Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

As soon as we are sincerely sorry …

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

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

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

In all seriousness, I understand that as soon as I am sincerely sorry for my sins, for having offended God, He forgets all my sins and malice and forgives me, for He is truly infinite goodness, infinite mercy.

And I understand that to look back in remorse for sins which have already been forgiven is to commit another sin, a sin of pride.

A sin of “Pride” because, as sure as God made little green apples, I am busy sinning away right now. Getting maudlin about the past, or even blaming the past, is just a distraction from dealing with the sins of right now.

Looking back on past sins is a sin of not trusting that I am in fact forgiven. Lack of trust is fraught with self reliance and self centeredness. Looking back is “Pride” in action, an absence of humility, rather than a practice of humility.

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

I have to apply myself first of all to humility of heart and continue to deepen the sincere recognition of my nothingness, my weakness. An important part of that recognition is a sincere acceptance of responsibility for my thoughts, words, and deeds.

One certainty abides, through all the stormy rhetoric, namely, that this “nothingness” which I contemplate with horror, is not the fault of any other creature and the mere attempt to “place blame” or “attribute responsibility” on or to another creature for the folly and beliefs I entertain about my self is abject knavery in action.

Only the truly, madly, deeply, cowardly, the quintessential poltroon makes the attempt to deflect responsibility onto another creature for thoughts, words and deeds which that bad actor inflicts on others. Down the path of deflection lies in wait a truly insidious trap, and also an accidental gift.

The trap is spiritual death for the deflector, but God permits the accidental gift to that poor creature which is receiving blame and humiliation because it is impossible to become humble without experiencing humiliation, and God wants us to be truly humble.

It is an even greater gift (“gift” raised to some power) when the humiliated are, by their hard work, making the humiliation possible, by providing every single tiny part of the sustenance needed for the poltroons, the bad actors, to exist.

The Emperor

The Emperor of this world

And by their works shall you know them …  It seems to me that this deflection of responsibility onto others is one of the most prominent identifiers, a true hallmark, of modernist self worshipers, the slaves of “This World”.

It seems that the less they know (especially of themselves), and the worse their behaviour, the more these actors blame it all on someone else, and excuse their own behaviour.

These actors seem to be willing to attempt any gymnastic contortion in their efforts to blame other creatures, or some event, or circumstances over which they have no control, literally ANYTHING will work for them as an object to blame.

They need a target of their wrath, a perpetual motion engine of hate, in order to avoid having to face the evidence of their own actions, their own sins, and in this avoiding of all responsibility for their thoughts, words, and deeds,  these actors pretty much exclude the possibility of ever gaining anything remotely resembling wisdom, that is self-knowledge through experience.

Now, wisdom seems to encourage patience, patience with the foibles and eccentricities of other creatures, our neighbors, and more time encourages more patience, tending eternally until the someday heat death of the universe.

The older one gets (God willing) the more patience one develops, because one has a wider experience of foibles and eccentricities.  Another word for the creature so enlightened by this wisdom of experience is, “Conservative.” Been there, done that.

Kojo No Tsuki” (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album “Japanese Melodies” (1990)

Kojo No Tsuki (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album Japanese Melodies (1990)

Kojo No Tsuki (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album Japanese Melodies (1990)

As I have previously pointed out in random past posts, the more one knows about a subject, the longer one has studied a subject, the more detailed one’s understanding of any subject, the more sure one becomes about the reality of that subject, the more “Conservative” one becomes towards it.

On the other hand, the less one knows, the more liberal he or she becomes, and the more inclined he or she is to embrace “progress” and “reforms.” Socialism and Communism embody reform by the unknowing, and these socioeconomic systems are always imposed from above or from outside by those with no practical knowledge of that which they are reforming. But even a Communist may prove a very “conservative” hockey player, once he learns something about hockey.

As a Polish immigrant friend of mine once said, to answer my question about why he worked in a print shop when he had a Masters Degree in Economics: “It’s really very simple (Joe), Communists know nothing about economics, and my Masters Degree from the Warsaw School of Economics was granted under the Communists.  My Masters degree in Economics is in an area which that school, at the time, knew nothing about.”

