Life in a small town

“MIT BRENNENDER SORGE” … reprise

“Hotaru” by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)

bethune-300x300

Brian Bethune?

So you don’t believe there is an anti-Christian agenda in Canada?  So how about a cover headline from 3 years years ago in Mcleans Magazine, THE “flagship” of Canadian “Journalism”.

Here I found an article by someone claiming to be a journalist writing for Mcleans magazine. Funny thing though, can’t seem to find anything else about him/her anywhere.

Is he/she real? Is he a nom du plume? Is he a paid shill for progressive shadow players? Who knows. I guess one has to live in Toronto to get a clue, eh? Interesting reading, though, for any central Canadian “Brights”, those leading, bleeding edges of secular Progressivism in this country who just can’t seem to stop recycling these old stories debunking Christian beliefs … and why Christians?

Maybe because they know that Christians won’t shoot them or blow them up, or burn them alive, or stone them in the public square, or drown them in cages, or visit their offices for a little tete-a-tete? Do you suppose those considerations don’t enter into the editor’s thoughts when considering provocative material to publish … how about some equal coverage for the other monotheistic religions, eh, Mcleans?

How about it, Brian Bethune?  I completely understand, and even sympathize somewhat, with your bread and butter being the provocation of the target audience du jour as vetted by your editors. That is “journalism’s” function, after all, as one thinks about the traditional Broadsheets of yore, they exist to stir things up and see what new smells rise to the top.

In a quaint way, I guess I am a throwback, but I just happen to believe that justice requires treating all players “equally” and “fairly”. These are supposed to be THE Canadian values, right?  So how about it? Are you going to leave it all up to French Journalists like those at Charlie Hebdo? Would this be too much to ask of Canada’s “National” magazine? The French Surrender Taint runs deep in Canada  so shouldn’t Canadian “journalists” show at least the courage of their Froggie cousins across the pond? Naah … I guess when the rubber hits the road Canadian journalists and their masters would rather duck and cover and put their butts in the air.

From the front page article in question:

There is a twist in the tale, though, and frailty of human memory turned out to be more profound than Ehrman suspected or, perhaps, welcomed. His eye-opening “Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior”  may prove most useful for those who hold to a position Ehrman finds more wrong-headed than insistence on the Bible’s literal truth. The reason Biblical historians cannot find even the outline of a historical Jesus, argues an increasingly persuasive chorus of challengers, is that there is nothing to find: Jesus Christ never lived at all.” 

Of course, does it need to be mentioned that Bart Denton Ehrman (born October 5, 1955) has made a hugely successful career out of “proving” that Jesus Christ never existed. and he is one of the darlings of the Progressive Pantheon … for agnostics and atheists (really the same thing) he “walks on water” no wait a minute, that was someone else wasn’t it?

OMG!!!! WHO KNEW?  Gee, Brian, or whoever you are, good thing for Mcleans and their staffers that they have an atheist anti-christian scholar with the street cred of Bart Denton Ehrman  to do all the heavy lifting for them. It’s pretty damned certain that he is several standard deviations above the average intelligence level of the “journalists” at our flagship Canadian fish-wrap.

It is also a very damned good thing for the Mcleans editorial offices that Christians don’t exercise the same policy prerogatives as Islamics. Yup, sure a good thing, that the Christians are the real deal when it comes to the “Religion of Peace”. Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Yup, a real good thing.

On the Way Of The Cross, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Seriously? 2000 or so years on and still they strive stridently to proclaim “There is no God, Christ is a lie!” Even the Roman Empire failed to deny Christ and this country, for all it’s jingoistic bombast trying to ape the American colossus to the south or desperately denying any connection, depending on the party currently in occupation, is but a pale sickly shadow of that famous empire, filled with pale imitations of men called “managers”.

Strawman

Joe?

Anyway, here’s some gratuitous “Ad Hominum” in the spirit of “tit-for-tat”. That’s a really interesting article, Brian. Your bio picture is one of 50 shades of grey haired tired compromise, your soul pawned to the highest bidder and that final personal reckoning coming ever closer regardless of your desperate tap-dancing.

Is that really even a picture of you or is it some special effect photo-shopped in the studio you work in, some “Resident-Evil” twist of zeros and ones. Whatever it is, it’s a good job, well rendered, a kind of brooding dignity in the greying eminence of your brow, the eyes fixed upon the viewer with unwavering judgement. So much more dignified than my own effort to the left.

I wonder what kind of twist the tale of the “Life of Brian” would take if he were to seriously suggest that “Mohammad never lived at all”.

Com’on Brian, how about it, aren’t you still wearing your “Je Suis Charlie” T-Shirt in the copy room these days? Nahh, I didn’t think so. That’s just so “yesterday” right? And who reads Mcleans outside of Toronto anyway? Yea, Toronto, … a pretty safe beat for beating up Christians and Albertans if I do say so.

Cool courage doesn’t get any cooler than this, that one give up his latte to make his deadline. But Islam, … Islam, … that gives you chills now doesn’t it? Islam might reach right into your comfortable inner city Toronto digs and share their pain. Islam, the sibilant sssss just before the sudden ssslam! Yessssss chills. It tickles my dark side, my prescioussss. You just have to respect their commitment to their truth even if you disagree with their methods.

The Banks of Green Willow, Vaughan Williams, London Symphony Orchestra

inspiration-cslewisquoteThe Islamics would even agree with Lewis’s quote (right), and their belief has teeth! Only a believer could hope to understand another believer. The secular progressives in the high towers today have no clue and even less hope.

So how about “In your country, Venerable Brethren, voices are swelling into a chorus urging people to leave the Church, and among the leaders there is more than one whose official position is intended to create the impression that this infidelity to Christ the King constitutes a signal and meritorious act of loyalty to the modern State.

Secret and open measures of intimidation, the threat of economic and civic disabilities, bear on the loyalty of certain classes of Catholic functionaries, a pressure which violates every human right and dignity. ”  para 21, Mit Brennender Sorge

and

It is on faith in God, preserved pure and stainless, that man’s morality is based. All efforts to remove from under morality and the moral order the granite foundation of faith and to substitute for it the shifting sands of human regulations, sooner or later lead these individuals or societies to moral degradation. The fool who has said in his heart “there is no God” goes straight to moral corruption (Psalms xiii. 1), and the number of these fools who today are out to sever morality from religion, is legion.”para 29, Mit Brennender Sorge

Mulcair_810_500_55_s_c1What about this article from four years ago – Gee!  Who knew? :  “NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, September 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews)New Democrat federal leader Thomas Mulcair was defending his senior communications director after he hit the national spotlight yesterday when two-year-old tweets surfaced in which he viciously attacked the Catholic Church, the pope, and Catholic moral teachings.” and these are the same people who have been running Alberta for the last four years!  Questions anyone?  Guess who has been writing government policy and guidelines in Alberta?  Anyone? Anyone? Will Jason change anything now that he has “power” or will he just quietly let it ride as has happened so often in the past and spend his time sabre rattling about pipelines and Federal policy disputes? My money is on “let it ride”.

But “They either do not see or refuse to see that the banishment of confessional Christianity, i.e., the clear and precise notion of Christianity, from teaching and education, from the organization of social and political life, spells spiritual spoliation and degradation. …  To hand over the moral law to man’s subjective opinion, which changes with the times, instead of anchoring it in the holy will of the eternal God and His commandments, is to open wide every door to the forces of destruction.

