The Inner Struggle

Easter, and the Resurrection in a Plague Year …

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

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The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516

Psalm 1: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, … “

From the liturgy of the hours, this evening, April 13th in the year of our Lord 2020. Indeed an excellent Psalm for our current times …  and so does Bill also have a few trenchant words for our current blight … Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow …

“She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death.

Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
Bill Shakespeare, Macbeth (1611?)

Today I have used some images taken from the Wickedpedia, the free encyclopedia, The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516. I suspect these were real “Plague Years”, not this FUD filled “Plague Lite” which our leaders are currently inflicting on us. Anyway, no point in complaining about leaders, just thank God they are not shooting us yet.

I will not just copy everything they (the Wickedpedia) have to say about it but suffice to say, just go on over and visit it and read the article, it is worth one’s time to understand better the past history which contributed to Western European Civilization’s rise, especially since we are in such a hurry to blow it all away in our modern progressive wasteland.

OH, also, a trick question: “Why are there so few “O” blood type humans in Europe, except for in a couple of German Provinces? Bonus points for a cogent answer and it will be on the final exam as well.

I am thinking much these days about my attachments and how they get in the way of living in the Will of God, the Divine Will as related by Luisa Piccarreta. Some of this post I have reworked from one I made three or so years ago. My thoughts have not diverged much along the way to here. Anyway …

In fact all of the items, objections, observations, and situations complained about, and judged, and questioned in many of my posts, while provably “true” for some values of “true”, are firmly rooted in my own biases, attractions, beliefs, and narratives in and about this material world.

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Grunewald – Isenheim Altarpiece – First View

In short, my ego, my “self” is intimately enmeshed in all my observations and conclusions, MY plans, MY dreams, MY opinions, MY understanding.

I don’t believe that I am uniquely blessed. I believe that we all share these attachments to the material, especially if we strongly believe that this time based material reality is all there is.

Viewed through my human nature, all these things are ultimately important, but viewed through my soul nature they are really seen to be unimportant and irrelevant, mere distractions on the path.

And yet … and yet … we insist on refusing to see what is right before us. We dive into the unreal and forsake the real for the sake of our passions, our tastes, our desires, our egos.

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Barabbas is in each one of us. We are scoundrels, experts in selfishness, boasting, lust, violence and greed. We are bandits, taking God’s many gifts and ungratefully neglecting them and squandering them.

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Grunewald Isenheim Second View

We take for granted the most precious realities of life: family, life, nature, health, faith, and the sacraments.  We squander our talents, our money, our time, and the love others offer us.

We are quick to criticize and judge, to steal others’ honor and sully it with our moral and intellectual myopia. What do we, who are so flawed, so weak, so slow to repent, and so reluctant to serve — what do we deserve?

Certainly not God’s love, certainly not his continued forgiveness, certainly not redemption, hope, peace, and heaven. Strictly speaking, we deserve to be cut off from the kingdom against which we have so often rebelled — just like the murderous insurgent Barabbas.

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Grunewald Isenheim Third View

And yet, Jesus overlooks what we deserve. It is Passover, and the angel of justice passes over the sinner to wreak his punishments on the Lamb of God instead.

Look at the Lord with the eyes of Barabbas. Is there any heart that loves you more than His Sacred Heart? Is there any heart more trustworthy than the heart that died so that you might have abundant life? John Bartunek, LC, ThD.The Better Part”, pp321

*****

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Grunewald’s Risen Christ

We insist on refusing to see what is right before us — we refuse to see reality through the eyes of our spirit/soul — we clutch at our “self” and our passions, appetites, vices, and sins, because, as Screwtape says (about half way down one of my posts): “you must remember that he (us) takes Time for an ultimate reality”.

As we walk through this “valley of death”, this mortal world full of evil both without and within, we find that the closer we cling to the visible, material, temporal vision, the more we fear.

Because when you really look at everything around us, the happenings, and events, and personal relations, and national relations, the EVERYTHING in TIME, the more we fear.

Because, if we actually pull our collective heads out of the “sand” (or wherever) the more we have to acknowledge that there is not one damned thing we can do about any of it.

And if this is all there is then we may just as well end it all. If this is all there is then what is really the point? 

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Mathis Gothart Grunewald’s “St. John The Baptist” illum oportet crescere me autem minui (Vulgate, John 3:30 ), “He must increase, but I must decrease.

This morning I visited another WordPress blog which I follow at “Finding Hope”  Often I am encouraged and given hope reading what this person writes. This time I found there a story specifically about this struggle with “What’s The Point”. It brought me to tears and to prayer:

A Prayer of Sorrow

” I have fallen, Lord, once more. I can’t go on. I’ll never succeed. I am ashamed.  I don’t dare look at you. And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.

But temptation blew like a hurricane, and instead of you I turned my head away. I stepped aside, while you stood silent and sorrowful. Lord, don’t look at me like that.

For I am ashamed and sorrowful. I am down, shattered, with no strength left. I dare make no more promises. I can only stand bowed before you.

 Come, Child, look up. Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded? If you loved me you would grieve but you would trust. Do you think that there is a limit to God’s love? Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving you? But you still rely on yourself.

 You must rely on me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly. You see, it’s not falling that is worse, but staying on the ground.”

Wow …

If we are not careful we find ourselves angry with God because “He is doing this to me!” and we can’t bring ourselves to recognize our own failings and faults, and that God is not really “doing this to us” but just watching us sorrowfully from His eternal NOW as we do these spiteful things to  ourselves to “punish” Him.

And then consider how much of what we do daily is out of spite and passive aggression.  Spite at family members, spite at neighbours, spite at friends, spite at groups of people we “have a bone to pick” with, spite at other drivers, spite at other folks in public places or in the news, spite at professional groups, anyway, you get my drift.

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Our spiritual point of view completely obscured by passion , resentment and pride, so we do and say things we later regret or find are mistaken in their target and intent.

“Every evil screams out only one message: “I am good”! And not only does it scream, but it also demands that the people cry out tirelessly in response: ‘You  are good, you are freedom, you are happiness’ “(Father Alexander Schmemann)

All of these passions painting layer upon layer of darkness on the vision of our soul/spirit, completely obscuring reality.

These “little sins” of spite, of holding grudges and passive aggression until vengeance be meted out are really great big sins of pride, of our ego, of needing to be seen and heard and esteemed, even by God, if we still remember Him.