This seems a universal principle. Everyone knows something about something, and is very unwilling to embrace change in that which he knows much about. Quoting David Warren again: “The one exception may be journalists, who know nothing about anything, and are therefore liberal all round.”

So, because I have studied sin, and I have a lot of practical knowledge about sin, perhaps a virtual PhD in Sin gained in the “Work Term” of life.  Ha, just imagine that, a Doctorate in Sin, because of my experience of sin I hold a “Conservative” view of sin.

There seems to be an iron law of bad behaviour, an iron law of sin, and it seems to have two manifestations … it seems to be that if the actor (the sinner) accepts responsibility for the self’s thoughts, words, and deeds, the sinner thereby internalizes these events and can move forward fruitfully to asking, nay, begging for forgiveness as the enormity of one’s sins wash over the self.


On the other hand, if the actor denies all responsibility and clings desperately to the fantasy that no forgiveness is needed because nothing is the actor’s fault, and because there is no fault, therefore no blame accrues, and no guilt is felt, and no repentance is required. It’s all a magic show … Wax on, Wax off … deflect and disarm, B.S. baffles brains, right?

Occupy Wall-street, or in Canada’s case Occupy Ottawa which Capital City owes it’s very existence to the hard work of all those creatures who are being blamed for what is wrong by other creatures who contribute nothing but only suck, and suck, and suck, yup … life really sucks.

Responsibility, or no responsibility, 
That is the question—  
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

We are such victims of other’s delusions as to sometimes wish for death … This delusional behaviour can even go so far as to target entire groups of creatures (individuals unknown to the deluded) in an arbitrary category of scapegoat, the blame-game targets. A blatant example of this was brought up by David Warren in his blog a small portion of which I quote as a teaser:


David Warren

David Warren

“Among the signs of our time is a poster mounted by a local “educational” institution. (One must use this term very loosely, these days.) The headline reads: “Check Your Privilege,” and in case you don’t know what the long word means, a definition is offered:

“Privilege: Unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group.” (ed.  Ooooooooo … that’s just so spine-tingling clever I about wet myself in the thrill of the moment)

Naturally, one then wonders what the author means by “unearned,” “access,” “social,” “power,” “membership,” “dominant,” and “group.” But that’s only a beginning. The graphic design is professional, slick, expensive. Underneath this frankly Orwellian statement, we have a “black list” (quite literally, white type reversed from a black rectangle) resembling a Canadian election ballot. There are nine entries, which the viewer is invited to mentally check off: … ”  (go read the rest at David’s blog post, it is really quite amusing)


It seems obvious that the local “educational” institution in question must be a publicly funded institution.

And it is equally obvious that the institutionalized inhabitants of this “academy”, both academics and students, belong to that perennially vocal class of creatures who are always blaming others,  entire groups of other creatures, for what are provably their own failings, inadequacies, and disappointments.

Sigh … ever was it so, at least in living memory.

free public education

YEAAHHH !!!! Lets give a big cheer for free public education … and it is worth exactly what you pay for it.

All of the above is the articulation of an observation of a phenomenon, of something “real”, in the “real” world, which observation raises an obvious question. Is the articulation of the observation a “sin” in the sense that we are talking about? Is it a sin to write about observed behaviour of other creatures?

Or is the “sin” actualized in thoughts about the motives and actions of those other creatures who would organize and present this propagandized interpretation of “Privilege” at the expense of other creatures.

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

Now, I looked it up on Google, and as we know we can find everything on Google and Google has this to say about Privilege:

Privilege may refer to:

Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins

But not a damned thing related to this “Privilege” thing, as “Unearned access” anywhere. I am thinking that in fact what this is all about is “Envy”, another great sin as old as man. Pride and Envy, two of the seven deadly sins …Everyone knows of the seven deadly sins.