The resulting dereliction of the eternal principles of an objective morality, which educates conscience and ennobles every department and organization of life, is a sin against the destiny of a nation, a sin whose bitter fruit will poison future generations.” para 29, Mit Brennender Sorge

and

” … Human laws in flagrant contradiction with the natural law are vitiated with a taint which no force, no power can mend. In the light of this principle one must judge the axiom, that “right is common utility,” a proposition which may be given a correct significance, it means that what is morally indefensible, can never contribute to the good of the people. But ancient paganism acknowledged that the axiom, to be entirely true, must be reversed and be made to say: “Nothing can be useful, if it is not at the same time morally good” (Cicero, De Off. ii. 30). … ” para 30, Mit Brennender Sorge

Waiting On The Night To Fall, Casting Crowns

Spark's Street

Spark’s Street? North American capital of Murder Inc.? Or is this somewhere in the dark night of Mordor east of the pond and the channel?

It has been 13 years since the Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia. In that time, the practice has become legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and in five U.S. states (Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Montana, and New Mexico). At the time I said “It’s coming to Canada too, but Canada always lags the Dutch by about ten years”. Because “managers” always want to cover their backsides, don’t rush things, wait ’til the public are “ready” to legalize killing inconvenient grownups eh?

In the first week of February 2016, Canada joined the growing pack, pretty much on schedule for that range of prognostication. Jackals scrounging the scraps left by the Hyenas, except perhaps we are giving Jackals and Hyenas a bad rap here, for they are only fulfilling their proper function in the Divine plan while our masters deny the Divine and have set themselves up as little tin gods unto themselves to run our lives for their own benefit in ever more granular regulations piled upon regulations like the Scribes and Pharisees of old.

In a previous post I linked to David Warren posting this: “the Ottawa government’s impending “euthanasia” legislation. This our parliament was ordered to write and pass by Canada’s supreme court: a junta of nine who are a law unto themselves. The parliamentary committee discussing the matter, now dominated by the liberal party, has made recommendations such as forcing all doctors and other medical staff to participate in the killings; and arranging for children and the mentally ill to be terminated on the advice of one “care giver” or another. It is a monstrous, unambiguously evil measure they are contemplating — which, like abortion, targets the defenseless”.

Aki, Inner Thoughts, Rodrigo Rodriguez

Although the new ruling states that all patients in Canada are entitled to a physician-assisted suicide, their condition must meet certain criteria for them to eligible. For example, the law (yet unwritten) states that “patients must be of adult age and must be assessed by a doctor to be mentally competent and capable of giving consent“, Common Dreams reported.

How can “Common Dreams” report on laws which have yet to be written or enacted or on regulations yet to be written and implemented? This statement just serves to give cover to the faceless ones while they work their evil.

Cheers

Joe

 

OnTheRock8I’ll end this post with a reference to one of Mark Mallet’s blog posts from March 2012.

“As more and more people are waking up to the growing persecution of the Church, this writing addresses why, and where it’s all heading. First published December 12th, 2005, …  “

 

 

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Octave of Easter and the importance of Reverence in the Liturgy …

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

Continued on from my last post. First of all it appears that that large noisy crowds from the Easter Sunday morning Mass were actually not Catholic, that is they actually were a couple of families worth of non-catholic visitors attending for the rather large Easter First Communion of a couple of kids who are Catholic. That kind of behaviour is perfectly normal for unchurched secular modernist “none’s” who have no clue about appropriate behaviour in a church or place of worship. This morning the reverence and quiet returned together with the more normal behaviour of the congregation absent the unchurched sports bar crowd.

For the remainder, the regulars, the remnant, the Truth of our faith is that The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church his Spouse a memorial of his death and resurrection. As the Gospel of Matthew tells us:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)

The Last Supper, Da Vinci, 1495-1498, oil/tempera on plaster, in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

The words that Jesus used during the Last Supper about the unleavened bread and the cup echo what He had said after He fed the 5,000: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink” (John 6:35; 51; 54-55).

Da Vinci’s “last Supper” masterpiece (image above right) was commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza for the refectory of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. I am quoting much of the following from an interesting web site about the Italian Rennaisance.The scene we see comes from the Gospel accounts on the night before Christ’s Passion and Death when Christ and the apostles are together in a room for supper. We are watching them at a point in the “Supper” narrative after which Christ has made a great revelation to the apostles that one of them will betray Christ (“One of you is about to betray me”, Matthew 26:21 ).

He is, of course, referring to Judas, but at this point in the Gospel there is a great outburst of emotion as all the apostles want to know who the betrayer is. We can see this emotion in the various apostles, who are linked by their hand movements. Emotions range from protest (Philip, #8) to sadness (John, next to Christ) to acceptance (Christ).

Judas, 3rd on the left from Christ is, however, shadowed and turned towards Christ so that we only see part of his face while he clutches his money bag, presumably containing the 30 silver pieces. At the time this was painted, Judas was normally arranged across the table from the other apostles in Last Supper depictions, but here he is depicted in the same grouping as John and Peter.

All of these figures would go on to play prominent roles in the Passion of Christ (Judas in the betrayal, Peter with his denials, and John who remains with Christ at the cross)“. But the point I am trying to emphasize here is that this is the evening when Christ Himself gave us His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, the “Real Presence” living with us in every tabernacle in Christendom.

Sacro cuore di Jesù (“Sacred Heart of Jesus”), Pompeo Batoni, painting on the altar in the northern side chapel of Il Gesù in Rome, 1767

So we believe that Salvation comes through Christ and the sacrifice of His physical body on the cross. Recalling the words of Jesus, the Catholic Church professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest.

The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins.

This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. The real presence of the Creator of the Universe and everything in it including us, and who keeps us in existence moment by moment because He wills it. And we ignore this at our peril.

Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:51-55). This presence of Christ in the Eucharist is called “real” not to exclude other types of his presence as if they could not be understood as real (cf. Catechism, no. 1374).

The risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways, but most especially through the sacrament of his Body and Blood. The important point here is that GOD in the person of Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe and everything in it, is truly and actually present and residing in every Tabernacle on every Alter in the Catholic world. This belief is one of the defining understandings which makes a Catholic believer “Latin rite Catholic”.

If one does not believe this tenant then one is, by definition, not a “Catholic”. That person who does not believe in the Real Presence may be Christian, they may even believe that they are indeed Catholic, but they are not a Catholic Christian. They are, at best, an ecumenical “smorgasbord” catholic in the same way that a member of the Anglican communion are catholic.

So what if one’s church turns into a spiritual “Sunday Smorg” similar in intent to the ubiquitous Sunday “Chinese Smorg” found in many small Alberta towns. What is one to do if one discovers that their particular church is drifting away from “revealed truth” into some sort of modernist quasi-spirituality arrived at by means of a popularity contest amongst competing “personal” truths?

This is an important question to some of us.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sheds more light on this mystery thus:

*****

What does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine? How does this happen? The presence of the risen Christ in the Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery that the Church can never fully explain in words. We must remember that the triune God is the creator of all that exists and has the power to do more than we can possibly imagine.