“An Taiseirl (The Resurrection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

My mother (God rest her soul) went to her grave, “died unshriven”  as they say, or bás a fháil gan sagart” as our Irish ancestors would say, that is “not having confessed sins to a priest and been given absolution”  after 32 years of rejecting God and the church and the sacraments.

Because she just couldn’t accept that God’s plan for her life did not align with her plan for her life. After my father died, at 57,  my mother (always a very stubborn woman) rejected the church, priests, God, religion, holding out for her plan, until vengeance be meted out.

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In her early life, although we were poor, she did her best to raise us children so that we never wanted for anything essential, even including making our clothes.

She looked out for us with devotion and worshiped my father as her eternal love.  She died a unhappy woman at 92 still holding out for the material reality of her plan and rejecting the soul/spirit view of eternity.

God gave her 32 more years after he took Dad, to come to an understanding of reality and we discussed it and argued about it countless times for 32 years. I must have been a real pain in the ass when all she really wanted was to be left alone in her bitterness.

In some ways she reminded me, in the last 30 years of her life, of “The Old Woman and The Onion” fable which appears in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov“.

My mother refused to give up her narrative and her plan regardless of the cost.

And all that misery and bitterness because she took TIME for reality and could never bring herself to accept that this world didn’t matter, that she had to give up HER plan for life and accept God’s plan. At least, that is how it seemed to me at the time, and of course I know very little if anything, and God knows all and everything, so I pray that IF I make it to heaven some day, I find my mother there waiting for me and remarking “Well, finally, I thought you were never coming”.

15Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 John 2, Douay-Rheims Bible)

We would be better to write poems of Love to God:

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Ah, Love, let us be true to one another!
For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

(Mathew Arnold, English Poet, 1822 — 1888)

*****

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Inuit Snow Goggles

It seems obvious at this point what reality is and what the choice is that must be made, between a short syllable of time or all eternity, to devote our short lives to chasing happiness and success in this world or take off our narrow goggles and pursue eternity.

But in order to detach from the important material things which fill up our lives and leave us bitter and afraid we have to abandon our “selfishness” and trust God.

Selfishness is rooted in “FEAR” of losing something good for ourselves or missing out on something which might make us happy, or whatever … we often do not even know what it is we are afraid of losing or missing out on, but we are sure someone else is getting it and we are not.

The main obstacle or hurdle to overcome when approaching the spirit/soul point of view is self love. It is immensely difficult to develop detachment from this world while fully immersed in the pool of self love where this time based world is everything. I have been pounding my block head against this stone wall for decades with the only result being an understanding that I cannot do this on my own. Easy to say, immensely difficult to put into practice in a world of Time and Self. Beg GOD to help me do this … there is no “Dummies” book for this.

By immersing oneself in the world of spirit, outside time and space, where everything material is unimportant we are able to appreciate and understand just what an infinitesimal part of reality is the part with time, which we choose to believe constitutes all of reality. Really … I can say that so easily … but it is difficult to practice because I have to give up … and I have been drilling into myself all my life from the earliest years I can remember “Never Give Up, Never Give Up, Never Give Up”.

So we have to give up our self and trust God, a difficult target when we have so much trouble trusting everything in Time, our family or our friends, or the folks at work or at the corner store.

Trust; trust God, who knows us so much better than we even know ourselves since he conceived us and created us and he loves us more than we love ourselves and he wants nothing more than our absolute happiness and well being. He knows what we need. So in conclusion (for now)  “LET IT GO!” We have to move from “My will be done” to “Thy will be done”. Our future depends on it.

Cheers

Joe

100-canadian-landscapeWe fight the long defeat because results are not as important as our Father’s delight. We fight the long defeat because we are not the authorities over “success.” We fight the long defeat because the final victory is coming.

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The Inner Struggle

Fake News and Evil in Action … The “Knowledge” of Our Family

FLASH!!!   Stop The Press!!!! No … Wait! That’s them not us.  Do we even use presses in the media any more? Whatever …

We just witnessed in living color, the frothing insanity of the media in a recent, almost real-time example, of the pervasive malice of the Progressive Left and their media lap dancers, lap dogs … no  wait a minute, that’s just a vile insult to dancers and dogs. Lets just settle on “scum sucking bottom feeders” and fill in our own image of corrupt evil.

We are all bombarded with this sort of media coverage every day of anything that seems to support the Liberal narrative, with all their propaganda, outright lies, fake news, hatred, and pure evil in action. This particular item is the narrative and the edited coverage accorded the alleged confrontation between some Catholic youth attending the March For Life in Washington DC and an aboriginal man from Omaha.

The Left-wing Media (AKA the MSM) and their owners and handlers will literally do anything and say anything as long as they can portray Christians, and especially Catholics, in a bad light.

The actual story is starting to come out now with at least one reporting example of real journalism found at The Washington Examiner where new details about a viral video that showed an interaction between white teenagers wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and a Native American. These new details are leading many people on all sides of the issue to second-guess their first impression of the encounter …

The link is here: “Rush To Judgement …

Such malice in action is no surprise to anyone on the religious right … we have been suffering this sort of treatment by the established secular society in Canada and the U.S. for years now.  Meanwhile, another perspective on our modern lives sheds light on how this sort of media malice happens, and the fact that Truth may someday prevail, or not, it’s all in GOD’s hands and unfolds according to His plan …

The knowledge of GOD in which eternal life consists, as Jesus has said, is not the kind of knowledge which stops at the enlightenment of our intellects, but knowledge which stirs up our wills to love the GOD whom we know, and which regulates our whole life so that it is pleasing to Him. Consequently, when Jesus has brought us to the knowledge of the Father, He then teaches us what we must do to please Him: “Be ye therefore perfect as your  heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5, 48).

In this brief formula, the divine Teacher reveals two great truths: GOD is the model of sanctity, because He alone is the fullness of perfection, free from every shadow of fault or failing; secondly, GOD’s will in our regard is that we also be perfect, which we shall be according to the degree in which we try to imitate GOD’s perfection“. (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 149).

And we are each and everyone of us, both the good and the evil, a dwelling place of the spirit of GOD, more or less, as we adhere to His precepts and strive to do His will. We are all on a journey either to heaven or to hell, even those who refuse to accept the Truth are willy-nilly on the same journey as those who believe.

