Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Justice … part 1

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

I was focused on “Sincerity” yesterday, and the reality that, to be sincere, our words and actions must correspond to our thoughts. To be convinced of one thing, but to affirm something else, for the sake of expediency or to avoid hurting the “feelings” of another person is contrary to truth. Bluntly, it is a lie.

And bluntly, the foundation of our modern culture is a lie. We are totally preoccupied with our status in our FaceBooked, Love Me Wall, our Chat Group. Totally focused on the deadly competition to be the most liked, or the most admired, or the most beautiful, most successful, most well traveled, or at least the friend of the most beautiful or the most successful, or the most (fill in your most envied character trait or material desire here).

So what about Justice? The problem with this foundational lie of our society, the lack of sincerity, is that the lie precludes and prevents the existence of Justice. Justice for all or justice for anyone necessitates honesty and sincerity. Without honesty and sincerity there is NO justice.

We moderns have rejected any external standard that overtly or implicitly criticizes our self proclaimed goodness and questions our vices or appetites, our sins of choice, in pursuit of our envied idols, the goals assigned to us by the society in which we exist and which we willingly accept. We find all our self justification within our self worship, our “I’m OK, Your OK” philosophy of gratification.

… unless of course,  you have the arrogance to disagree with me, THEN you really are not very OK at all and we will vilify you and shun you because you are shining a light on our much beloved darkness. This rejection of rejection is the very essence of “Injustice”. There is no justice possible in a universe where no one is wrong and no one dare identify bad behaviour.

It seems an accurate assessment, then,  to name our modern society “Secular Humanist Progressivism”.  It’s secular because it rejects all religion and religious values as well as the very existence of God.

It’s humanist because it holds man to be the apex of existence, the sole arbiter of “right”.

And it’s especially progressive because it implies some natural righteousness to “progress” as the discarding all the values of previous generations of mankind, to the extent that we no longer even teach values to our offspring.

But where is Justice if there is no right and no wrong?

A “Progressive” (individual) is a self referential existence of appetites and vanities pursuing an ever tightening spiral of gratification, self aggrandizement and the once frowned upon character trait of narcissism. This egocentric view of reality, this solipsistic approach to what is and what is not, leads to an eventual and inevitable denial of any truth whatsoever.

How can there be justice if there is no truth?

This ends in endemic moral relativism. Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others, that there is no absolute evil and no absolute wrong.

If moral judgments are invalid then how can there be Justice? How can there be Justice when moral relativism holds that there is no injustice?

Calvin & Hobbes

Calvin & Hobbes

So, what is Justice? Jesus famously said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s”.  This clearly and precisely gives us the essence of Justice, to give to everyone what is his due. Justice is the will to give to everyone that which is due to him.

And what is our due? Respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility and the fulfilling with great exactness all the duties and responsibilities towards our neighbor even at the cost of sacrifice. In reality, respect for the rights of others not infrequently requires sacrifice on our part. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness necessitates respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility … towards others.

We cannot close our eyes to the rights of others whenever they interfere with our own personal interests. This is really a matter of life and death. Justice is absolutely essential to a life of virtue and its duties are so compelling that no motive can exempt us from fulfilling them.

For example, this view underlies all military virtues, those virtues extolled in our military, our police, and our first responders everywhere. In these “service” occupations, one might be called upon to go in harms way or even to die in carrying out ones duties for the service or protection of others who we might perhaps not even know personally.  As we used to say back in the 70’s “Doing the impossible for the ungrateful”.

But, if moral judgments are invalid then how can there be rights and obligations and duty? As G.K. Chesterton famously wrote: “A man who won’t believe in God will believe in anything” or “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything”.

More to follow …

Cheers

Joe

What a drag … swimming upstream always sucks …

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Cake Made Of Flour And Rat Poison …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Joe

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

 

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics, The Inner Struggle

Matthew 22:23-33, 1 Wife – Seven Husbands – Poor Woman!

23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[a]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. (Matthew 22:23-33)

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“More enemies draw near, and another battle ensues. This time the attackers are representatives of the wealthy political leaders, who had different religious views than the Pharisees, but once again Jesus prevails. His enemies still refuse to be converted. And the listening crowd is filled with awe.

That same crowd had long submitted to the harsh and demanding rule of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Both groups of leaders were far superior to the vast majority of the working population in knowledge, influence, education, and wealth. And they made their superiority felt.

In Christ these searching souls find something entirely different. He neither fears the leader’s power nor bows to their prowess. He confronts them, argues with them, and repeatedly sends them away confounded.

And all the while he generously heals and teaches the ordinary people, so despised by the others. Jesus is right down there among them. They sense in Christ something much greater than any earthly leader, and they also perceive him as someone much closer to them, interested in them, and capable of helping them.

This is how the Lord behaved; this is how his Church continues to behave; this is how his disciples ought to behave.

Instead of calling the Sadducees “hypocrites” as he did with the Pharisees, Jesus simply tells them, “you are wrong”. The Pharisees erred in their willful denial of Christ’s claims, a denial that sprang from malice, from envy and jealousy; the Sadducees err merely in ignorance. They truly think this Nazarene rabbi is just a popularizer of mistaken doctrine, and they try to set him straight. So Jesus Instructs them.

(“The Better Part”, John Bartunek, LG, ThD,  pp. 260-261)

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 ” far superior to the vast majority of the working population in knowledge, influence, education, and wealth. And they made their superiority felt.”

2000 years on and nothing has changed, the elites STILL see Christ as a mortal threat and conduct a steady unrelenting campaign of discrimination and persecution by attacking his followers anywhere they are found. In many parts of the world they even routinely resort to killing his followers and persecuting any earthly presence of his mystical body, the Church.

To what end? Have they no memory or understanding of the past or the future?  70 generations of Sadducees and Pharisees have come and gone and they have learned absolutely nothing.

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertAlways remember to be charitable in your treatment of others and never take yourself too seriously.

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