USCCB headquarters in Washington April 28, 2011. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) (April 28, 2011)

As St. Ambrose said: “If the word of the Lord Jesus is so powerful as to bring into existence things which were not, then a fortiori those things which already exist can be changed into something else” ( De Sacramentis, IV, 5-16). God created the world, in time, in order to share his life with persons who are not God. This great plan of salvation reveals a wisdom that surpasses our understanding.

But we are not left in ignorance: for out of his love for us, God reveals his truth to us in ways that we can understand through the gift of faith and the grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We are thus enabled to understand at least in some measure what would otherwise remain unknown to us, though we can never completely comprehend the mystery of God.

As successors of the Apostles and teachers of the Church, the bishops have the duty to hand on what God has revealed to us and to encourage all members of the Church to deepen their understanding of the mystery and gift of the Eucharist. In order to foster such a deepening of faith, we have prepared this text to respond to fifteen questions that commonly arise with regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

We offer this text to pastors and religious educators to assist them in their teaching responsibilities. We recognize that some of these questions involve rather complex theological ideas. It is our hope, however, that study and discussion of the text will aid many of the Catholic faithful in our country to enrich their understanding of this mystery of the faith.”

*****

And there are, in fact, other “Catholic” churches, other rites in communion with the Latin rite.

Because we believe in “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church,” some might object, “There is only one Church, so how can we speak of many ‘Churches?'” It’s helpful to consider an analogy used by the Church Fathers: While there are three distinct Persons who share the One Divine Essence, there are likewise many autonomous individual Churches that make up the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. As it is with the Triune Godhead, we must be careful not to blur true and important distinctions of the individuals in order to emphasize their unity.

Eastern Catholic Churches, 2019

When Christ founded His Church, He commissioned the apostles to go out into the world to preach and baptize. Most Catholics are familiar with the founding of the see of Rome by Peter.

The primacy of that Church was sealed with the blood of Peter and Paul, and the succession of bishops continues to the present day. What many do not know is that the other apostles themselves founded churches, and that their own successions of bishops continue as well.

As presently defined, there are 24 Catholic Churches that can be grouped into eight different rites. A rite is a liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony of a distinct people manifested in a Church.

While each Catholic Church may have its own rite or customs, in general, there are only eight major rites. History, language, misunderstandings, nationalism, and basic human weakness have resulted in the current communion of 24 Churches. And then there are additional sources of orthodoxy in the form of  Prelatures, Ordinariates, and so on in which licit Masses and Sacraments can be found.

So, if one’s own particular church falls into unbelief and heresy either by active denial of a critical truth, or by passive denial in the manner of their lack of affirmation of support of said truths;  by their conduct against  or lack of conduct in support of a critical belief, are there then any other rites readily available to us and are they a viable alternative path in order to fulfill our obligations?

More to follow as I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Last Sunday …Easter Sunday & The Octave of Easter …

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

Notre Dame de Paris … not the only fire in the Catholic Church. The uncontrolled flames of the “Modernism” heresy seem to have gutted her.

A week ago, on Easter Sunday morning, at Mass in my parish church, the MOST important Mass in the entire liturgical year, I had an epiphany.

Now, to be clear, my understanding of “epiphany” is: “derived from the Greek word epiphaneia, epiphany means “appearance,” or “manifestation.”

In literary terms, an epiphany is that moment in the story where a character achieves realization, awareness, or a feeling of knowledge, after which events are seen through the prism of this new light in the story”.

My epiphany was a sudden clarity of perception at the point when the Mass was ended and priest blessed the congregation and instructed them “Go forth the Mass is ended”. And the congregation responded “Thanks be to God”.

This would “normally” be the moment when many parishioners would kneel and pray for a while thanking God for all His blessings and benefits, and for once again coming into our lives personally.

Even more people, perhaps the majority of those present, would file out onto the steps of the church to discuss how things were going in their lives and shake hands with the priest, and generally turn things into a social occasion for chatting after Mass with people who had not been seen for a week and so on and so forth. That would be pretty normal and has been the scene after Mass in the Catholic church in Canada since I was a kid.

What actually happened, what I really noticed this time around, is that the church suddenly turned into a loud sports bar with people turning to their neighbour and shaking hands and just in the space of a breath the quiet of the Mass was completely wiped out by loud boisterous voices  yelling and talking and shouting over each other and over the Recessional music which is reasonably supposed to hint at an orderly and respectful egress from our Lord’s Presence and from the place of worship.

The Last Supper, Juan de Juanes 1523 – 1579, oil on panel (116 × 191 cm) — ca. 1560, in Museo del Prado, Madrid.

I noticed it this time probably because I was in the midst of the shouters instead of actually singing the recessional from the ambo as cantor. The parishioners didn’t even try to leave the pews and meet outside on the church steps .. they just couldn’t wait to share their “Good News”.

Everyone turned their back on the Lord in His tabernacle and ignored and profaned the most important and revered person in the universe to get on with their social gathering.

And this continued for the better part of half an hour. Everyone ignored our Lord, real and present in His tabernacle behind the alter before gradually winding down and moving on to a better venue, perhaps with beer and wings or wherever – the grocery store, Sunday dinner, whatever.

And the epiphany was that I realized that my fellow parishioners were/are not actually Catholic. These parishioners (rather obviously) do not believe in the real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

And the more I thought about it the more I saw the truth of it. Almost no one believes in the real presence, no one believes in confession, no one believes in the importance of reverence in liturgy, no one believes in the traditions which have kept the faith alive for more than 2000 years. Our parishes have become nothing more than “Social Clubs”, much like all the Protestant parishes around us.

This is the norm in most Protestant sects, now so noticeably fragmenting and in decline across our land, but this is the first time that it hit me like a hammer blow to the heart that our nominally Roman Catholic congregations seem to share this lack of faith … they are, really, no longer “Catholic” in the most important matter of faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist … no longer Catholic.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Here in the early years of the 21st century the Catholic Church here in my normal modern parish is dead. This parish, perhaps this Archdiocese, perhaps the entire Canadian Catholic Church, is no longer “Catholic” by any traditional definition of “Catholic”.

So what is Joe supposed to do now? I don’t really know … I am at a loss and the ideas are not coming freely at this point.  So let me tell a short story about Joe. Well, as gentle reader no doubt knows, this blog is Joe’s blog, so it is no surprise that a story about Joe comes up.

I will continue this in my next post, perhaps … I need to pray and think on this and perhaps consult other more level heads as to what is appropriate to discuss and what is not.

More to follow as and when I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

They Also Serve … The Passion of Christ … Prayer and Atonement … Election Results

“Deep Peace”, Bill Douglas, from the album of the same name, (1996)

John Milton, ca 1629

John Milton was totally blind by age 40. “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” is one of the best known of the sonnets of John Milton (d. 1674).

The last three lines (concluding with “They also serve who only stand and wait.”) are particularly well known, although rarely quoted in context.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

by John Milton (d. 1674). This sonnet was first published in Milton’s 1673 Poems

The Gospel of Matthew, composed between AD 80 and 90

When Milton writes “that one talent which is death to hide” he is specifically alluding to the parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew.

And I would add, for a modern audience who might never have heard of it … they also serve who only stand and wait … and pray.  This was assumed in the day of Milton and his culture … and pray.