The only difference is that non-believers (of any sort) have willingly given up any chance of picking their final destination when the ride comes to its inevitable end. We choose to believe or to not believe. GOD doesn’t punish anyone. We choose our destination.

“It is a serious thing, to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or another of those destinations”. (C.S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory: pg. 15)

Cheers

Joe

The Church Militant

The Church Militant, Christ’s Church on earth …

Being an active member of Christ’s church on earth, that is, being a member of “The Church Militant“, is rather like waking up in the morning to discover that you are actually fighting on the Greek side at “The Battle of Thermopylae“.

Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

Epitaph on the Cenotaph of Thermopylae, recorded by Herodotus. Or you can just make a quick visit to Michael Voris’s blog site.

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The Inner Struggle

Humility … “The World” can’t be reformed or repaired or fixed.

I have been aware of and thinking about the gate for over fifty years now, more or less constantly as I go about my daily routines, the gate beyond which I can not see or understand.

All around me life goes on, banal and dramatic, indifferent and caring, hateful and loving as circumstances and moods take us.

It, daily life, appears to be self centered for the most part, although that perception might just be the lens through which I see the society around me, my self centeredness projected onto the screen of existence. More grist for the penitential mill, my ongoing failure to “Love one another” as God has loved me. Sigh, to paraphrase Dore, “Just keep Trying…”.

And all life around me seems to work hard at ignoring the gate, acting and reacting as though the gate in fact does not exist at all, that the here and now is all there is, that pleasure, gratification, license and indulgence are the only objectives, the only goals, absent anything but the material “here & now”.

But it seems (to me) the gate is THE most obvious artifact in the entire universe, the single most obvious event which no one escapes no matter what their beliefs, no matter their state in life, it all winds down to dust.

As Roy Batty says: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. … All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”  Indeed … time to die … soon … we are all replicants, running out the clock, done in the blink of an eye.

So what does matter?  Unless one is living in Paris these days, the majority, the masses, seem more or less content with their modern comforts, pleasures, social media, belonging to the “What, me worry?” clique of “low-information” consumers, and in general quite happy with their daily existence.  Am I the only living human being currently reflecting upon the end of human life? I would bet not, and some of those who are reflecting even write about it in their version of this blog.

First Things & Last Things. A woman lights a candle on the grave of her relative before praying at a cemetery during the observance of All Souls Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

One good example can be found at The American Sun  in which Mr. Greenhorn convincingly rejects the currently popular fantasy (held by some conservative pundits) that we can role back the clock to a time before separation of Church and State became the de facto modus operandi. Many of the ideas in the remainder of this post I found in the link at American Sun. Mr. Greenhorn has an articulate and refreshingly new view of reality and the plausibility of rolling back the clock to a better time.

The goal of this roll-back being to thereby refocus concerns on First Things, refocus concerns on the end of human life, because man’s temporal end is subordinate to his eternal end, and the obvious corollary that therefore temporal power must be subordinated to spiritual power.

This roll-back exercise might, from my point of view, reasonably involve a return to something resembling the political and economic world of the 1400’s, the mechanics of this would involve a kind of cross between Dr. Who and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

There are some modern examples of what this might look like, for example Iran and what used to be Iraq, but I see this model as a non-starter for the majority of folks on the planet, at least amongst those of a Western persuasion.

In the meantime … what of the discontented, those who are noticeably unhappy with the moral and economic status quo? Yes, what about us? Well, it seems that in reality there is no “us”. Some of “us” choose to dither, complain, wail and gnash their teeth, but never reach any conclusion.

“We” remain chronically dissatisfied and unhappy with whatever is fashionably top of the pond, the latest PC curdled and agglomerating deviance and corruption, and spend our leisure time articulating our discontent and pointing out what is wrong with the current status quo, a kind of negative virtue signalling to re-enforce our imagined moral superiority.

Others mourn the loss of a humanity in the general, that probably never existed in the particular, and along with that Unicorn they mourn the loss of “everything” that made up “human civilization”, holding a perpetual wake for a “Prince on The White Horse” who never really existed.

They have forgotten that funeral services are not for the benefit of the dead, That person(s) and their immortal soul are forever beyond our praise or condemnation. Rather a funeral service is for the living, who should know that before long they will follow the honored dead into a cold dark grave, and from that fact take motivation towards preparing for eternity. Railing against those who deny an afterlife, deny eternity, is an utter waste of the most precious gift we have been given – time.

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Still others descend into a mordant fantasy referred to by Mr. Greenhorn, above, that somehow by dint of huge spiritual and physical effort we can role back the clock to an Elysian time in the past when everything was “better, before the (insert enemy of choice here) took over and destroyed everything that matters“.

This last group are at least active in their never ending efforts to motivate the rest of us to “get off our collective butts and do something about it” … “something” being whatever their particular prescription of the day happens to be. Many of these fall into the category which we once upon a time, in the military, lovingly referred to as “Active Stupid”.

I rather expect that the above categories encompass the majority of those who are not entranced with our modern existence. And then there are the remnant … we who don’t fall into any of those broad categories, those generalizations which are so easy to embrace because they never include us. We are left with duty, discipline, courage, and sacrifice.

We are faced with trying to understand our reality, the “parameters of our material existence” within the context of a greater “spiritual existence” running on past the end of life into eternity, and that greater spiritual existence necessarily includes the idea, the perception of GOD as an entity. And, as understanding develops (if it does) we are tasked with searching for answers about “what constitutes right living?”, and “how does one know when one is following the right path?”

One is really asking oneself “How do I know with certainty what is the will of God?”  Understanding the perfection of love, the “Agape”, that is “love of another besides myself” consists in striving towards the perfect conformity of my will with the divine will (the Manufacturer’s Instructions), and, more specifically, doing so within the context of my real day to day life, my “station” in life, rather than some “If Only” fantasy where I am trying to force others to conform to my idea of what is right.

I think the “mission” is sitting right in front of our face and residing in our soul if we are honest with ourselves. It is expressed simply, in a concrete and detailed way, in the duties of my state and the various circumstances of my life. The duties of my statedetermine particularly how I must act on a daily basis so as to be always in conformity with the divine will.

GOD gave us “free will”, and by virtue of that free will we are indeed free to deviate from the manufacturer’s instructions and “Do it our way”. But we are also just as free to learn from our choices and the results of those choices, if we accept responsibility for those results, and perhaps to repent and turn again to the narrow path.