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings. Behaviors or habits are classified under this category if they directly give birth to other immoralities. According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, which are also contrary to the seven virtues.

These sins are often thought to be abuses or excessive versions of one’s natural faculties or passions (for example, gluttony abuses one’s desire to eat). This classification originated with the desert fathers, especially Evagrius Ponticus, who identified seven or eight evil thoughts or spirits that one needed to overcome.

The idea of “Privilege” does raise another thought, it is interesting to note that, by inference, all of us creatures, both the blamers and the blamed, are indeed “privileged” by ANY definition of the word, because any impartial judge could not help but find that none of us are worthy of existence simply on our own merits. We are all privileged to come into and remain in existence solely through the goodness and mercy of God.

And every second of every living day we commit sins against our creator by continually failing to follow the manufacturers instructions. We are indeed guilty, we are indeed to blame, for all the evil that we think and say and do. We desperately need to be forgiven and the only path to forgiveness is acceptance of responsibility, repentance, to be sincerely sorry for our sins, and to affect a conversion to a new way of living, thinking and acting.

Being forgiven doesn’t balance the scales, in fact I am never able to balance the scales of justice. That is made up for by God’s own mercy, but I have to work out my penance, with fear and trembling, by mortification, prayer and exercising humility.

We are all sinners, or so I am told, but the only sinner I am sure of is myself. Of course the are numerous  scriptural reference to salutary examples of bad behaviour and the conduct of ancient sinners. Sometimes it is good to remind oneself of sinners long gone to their reward … and there is nothing new under the sun.


Psalm 51a

A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him

1Have mercy on me, O God,  according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

2Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;

so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

5Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.

14Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior,

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.

16You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17My sacrifice, O God, isb a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

18May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.




Pride, pride, pride,

Satan’s favorite sin …

Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Justice … part 2 … do we actually want Justice?

Hamabe No Uta” (Narita), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

We sometimes speak of the “old order” in a disparaging way, the old order of “Dead White Males” comes to mind, or “Victorian” is another variation on the same sentiment. What we are really talking about when we refer to the “old order” is the philosophical root and foundation of our Western Christian Civilization from which ALL our notions of right and wrong and morality derive.

Did the abandonment of the old order really set us free to realize the full potential of humanity, the Ubermensch, the Overman, Overhuman, Above-Human, Superman, Super-human, Ultra-human, Higher-Person, Higher-Being. The previous are just a few of the myriad variations of the new Narcissism of the 20th and 21st century. What can sincerity and justice mean in a society where I am all and where all truth is relative to and related to my desires and appetites, my self image, my ego?

The lipstick of “moral relativism” doesn’t turn the pig into a beautiful person … a pig, is a pig, is a pig, no matter how much makeup we slather onto it. Moral relativism is simply “license to behave anyway I want” dressed up in a tux and ready to party. License is related to licentiousness – graphically – hmmmm.

Generally, in our current culture, people end up believing nothing—or holding that nothing is certain, even in matters relating to Natural Law, which all people know through the use of their reason alone. Everything that happens now gets attributed to some sort of “Karma” with no responsibility, express or implied, on any side by any party. No respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility means … what exactly?

These days we even have the mythology of the Buddha allegedly saying: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” This is a very bad translation of the Kalama Sutta — so bad, in fact, that it contradicts the actual message of the Sutta, which says that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth.

Mohandas Gandhi

Cool quote!  From a cool guy! That’s what I read …  Is it true? Did Gandhi actually say this? How do I know?  Waddya Talkin About?  I saw it on Pinterest!  It MUST be true … Huh?

So this culture, this society of Secular Humanist Progressivism, this new normal of moral relativism, is a direct result and morbid offspring of private interpretation of “Truth”,  just one more of many “I will not serve!” moments in both angelic and human history.  And with totally predictable consequences … for if a person has a right to decide for himself what the Truth is, this says, in effect, that he is his own personal doctor of truth, (“Doctor of the Church”) whatever one’s theological and moral training, and of course we have Pontius Pilot’s question: “What is Truth?”.