So here is a prayer for Passion Week, the week leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

*****

O Lord of my soul, how quick we are to offend You! But how much quicker are You to forgive us! What am I saying Lord! The sorrows of death have encompassed me. Alas! What a great evil is sin, since it could put God Himself to death with such terrible sufferings! And those same sufferings surround You today, O my Lord! Where can You go that You are not tortured. Men cover You with wounds in all your members.

Christians, this is the hour to defend your King, and to keep Him company in the profound isolation in which He finds Himself. How few, O Lord, are the servants who remain faithful to You! … The worst of it is that there are some who profess to be Your friends in public, but who sell You in secret. You can scarcely find one in whom You can trust. O my God, true Friend, how badly does he repay You who betrays You!

O true Christians, come to weep with your God! It was not only over Lazarus that He shed tears of compassion, but over all those who, in spite of His call, would never rise from the dead. At that time, my Love, You saw even the sins that I would commit against You. May they be at an end, and with them, those of all sinners. Grant that these dead may come to life. May Your voice, Lord, be strong enough to give them life, even if they do not ask it of You.

Lazarus did not ask You to bring him back to life, and yet You restored life to him at the prayer of a sinner. Here is another sinner, my God, and much more culpable than she was. Let, then, Your mercy shine forth! I ask it of You in spite of my wretchedness, for those who will not ask.”

St. Teresa of Avila,  1515 – 1582

*****

In a recent interview, given to The Catholic Herald, Robert Cardinal Sarah said in answer to question 8:

Robert Cardinal Sarah, in 2015

“First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and the peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment.

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature. The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches. The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples.

At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents. We are accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore!

I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism? Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.

Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

*****

…I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]… Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them..Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, Jesus to St. Faustina, n. 1160, 848

*****

And finally, for a criminally low price of 99 cents U.S. on Kindle, we have a treasure like unto “The Pearl of Great Price”. We have Daniel O’Connor, in his new book The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta

“In His revelations to Luisa, Jesus goes so far as to say that it is the enemies of the Church who are necessary in order to purge and purify her. It is difficult to think of stronger words; but it’s becoming increasingly impossible to ignore them. Today, it is sadly the Church’s enemies—Godless, secular people who have long hated her—who are doing what the Bishops should have done long ago: dealing with the sin of sexual abuse as strongly as it should be dealt with and exposing the perpetrators.

In this passage, Jesus prophesies today’s crisis to Luisa 100 years before it began; although He does not explicitly refer to the crisis as involving sexual abuse, I think it is safe to say that this is one of the major things (if not the major thing) He intended when He said to Luisa: I was praying blessed Jesus to confound the enemies of the Church, and my always lovable Jesus, in coming, told me:

“My daughter, I could confound the enemies of the Holy Church, but I don’t want to. If I did so, who would purge my Church? The members of the Church, and especially those who occupy positions and heights of dignity, have their eyes dazzled, and they blunder a great deal, reaching the point of protecting the false virtuous and oppressing and condemning the true good.

This grieves Me so much—to see those few true children of mine under the weight of injustice; those children from whom my Church must rise again and to whom I am giving much grace to dispose them to this… I see them placed with their backs to the wall, and bound to prevent their step. This grieves Me so much, that I feel I am all fury for their sake!

Listen my daughter, I am all sweetness, benign, clement and merciful; so much so, that because of my sweetness I enrapture hearts. But I am also strong, as to be able to crush and reduce to ashes those who not only oppress the good, but reach the point of preventing the good which they want to do. Ah! you cry over the secular, and I cry over the painful wounds which are in the body of the Church.

These grieve Me so much as to surpass the wounds of the secular, because they come from the side from which I did not expect it, and induce Me to make the secular rail against them.”[785] Here, Jesus says clearly what it has taken until now for the boldest of voices in the Church to acknowledge: The enemies of the Church, paradoxically, have now proven necessary for the Church in order to purge it. For the leaders of the Church—the Bishops—go so far as to “protect the false virtuous” (predator priests) and “condemn the true good” (traditional, orthodox-minded priests).

Daniel O’Connor, “The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta (p. 296).”

*****

Well, I gotta check the election results, cause I wouldn’t be a good little neanderthal knuckle-dragger if I went to bed without looking it up. I guess that is just about enough for now so I will say goodnight and “Hasta la vista, baby”.

Cheers

Joe

Good news tonight here in our little Rohan of the North.

The people have spoken, and the Now Word is “GOODBYE NDP”.

Does anyone remember de-Nazification?

Its time to Scour the Shire, and Jason Kenney is making noises about turning off the taps to the East and the West Coast. We can always pray.

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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

Peace To Men of “Good Will” … Humility & Good Will

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Peace to “Men (and Women) of Good will”. What is this “Good Will” which is the prerequisite to attaining peace? Some translations have it as “Men of Good Will”, others have it as “men with whom He (GOD) is pleased”. It all comes down to the same thing in the end … what is pleasing to GOD is Good Will, so what are we going on about here?

At Bethlehem the angels announced two things: glory to GOD and peace to men; the one corresponds to the other. No one glorifies GOD as much as that little Babe lying on the straw. He alone, being the eternal Word, can give GOD the perfect, infinite praise that is worthy of Him.

And no one more than Jesus, our Savior, brings peace to men; making reparation for sin, He reconciles man the creature with GOD his Creator, and establishes a new covenant between them: the Creator becomes Father and the creature becomes His child.

So how do we understand this in our daily reality? It seems to me obvious that those who obey GOD’s law enjoy peace; observing the divine law they also glorify GOD. The glory of GOD corresponds perfectly to the peace of men and that peace comes only through Jesus, from His grace.

It also seems obvious that we seek in vain for that peace from any other source, from the transient things and creatures of this world which is passing away before our very eyes. If we are lacking in peace in our daily life then it seems inevitable that we are somehow not corresponding with GOD’s will.

We can dress it up in all kinds of ways and look at it from all kinds of angles and blame any number of others but in the end we are only fooling ourselves and the peace we seek remains absent.

Aphorisms

Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, are conditions of the desirable life, the desirable society, and we often observe in the world around us that absent any of those three we have nothing but misery, death and destruction.

Our media are full of the bad results of the absence of Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, think about “If it bleeds it leads” and other such aphorisms. Remember Aphorisms?

An aphorism is a concise, terse, laconic, and/or memorable expression of a general truth or principle. They are often handed down by tradition from generation to generation.

In many ways, “Peace” and “Good Will” are ideas or concepts, like “Quality”, which are easy to identify when they are right before us but difficult to describe and define, absent the thing in question. References to “Peace” and “Good Will” have become figures of speech like “Sorry”.

Most the time we end up with a mess of generalities while using the modifier “like” rather more than we are comfortable with … “Like, man … you know …”. “Peace” and “Good Will” seem rather to be more a desirable but mythical place than a process involving personal effort and humility on the part of the “person of Good will”.

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013).

It seems to me, observing life around me, and as reported in the media worldwide, that absent humility there is precious little Good Will on the part of anyone alive today. The absence of humility appears to be pretty much a genetic predisposition inherent in every human animal from birth. As in families, there are said to be predispositions to cancer, or to heart disease, or to blond hair, or to alcoholism, or even (heaven forbid) to intelligence or lack of same, so the whole human “family” has a predisposition to Pride, which is of course the opposite of humility.