For us, the future(s) cannot be known except in a metaphysical sense, but I believe that no single future is immutable. For “beings outside time” all futures can/could be equally known in the eternal now.

At least that is what I think, unrestrained by the current academic and theological status quo, and feeling no “ownership” of the “models” of reality currently in vogue.

These models seem to be tending more and more towards excluding GOD, the loving creator of all, and replacing it with a sort of “all dogs go to heaven, god my buddy” reality, or even a “no god at all” model. The problem with those views, IMHO, is that the path derived from those views has NO future at all. Any path which does not include GOD and eternity ends in the grave.

So, absent belief in GOD, why should Joe Citizen consent to be subservient to Nature and Natural Law, or to the will of god unless Joe first believes that Natural Law and the will of god is something he should give a Rat’s Derriere about?

Joe Citizen is not likely to give up all his convenience, gratification and “Freedom” without he first comes to believe that there is a higher good which matters more than his physical and mental gratification. The proof of this is the inexorable “democratic” trend towards ever more socialistic bread and circuses and less and less true freedom.

Why would someone who thinks they can overturn a presidential election, choose to give up their smart phones and social lifestyle choices?

There is no sign in our current society that Joe Citizen has any desire to give up, or even slow the convenience and power rendered by the last 50 years of staggering technical advances.

Jordan Peterson remarks about the demise of many “careers” which same technical advances will soon make superfluous and crush what little is left of Joe’s imagined autonomy. For this reason, any attempt to reform Liberal Progressive society is doomed … a colossal “Failure to Launch”.

To even have a chance, first, the popular belief that technical advance is natural and desirable must be overturned. Liberal Progressivism can only be derailed if modern man suddenly becomes content to be relatively weak, and powerless. The “Man in the Street”  must voluntarily reject comfort and power if  Material Naturalism is to be halted. In the modern era, the last 200 years or so, man has never done this.

So the Fantasy players, those “Roll the Clock Back” folks are faced with having to implement their “solutions” by fiat, in the same way and with the same mechanisms as used by the current societal systems of coercion which they are trying to replace. And of course the effect of these laws would be to fill Joe Citizen’s heart with anger and resentment at the state and perhaps even at God Himself, as we see in our current polite society.

Other “Greats” before us have had things to say about these sort of questions:

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

Marcus Aurelius reflects on Duty: Our duty is to Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.

On Virtue: But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him,

On Suffering, : For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two.

We must focus on going forward in duty by virtue regardless of the consequences and violence we might suffer whenever the all too human tendency to refuse co-operation, to insist on doing things our own way, to work against each other and to experience the suffering inherent in human relations whenever the reality of selfishness and self worship impact the smooth exchanges of daily relations.

Reconquista – Moors Surrender Granada, 1492

I’m old enough to remember a time when the Catholic Church was not in a state of decline and disgrace. I was born before the Second Vatican Council, I grew up and served in the old traditional Latin Mass universe, and was blessed by a glimpse of that world where Truth was certain, handed down and defended for 2000 years.

The saddest fact about our current crop of reformers, both political and theological, is that they have many provocative ideas about improving the state, but they have nothing to say as to how to detach the Roman Catholic Church from her attachment to the modernist heretical factions and forces which have so damaged and destroyed her since Vatican II.

It is in the Church where the true natures of God and man reside, and which we must return to if we are to rebuild our smashed civilization and self loving souls. There will be no anti-modernist Reconquista until our forces know they have a home base, a home fortress, that no matter what the cost, will not open its gates to the enemy, that is not commanded by agents of the enemy.

For sixty years, the men in the Vatican have tied the Church’s earthly fortunes to the modernist zeitgeist, the modernist heresy, and gained nothing but misery, scandal, and squalor in return. If the leaders of the Church cannot understand the beauty of conforming themselves to God’s will, there is little hope for anyone outside the Church. As a minimum first baby step, the Roman Curia, the Cardinals and the Bishops, need to make themselves, or be made by others, Catholic again, before any part of the secular state can follow them up that new path.

So the focus has to be not on changing the world, but rather on changing my soul, building Divine Intimacy in that internal secret place where I can work fruitfully towards conforming myself to GOD’s will. When I have sufficiently detached from self-worship, and the things of this world, creatures and stuff as ends in themselves, then perhaps GOD will assign me another mission, but until then I must clean my own stable.

It may feel small and insignificant but it takes uncommon virtue to fulfill all one’s duties without carelessness, negligence, or laziness, to avoid the pitfall of giving everything a “lick and a promise” or just going through the motions in order to “get it done”. It takes uncommon virtue to put the effort into attention, piety, and spiritual fervor, to pay attention to the details, for the whole combination of ordinary duties which make up my daily life.

The details matter. I must not be discouraged by failure, either resulting from outside forces or from my own failure of attention or lack of competence – my mistakes and forgetfulness and so on and so forth. Always acknowledge faults and failures, take ownership of them and begin again with renewed commitment. Refrain from “killing the messenger”.

What else is there to say about “duty”? It seems something of a truism that in our great self-regard we find it easier and more attractive to identify the duties of others than our own, and inversely, there will always be a plenitude of folks more than willing to tell us what our duty may be should we find ourselves momentarily unfocused and apparently idle.

Cheers

Joe

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Life in a small town

It’s all part of the plan …

A good friend sent this to me by email. He doesn’t email much so I figure this is his way of telling me to “lighten up!”

I am sharing because I got a spontaneous laugh and a reminder to not take things too seriously.

Credit to whoever thought this one up in the wide electronic universe …

The Lark Ascending

***

And God Looked Down…

Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things thus doing more walking.
And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need.  In His wisdom He made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things requiring them to bend, reach & stretch.
And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise.
God looked down and saw that it was good.

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember its God’s will.  It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath.

 

Nine Important Facts To Remember As We Grow Older

#9  Death is the number 1 killer in the world.

#8  Life is a sexually transmitted disease.

#7  Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

#6  Men have 2 motivations: hunger and hanky-panky, and they can’t tell them apart.
     If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

#5  Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. 
Teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

#4  Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

#3  All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

#2  In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

#1  Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers.  What you do today might burn your arse tomorrow!

***

So much to think about, so little time, remember to forgive.

