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:

*****

“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

*****

“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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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Shalom (שׁלום)

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

Divina Misericordia (Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, 1934)

Divina Misericordia (Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, 1934)

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday.  The Divine Mercy of Jesus, also known as the Divine Mercy, is a Roman Catholic devotion to Jesus Christ associated with the reputed apparitions of Jesus revealed to Saint Faustina Kowalska. The Roman Catholic devotion and venerated image under this Christological title refers to the unlimited merciful love of God towards all people.[1][2] Sister Kowalska was granted the title “Secretary of Mercy” by the Holy See in the Jubilee Year of 2000.[3][4][5]

Sister Faustina Kowalska reported a number of apparitions during religious ecstasy which she wrote in her diary, later published as the book Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul.[4][5] The three main themes of the devotion are to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ’s abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God’s mercy towards them.[4][6]

Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, had great affinity towards this devotion and authorized it in the Liturgical Calendar of the church. The liturgical feast of the Divine Mercy is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Some members of the Anglican Communion also share its pious beliefs and devotions in an effort towards church renewal.[7]

1“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

21Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:21-23)

The Hebrew word for peace, shalom (שׁלום) is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is bound up with the notion of shelemut, perfection.

Its significance is thus not limited to the political domain — to the absence of war and enmity — or to the social — to the absence of quarrel and strife. It ranges over several spheres and can refer in different contexts to bounteous physical conditions, to a moral value, and, ultimately, to a cosmic principle and divine attribute.

In the Bible, the word shalom is most commonly used to refer to a state of affairs, one of well‑being, tranquility, prosperity, and security, circumstances unblemished by any sort of defect. Shalom is a blessing, a manifestation of divine grace.

Christ Jesus, AD 33

Christ Jesus, AD 33

36As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” (שׁלום)  37But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish,b 43and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:36-43)

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance forc the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Trust in the Truth … no matter how things appear to us in this world … trust in the Truth. “O my Jesus, supreme Goodness, I ask of you a heart so enraptured with You that nothing can distract it. I wish to become indifferent to everything that goes on in the world, and I want You alone, to love everything that refers to You, but You above everything else, O my God!” (St. Thomas).

Sins of the repertoire … I do not trust, and the catechism tells me “He becomes guilty: – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;”.  Judgement and detraction are greatly facilitated when love of self and of the self’s opinions are coupled with caring about and being attached to everything that goes on in the world. I know better, right? Therefore I judge these others … bad, bad, bad, my bad. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

3 … and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,a it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7“Woe to the world for temptations to sin!b For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Mathew 18:3-7)

So do not judge, do not assume to know intentions, or the disposition of another soul. Do not aid and abet the confusion, the temptations, by pontificating about that which one cannot possibly know, one’s opinion to which I am so attached … woe to the one through whom the temptation comes.

Cheers

Joe

“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

Good Friday …

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

Yesterday, Good Friday, I watched “The Passion of The Christ” again. This film is as powerful now as it was the first time I watched it. I think most people in the West have probably watched “The Passion of the Christ” at least once. For others, it is more than once. And yet for others, myself included, it is an annual Lenten“ritual”.

Oh Lord, You have created me for Yourself, to love You and to enjoy You, infinite Good, ineffable Beauty; do not permit me to lose sight of this sublime end toward which I must tend; do not permit me to wander among the wretched satisfactions that vain, feeble creatures can offer me. (I don’t remember where I read that but it is too beautiful to be mine)

Yesterday was “Good Friday”, the end of Lent. Lent is about sorrow, contrition, and repentance.  Recent scripture readings and meditations have sensitized the soul’s faculties to the clear realization of my sinfulness, and of God’s most wondrous prerogative, namely God’s mercy, and the revival of our adoption by Christ who: “desires not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Cf. Ezek. 33:11) … “this realization of mercy becomes the impetus of the soul’s advancement in virtue, the inspiration of its power for good, and its daily shield in its struggle for eternal life“. (John A. Kane, “How To Make A Good Confession”, pp 14)

I see “conversion” as a dawning awareness of the real truth of my sinfulness, a spiritual coming of age, where my soul experiences an ever intensifying consciousness of my preferential option for self worship, self gratification and of “sinning” in the pursuit of pleasure, consolation, satisfaction as ends in and of themselves.

