Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Back to Death … and Pride … Part Four …

Continued from Part Three …

Now I am about to head off into a social commentary about what seems wrong with and about the folks screaming the loudest about what is wrong. 

Into the West, Annie Lennox, Howard Shore, LOTR, 2003

Pandemonium, the Capital of Hell, by John Martin

Spoiler: This might not be a popular post with some folks because I shine a light at some of our obvious societal flaws and ask rhetorical questions which are not politically correct, not what we are supposed to mention over coffee. And, to a certain degree I indulge my pride that “I am not like those others”, that I am one of the “good guys”.

But it is also about how the making of the others on the other side of the great divide into the bad guys, the enemy, is wrong and is against the will of GOD. Casting others as the foil or fall guy for the story being told does not render onto them the love that God feels for them and which He expects us to understand and to ‘Love one another as I have loved you”.

For we struggle again principalities and powers, against powers not of this world as well as our own flesh and concupiscence, and one way or another we all become “useful idiots” in the hands of Lucifer the light bringer and his minions.

I am very aware of Matthew’s Gospel, specifically Mathew 5, while thinking and writing all of this and so to refresh it in my mind I will put a bit of it here:

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mat 5:43-48)

St. Matthew and The Angel,

For my part, I am trying to preach the gospel of responsibility and self control. That is my intent but in some senses this might be rather Pharisaical – all that PRIDE again, it’s insidious, and I drift back and forth between the poles of prideful self righteousness over how good I am, and trying to get my head sincerely around actually “loving” those who don’t see what I see, what seems so important and obvious to me.

That dichotomy places me in a mental conflict, sort of like trying to love and be tolerant and forgiving of others, while standing my moral ground and trying to explain and defend reality, all the while experiencing the effects of having the “loved” ones trying to metaphorically cut off my arm without anesthetic.

I firmly believe that GOD desires of me to love my neighbour as myself, and even more, to love one another as He has loved us. That’s a BIG love. What this means to me is wishing for anyone else the things which I believe to be good, for his or her sake but not for my own. And, even more, sincerely wishing for anyone else, the things which GOD has told us are good for their own sake.

I don’t mean this as the “permissive” will of GOD, as PF so recently alluded to but rather the “specific” will of GOD as presented to us in Scripture and the Teachings of the Magisterium, and as we encounter it in the myriad daily duties and responsibilities of our lives. I believe that we have to make every effort to ensure that we are following the “Manufacturer’s Instructions” the popularity of which seem to move in and out of fashion amongst many men of all walks of life as their convenience is impacted.

This translates into believing with certainty that all things, all creatures, were made by GOD and that GOD made all things GOOD, and so love of the other is best expressed by “It is good that you exist, that you have being” and that right direction and thinking flows from that starting point … it is good.

I also wonder if calumny and detraction enter into the effort but currently think “not” because I am not gossiping about or targeting particular individuals, cultures or nations, but rather commenting in a general way about observed trends and norms in our society.

I am being specific about generalities (if that makes any sense) on what I see and read and hear whenever I break my rules and visit any worldly media for some “news”.

Ralph Peters

It seems clear to to me that the traits or characteristics in the defining constellation of traits including responsibility and self control relating to success or failure, in life, are found in varying degrees across all nations, cultures, and individuals.

The difference in degree to which they are manifest is entirely due to self discipline and self control or lack thereof. And self discipline and responsibility are trained into people, they don’t come naturally.

Self Discipline and Self Control are, among others, two of the foundational virtues of Christianity and, if you pay attention to the teachings, the “Wisdom Books” are full of these teachings, which virtues are to be striven for at all costs. These seem to be MIA to a greater or lesser degree in all other religious frameworks, including Protestantism, along with “It is good that you exist, that you have being” .

Waiting On The Night To Fall”, by “Casting Crowns”, from the album “Thrive” (2014)

So,  what are those characteristics or traits which define us and the path we seem to follow? I used to enjoy reading Ralph Peters’ work long before he came and then went as a commentator and consultant at Fox News. He seemed to be very clear on what he observed and the results of same, and was excoriated in some some circles for that trait. He was not Politically Correct, rather he was precise in his observations and honest in his telling of them.

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson reminds me of Ralph in some ways and he also is a currently favored hate figure of the left. Both of them are all about personal responsibility and honesty in discourse which is a bitter pill in the Howler Jungle these days. They both are preaching “Ownership” of the problem … you have to own the problem to fix the problem.

Ralph is a believer, it is hard to imagine any military person as a non believer, but Jordan Petersen has not, to date, come out of the closet as a religious man. I believe he will in time since he seems to be on the right path but perhaps is too successful in life so far to separate what is gift and what is his own brilliance. To realize that all  is gift is a happy grace. He seems to have struck a chord with all those millions of young men which our society has glibly belittled and abandoned.