Cheers

Disclaimer for the nit pickers: we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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Life in a small town

Gratitude, for lots of things …

“The Wind Of Liudao”, Jia Peng Fang, from the album “Faraway”, (2002)

Ned StarkIt’s 4:30 AM, there is a low wind moaning about the eves of my roof and rattling the shutters on my gazebo. It sounds cold outside and probably is relatively cold after several weeks of hot weather and good harvests. The last two days have seen periods of rain and cloud interspersed with interludes of sun. In the sunny periods the wind still blows quite cool, fall is coming, winter is coming, as Ned Stark remarks.

I am grateful … for lots of things … the furnace is working well, the blankets are warm and dry, the beef soup is ready to fill my stomach, my internet connection is working well and so are all my computers, I am feeling good, healthy, mobile, no aching joints, or illness, clear headed, rested, and I am looking forward to another day of chatting with customers, selling things, paying bills, working peacefully with my staff and my family in an atmosphere of camaraderie and good will. All that is priceless and well worthy of gratitude.

And all that, that peaceful existence, as some might have it, that boring existence, is a very good thing … I remarked in an earlier post on “gratitude”:Is there some higher source of those personal talents which we are born with, something beyond merely accident of birth, the lottery of genetics, and so on?” And of course the answer to that is a resounding YES!

I awoke this morning with the covers all the way up over my head, covering everything, and my first thought was of gratitude to the Good God who has given me such a wonderful life, all the opportunities, the talents and abilities, the friends and experiences – good and ill – everything, every day. I am grateful for Him keeping me in His thoughts, alive and prospering, according to His plan.

And it is indeed all about His plan. I think like a caterpillar … my plan is that I want to eat a lot, sleep for a while and wake up beautiful … God has a different plan for me than I can even begin to imagine and it is ALL for my own good, my own best interest because I know that He loves me, Joe, personally, and uniquely, and wants nothing but the best for me because I am His creation and His son. He wants the best outcome, not the best that I want, but the best which He alone knows and knows totally in the eternal now.

So … Gratitude … “God does not want us to be thankful for everything, he wants us to be thankful in all things, then you will look up instead of looking down.” Gratitude changes our life to the point that we can thank God for the very things we used to complain about. This transformation can come from something as simple as the “rosary of gratitude” .

A Rosary of Gratitude is simply prayed by taking a rosary and thanking God for something on each bead of the 5 decades— from the smallest to the biggest blessings. “When gratefulness is alive in our hearts,” Father Kovash said, “it lends itself to 3 fruits: a deep abiding peace and joy, a tremendous increase in the awareness of God’s crazy blessings in our lives, and those 2 things result in a great passion to do God’s will and build up his kingdom.”

Cheers, and a very good Friday morning, even if it is windy and rainy and cold …

Joe

Breakfast, I can always dream can’t I? Eat a lot, sleep for a while, wake up beautiful … sigh

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The Inner Struggle

In a Hurricane …

Hurricane Harvey has me remembering a hurricane … at sea … south west of Bermuda … in a tiny vessel with 150 other mortal men … all praying … more powerful in full screen click on the lower right hand corner for full screen …

 

“Heartland”

Hear our hymn from the heartland.
Hear our prayer.
Steer us through stormy waters
Lead us there…

When the storm is raging,
And thunder rolls,
Deliver us from the ocean
Save our souls.

A thiarna dean trocaire [Irish for “Lord have Mercy”]
A chriost dean trocaire [Irish for “Christ have Mercy”]
A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire

When the winds are howling Vigil keep
Shelter us and save us from the deep

A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire
A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire

Thank you Lord you have brought us safe to shore
Be our strength and protection evermore.

A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire
A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire

Dean Trocaire Dean Trocaire A Thiarna

A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire
A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire

A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire
A thiarna dean trocaire
A chriost dean trocaire

and another video of note – set to full screen in lower right hand corner:
Cheers
Joe
There are no unbelievers at sea … sailors understand that THEY are NOT in charge.
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The Inner Struggle

The Motive for Fraternal Charity …

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

What a drag!

Cheers

Joe

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

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

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Cake Made Of Flour And Rat Poison …

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

*****

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

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

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Joe

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

 

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Logically Speaking … What If Everything The Progressives Assert Is True?

“Think Of Me”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

HotBathMonkey

HotBathMonkey

-8 degrees Celsius, sunny with cloudy periods, or cloudy with sunny periods. Sunday is a good day for thinking. I might even get dressed!  Or not! Sure wish I had a hot tub.

I’d guess that most of this is a personal gedanken experiment,  the meanderings of someone who has too much time to think and not enough experience of the reality of daily life given that I have retreated to the Shire and spend my time congratulating myself about how intelligent and fortunate I am.

So I am indulging  myself by contemplating my lack of charity, patience and humility, my default position (un-vocalized these days) that I know the answer, or at least I am on the right track, and anyone who doesn’t get that is an idiot, full of sound and fury but (fortunately) signifying nothing.

Why do I feel deeply offended by some of what I read over at (for example) Being Liberal (how convenient that there is an easily accessible site where the left can effusively wear their heart on their sleeve), and other sites, and by what I hear every day on most of the MSM both Canadian and American (thank God for satellite TV)? Polarized doesn’t even begin to describe the gulf between the views.

001-a-orcIs it uncharitably to imagine progressives in the image of Tolkien’s Orcs and Goblins? I am certain that in fact the orcs and goblins of “The Lord of The Rings” were in fact literary references to the progressives of Tolkien’s day. Was Tolkien uncharitable?

Is it because they and their opinions are truly wrong or is it simply because they don’t agree with me? Why do I strongly feel that they (Progressives) haven’t thought through the implications of their declarations about reality and desirable social engineering, and the concomitant ridiculing and vilification (Bulverism) of virtually any voice raised in disagreement (is this what I am doing?).

cs-lewis-tyrannyMany of these folks are manifestly intelligent and well intentioned. Many of them do a lot of “good” work, spending their lives helping the downtrodden and disenfranchised, the needy and destitute.

But equal or greater numbers seem to spend all their waking hours ridiculing their “enemy” and explaining in great depth and with great volume why anyone who disagrees with them, any religious who do not share their religion, are wrong and not to be credited with any reasonable points.

Any attempt to engage in any discussion is met with an immediate attack aimed at destroying the new opponent which their “sensors” have detected.

