Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Through The Lens of Age … Conformity to God’s Will

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

So, on revisiting my last post it might seem that life is grim and depressing with nothing of joy to contemplate in the world. And this would be correct when looked at a certain way. The painful disassociation from all things secular and temporal is indeed depressing and grim, joyless even as the realization of how little of the secular human existence matters in the big picture, one discovery of dissatisfaction after another, failure in all the members, even in members which heretofore had been relied upon to provide some comfort in the storm.

September 1970: French naval officer and underwater explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau (1910 – 1997), who in 1957 was appointed director of the Institute of Oceanography in Monaco. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Jacques Cousteau remarked: “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” I spent almost 8 years of my young life as a blue ocean sailor. I would have to agree wholeheartedly with Jacques regarding the spell of the sea.

I do not recall ever reading anything by Jacques Cousteau on spirituality and GOD but have difficulty believing that a fellow ocean sailor would not have had deep thoughts and beliefs regarding GOD in His majesty. I would paraphrase that sentiment to say “GOD, once he casts His net of wonder, holds one in thrall for the remainder of ones days”.

GOD and His existence and his all encompassing plan for everything and everyone is only hinted at powerfully by the sea and the experience of those who travel thereon, feeling the full range of the power of the sea.

I do not include the millions of “cruise boat tourists” who “take a cruise” from year to year in the number of those “who go down to the sea in ships”. For all the exposure they get, in their multi-thousand head herd, to the sea, they might as well be at Disneyland of some nautically themed entertainment venue in Vegas.

And I wade through my personal mental virtual reality of Frodo’s “Dead Marshes”  where the public actions of our modern Roman Curia color my faith life, and the public actions and words of our modern political and social classes, and the media color everything by which I try to understand what might be happening in the world around me. And I have to continually remind myself that “telling it like it is” is really only “telling it like what I think it might be”.

The Dead Marshes – from Peter Jackson’s movie “The Two Towers” based on “The Lord Of The Rings”

The Dead Marshes – from Peter Jackson’s movie “The Two Towers” based on “The Lord Of The Rings”

It’s not really “like it is” because there is no way I can know what it is, very much like I could not tell what the outcome would be when in the midst of a life and death struggle to preserve our little vessel in the midst of the power of a hurricane driven sea.

What I “think it is” is colored, is filtered,  by my pride, my opinion, my attachments, and my desires regarding what I think it “should” be.  Filtered by what “makes sense” to me.  I am completely missing the “deep” game. Only God reads the heart.

And why then does it all seem so grim? Is it because I am, in fact, failing to conform myself to God’s will?  God communicates Himself most to the soul that has progressed farthest along in love, in the sense of “Agape”, that is, true charity, or so I am told.

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

And I am also told that true union with GOD brings true joy in its fullest sense. In real life, true love is made manifest in the willingness of the lover to do what pleases the loved one. True love is manifest, in this world, in the lover’s conforming oneself to the desires, tastes, and will of the loved one, not willing anything which could displease the loved one.

Saint Michael The Archangel

Saint Michael The Archangel

So, is it, the lack of, an abundance of joy, that is perhaps a real barometer of ones degree of conformity to God’s will? More joy more conformity, less joy less conformity? So it seems to me at this time, anyway. All the human foibles and sins to which I am prone interfere with and prevent full conformity with GOD’s will and therefore necessarily interfere with the development of joy in my life.

And what about outside influences? What about “all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.” as found in the last line of our “Prayer to Saint Michael The Archangel”?  I have been reading about exorcists, and reading books by real exorcists, there is even a “Priestly Society of Exorcists” called the Dolorans. I have also lately watched a couple of videos claiming to be about real exorcisms. I have moved firmly into the “I believe in spirits and demons and the Devil” camp.

As the Book of Revelations, (Revelations 12:3-4) says, “3And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son”.

So we are talking billions of evil spirits. Unfortunately, this whole area of demons and evil spirits, is not a popular subject these days since we are “too sophisticated” to believe all this superstitious nonsense. It is really quite dangerous to deny the existence of a powerful enemy.

This notion of the non-existence of Satan, and evil spirits and demons, and their influence in and on our lives, is a relatively new “truth” believed only by our sophisticated materialist secular society. Our “primitive” and “superstitious” ancestors believed otherwise, in all times and all cultures. C.S. Lewis mentions this in “the Screwtape Letters” :

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“My Dear Wormwood,

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves.

Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma.When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet.

I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work – the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits” – then the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark.

The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.

Chapter VII”

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So in this enlightened age we now have acknowledged the real “Materialist Magician“. We know them as Material Naturalists and their belief system is known as Material Naturalism. This is the belief that all that exists in the world is ultimately reducible to material phenomena. For example, from this perspective, Mother Teresa was just a unique bundle of brain chemistry with particular psychoneural processes acting predictably, prompting her to do what she did.

At all other times and places in history the belief in the demonic has been both fervent and well documented. Especially prevalent is the existence of “fomenting spirits”. That is, those evil spirits whose specialty is fomenting one or another kind of bad behaviour in humans who are more than ready to go along with any evil urging. Exorcists tell us that since so many demons identify with the vice or attitude they seek to foment, demons answer to these names.

