disturbed because we are trying, without much success, to resolve everything, every issue, by ourselves, for ourselves, with no thought to the prevalence of our passions and appetites, our shortcomings and failings, our faults and flaws. It is like trying to carve a master work with a broken knife, or trying to see a reflection in a lake that is full of ripples and waves.

In addition we are continually at war with enemies whose existence we continue to deny regardless of the evidence and influence which they present, namely cosmic powers of dark and evil, not merely human enemies. We expect peace according to the reasoning of the world and with the motivations and desires that align well with the current cultural mentality that surrounds us. If everything is going well, and we are not experiencing any annoyances, any discomfort, and our material desires are satisfied, then it is certain that we will know peace. And yet it is not so, no peace, or no peace for long, our peace is only of a short duration at best.

“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

And so we are faced with a situation continuously anticipating peace, but never quite arriving at our destination. Maybe others can assure us, eh? Harper, Trudeau, and Mulcair. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The Three Stooges. The Three Horsemen of the 21st Century Apocalypse. Our own human resources and wisdom, with their expectations, precautions reservations and assurances of all sorts certainly do not suffice.

The most common reason for which we loose our peace of mind is fear, caused by situations which touch us personally, and in which we feel threatened, apprehensions in the face of present or future difficulties imagined or real, fear of lacking something important or loosing something we already have or failing in an enterprise. These fears are myriad and touch every single aspect of our lives.

The Return Of The King, LOTR

“I don’t like anything here at all.” said Frodo, “step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.”

“Yes, that’s so,” said Sam, “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo, adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say.

But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on, and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same; like old Mr Bilbo.

But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

“I wonder,” said Frodo, “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

In every case these fears concern a good which is variable, material goods, money, health, power, or goods that we desire, or consider necessary, and are afraid to lose, or not acquire, or which we lack. This all conspires to rob us of our peace, the restlessness so generated by FUD causes us to loose any trace of peace we may have gathered to ourselves.

Who can guarantee him or herself the assured possession of any kind of good, whatever it may be, whatever it’s nature. Man is never assured of anything, and everything which he holds in his or her hands can easily slip from one’s grasp from one day to the next; there is no guarantee on which anyone can count absolutely except the continued existence of an eternal war against evil.

And mark my words, we are truly in it, this daily war against evil, every day, and every way, every decision, every “choice”, or even not making a decision or a choice.

“The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. If he would not rather have stayed there in peace. (This) War will make corpses of us all.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

We might even say that the surest way to loose one’s peace of mind is precisely to try to assure one’s own life solely with the aid of human industry, personal assets, personal projects and decisions or by relying on someone else.  Because of FUD, and the “sum of all fears” WE end up with our current choice, to decide who will decide for us, an old Charlatan, a younger Poseur, or a raving Lunatic. This is truly the definition of insanity, revisiting the failed dance of political cycles yet again in the hopes that we might get a good result this time. We will never find a solution to all our fears and anxieties by continuously ransacking the outhouse basement for a missing answer. We should sell the outhouse to the Socialists, sell the midden to the Conservatives and move onward to the call of the horns, higher up and further in, across the ravaged landscape of our dreams to the green fields beyond and a quick sunrise.

“PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Cheers

Joe

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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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt …

FUD … is the greatest extractor of money from both private and public coffers in the entire history of the human animal, whose natural state is fear. That fearful animal, having knowingly refused to actively consider and think logically about what they think they know, their existence is compounded by uncertainty. This wonderful admixture becomes fraught with tension when the ingredients combine to create a constant state of doubt, the natural result of knowing in their soul that what they believe is really a steaming crock.

FUD … creates the conditions, the environment, in which ostensibly sensible persons will believe literally anything which offers some perceived relief from FUD. Witness the rise of Microsoft over the last four decades.  Pure FUD in all it’s myriad manifestations.

The geeks who cut their teeth on IBM assembler and writing compilers and COBOL and FORTRAN, and built their own computers from parts picked up in electronic stores or ordered out of the back of magazines, who sat up nights trying to debug a glitch somewhere in a 5 or 6 thousand card program in a lab where everyone else there was Chinese then sent it off for another run on the IBM 370 and waited a couple of days for their output to return on a wheeled dolly in 4 file boxes full of pajama paper printed on printers as big as a small car, they were NOT fooled!

aasacrificing-to-their-god-lfs-990-600x466They recognized FUD for what it was, just another slick form of snake oil to shake down the suckers. The almost Religious Anti-Microsoft animosity common in geek circles, Unix programmers, PERL scripters, and other such true believers, is a direct descendent of this animosity against a massive fraud.

It also prepared a certain subgroup of these geeks for the coming tsunami of BS surrounding the whole “Humans are Killing The Planet” power cult.  Recognizing the practice in the worshipers who deny the existence of God, the self same FUD techniques pioneered by the early snake oil salesmen and Microsoft as they prostrate themselves before the Altars of the Great Saint Rachel Carson, and the Great Saint Paul Ehrlich.

For a short course on just how incredibly wrong these Gaia worshipers have always gotten things just take a quick look at:

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/13-worst-predictions-made-earth-day-1970

Now, 40 plus years on we get to this article.  Reporting on a perfect gem  of real science … no trillions of government funding for these folks. Just hard work tracking down the truth. No movies, book tours, demonstrations, media coverage, no nothing, except real science.

A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645. Results will be presented today by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno“.

***

A spiritual note “Do not commit any sins. Practice all the virtues. Subdue your imagination. This is what the Buddha teaches.David Warren writes a wonderful piece illustrating why we so easily fall prey to the latest fad of FUD …  in part, he tells a short story about a young lady he is acquainted with:

“… Actually, I was being coy. I know it is a Tibetan temple, from a Tibetan girl who prays there. She is a nurse in the “home” where my late mother resided: Kelsang, let us call her. There are several Kelsangs in there; and even some Tibetans with other names. An enchanting girl: ridiculously young and pretty. Modest, soft-spoken, cheerful, attentive. Went to Saint Joseph’s, at “Ooty” (Udhagamandalam), where many Tibetan refugees had gone before her. It is in the Nilgiri Hills. (Some day I will tell you about the tea they grow there.) Speaks better English than I do. Also kinder, more intelligent, and harder working.

As an old Saint Anthony’s boy, from Lahore, I’d met girls like her before. They raised them, in considerable quantity, over the high brick wall, at the Saint Anthony’s girls’ school. You might see one if you went into the Cathedral. They were all so enchanting.There would be no point in trying to convert Kelsang to Romanism; no point at all. She had already been taught by Catholic nuns, back in south India. They were very strict; and she adored them.

She knows the Catechism inside out. She described it as her “second religion.” Catholic Christianity is “very wholesome,” she conceded. But Tibetan Buddhism “will remain my first.” Notice the modal verb.  “And your third religion?”  “Nursing.”

A quietly fanatic opponent of abortion, incidentally: “All Buddhists are opposed to murder, in that or any other form.” Also opposed to contraception, divorce, sodomy, … you name it. Says Canada is a beautiful country. “But full of crazy people, with no morals, no faith, no manners, no reason.” Fears young Tibetans are being corrupted by them.”

Corruption of the mind leading to corruption of the soul. Or is it not the other way around … corruption of the soul leading inexorably to the corruption of everything else in our society. Something to think about. When one discovers that one is on the wrong path, does it not make sense to turn around and go back, rather than continuing on in the hope that things might get better?
Cheers
Joe
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