We find ourselves replying that “Truth” is whatever we say it is … because we are the sole arbiter of truth, right?

If a person has a right to decide for himself what the Truth is, this says that every person has a personal right to choose whether he will believe or not believe certain teachings. Given this starting point the individual easily slides into the position that he has a right to believe anything, or even nothing at all. This might well have been the start, the wellspring of the slippery slope of “rights” without “responsibilities”.

On the one hand, our modern society MUST concede every person a civil right to reject religious or moral truth, as far as he individually is concerned, only because both religion and society must allow a person to exercise his free will and to choose for himself whether he will accept or reject God’s Revelation and/or Natural Law, and/or criminal law and provincial law and municipal law for that matter, because as we all acknowledge, every human being is endowed with free will from the very moment of conception.

Canadian Figurehead

On the other hand, he, (or “she” or even “it”) – mustn’t get too politically incorrect here lest we offend some entitled rainbow singularity –  the ONE who rejects the truth must unfortunately, unavoidably and  personally bear whatever evil consequences result from his, hers, or it’s own personal choice of the magical fantasy which is their personal reality. Thinking things like “Drinking and driving” won’t have bad outcomes for me ’cause I’m special, “doing drugs” won’t affect my job and my family because I’m special, “building my home on a flood plane” won’t have bad outcomes ’cause I’m special … and so on and so forth.

Worshiping at the pool …

For those accustomed to indulging in “Magical Thinking” it is sometime a shock to discover that actions and beliefs have consequences in the real world. We believe that it can’t possibly be our fault, that the outcome in question can’t be the result of our own bad choices, NO WAY EH! Hence the almost universal predilection for playing the blame game, we blame circumstances, or other people, or the economy or the politics of the day, FOR MAKING US “FEEL” BAD about the inevitable consequences of our own bad, ill-considered choices and actions.  All in order to permit perpetuation of our well loved, familiar, comfortable, personal fantasies which are crippling us and preventing the existence of Justice .

For some, this view may be difficult or offensive because they are unaccustomed to hearing other views which differ from the generally accepted mainstream view. The “I’m OK, Your OK” generation and their children and grand-children are especially sensitive to being reminded of past failures and disasters and having current failings remarked upon. They don’t want to hear anyone commenting on the likely outcomes obvious with even a cursory examination of the reality on the ground.

We have “become as gods” and will brook no objections or interruptions to our worship of the image in the pool. But …

C.S. Lewis Quote

In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, if there is to be any hope of long term survival, it is critically important at this point in history, to reflect on what has gone wrong. Can anyone seriously believe that we live in the best of all worlds, the promised land of the Enlightenment?

American Figurehead

Without Truth and Sincerity how can there be Justice? Who do we believe?  Do we turn to our figureheads for guidance? It always seems that our Great Canadian Societal Figureheads prattling on to the media and all the talking heads doing interviews with our Canadian versions of Rock Stars … always seem to be selling some version of “What is Truth?”

This dystopian emotional wasteland, this distilled “Canadianess”, produced by our daily confrontations with reality in our polite society is the meat of the “Cognitive Dissonance” part of “Cognitive Dissonance in a Progressive Tyranny”.

For want of sincerity and a concomitant want of justice we have adopted “politically correct” niceness as our defining national characteristic.

Canadian Figurehead …

As David Warren writes:Compliant, complaisant, acquiescent. Docile, submissive, ingratiating. Servile, tractable, obsequious. Ever deferential, glad to be of use. This is what my fellow Canadians have become, though we were not in the past, according to my elders (now mostly dead). When unreasonable demands were made upon them, their inclination was to stiffly resist. Ours is to be chumps, patsies, dupes, treacle saps. In our vanity we think that we are “nice” people, and celebrate our own gormlessness.” “What is Truth?”

American Figurehead …

Lest we forget, or maybe we never knew it, but the generation that fought and died at Vimy Ridge was in no way “nice” and “gormless”. The generation that sang: “D-day Dodgers knew everything there was to know about push-back against gormlessness (great series of YouTube videos at this link – none of this shows up in Social Studies, does it?).