The Passion of The Christ by Igor Zenin

The Passion of The Christ by Igor Zenin

The essence of this “conversion” is the turning of my soul and my faculties from sin towards identification of, and identifying with, the will of God, and a concomitant experience of remorse in understanding the lifelong predilection for self centered thoughts, habits, activities and attachments.

I had an intense AHA! experience early yesterday morning. The realization, in my own tiny way, of the pain God feels when his creatures turn away from his love and his care for them and his desire for them to live “the good life” in his orbit and under his protection.

This is what I do, in my selfishness, when I, essentially, tell God to “Just bugger off and leave me alone!” I want to do my own thing, to be me, to act out my own plan regardless of the consequences and the impact on others. I only care about me. It is manifest in a total absence of fraternal charity.

And then, when things go wrong, as they inevitably do, when I find myself in a place where I cannot control my life, where it is  all just happening to me and there is nothing I can do about it, I get focused on my little pain from some small source and I think that is everything there is and it is the greatest pain ever. My pain is special.

But God feels all the pain of all the behaviour of all His love children, those creatures He created, out of love, to share His love with, and who He holds in His hands and holds their everything in existence, so they can misbehave with impunity, so they can torture Him and kill Him, His  hateful creatures, hurting Him continuously and without pause, for all our time, in His eternal now.

I don’t think a human creature can even begin to realize the pain they cause God by disobedience, and the malice of self worship, until that human starts to get past the attachments to “self”  and the self-righteous anger response when that belief, that worship of “self” is threatened or challenged in some way. The only thing that teaches me, that reaches me, is the pain of overwhelming loss of precisely those things or thoughts to which I am most attached.

Jesus Christ, circa AD 30

Jesus Christ, circa AD 30

This painful experience fans the flames of my soul’s ever intensifying awareness of the preponderance of self worship, self gratification, self aggrandizement, and the serious attachment to all things and experiences centered on healing the wounds of my self regard, my self image to which I find myself so inordinately attached.

Attachment … to all the things of this world, but especially those things and experiences which reinforce my self regard, my self-worship. Becoming aware of this I feel sorrow and contrition for my conduct, now and throughout my whole life. I remember every little thing, from childhood to late in life looking back over my personal tale of woe, my misbehavior, my willfulness, and I am sorry.

The contrition experience gives rise to a desire for repentance, a desire to make atonement for past sins, a transformation of my mind, an up-welling of the supernatural drowning the natural in an intensifying struggle. How to atone? How to repent?

Repent, atone, by cutting adrift all those elements, all those attachments, which contribute to the healing of the wounds of my self love, to papering over of those ugly wounds inflicted by self worship, to whitewashing my black heart.

My attachments are a significant part of the framework within which I view “reality” and is it really real? As I have remarked before, some famous guy once said: “it’s what we don’t know that we don’t know that bites our ass in the end”. I have great difficulty identifying and isolating attachments. I desire to see my soul as God sees it, the better to repent for a lifetime of all-purpose sin, my repertoire, my curriculum vitae of “being human”.

Identifying and isolating my attachments has been greatly assisted by my now 15 month long program of fasting … never realized just how much I was attached to food, and the activities surrounding food, until I started fasting. Now it has become obvious that all attachments hide like this, they hide in plain sight within the normal every day experiences of life until I isolate them by choosing a new and different direction for my habits, thoughts, actions.

“Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash”.  Those were the immortal words of Captain Tom “Stinger” Jordan in Top Gun.  Of course, he was talking to Maverick, played by Tom Cruise. But that’s a movie, a Hollywood fantasy, it sells well because its what I would like to believe about my own life and abilities, when reality is truly somewhat different.