Saint Thomas Becket, 1117-1170Anyone who actively attempts to cultivate humility is subjected to humiliation all the more, played as a sucker, or a target of ridicule, treated as a scapegoat, and we see this played out throughout history …  for example, which of the two protagonists in the following story was a “man of good will” and which was not?  Dec. 29th is the feast of Saint Thomas Becket, son of Gilbert Becket, was born in Southwark, England, in 1117.

When a youth he was attached to the household of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to Paris and Bologna to study law and he was ordained a deacon. His support of Henry II’s claim to England’s throne led to his appointment as royal chancellor.

He became Archdeacon of Canterbury, then Lord High Chancellor of England; and in 1160, when Archbishop Theobald died, the king insisted on the consecration of St. Thomas in his stead. St. Thomas refused, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be broken. In the end he yielded, and was consecrated.

The conflict at once broke out; He was the king’s great friend until 1162, when, as the archbishop of Canterbury, he said he changed from being “a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds, to being a shepherd of souls.” St. Thomas resisted the royal customs, which violated the liberties of the Church and the laws of the realm.

This British Library painting from circa 1200 is the earliest known portrayal of Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral. (Public Domain)

He and the king clashed over many issues, notably the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts. After six years of contention, partly spent in. exile, St. Thomas, with full foresight of martyrdom before him, returned as a good shepherd to his Church.

On the 29th of December, 1170, just as vespers were beginning, four knights broke into the cathedral, crying: “Where is the archbishop? where is the traitor?” The monks fled, and St. Thomas might easily have escaped.

But he advanced, saying: “Here I am—no traitor, but archbishop. What seek you?” “Your life,” they cried. “Gladly do I give it,” was the reply; and bowing his head, the invincible martyr was hacked and hewn till his soul went to God.

Six months later Henry II, submitted to be publicly scourged at the Saint’s shrine, and restored to the Church her full rights. Saint Thomas Becket was also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury and also Thomas of London.

Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

Fr. Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

“Learn from St. Thomas,” says Father Faber, “to fight the good fight even to the shedding of blood, or, to what men find harder, the shedding of their good name by pouring it out to waste on the earth.”

Dec. 30th, Sunday, is the Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I hope you are able to find many opportunities in this holy season of Christmas to give “glory to the newborn King,” as the old carol says. Today, we take a closer look at family in our lives.

God honors, upholds and rejoices in the community of family. The relationships between father and child, mother and child, or husband and wife each reflect God’s perfect love—both for us and among the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, nonetheless grew up within a close-knit, human family.  In today’s Gospel (30th), where Jesus gets left behind in Jerusalem after Passover, there is a surprisingly intimate look at Jesus’ family dynamics.

Mary and Joseph demonstrate a strong, spousal partnership in their search for 12-year old Jesus who has, unbeknownst to his human parents, stayed behind in the temple.

Jesus, once found and gently questioned by His mother, Mary, “…went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.”

Can you think of a time in your own family of anxiety, then resolution, forgiveness and the restoration of family peace?

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

It appears to me that any conflict at any level has it’s root cause in the absence of humility on the part of the players in whichever drama is being considered in any venue. I have remarked before that: “It seems a hallmark of Truth that it always believes and expects the best of others and acts accordingly. It also seems a hallmark of untruth that it always believes and expects the worst of others and acts accordingly.”

My guess is that it all depends on what your starting assumptions are, one’s own motivations and default responses to events, as to how you believe others will act. This morning I prayed a litany of humility, a pius Catholic custom, and afterwards thought how the petitions of the litany encompass the entire gamut of all the underlying provocations of human conflict, in families and outside the family circle in the wider world.

All human conflict and rancor seem rooted in either fear of something or desire for something, the conflict arising from disappointed desires or realized fears.

For non Catholics, it may help to understand that a litany is a form of prayer with a repeated responsive petition, used in public liturgical services of the Catholic Church, and in private devotions of Her adherents. This then is the Litany of Humility (with emphasis on the desires and fears) :

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make my heart like yours.
From self-will, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be understood, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be visited, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being abandoned, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being refused, deliver me, O Lord.
That others may be loved more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
At being unknown and poor, Lord, I want to rejoice.
At being deprived of the natural perfections of body and mind,Lord, I want to rejoice.
When people do not think of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they assign to me the meanest tasks, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they do not even deign to make use of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never ask my opinion, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they leave me at the lowest place, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never compliment me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they blame me in season and out of season, Lord, I want to rejoice.
Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Attributed by many writers to: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Cheers

Joe

The rather obvious point of this post is to imply that we should be striving for humility … how’s that working out so far, Joe? What kind of progress are we making on our quest for peace?

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Models … and Socratic Dialogue …

St. Mathew and the Angel

St. Mathew and the Angel

Failed and failing models have been with us for most of history. In the Catholic world, today is the Feast of St. Mathew. Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee.

He worked as a Roman tax collector, a profession which was a hated during the time of Christ. According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, “Follow me.” With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.

From Matthew we know of the many doings of Christ and the message Christ spread of salvation for all people who come to God through Him. The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in the other three Gospels, so scholars are certain of its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament, Mathew, Mark, Like, and John

Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 to 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow Jews that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way.

Destruction of Jewish Temple, AD 70 by Roman Legions.

Destruction of Jewish Temple, AD 70 by Roman Legions.

It was an important message at a time when almost everyone was still expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword, and restoring dominance to the Kingdom of Israel. That was the “Model” generally accepted by the majority of Jews in Palestine at that time.

The foundational failure of that archetypal Model was worked out in agony and suffering when Roman Legions destroyed Jerusalem in 70 ADSome reports put the death toll of the conquest of Jerusalem at over 600,000 from both the actions of the Roman conquerors and the fratricidal combat between various disagreeing factions amongst the Jewish defenders.

Even when facing death the factions of believers of conflicting sub-models couldn’t let their models go. So folks really get attached to their model being right and will not accept anything else even on pain of death. Not testing our models can be, and often is, deadly. So, how to test our models?

Father Hunwicke presents a nice little Socratic Dialogue on his site today.

Now Catholics have a model regarding Jesus Christ being the only Child of the Virgin Mary. One of the interesting things about Models (previous post here) is that the elements of a Model or a “Worldview” can be identified and considered in a logical and rational manner, devoid of subjective emotionalism and moral relativism. Design and construction of a worldview can be analyzed without having a physical creation present to hammer on.

We can employ and enjoy “Gedankenexperiments” which rely on generally accepted rules of conduct and logic to maintain the focus on truth, the subject of the discussion, and give direction of the discussion. The name of this particular experiment is “Socratic Dialogue”, named after Socrates, of course, one of the early practitioners of such logical discussion.

Perhaps the biggest flag regarding the validity or failure of any model is the willingness or unwillingness of the developers and adherents of the model to engage in these sorts of discussions. Father Hunwicke’s short piece perfectly illustrates the fruitless pursuit of discussing most “soft” models with the developers and adherents of same.