Lest we forget, Canadians were not always a mob of gormless poltroons. Where are they now? My elders (now mostly dead). Realization dawned one day in the midst of World War III, that the real enemy was not, most undoubtedly not, the young kid clinging on to the Soviet frigate 100 yards away. He was me.

Canadian Figurehead

The real enemy was back home in the comfortable office towers and media redoubts taking pot shots at the ones doing the bleeding.  The real enemy was back home in the Kremlin, and in Washington, and in Ottawa, and in London. The real enemy was the figureheads and their agenda of “What is Truth?”

Just in case we missed something and mistakenly understand “gormless” as synonymous with “nice” we can look at a definition of sorts: “Gormless began life as the English dialect word “gaumless”, which was altered to the modern spelling when it expanded into wider use in the late 19th century.

The origins of “gaumless” are easy to understand; the word derives from a combination of the dialect noun gaum, meaning “attention” or “understanding,” and the suffix -less. “Gaum” also functions as a verb in some dialects, where it means “to pay attention to” and “to understand.” An unrelated verb gaum means “to behave in a stupid or awkward manner.”

There’s also a noun gaum, meaning “a stupid doltish person.” But none of these are as commonly used nowadays as “gormless”, which itself is most frequently seen in British English.

Canadian Figureheads

True synonyms would be: airheaded, birdbrained, bonehead, boneheaded, brain-dead, brainless, bubbleheaded, chuckleheaded, dense, dim, dim-witted, doltish, dopey (also dopy), dorky [slang], dull, dumb, dunderheaded, empty-headed, fatuous, stupid [chiefly British], half-witted, knuckleheaded, lamebrain (or lamebrained), lunkheaded, mindless, oafish, obtuse, opaque, pinheaded, senseless, simple, slow, slow-witted, soft, softheaded, thick, thickheaded, thick-witted, unintelligent, unsmart, vacuous, weak-minded, witless.

Now don’t I just feel SO much better in my nice Canadian gormlessness … sigh. “What is Truth?”

And what about Gratitude? Is there really anything to be grateful for in a polite society lacking in sincerity and justice?  (more to follow on gratitude – we need more of it)



After Darkness comes the Dawn …


and Breakfast …

Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Love, Give , and Live …

“Yamanakabushi” performed by Jean-Pierre Rampal & Yuzuko Horigome, from the album “Yamanakabushi: Japanese Melodies”, Vol. 3, (1982)

St. Augustan by Botticelli“The measure of love is to love without measure.” St. Augustine.  The saint who also famously prayed, “Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure) – but not yet!”

Augustine was a radical convert to Christianity! He was born in Tagaste (modern Souk Ahras, Algeria) in 354 and died in Hippo Regius (modern Annaba) in 431.

The Son of so Many Tears!  Augustine’s confessions make interesting reading!  I have cover to covered Confessions 3 times now, each time getting more and more out of it. For me now I strongly feel that Augustine wrote this “letter” to me personally, across the centuries.

Augustine became a great intellectual, a professor of Rhetoric in the city of Milan. He lived in relative luxury and enjoyed a life of sin.  His mother, Monica, was a committed Christian and prayed earnestly for his conversion calling him ‘the son of so many tears’.

One afternoon as he was sitting in his garden he overheard some children singing ‘Take up and read!  Take up and read!’  He became inwardly convinced by the Spirit that he should read the New Testament. He began reading Paul’s letter to the Romans, received powerful revelation of God’s grace in the gospel and was converted.

He then became the most zealous exponent of grace of his era, finally settling in Hippo where he became bishop.

“..Love without measure…” that is without counting the cost and without strings or any expectation of payback or return. In Luke 6:27-38 we read:

“But I say this to you who are listening:Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

If you love those who love you what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. and if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the most high, for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; a full measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.”

Desert Walkempty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”.

Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Some More Thoughts on Humility …

Hamabe No Uta (Narita), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

Jean-Pierre Rampal, Japanese Folk Melodies, (1978)

Another Sunday rolls around, happening with ever increasing frequency, or so it seems to my “older” self. In my wasted yute the weeks seemed to stretch on forever and ever and ever. Not so much now when every precious second slips away like (insert favorite metaphor here). Weather brilliantly sunny, clear blue sky, only the slightest hint of a breeze

So, I continue to contemplate the ongoing difficulties encountered in the cultivation of the virtue of humility after a lifetime of having none. For most of my life I have considered humility the domain of cowards and hypocrites who were faking it.

There may be some truth in that belief regarding most of the people walking the earth but it really illustrates just how little humility has been happening on my part over the last 5 decades or so.

Even if we start out humble (truly) there is little to no encouragement in our society to remain humble and much is made of pride as essential to success in our culture which absolutely anathematizes humility and all it’s offshoots.

For just a tiny example of the truth of this assertion try this little thought experiment: “try to imagine a truly humble person with a Facebook page”, … wow! staggering, right? A humble person on Facebook is clearly an oxymoron of truly cosmic proportions to anyone with a neuron firing.

Kananaskis Range

That experiment illustrates just one tiny facet of the pride centered universe of self which is our culture. Try another experiment. Try for a moment to imagine your first job interview … are you going into that pushing “humble” or are you trying to paint yourself as the best human being that ever lived and the obvious choice for the position you are interviewing for.

Right … around the water cooler or at coffee break are we trying to be the lowest or are we striving to outdo everyone else in how great our weekend was, either especially wonderful or especially awful but either way ours was just the most – Ya think THAT was bad?

Anyway, you understand what I am talking about.  In our culture, humility is not one of the top 5 desirable traits on anyone’s list. I doubt it would appear in anyone’s top 100 list.  So humility and detachment appear to me like two High Himalaya ranges barring me from the passage to the much desired interior, meanwhile I languish struggling in the wasteland of Mordor.

But lets look again at what Father Gabriel has to say :


The soul who desires to reach the sublime heights of union with God must walk in the path of profound humility, for as the divine Master taught, only “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk 18, 14).

The higher the ideal of sanctity to which we aspire, the more sublime the end toward which we tend, the more we will have to descend and excavate in ourselves the fertile abyss of humility “Abyssus abyssum invocat” (Ps 41, 8); the abyss of humility calls to the abyss of infinite mercy, of grace and the divine gifts, for “God resisteth the proud, but to the humble He giveth grace” (I Pt 5,5). We must humble ourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, sincerely recognize our nothingness, take account of our poverty, and if we wish to glorify ourselves, we must glory, like St. Paul, solely in our infirmities.

It is only in our weakness, humbly acknowledged, that grace and divine virtue work and triumph (cf. 2 Cor 12,9). Even if we are of the number of those good souls who sincerely desire to advance on the road to perfection but who are relying too much on their own powers and personal initiative, we can apply to ourselves to great advantage the valuable warning that St. Therese of the child Jesus gave a novice: “I see clearly that you are taking the wrong road; you will never reach the end of your journey. You want to scale a mountain, and the good God wills to make you descend … It is Jesus who takes upon Himself to fill your soul according as you rid it of imperfections (C).

The sublime ideal of union with God totally exceeds our capacities, which are those of weak creatures. If we aspire to it, it is not because we expect to reach it by our own efforts and initiative, but because we trust that God Himself, according to His promise, will come and lead us by the hand. But God will not act thus with a proud soul. He stoops only to the humble; the more lowly He finds a soul, the closer He draws it to Himself. Humility deepens the soul’s capacity to receive the fullness of divine gifts.  (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.  from the book “Divine Intimacy” meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 302 – 303)




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

Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Pride, Humility, Approval, Love, Charity …

Yashi No Mi (Ohnaka), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Trouble is, for all of us, we have to choose to accept what Christ is offering. Christ simply presents us with “options”. He does not impose His choices, “for our own good”, very much unlike our current crop of all too human masters, in all their myriad halls of power from the sublimely national to the municipally trivial. All for “our own good”.