Anyway, there are seven characteristics or traits or choices which Ralph Peters identifies as condemning nations and cultures (and, I think,  individuals) to failure in the modern world. Peters was speaking about the international situation, but I think his logic and observations apply equally well at the local and individual level as well. I think Jordan Peterson would agree with Ralph’s assessment.

Peters makes a very convincing case that there is a correlation approaching unity between the extent to which a nation, or culture, (or social group or individual) embrace some or all of these characteristics and their inability to succeed in the 21st century. That “inability to succeed” produces serious fallout. I have “fleshed them out” a bit to better illustrate how they operate at the local and individual level. Here is the list”

1. Any restrictions on the free flow of information (Most Common), censorship, bias in reporting, intimidation, exclusion of opposing views, media bias, National Firewalls, Political Correctness, government and corporate secrecy, the “PMO” factor, Star Chambers and “Rights” Tribunals, “Hate Crimes” Tribunals, lieing, documentaries,  Fake News, Social Media untruths,  “Burn The Witch!”, to name just a few.

2. Any subjugation, objectification, or any other moral or intellectual abuse of women (Most Evil) as an objectified resource to be exploited, Radical Feminism, discriminatory rules for a woman’s inheritance, “free love”, free “choice”, pornography, prostitution, polygamy, discriminatory divorce laws, the glorification of “strong, independent” women as desirable sex objects or accessories (in popular magazines),  50 Shades, 2nd class citizens, glass ceiling, rigid roles, keeping them “in their place”, buying and selling women as sex slaves/concubines, covering women’s bodies and faces, honour killings, FGM, child marriage, punishing women for the “crime” of being raped, treating females as objects or slaves useful only for breeding and pleasure, and so on and so forth. This list of memes is particularly evil and deeply buried in many cultures, societies and sub-groups, for most of human history.

3. Inability to accept personal responsibility (endemic in western populations) for individual or collective failure and the results of those failures.

4. Seeing the basic unit of social organization as one’s immediate social class (Xenophobic and narrow minded), extended family or clan, clique, party, social group, sexual orientation, or academic silo, like your faculty, church, PAC, club, activist group, or Facebook group, leading to victimology, or refusal to integrate with society at large … “they” are all evil,  or at least “they” are too stupid to live!

5. Domination by a restrictive religion,(Only believes what their own social group says is so) like any kind of or combination of “Fundamentalism”, Material Realism, Islam, Marxism, Fascism, Secular Humanism, Socialism, Facebook Group, etc.

6. A low valuation of education, (figures prominently amongst the young) that is refusing education, or studying exclusively the dogma of one’s chosen religion, one’s political world view, sexual orientation,  social studies, soft “sciences” and all the rest instead of math, medicine, engineering, physics, chemistry, skilled trades, etc. pointing to aberrations like believing that qualifications in one narrow specialty domain automatically confer qualification in all domains, or another common situation of burger flippers with BA’s in political “science” or any field ending in “Studies“, or ghettos of unskilled “radicalized” xenophobic parasites, and so on.

7. Low prestige assigned to productive work (figures prominently among the young) … eg. remaining unemployed while living on student “loans” or grants, or social welfare, or EI, or Foreign Aid while engaging full time in “Occupy Wall Street” or political protests or anti social activities within one’s social class or ghetto, directed at  outsiders like, in the extreme, assault, kidnapping, vandalization of property, mass shootings, fire bombings, suicide bombing, and random sniping, vehicular homicide, etc.

Desolation Row”, Bob Dylan, from the album “MTV Unplugged”, 2013

Before we get back at it, there is a little story about the above tune along with lyrics and so on over here.

SO! … Seven characteristics of human behaviour. Seven predictions of outcomes. What Ralph, is saying, (and I agree),  is that “the more of these seven characteristics the culture or group or individual exhibit the more likely that culture or group or individual will be a measurable failure in the 21st century by any rational evaluation“.  And he also goes on to make the case that those cultures and individuals are essentially shame based and shame motivated, avoiding shame is more important than doing good.  For these groups and individuals, any behaviour is acceptable and even desirable as long as you don’t get caught.

These nations and cultures and especially groups and individuals know with absolute certainty that they are in fact failures, utter failures. They feel acute shame at that failure, and they hate everyone else around them for shining a light on the hater’s shame by their success in the world. There is no fixing this unless and until those cultures and especially those individuals start to take responsibility for their failure, to take responsibility for their actions and the results, to stop taking the “easy way out”.