In a logically twisted sort of way it seems at times that if they ( Progressives) are right (as in “correct”) to castigate and vilify those whose views they don’t share, that is, if they are truly OK to be writing and broadcasting and posting what they “believe” is reality (because after all they are all “basically good people”), then it must be equally OK for me to do the same thing, right?

And if they are wrong about what they believe and post, etc., then is it not equally wrong for me to indulge myself , so where do we go from this impasse? How do we move from this “preferential option for confrontation” to a place where we can discuss methods and directions “with good will”?

Maybe the answer can be found in looking dispassionately at the declarations and the methods and examining the points, assumptions and observed results, all the while striving not to take anything personally. I think “Not taking anything personally”, even when is is obviously intended to be both personal and as hurtful as possible, is how we get out of this conflict.

That requires a boatload of Charity and Humility, which I find to be in short supply these days. That’s what I’m working on, and I am making progress, albeit glacially at times.

So methods and declarations, the slings and arrows of outrageous fate … I find these days, having arrived at a political position closely akin to “A Pox On All your Houses“, that politics simply no longer provokes anything beyond sadness, but Faith, Logical argument, unreasoned Theological or Philosophical opinions still field barbs I cannot resist. No lack of Pride there, eh?

“The Music Of the Night”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

For example, “God can create anything so can he create a weight too heavy for him to lift? (or some other rhetorical impossibility)”.  This is a rhetorical question of the sort I have had thrown at me when I respond or comment on egregious declarations about Catholicism.

In the past, unfortunately, I had great difficulty letting them pass (still a struggle) and my naturally provocative nature makes non-believers uncomfortable.

Which sort of discussions frequently came up (before I learned to keep my damned mouth shut) when being accosted by unbelieving family members (or other acquaintances who are also unbelievers) who in their cleverness and self worship imagine themselves astute. ( AHA!  I’ve got ya now Joe). Let’s discredit Truth and by proxy discredit guilt and responsibility.

Another variation goes like this “If god can do anything, can he create a 4 sided triangle or a square circle?” (Now I’ve really gotcha, eh?). The argument might be termed “Reductio ad absurdum” but is actually “Ad hominum”.  Always looking for a way to put down and belittle believers, insecure in their unbelieving, and unaware of their logical error since logic has been conspicuous by it’s absence for most of their 50 or 60 years on this earth.

Of course God CAN create anything, and God CAN do anything … except self contradiction is not a thing. God is THE absolute almighty being and imagining a weight which The Almighty can’t lift is is to imagine a contradiction in terms. A four sided triangle or a square circle are glib but utterly meaningless constructs.

001-eskimo-inuit-sunglassesThese geometric and physical fantasies are all nonsense, all nothing, rather like approaching the real world with nothing but theories about how things “should” operate and more theories about why the world doesn’t conform to the first theories. And if the world fails to conform to one’s narrow view, well, I have a theory about that…

If one is accustomed to believing one’s theories about the world and people no matter how incongruent with observed facts and events, when the world diverges from the theories, then it is a small leap to believing that things like square circles are logical.

By way of illustrating the prevalence of illogic in daily life let’s look at the canard of “Pro Choice”. Very popular with my sisters – Pro-Choice – interesting place to build your house of cards.

Imagine us entering a restaurant and being shown to our table by a helpful Maitre d’. The waiter approaches with your drinks and menus and everyone quietly peruses their menu. The waiter returns after the drinks are almost gone to take our order “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I take your order, what are your choices?”.

001-a-vulnerable-the-deception-2

Vulnerable … the Deception

I order Prime Rib Au Jus, rare with all the trimmings and veggies, my partner chooses the Baked Atlantic Salmon with Roast Potatoes and a Spinach Salad, the rest of the guests reply “Yes!”

The waiter, a little confused, repeats “What are your choices, folks?” and the rest of the guests reply again “Yes!, we are pro-choice, therefore Yes!, our choice is “choice”!

“I am very sorry folks but we cannot serve “choice” here, we are unable to create “choice” here, we need you folks to make a choice between the various items which you have on the menu.

Then and only then can we move forward here, you have to MAKE a choice, “choice” is not a choice.  The waiter is faced with an insoluble problem both logical and grammatical.

You have to make a choice!  You can’t choose “Life” because that would make you “Pro-Life”, and unfortunately the only other “choice” is “Death”. Death for the children, death for the elderly, death for the handicapped, death for the ugly, “eugenics” that’s the game, and we are well on our way to the Great Society. Newspeak presents “Pro-Choice” as a euphemism for “Kill everyone who you find inconvenient”.  Pro-Choice is the biggest, most cowardly, cop-out of our modern society.

USHMM 89063 Men with an unidentified unit execute a group of Soviet civilians kneeling by the side of a mass graveWhat’s the moral difference between killing folks in a clinic, and killing folks in a ditch?

The logic of “Pro-Choice” can apply to any behaviour in the entire range of human behaviors, and the language of Progressive Newspeak will give you a get out of jail free card for any perversion or inhuman crime imaginable. Just vote the right way and you can do anything you like, because you are basically a nice person, right?

There is no such thing as sin, “I’m OK, You’re OK” that’s what Progressive Social Theory teaches the voting public. And this social theory leads to some unbelievable practices. But the problem is that “denial” is not the same as “proof”, and material reality in every aspect requires “proof”. Of course, “outside” the material is also part of reality but no proof regarding extra-material things is possible for humans.

Any cursory observation of modern life and the memes dispensed by the talking heads on MSM outlets make it manifestly obvious, that for the Secular Progressive Humanist, the Theory is more important than facts, logic or anything else, especially any part of daily reality that seems to go against the Theory!

Unfortunately, if one is completely immersed in the sea of illogicality it is impossible to understand that God cannot do or create anything that is a self contradiction. All self contradiction, is nonsense, is “Nothing”. There is no such thing as a “Triangle which has three sides, but on some occasions it might have four, maybe.” This is a “nothing”.

Self contradiction is a place reserved for Modern Humanist “Thinkers”.  Self contradiction is a “nothing” and as some of us know “nothing is impossible to God”.

Back before there were “Progressives”, and “Wiccans, and Gia,  and “Atheists”, and “Secular Humanists”, and “National Socialists”, aka Modern Progressive Humanists of all stripes, the folks (and philosophers and scientists for that matter) understood that you needed both “Theories” and “Practice”.