Odds are, when I use this phrase, especially when I am talking to myself,  I’m talking to someone with considerably less ability, to back up the checks being written, with real life performance. Because I have great difficulty identifying and isolating attachments. Let’s count the ways I’ve used this phrase:

… to someone (myself) who was daring others to take action on some outlandish behavior, just because I didn’t really like those others, at that moment in time …  no other reason … to that person (myself) who is making a rash decision because … just because, because I thought I could …  no other reason, just asserting my specialness … to someone (myself) who just had a wild time in (fill in you last port of call), loudly, confidently, exclaiming, “Really!  When am I going to be in (fill in you last port of call) again?”

Captain Jordan in Top Gun, as I know now, knew that it was all fool’s gold.  Nothing special here at all, just me, myself, and I, stroking my own ego, my own fantasy that I am special. People (myself) that do outlandish things inevitably learn, hopefully, eventually, that they can’t make irresponsible decisions without facing the music. So back to the escapist fantasy. How did it all work out for Maverick?  Crash and burn? Yup, and the real tragedy was that the rubber cheques took Goose and his family down with Maverick. Realization couldn’t bring them back or restore the magic.

It is only in the contrast of my losses and pain that I start to recognize the attachments of my life. This is that process which is described by the Greek wordMetanoia“, that is, changing my mind, and through that my reality. So conversion, contrition and repentance involve and devolve into an internal discussion, a meditation about real “reality” and  how attachments seem to be the lens through which I interpret and act upon events and stimuli in my life and relationships … attachments … all the attachments.

So, how am I to move towards being detached from “the things of this world”, the creatures and treasures which I look to for consolation and pleasure when indulging my self gratification and self worship? I think I have to enter into and accept repentance as pretty much a constant mindset, a basic understanding of the enormity of my life of sin and the greater enormity of God’s eternal mercy and love for me. The eternal is what matters, and only reference to the eternal gives meaning to this world and the perishable material things and creatures of this world.

I am living in my material shell as an eternal “soul”, as the ghost in the shell. The shell is not the “me”. The shell is just the collection of lenses, sensor systems and actuators for the self, but it is not the self. I, me, the “ME”, occupy the shell and look at, interact with, and think about the perishable material plane, and the “things of this world”, but as an eternal soul, not as the shell … which is actually what I really am, that ghost in the shell is where that which makes me “I” actually resides, actually exists.

So, all my life is no more than one night in a bad hotel. More thinking and more understanding required … about repentance as a newly understood way of life, like the Prodigal Son, a new way of life full of painful daily reminders of previous offenses against my Father. I will conclude this with a rather long excerpt from Father John A. Kane:

Fr. John A. Kane

Fr. John A. Kane, 1912 – 1962

“Repentance (from the Greek metanoia) is the mind itself changed and transformed. It is the supernatural conquering the natural. It is the assumption of the spirit of Christ according to the words of St. Paul: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. (Phil. 2:5)

Thus it is evident that penitence, in its entirety, is perennial. It has not always the same quality, however. It assumes different phases, and in this respect it is like a lifelong grief. The first outbreak of sorrow will subside. The wilderness of desolation will bloom again with fragrant flowers. In resignation to the divine will, the soul will be flooded with light, peace, and joy.

Then it will glory in the consciousness that it is suffering with Christ. Its sorrow is now more abiding; it has taken root in the very depths of the soul’s consciousness; it clings to the soul far more tenaciously than the first convulsive paroxysm of grief.

Without any external evidence, sorrow has silently transfigured the soul’s life, uniting it more fully, more consciously with its God. A calm and permanent sorrow, which at first terrorized the soul, now lovingly embraces it and gradually sinks into its extreme depths, while externally there may have been no sign of its existence.” (John A. Kane, “How To Make A Good Confession”, pp 11-12)

Cheers

Joe

Quid hoc ad aeternitatem, as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

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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.

OR

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:

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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)

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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.

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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.

*****

Cheers

Joe

Pride, pride, pride,

Satan’s favorite sin …

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