There is no absolute moral difference between those in foreign cultures who for example would rape and crucify women for being Christian or Yazidi, or bomb a mosque or a market or a church, and those here in the comfortable “nice” West and even in Alberta who would support killing babies and handicapped children and Elders or who force the agenda and religion of Gaia down the throats of the population by destroying every trace of our carbon based economy in the name of “Environmentalism”.  No absolute moral difference.  Both groups, the activists, and the bureaucrats, inflict misery and death on innocent helpless others with whom they have a problem. 

C.S. Lewis once remarked: in his 1948 book “God in the Dock: Essays on Theology”: Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies”.  Another phrase comes to mind: “being gnawed to death by the teeth of a thousand rats”.

The only reason the Western Haters are not killing everyone who disagrees with them, as they do in Iraq, and Iran, and Palestine, and in Venezuela and other nations all over the world is that they are chestless poltroons, lacking in courage and unwilling to commit because they fear being held accountable for their actions by others outside their area of control …  they fear the Great Satan just next door. 

They are nothing but Terrorist Middle Managers, afraid of being caught and blamed … they are the Chickens in the Bacon and Eggs metaphor … The Pigs are real terrorists.  The chickens are involved, but the pigs are committed, the true believers. And all it takes is for the U.S. to burp or rumble and they start screaming and wetting their panties.

In 2018, the U.S. started increasing training of U.S. NAVY SEAL Ops in the Pacific Northwest, just a short chopper ride from our hotbed of dissident Environmentalist activity in B.C. and Alberta. Who knew? The Great Satan protects us just by sitting in the next pew. What a concept. The Great Satan, just by being close, protects not only our lives but our economy and our way of life such as it is.

There is such fear in the hearts of the evil ones that the Great Satan might intervene directly that they hesitate to carry out their desires completely as their brothers in arms in foreign lands do every day. Every Canadian living their life in more or less peace and tranquility should really pay  Jizya to the great nation of America for keeping the jackals in check,  keeping us more or less free and peaceful just by being our neighbour.

The haters, the jackals, don’t want to or can’t change because change requires responsibility and hard work, and they don’t want to live in isolation because they enjoy the toys of the successful, so they are left with only the destruction of the object of their hate by force or, when possible, by legal coercion to ameliorate their shame.

To paraphrase Bill Whittle, they must “level the playing field” so that there is nothing to make them stand out as failures. Many turn to the political field to address this desire. For example, all socialistic societies suffer from the “equality of squalor” philosophy. This is the Howler Tribe in all their glory. And in the West, they exploit the rules and structures and institutions established by the successful to destabilize and harm the very society that makes their existence possible. In literally any other culture on the planet, these failures would be ended by a bullet or worse.

They hate us. They hate us, the “successful”, because we are everything they are not. We are vibrant and fecund; we are are successful. Our achievements are magnificent. Our engineering and sciences advance at breathtaking speed and our standard of living continues to increase wherever these social failures are not able to interfere, or are prevented from interfering, politically or otherwise. Robert Heinlein (long the “racist Nazi” of the left) had a bit to say about this:

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“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck’. ” – Robert A. Heinlein

*****

Of course, when “they” the Destroyers, do manage to grab political power they immediately set about sinking the ship as fast as possible, knowing full well that the folks might wake up soon and kick them out. That’s just the way our system works and I suppose it is better than prison camps, re-education camps, purges and pogroms better than “Cultural Revolutions”, and the Gulag.  Of course, those might at least bring things to a head so the boil pops and the infection bleeds out.

And the entire social tragedy roils and boils along oblivious to the damage all around, damage in health and happiness and standard of living and damaged communities and families and so on. and all because of Why? Why can’t I have what I want?

But  I don’t trust God any more, now I actually fear God because I know in my heart that I have done wrong, and I am hiding from God and I don’t trust that God really is “All Good” and is merciful and loving. I fear the “vengeful God” of my own vision, of my guilty conscience, the vengeful God of Lucifer’s lie in the Garden.

And eventually I turn far enough away that I no longer even think about God … and then I don’t even believe in God … but the society around me just keeps getting worse and worse and I keep getting unhappier and unhappier … Why? Why Me? There is something going on here, why is it all going wrong?

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You“.

The words of this prayer given to the young visionaries of Fatima may seem simple. But the words outline our responsibilities as Christians—to believe, to adore, to hope, and to love God. As well, to ask pardon for those who do not act in this way. And further, to beg pardon for them, we should make reparation for their sins too.

Joe

“Reaching for heaven”

 

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

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

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

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

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

Reconquista – Moors Surrender Granada, 1492

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Joe

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