Learn To Be Lonely”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

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Queen of The Sciences

So, our medieval ancestors understood Theology as the “Queen of the Sciences”. Her twin sister Sophia (the Greek word for “wisdom”) was also venerated in the discipline of Philosophy. It was hard to tell the two beauties apart, but together they once ruled the many domains of human knowledge. This was the domain of “Theory”. Theories fell into the disciplines of Theology (The Queen of the Sciences) and Philosophy (Wisdom).

Practice was how you did things in the material world while taking into account the dictates of the Queen and the Handmaid. The practice was guided by the theory, but the theory was proven out by the practical experience of daily life. Theory and Practice are equal partners. Theory without Practice is like a wagon without wheels, a hard load to pull. Equally, Practice without Theory, is like riding swiftly down the road in your wheeled wagon while stone cold blind, a sure recipe for utter disaster!

001-a-star-trek-motivational-posters-captToday we find that Philosophy and Theology are increasingly irrelevant backwaters in the modern university, ridiculed for engaging in seemingly endless “solipsistic” debates. Not surprisingly,  we find the modern view is theoretical, Godless, and endlessly self referential.

Gee! That sure sounds like the actual definition of solipsism! Solipsism is the idea that a person’s mind is the only thing that actually exists. It is a philosophical argument that maintains reality is based on the perceptions of one’s mind, and therefore nothing really exists except for that perceptual reality of one’s mind.

So how do they come off accusing the disciplines of Philosophy and Theology of “solipsism” when the foundation of  both sciences is fundamentally outward looking in search of answers that man cannot find on his own – nothing even slightly self referential there. I’d guess this skull twister would be explained buy the modern concepts of “attribution” and “transference”, but that discussion has to be for another day.

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertPatience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. It’s like climbing Everest!

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The Inner Struggle

From the Point Of View Of Spirit …

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

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The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516

Today I have used images taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516.

I will not just copy everything they have to say about it but suffice to say go on over and visit it and read the article, it is worth one’s time to understand better the past history which contributed to Western European Civilization’s rise, especially since we are in such a hurry to blow it all away in our modern progressive wasteland.

So after the last blogpost it might appear we have swerved off the road, but in fact all of the items, objections, observations, and situations complained about, and judged, and questioned in that post are firmly rooted in my own biases, attractions, beliefs, and narratives in and about this material world.

In short, my ego, my “self” is intimately enmeshed in all my observations and conclusions, MY plans, MY dreams, MY opinions, MY understanding. I don’t believe that I am uniquely blessed. I believe that we all share these attachments to the material, especially if we strongly believe that this time based material reality is all there is.

Viewed through my human nature, all these things are ultimately important, but viewed through my soul nature they are really seen to be unimportant and irrelevant, mere distractions on the path. And yet … and yet … we insist on refusing to see what is right before us. We dive into the unreal and forsake the real for the sake of our passions, our tastes, our desires, our egos.

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Grunewald – Isenheim Altarpiece – First View

Barabbas is in each one of us. We are scoundrels, experts in selfishness, boasting, lust, violence and greed. We are bandits, taking God’s many gifts and ungratefully neglecting them and squandering them.

We take for granted the most precious realities of life: family, life, nature, health, faith, and the sacraments.  We squander our talents, our money, our time, and the love others offer us.

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Grunewald Isenheim Second View

We are quick to criticize and judge, to steal others’ honor and sully it with our moral and intellectual myopia. What do we, who are so flawed, so weak, so slow to repent, and so reluctant to serve — what do we deserve?

Certainly not God’s love, certainly not his continued forgiveness, certainly not redemption, hope, peace, and heaven. Strictly speaking, we deserve to be cut off from the kingdom against which we have so often rebelled — just like the murderous insurgent Barabbas.

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Grunewald Isenheim Third View

And yet, Jesus overlooks what we deserve. It is Passover, and the angel of justice passes over the sinner to wreak his punishments on the Lamb of God instead. Look at the Lord with the eyes of Barabbas. Is there any heart that loves you more than His Sacred Heart? Is there any heart more trustworthy than the heart that died so that you might have abundant life? John Bartunek, LC, ThD.The Better Part”, pp321

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Grunewald’s Risen Christ

We insist on refusing to see what is right before us — we refuse to see reality through the eyes of our spirit/soul — we clutch at our “self” and our passions, appetites, vices, and sins, because, as Screwtape says (about half way down one of my posts): “you must remember that he (us) takes Time for an ultimate reality”.

As we walk through this “valley of death”, this mortal world full of evil both without and within, we find that the closer we cling to the visible, material, temporal vision, the more we fear.  Because when you really look at everything around us, the happenings, and events, and personal relations, and national relations, the EVERYTHING in TIME, the more we fear.

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Mathis Gothart Grunewald’s “St. John The Baptist” illum oportet crescere me autem minui (Vulgate, John 3:30 ), “He must increase, but I must decrease.

Because, if we actually pull our collective heads out of the “sand” (or wherever) the more we have to acknowledge that there is not one damned thing we can do about any of it and if this is all there is then we may just as well end it all. If this is all there is then what is really the point? 

This morning I visited another WordPress blog which I follow at “Finding Hope”  Often I am encouraged and given hope reading what this person writes. This time I found there a story specifically about this struggle with “What’s The Point”. It brought me to tears and to prayer:

A Prayer of Sorrow

” I have fallen, Lord, once more. I can’t go on. I’ll never succeed. I am ashamed.  I don’t dare look at you. And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.

But temptation blew like a hurricane, and instead of you I turned my head away. I stepped aside, while you stood silent and sorrowful. Lord, don’t look at me like that.

For I am ashamed and sorrowful. I am down, shattered, with no strength left. I dare make no more promises. I can only stand bowed before you.

 Come, Child, look up. Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded? If you loved me you would grieve but you would trust. Do you think that there is a limit to God’s love? Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving you? But you still rely on yourself.

 You must rely on me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly. You see, it’s not falling that is worse, but staying on the ground.”

Wow …

If we are not careful we find ourselves angry with God because “He is doing this to me!” and we can’t bring ourselves to recognize our own failings and faults, and that God is not really “doing this to us” but just watching us sorrowfully from His eternal NOW as we do these spiteful things to “punish” Him.