The statement “all right minded people know this to be true” no more imparts truth, than the man in a dark room yelling that “there is no sun” blots out the sun. Still it shines … and here is the dialogue … with pretty typical results …

*****

Haereticus: The Gospels make it quite clear that Jesus had brothers.
Catholicus: They don’t. “Adelphoi” can mean kinsmen. It doesn’t have to mean uterine (that is, born-of-the-same-womb) brothers.
Haereticus: So you say. But that’s the obvious meaning if anyone talks about “Jesus’ brothers” in any language, isn’t it?
Catholicus: Not at all. Mark’s and Matthew’s Gospels, in their accounts of the Crucifixion, both talk about “Mary the mother of James and Joses [or Joseph]”. If this Mary had been the same as Christ’s own mother, it would have been very odd for them not to refer to her as the Mother of Jesus. The “obvious” and natural inference is that the “Mother of James and Joses” was a different Mary from “Mary the Mother of Jesus”.
Haereticus: So what?
Catholicus: Well, in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55, the places where those “brothers of Jesus” are mentioned, the full text reads: ” Jesus the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses [or Joseph] and Judas and Simon”. We’ve just seen that this James and this Joses are apparently the sons of some Mary who was not the same as Mary the Mother of Jesus. And they’re the first two on the list here. The list is thus clearly not itemizing individuals who were uterine brothers of Jesus.
Haereticus: Well, I still think it’s obvious that …
Catholicus: If it’s so “obvious”, you’ve got some explaining to do. Throughout the second century the Gospels were increasingly regarded as ‘canonical’ and authoritative. If it is so “obvious” that James and the rest of those listed in the Gospels were uterine brothers of Jesus, then the tradition that Jesus was Mary’s only child must have arisen well before those Gospels came to be regarded as authorities. Otherwise, when somebody started saying “she never had any more children”, somebody who had read the Gospels would have said “Aha, you’re wrong: here’s a list of his brothers”. So, if you’re right about it being so “obvious”, you’re going to have to admit that Mary’s perpetual virginity is so early a tradition as to predate the acquisition of authority by our Four Gospels; which modern scholarship dates to the beginning of the second century at the latest. I’ve got you either way.
Haereticus: That’s all gobbledygook. It’s obvious …
Catholicus: That’s the problem with you Prods and you Liberals. You’re impervious to evidence and to reason.
Haereticus: Of course we are. “Reason is the Devil’s Whore”. Martin Luther said so. It’s obvious.

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Models …

Ground Control, Apollo 13

Ground Control, Apollo 13

Models matter, just like details matter. Good models can provide insight into mechanisms and into directions for better predictive utility and better responses to problems which we encounter in the world.

Engineering models give us airplanes that mostly don’t crash, cars that mostly get to their destinations, bridges that mostly don’t fall down, sewer and water systems that mostly keep us healthy, elevators that mostly don’t drop us to our deaths, and civil infrastructure systems that keep us alive in spite of much of our stupidity.

Bell X-1b cockpit 1947

Bell X-1b cockpit 1947

Good models also help us figure out better solutions when things don’t work the way we were expecting, when things go wrong. And in the hard disciplines, at least, the people who make and use the models are held accountable for the results when the models fail.

Unfortunately, outside of the hard sciences and engineering, where reality matters and failure usually results in blood on the floor, many models often fall short of replicating and predicting the full spectrum of reality.

But what’s really going on here … in this rant? This whole Post reflects MY model of reality … can I back it up with research? No. Can I make real world predictions based on this model? Yes, most of the time this model predicts quite effectively the coming course of events … BUT … and its a BIG BUT! This is just MY model about what I perceive as other faulty models. What makes my model right?

In spite of being somewhat successful at predicting it fails utterly in telling me anything about motives, malice, intentions, thoughts, and desires on the part of those individuals who collectively make up the “Herd”. All those are MY sins resulting from MY model. I am judgemental and self centered, I feel good about myself because “I am just so bright”. My ego gets stroked every time my model proves accurate. My model is all about me.

The "Hockey Stick graph" is now "settled science

The “Hockey Stick graph” is now “settled science”,

The Global Warming Environmental Model and the now infamous “Hockey Stick graph is now “settled science” depending on who you talk to and what their agenda is.

But that hugely flawed model continues to wreak havoc and cause untold misery for millions of regular folks every day.

And I judge and attribute intent and malice because of my model, but I don’t really have any data on motive and intent.

Keynesian Economic Models are still robustly defended in all government and management circles despite massive evidence to the contrary which was front and center from every source after the great “Too Big To Fail” financial meltdown of 2008.  And, again,  I judge and attribute intent and malice because of my model, but, again, I don’t really have any data on motive and intent.

The "Great Leader" and cronies ... 2016

The “Great Leader” and cronies … 2016

Then there are the multitude of Political Models of various persuasions, and the Social and Anthropological models of how society works, how humans work together in groups.

And, of course, my model gives rise to the question of “How can people be so crazy and stupid as to vote for (fill in your favorite enemy party)? They don’t agree with me, therefore they must be wrong, right?

Curiously, when these models fail to reflect reality no one seems to be responsible, no one is held accountable for the failure of the model and the often deadly results (see the Guidelines link below)

9/11 Joy!

9/11 Joy!

Outside of the hard sciences like Engineering, few are held accountable when the latest soft model fails to produce as advertised.

People die, and huge amounts of resources are pissed away chasing fantasies based on models which have only a passing connection to any real research and development and testing. Well, this is pretty obvious in my model, but how do I know that as fact?

You have doubts? You need more data to see the validity of my model? How about just one example for now: the Beta-Blocker fraud … check out this article for a starting place:

‘Guidelines Based on Discredited Research May Have Caused 800,000 Deaths In Europe Over The Last 5 Years.’

“I would replace the word ‘May’ with these two words ‘almost certainly.’ You would think, would you not, that if any other event in the world, at any time, had killed eight hundred thousand people, this would be front page headlines around the world for weeks, probably months, maybe even years.

The reality is, I am willing to bet, that you have never even heard of this gigantic scandal. It will not have appeared in any national television programme, or newspaper. The blogosphere is also, almost totally silent.”

“Ideological”  models permit and encourage divergence of action and activities from truth and natural law into fantasy. “We hold these truths to be self evident” is manifestly false today for many people, perhaps even most people, because our morally relativistic “Ideological models” say otherwise, that there are no truths so they can’t be self evident.

Ideological models encourage paradoxical fantasies about how things would be “if only” … how things “should be” in order to conform with whatever the protagonists, the brights and elites, the legislators, the advocates, want to do onto others in the real world … supporting their desire to indulge in the latest fashionable “deviance du jour”.

One small example of this moral relativism in action is the vast tide of “government money” and “Human Rights” legislation now being poured into advancing the politically correct agenda of the Rainbow Coalition.

Of course, this is what my model predicts and from this I, in my egotistical, self centered wisdom, draw conclusions leading me to attributions about people’s motivations and thoughts that are really only known to God.

Moral Relativism

Moral Relativism

There a lot of problems with models … Weather models (global warming), Economic models (Keynesian), Health models (Beta-Blockers or Cancer causes), Political models (Liberal or Democratic or Conservative ), Ideological models (Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Genderism, Progressive Humanism, Monarchy, Theocracy).

Simplification, Elegance and Spin are more important than facts and truth, remove all distractions that detract from the objective and argument being presented, Elegant Theory is more desirable than Messy Reality.

My model sees everywhere serious compromises of the primary predictive purpose of models in favour of theoretical elegance, simplicity of presentation, and punchy delivery. All these polished models are divorced from real-world relevance in favour of establishing and increasing individual wealth and power. That’s how the 30 second sound bite model stacks up … in my model … which of course is the only correct model, right? What about “Judge not, lest you be judged by the same standard”?