We, the laboring proles are plainly just too stupid to come in out of the rain and therefore require some serious “looking after”, as any of thousands of public service bureaucrats will plainly tell you while staring down their collective noses at this afront to their routine and wondering who let the sheep and goats into their office complex. Get back to the barnyard you sheeple. Leave important things to us management piggies.

Jean-Pierre Rampal, Yamanakabushi: Japanese Melodies, Vol 3 (1978)

So, that last paragraph is a illustrative example of pride in action. It’s just oh so easy to slip into. Hurt pride to counter the affronted pride of the management piggies. Obviously, you useless drones, I am waaaay more important than all those other animals. Pay attention to me and render unto me the obsequious respect due one of your employers.

Better be careful Joe. Hit the wrong manager on the wrong day and you just might become a test case for a “quality of life” policy decision. After all, this is Canada, and remember, the managers have now made it legal to remove ANY inconvenient animal, not just the inconvenient babies.

Be patient, be humble, be uncritical, be undemanding, be “invisible”, collect your Kool-Aide ration on time (just remember not to drink it). Whatever you do, don’t attract attention, it just might become the undesired kind of attention.

Lest we forget, I have read somewhere about a number of socialist progressive regimes in the not-too-distant past who had perfectly wonderful benefits and great retirement plans for “believers” and which believers “were just doing their jobs”.

And for the run-of-the-mill barnyard animals, there were always scenic holiday camps in beautiful far away places like at Treblinka and Ravensbruck for those who made themselves too obnoxious. The final solution never looked so promising.

Those were indeed salad days for the progressive proponents of eugenics, finally being free to deal with some serious problems of social engineering which had been plaguing good citizens for generations.

The progressive world was enraptured, George Bernard Shaw and the idolized ladies of the Famous Five finally had their fondest dreams, which they dedicated most of their lives to realizing, coming true in living color, the smoke of the crematoriums rising like incense to their god.

History tells us that the political construct fabricated by dead white males known as “Western Christendom” thought otherwise. It seems in those days that a lot of regular folks and their political proxies didn’t agree with the fond views of the progressives.

Yes, Virginia, there once was a time when even politicians had a moral code (at least publicly) and it still resembled Christianity, and killing folks who looked different or didn’t agree with you was still frowned upon in “polite” society.

“The Greatest Generation” stepped up to the plate and at great personal sacrifice and risk denied the progressives their breakout victory that time. Where are they now?

Does any thinking human being see the same courage and conviction in Gen-X, the Facebook generation? That’s an open question. I know where my money is sitting, your mileage (kilometrage?) may vary. Can anyone smell “breakout victory” in the 21st century.

But in Canada, just in case there are some geriatric relics of courage and integrity left, we now have Bill C-14, known euphemistically as Canada’s “Assisted Dying” law (just like the other euphemism, Pierre Trudeau’s 1982 gift to posterity, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, also known as  the “Pro-Choice”  law).

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Kojo No Tsuki (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album Japanese Melodies (1990)

I have no doubt that every single loyal German or Russian regime follower was quite comfortable typing the memos, pushing the buttons, making up the schedules, and buying the supplies as long as they could have cover.  And now we can all do the same thing here in Canada, all, amazingly, here and now, just like we old farts read about in the history books before history was banned and replaced with “Social Studies”.

I wonder when D Day will come for us. And it will, oh it surely will.

The only thing in doubt is whether the agents of justice will be some heretofore unnoticed tribe of courageous isolationists (the remnant) with backbone and moral courage, or if the agents will be supernatural, as in Egypt’s plagues. Because it is certainly coming, no mater what the  worshipers at the pool parrot at their critics.

“I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Instead of Humility I/we indulge ourselves in Pride. Instead of Love we look for approval and call that love. We look at the invitation to follow Christ’s plan, the Manufacturer’s Instructions regarding this Model 1 Human, conceived and created in the image and likeness of God.