And then consider how much of what we do daily is out of spite and passive aggression.  Spite at family members, spite at neighbours, spite at friends, spite at groups of people we “have a bone to pick” with, spite at other drivers, spite at other folks in public places or in the news, spite at professional groups, anyway, you get my drift.

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Our spiritual point of view completely obscured by passion , resentment and pride, so we do and say things we later regret or find are mistaken in their target and intent. “Every evil screams out only one message: “I am good”! And not only does it scream, but it also demands that the people cry out tirelessly in response: ‘You  are good, you are freedom, you are happiness’ “(Father Alexander Schmemann)

All of these passions painting layer upon layer of darkness on the vision of our soul/spirit, completely obscuring reality. These “little sins” of spite, of holding grudges and passive aggression until vengeance be meted out are really great big sins of pride, of our ego, of needing to be seen and heard and esteemed, even by God, if we still remember Him.

My mother (God rest her soul) went to her grave, “died unshriven”  as they say, or bás a fháil gan sagart” as our Irish ancestors would say, that is “not having confessed sins to a priest and been given absolution”  after 32 years of rejecting God and the church and the sacraments. Because she just couldn’t accept that God’s plan for her life did not align with her plan for her life. After my father died, at 57,  my mother (always a very stubborn woman) rejected the church, priests, God, religion, holding out for her plan, until vengeance be meted out.

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In her early life, although we were poor, she did her best to raise us children so that we never wanted for anything essential, even including making our clothes.  She looked out for us with devotion and worshiped my father as her eternal love.  She died a unhappy woman at 92 still holding out for the material reality of her plan and rejecting the soul/spirit view of eternity.

God gave her 32 more years after he took Dad, to come to an understanding of reality and we discussed it and argued about it countless times for 32 years. I must have been a real pain in the ass when all she really wanted was to be left alone in her bitterness.

In some ways she reminded me, in the last 30 years of her life, of “The Old Woman and The Onion” fable which appears in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov“.  My mother refused to give up her narrative and her plan regardless of the cost.

And all that misery and bitterness because she took TIME for reality and could never bring herself to accept that this world didn’t matter, that she had to give up HER plan for life and accept God’s plan:

15Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 John 2, Douay-Rheims Bible)

We would be better to write poems of Love to God:

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Ah, Love, let us be true to one another!
For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

(Mathew Arnold, English Poet, 1822 — 1888)

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“An Taiseirl (The Resurection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

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Inuit Snow Goggles

It seems obvious at this point what reality is and what the choice is that must be made, between a short syllable of time or all eternity, to devote our short lives to chasing happiness and success in this world or take off our goggles and pursue eternity.

But in order to detach from the important material things which fill up our lives and leave us bitter and afraid we have to abandon our “self”–ishness and trust God. Selfishness is rooted in “FEAR” of loosing something good for ourselves or missing out on something which might make us happy, or whatever … we often do not even know what it is we are afraid of loosing or missing out on, but we are sure someone else is getting it and we are not.

The main obstacle or hurdle to overcome when approaching the spirit/soul point of view is self love. It is immensely difficult to develop detachment from this world while fully immersed in the pool of self love where this time based world is everything.

By immersing oneself in the world of spirit, outside time and space, where everything material is unimportant we are able to appreciate and understand just what an infinitesimal part of reality is the part with time, which we choose to believe constitutes all of reality.

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Air Force One

So we have to give up our self and trust God, a difficult target when we have so much trouble trusting our family or our friends, or the folks at work or at the corner store.

Trust; trust God, who knows us so much better than we even know ourselves since he conceived us and created us and he loves us more than we love ourselves and he wants nothing more than our absolute happiness and well being. He knows what we need.

So in conclusion (for now)  “LET IT GO!” We have to move from “My will be done” to “Thy will be done”. Our future depends on it. Salvation does not arrive on Air Force One. Or any other means of conveyance.

Cheers

Joe

 

100-canadian-landscapeWe fight the long defeat because results are not as important as our Father’s delight. We fight the long defeat because we are not the authorities over “success.” We fight the long defeat because the final victory is coming.

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The Inner Struggle

Spirit/Soul … Outside Time & Space

Gandalf StudyLast post we established the case for the generally accepted existence of the soul/spirit as a partless whole existing outside time and space. Probably this post will be easier to understand if you read the previous post first, to which I linked above.

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

It appears to me that the first necessary step to understanding reality is to accept and totally embrace the existence of our soul and to adopt, as our natural view of reality, the soul’s view of reality. Essentially we have to embrace living in our material shell as a soul, occupying the shell and looking at and thinking about the material plane as a soul … which is actually what we really are.

Souls, occupying no space, do not exist within material reality. What we mean by this is to say, that souls exist outside the material universe filled with material beings and lots of “stuff” which is made up of agglomerations of parts as discussed in the previous post.

It is necessary to become comfortable thinking about everything from the point of view of our soul, which is in no dependent way connected to the material universe in which our parts reside, but rather to begin to routinely, as a matter of habit, look at all material things from “outside” so to speak. Only in this way can we start the process of detaching our “self” from the material existence that the “self” has lead throughout our material life.

We are told that God is a “Spirit” and it seems that the only way to approach intimacy with God is to understand and accept reality as “spiritual”.  We can only approach the “spirit” God” as “spirit” persons. As long as our total reality is centered in the material universe as the only reality, we experience extreme difficulty detaching from the things of this world and a concomitant difficulty growing closer to God.

When material parts are regarded from a perspective outside material reality, from a soul’s point of view, a spirit’s point of view, the material parts are rendered less essential to existence and less essential to reality. The parts, the worldly goods all become merely unessential artifacts, experiences and feelings which become easier to set aside since they are no longer the center of our physical universe and are merely observed to exist in the physical plane.

When material reality is observed from outside the material plane, as a spirit observes the material universe, objects in that plane become dramatically less important than when the material is the center of our existence and the essential center of our lives. When the self identifies itself with it’s material possessions and it’s status in the material plane it is hugely difficult to “give up the stuff”.

None of the “stuff” has anything to do with God and it fills up that place in us which God would like to fill, in fact, asks us to fill with Him.

This train of thought has been on my mind now for months. These ideas are only now starting to coalesce into a coherent structure which is why I am writing all this down now.

More to follow as more develops and appears on my mental white board …

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertAlways remember, “Be charitable in your judgements, and never take yourself too seriously”.

 

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