Hypothetical premise – opening statement:

LGBT is true and OK, just not for clerics

LGBT is true and OK, just not for clerics

In the West, “Government” was once a “higher calling”, for example Marcus Aurelius, or Thomas More. But the line of Lords weakened and failed, the torch has fallen to lesser men “the Stewards of Gondor”. Government and Public Administration have become the least rewarding of all fields of endeavor. As a result, government attracts only the most fearful and mediocre players and workers“.

Hmmm … in my model, there is no apparent opposition to the hypothesis … must be true then, right?

Our government seems to attract career drones … those lacking vision, capacity for thought, and unable to succeed elsewhere, or unable to gain employment in other fields. Drones are remotely controlled, lacking in autonomy and intelligence, simply following orders.

Whether from lack of freedom or lacking the confidence to strike out on their own, they “middle of the road” everything. Everything and anything can be seen and presented as acceptable in the right light, with the right “spin”. My model, again.

By Christoph Lange / Langec - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=543303

By Christoph Lange / Langec – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=543303

Government and administration, aka “Management” seems to attract those who would rather remain a part of the faceless herd, faceless but powerful in their anonymity, secretive gang members operating in Nacht und Neble”.

My model again. So what if the historic facts support this model, it is still just my model, right? See the moral relativism image above.

Hmmm, well who else seems to share my model as their model? This is called “Appeal to Authority”. I validate my model based on the credibility of others in authority who share, or seem to share, my model.

Well, lots of other people share my model, at least in part. Lots of unpopular thinkers who are no longer fashionable in the western bureaucracies, or academia, and especially unheard of in the media of our day.

Perhaps, having read their works, they have in fact influenced my model.

Like who?

How about this one:  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999) , wrote a book about the phenomenon, “The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large“. Super book, and available on Kindle for pennies. Definitely worth the read.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn was an Austrian nobleman and socio-political theorist who described himself as an enemy of all forms of totalitarianism and as an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” or “liberal of the extreme right.” Note: This is NOT our current usage of the term “Liberal”, but rather the classical definition of Liberal.

Described by contemporaries as “A Walking Book of Knowledge”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn had an encyclopedic knowledge of the humanities and was a polyglot, able to speak eight languages and read seventeen others. This man had and has huge cred.

That is just so unlike our “Bottom of the Barrel” bureaucrats, who are most desiring of personal “security” and most motivated by fear”, all these special ones who don’t want to be blamed or held accountable for anything. My model again … nasty model, eh?

Ironically, our culture has also gifted those very same mediocre players and workers with vast wealth as the  gatekeepers of the public treasury. “Public Money” and “Public Programs”, those programs most concerned with direction and disbursement of those same “public monies” have become the Holy Grail of all treasure hunters everywhere.

What is "normal"?

What is “normal”? All cuteness aside, it seems that only one of the above actually keep folks safe.

“Government funding” has developed into the ultimate “mother-lode” for everyone and every agenda outside of the government herd, the mythological “Horn of Plenty” colloquially known as “The Big Tit”.

To ease the draining of the horn we have perfected the art of elegant simplicity to the exclusion of reality. This has been done in order to impress simple gatekeepers with elegance and erudition.

This is colloquially known as “BS baffles brains”. My model again.

If you can’t say it in a 20 slide Power Point presentation or a one line Blackberry text, or best of all just one cute picture,  then management just doesn’t have time to investigate the reality of a proposal or to consider potential outcomes which in any other field would be career stoppers. And by all means you must prevent minutes from ever being recorded at any meeting where decisions are being made.

A lobbyist

A lobbyist can be anybody who cares about a group of people, or a cause. Paid or unpaid, that person engages directly with a representative to discuss concerns, problems, and solutions.

The unstated purpose of all this simple elegant BS is to convince the simple gatekeepers to open the taps of “public monies” to pursue goals ever more distant from genuine benefit for “the public” and ever more focused on the benefit of a few elite “Elegant Theory” peddlers.

These Neo-snakeoil Salesmen of our modern progressive mythology, these “self-love” gurus called “lobbyists” are everywhere, lobbying and schmoozing away for Academic and Private “research” funding.

What Is Lobbying and Can It Be Good?

What Is Lobbying and Can It Be Good?

Schmoozing away for Guidelines and Regulations to control those who don’t agree.

Advocating for policies and programs and interests and causes which benefit a tiny segment of the population while often destroying or even killing tens or even hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and other innocent bystanders.

I draw attributions about the processes and thoughts that are really only known to God.

I draw attributions about the processes and thoughts that are really only known to God.

Of course, once a “program (in whatever the theory of the day happens to be) is adopted, there is huge incentive on the part of the government adopters to be seen as wise and of course “right” in the sense that they are authoritatively correct.

And there is huge incentive for the Lobbyists and the junior ranks to feed that hubris and self love indulged by the gatekeepers so that the taps keep flowing through multiple generations of gatekeepers.

And the whole pyramid is founded on models which are totally divorced from everyday reality. Food for though … every government program or initiative, seems tailor made to destroy human beings, destroy their livelihood, their families, their lives, and ultimately, their soul.

But are they really? What about unintended consequences? Models matter, just like details matter, models can be predictive and can help us going forward, but models are utterly incapable of telling us anything about folks intentions.

Cheers

Joe

Hard science and engineering are easy, “Rocket Science’, right? People science is much harder, no matter how we model it. Only God gives us the “right” model. His name is Jesus Christ.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

True Love of Neighbor …

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

Our title line, the instruction from our Safari Guide on this worldly adventure, derives from the person and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s will regarding love of neighbor goes so far beyond what we typically accept as “Love your neighbor as yourself” that it requires special mention.

I am riding on a lot of coat-tails with this post because the thoughts and sentiments have been expressed so well by others that I hesitate to change or paraphrase even a little. And yet these ideas are so moving I have to share.

These days I am trying to take the elevator to the third floor, the third floor I posted about elsewhere.  So, “if your head is not there” to paraphrase Valdy, this might not be for you. which is OK, each of us on our own part of the path, each of us searching for Truth in our own way …

I’m thinking, the way we live these days is akin to being roomies in a 3 story boarding house, sort of like “Friends”. Most of us, we the “masses”, live on the first floor and really don’t give it much thought other than to be vaguely aware that there is another floor above us where the sparkly vampires, the know-it-alls, the Brights, live their exalted lives, beyond our reach or influence, and where all the house rules and secular rewards and punishments descend from.

Now, Albert J. Knock, of whom I have posted before, put it like this: ” … The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.”

So, in the 3 story rooming house metaphor, all us easy going folks on the first floor are the “masses” as noted above, prone to temptation and failure and continual worship of self and our carnal appetites. And the folks on the 2nd floor of the rooming house are a sort of remnant in a strictly secular way, the elite, who “by force of intellect are able to apprehend … (some fashionable) … principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them“. Those are the ones who learned to handle stairs and doorknobs … our “betters” in a class conscious sort of way, just ask them if you get a chance in passing, they will tell you “of course”.