Our response is that we are not Godlike creations but rather highly evolved ape animals and as far as the plan, well “Thanks but no thanks, we already have a better plan”, and as every bureaucrat can tell you their plan is superior to everyone else’s, including God’s.

And we can all see how that plan is working our every day in every way all around us in our society.  Are you over 65, have a handicap, are you “inconvenient” for someone?  Maybe you just voted the wrong way and some civil servant found out. Have you got your notice in the mail yet to report to the nearest “quality of life” processing centre?

I just watched a movie called “Equilibrium” a movie from 2002 staring Christian Bale. In a futuristic world, a regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death.

Clerick John Preston (Christian Bale) is a top-ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist these rules. In the movie the authorities call this “processing”, and the killing takes place at “processing centres”. And reality is not much different now.

You can rationalize literally any course of action with the right regulations, professional associations and government encouragement which can just as easily be a carrot as a stick depending on which direction the “initiative” is taking, which “options” are being pursued.

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

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

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

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

The more humility empties the soul of the vain, proud pretenses of self, the more room there will be for God. “When at last [the spiritual man] comes to be reduced to nothing, which will be the greatest extreme of humility, spiritual union will be wrought between the soul and God.”  (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.  from the book “Divine Intimacy” meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 301 – 302)



Always remember, “Be charitable in your judgements, and never take yourself too seriously”




Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Year-End, Prayer, and Fasting … Lent

Yashi No Mi (Ohnaka), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

Well, my Year End accounting efforts are bearing much fruit. For the first time in 8 years I am up to date and almost done on time.

This will be a first ever to be down to two months worth of accounting = about 2 weeks worth of work, and I am on track to get everything out to the accountants by mid April. WooHoo!

The fasting is progressing nicely alternating between total fasting for a week and 1 meal a day for a week. Have stopped all meds both for diabetes and blood pressure and the numbers continue to improve. Weight continues to drop.

All good on that front except that I wonder in passing if my pride at how well I am doing negates the spiritual benefits of atonement and and mortification.

Pride is such an insidious vice, informing almost every thought of every day.

A prayer for Lent – taken from my Carmelite meditation book “Divine Intimacy””


“O God of my soul, what am I in Your presence! Have my acts ever been free from faults — my words, my will? But You, O Lord, are good and Your right hand is merciful.

O Physician of my soul, show me the fruits of my avowal. I confess because the admission of my miseries awakens my heart and keeps it from slumber; but even while saying I am incapable of doing good, my soul awakes again in the love of Your mercy and the sweetness of Your grace, by which every sick soul feels strong and becomes aware of its weakness.”

“I shall love You, O Lord, and return thanks to You and exalt Your Name because you have pardoned so many of my guilty acts.  If my sins have melted away like ice, it is the work of Your grace and mercy. All the evil I have not committed was likewise the work of Your grace. Was there any sin I could not have committed, I who have loved evil with so light a heart? I confess that all my sins have been forgiven, both those that I committed as well as those that, with Your help, I did not commit.” (St. Augustine)

O my God, You who by one single act of Your will created light — and light was made — speak again Your all-powerful creative word: fiat lux, and light will be created in my soul; and in Your light I shall be able to see myself as I really am in Your sight.

But light is not enough for me who am so weak and cowardly; I need strength, O Lord; I need a strong, resolute will to hate evil in all forms, to have a horror of my self-love, my pride, my sloth, to renew and strengthen my resolution to overcome myself for love of You.

Yes, Lord, with Your help I wish to conquer myself, not for the vain satisfaction of thinking that I am doing better, but solely to give You pleasure, to avoid even the smallest thing that displeases You.

O my God, infinite Perfection envelop and penetrate my soul with the reflection of Your holiness, and just as the sun illumines, purifies and makes the earth fruitful with its rays, illumine, purify, and sanctify my whole being.

Teach me to look at myself with Your eyes, to know myself as You know me, to consider my miseries in the light of Your infinite perfections, to open my soul to Your purifying, sanctifying light.”




Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “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.