I am setting the stage for this next bit by quoting from Venerable Fulton Sheen:

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“Give me a man who loves and I will tell him what God is.” Such are the words of St. Augustine. Anyone who ever loved craved unity with that which he loved. Thus in marriage the ideal is the unity of two in one flesh; in religion the ideal is to be one with Christ. There is not a single person who loves Our Dear Lord, who does not strive to be united to Him in thought and in desire and even in body and mind.

Venerable Fulton Sheen

Venerable Fulton Sheen

But here is the problem: How to be one with Christ? His earthly life ended over two thousand years ago. Therefore to some He is only a figure Who crossed the stage of history, as did Caesar and Aristotle, and then was seen no more.

Such souls believe that the only way they can be united with Our Lord, is by reading what someone wrote concerning Him, or by singing hymns in His name, or by listening to a sermon on His life.

It is no wonder that such people soon begin to think of Our Lord as a teacher of ethics, or as a great humanitarian reformer like Buddha or Socrates, for they too also once lived, preached, and edified, and left behind them a beautiful memory. It is only minds with little power of penetration that say Our Dear Lord “was a good man”.

May I say that this is precisely what Our Lord was not, viz., a good man, because good men do not lie. If He is not what He claimed to be, what His Miracles witnessed, what the Jewish and Gentile prophecies foretold, viz., the Son of the living God—then He is not just a good man. Then He is a liar, a knave, a deceiver, and a charlatan. If He is not the Christ, the Son of the living God, He is the anti-Christ; but He is not just a good man.

Let us try to understand what Our Divine Lord really is. Begin with yourself. Have you ever thought of how wonderfully you have been made; that there is in you something which can be seen and touched, namely, your body whose nature is fleshy; but there is also something invisible about you, namely your mind and soul with its thoughts, its loves, and its desires.

Your soul is, in a sense, “incarnate” in a body (the word incarnate, as you know, means in the flesh); that is, your soul animates and unifies your body. Now consider the person of Our Divine Lord. He is the true Incarnation, not of a soul in a body, but of God in the form of man.

There is something visible about Him, namely, His perfect human nature, which can handle tools, pat little children’s heads, be thirsty and think and desire like other men. But there is also something invisible about Him, and that is His divinity. His divinity could no more be seen than your soul, though it could be seen working through His human nature, as your soul works through your body.

Just as your body and your soul combine to make one person, so in an infinitely more perfect way, His human nature and His divine nature make but one person, the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, true God and true man.”

Sheen, Fulton J.. Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity (p. 98-99). Ignatius Press.

Oh Earth Oh Earth Return”, Bill Douglas, (1996)

I feel like the blind man trying to describe an elephant to an audience who I cannot see or hear, and the concept of the “elephant” reflects back so critically on my own conduct and thoughts for so much of my life that I am at times reluctant to dive into it and reluctant to accept the conclusions which the elephant emphatically points to … mixing metaphors … I see the Ghost of Christmas past pointing at my own tombstone in silent judgement. The following from “Divine Intimacy”:

” … “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mt 22, 39). This measure is so great that it would be difficult to exceed it, when we consider how much every man is inclined to love himself. The good that each of us desires for himself is so great that if we could succeed in desiring just as much for our neighbor — for any neighbor — our charity would be truly magnanimous.

Jesus has said, “and as you would that men should do to you, do you also onto them in like manner” (Lk 6, 31) which, in practice, signifies that we treat others exactly as we wish to be treated ourselves; for example, showing, toward our neighbor, the same consideration if thought, word, and deed, as we would desire for ourselves; serving and pleasing others, accommodating ourselves to their wishes, as we ourselves would wish to be served, pleased, and condescended to.

Alas! our self-love incites us, instead, to use two different measures: one, very large — even exaggerated — for ourselves; the other, very small — even miserly — for our neighbor. The attentions we receive from others always seem to be so trifling, and how easily we complain that we are treated thoughtlessly! Yet very far we are from showing such thoughtfulness toward our neighbor; although in retrospect, we always think we have done too much.

We are very sensitive to the wrongs done us; and even when, in reality, they are slight, we consider them as almost unbearable; whereas we consider as mere nothings the things by which we offend others so freely. The greatest enemy of fraternal charity is self-love, which makes us too sensitive and demanding in what refers to ourselves, and very careless in what refers to others. (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy” meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 760)

Nuf for now …

Cheers

Joe

 

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The Inner Struggle

The Mass … This fountain of grace …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy” meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 478).

Cheers

Joe

“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,”

 

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The Inner Struggle

To reject the Savior is to reject salvation

“No teacher who ever lived told those who heard him that the rejection of his words would mean their damnation. Even those who believe that Christ was only a teacher would scruple at this judgment about receiving His message. But as He was primarily a savior, the alternative was understandable.

To reject the savior was to reject salvation, as Our Lord called Himself in the house of Zacchaeus. The questioners of His authority had no doubt of the spiritual significance of the parable and the reference to themselves. Their motives were discovered, which only exasperated more those whose designs were evil.

When evil is revealed in the light, it does not always repent; sometimes it becomes more evil. The good repent on knowing their sin; the evil become angry when discovered. Ignorance is not the cause of evil, as Plato held; neither is education the answer to the removal of evil.

These men had an intellect as well as a will; knowledge as well as intention. Truth can be known and hated; goodness can be known and crucified. The Spirit of Christ in man convinces him of sin. Nothing but the spirit can convince man of sin; conscience could not, for it can sometimes be smothered; public opinion cannot, for it sometimes justifies sin; but the gravest sin of all which the Spirit would reveal would not be intemperance, avarice, or lust, but unbelief in Christ.

It is this same Spirit of God which renders the sinner not merely conscious of his state, but also contrite and penitent, when he accepts redemption. To reject the Redeemer is to prefer evil to good. The crucifix is an autobiography in which man can read the story of his own life, either to his own salvation or his own condemnation. So long as sin was regarded only from a psychological point of view, the Cross of Christ appeared as an exaggeration.

Fulton J. Sheen

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The sand of the desert, the blood of a beast, or water could just as well purify man. But once sin was seen under the sight of infinite holiness, then the Cross of Christ alone could equal and satisfy for this tragic horror. Once man is convinced of his own sinfulness, he cannot be convinced of his own righteousness; once a man is convinced that Christ has saved him from sin, then he is convinced that Christ is his righteousness.

To have accepted Christ as our righteousness and to have embraced His holy faith is no guarantee of freedom from trials. The Divine Savior never said to His Apostles: “Be good and you will not suffer”; but He did say: “In this world you shall have tribulation.” He told them also not to fear those that kill the body, but rather to fear those who can kill the soul.

Now He told the Apostles that His life was a model for all of His followers; they were encouraged to take the worst this life had to offer with courage and serenity. He said that all sufferings were as the shade of “His hand outstretched caressingly”. No talisman was He to promise as security from trials; rather as a captain He went into battle in order to inspire men to transfigure some of life’s greatest pains into the richest gains of the spiritual life.

As the poet Edward Shillito has put it: ‘No false gods, immune from pain and sorrow, could console us in these days.’ “

Fulton J. Sheen,  “Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity” (pp. 60-62). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

Cheers

Joe

It seems’s easy, at times, to tell people to “Go to Hell!” Why is it so hard instead, to tell them to” “Go to Heaven!”

“Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Road Map to Eternity” is a great read. Get it from Amazon, only $11.16 at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074MDYSRL/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o05_?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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