As a result, some of the names of demons which I am listing here will correspond to various vices and disorders or attitudes which demons foment, but which we tend to think of as “natural” human behaviour because we don’t believe in demons. Here is just a short list of examples taken from the domain of

Satan's Subtle Art of Destruction

Satan’s Subtle Art of Destruction

Lying Spirits: “Pretension, Unreality, Denial, Delusion/Labyrinth, Convoluted Thinking, Cheating, Neglect of Responsibilities, Irreverence, Circumvention, Folly, Concealment, Blindness of Spirit, Evasiveness, Deceit, Mask, Game Playing, Deception, Illusion, Diversion, Error, Drama, Marionette-Puppet, False, Farce, Hallucination; Smoke & Mirrors, Harlequin Mask, Imitation, Pantomime, Counterfeit, Role Reversal, Fraud, Detraction, Incredulity, Coy, Cunning, Undermining, Aping, Dichotomy, Juggling, Duplicity, Facade, Dual, Showmanship, Theatrics, Show, Acting, Trickery, Magic, Mockery, Appearances, Fantasy, Heresy, Legion, Subversive, Irony, Mimicry”

Another domain is Unclean Spirits:Unclean & Offensive Conditions, Compulsiveness to Clean, Involuntary Vices (Obsessive Compulsive), Compulsion, “I have to”, Distortion of Truth, Busybody, Nosey, Curiosity, Violation of Confidentiality, Rumors, Critical Judgment, Perverted Judgment, Perverted Thinking, Scandal, Spirits that cause Accidents”.

And yet another domain is Theft:Stealing, Greed, Avarice, Materialism, Possessiveness, Hoarding, Covetousness, Collecting, Exclusiveness, Making Excuses for Sin & Infidelities to God; Neglect-Omission; Inability to Pray Because of Worldly Cares; Inability to Give or Share, Stingy; Inability to Give Praise & Thanksgiving to God or to People”

So yes, lots of outside influences … and none of them good, the above lists are drawn from Appendix I of  Deliverance Prayers, for use by the laity” a slim volume published by Sensus Traditionis Press, and available at Amazon.com.

When we consider the subject of evil spirits, and demons, and demonology, it really is hard to ignore C.S. Lewis. In our modern times there have been very few authors to have so stimulated the imagination with regard to the spiritual realm as the author of The Screwtape Letters. The book, dedicated to his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, begins with two quotes:

The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn. (Luther)

The devill . . . the prowde spirite . . . cannot endure to be mocked. (Thomas More)

This Lewis then proceeds to do in masterful fashion. Through witty episodes, he captures the cleverness and wiles of Satan’s agents, the demons and spirits who “prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls”  as well as their ultimate shortsightedness and folly. The biggest part of the battle is to struggle against the tide of modern sophisticated disbelief and accept the truth of the existence of evil spirits.

Well, I guess that’s enough for now. I will read some more and think some more and perhaps post some more about this later, as I want to discuss some of this with my parish priest and get his thoughts on this topic.

Cheers

Joe

The Long Defeat …

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

The vested interest in keeping people sick …

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

Good post this morning over at David Warren’s site…  Go read the whole thing.

Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

He drew from Crisis Magazine (here) , which I subscribe to …”In a recent episode of the podcast Freakonomics, Dr. Atul Gawande contrasted the adoption rate in the 1800s of two new technologies: anesthesia and antisepsis. An anesthetic gas, which could be used in surgery, was discovered and first used in Boston, and “…within two months of publishing the result that a gas could render people insensible to pain, it was being used in every capital in Europe.

There’s no internet. You had to send news by boat and horse.  And within two months people were using it in the capitals of Europe, and by six years later there wasn’t a hospital in the country that was not delivering anesthesia care.

Compared to anesthesia, the adoption of antisepsis was very slow, even though sterilizing equipment and washing hands could cut the rate of infection by up to eighty percent. Since infections were often fatal, an eighty percent reduction meant a huge savings of lives. And yet, according to Dr. Gawande, “a generation later, you still haven’t gotten to half of the profession doing it.”

The difference in the adoption rates of the two new technologies was caused by the fact that anesthesia helped the doctors as much as it helped the patients: “Surgeons don’t like having a screaming patient on the table. They had to do their operations in 60 to 120 seconds because you just didn’t have that much time when the orderly is holding people down. And having a patient asleep meant you could be meticulous—you were so much happier as a surgeon. And so this was a win-win for both.”

By contrast, antiseptic protocols didn’t do anything for the doctors, they were just an added problem for doctors, and so they had no incentive to use them.”

And not much has changed amongst the medical establishment and the health industry in general here in the 21st century. There is no incentive to the system to actually help patients and to actually cure them because the medical and pharmaceutical bread and butter of the western world depends entirely on the continued existence of sick patients.

If the Department of Health and the medical Associations ever actually fulfilled their stated mandate of curing people and supporting a healthy population they would put themselves out of work. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that “in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.”

Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle was a blogger of note before the internet was invented and before that in columns in Byte Magazine. He died last year in his 80’s. I followed him for many years. He will be greatly missed. Anyway … Health Departments and such …

Ergo, the mission of Health Departments, Medical Associations, and Pharmaceutical Research Companies everywhere is not (as stated) to get people healthy and keep them there but rather to encourage illness everywhere possible, both physical and mental, in the interest of continued existence, expansion, and an ever increasing revenue stream.

There once was a book I owned and readThe Organization of Hypocrisy” by a Swedish researcher, Nils Brunsson, who is (or maybe was) Professor of Management at the Stockholm School of Economics and Chairman of the Stockholm Center for Organizational Research. In his little book he laid out chapter and verse why such conduct occurs, and why it will continue to occur.

Unfortunately I loaned my copy to one of my college professors who never returned it. It is out of print and currently retails new for around $1200.00 U.S. Never trust your college professors, as they also fall under the Iron Rule of Bureaucracy. The ones in charge will always be corrupt.

Some say I am too cynical, but I prefer “realist”. If it walks like a duck, and all that stuff.

Cheers

Joe

Ready, Aye, Ready … Quid hoc ad aeternitatem

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Second Thoughts … (part two) implications of the New Paradigm …

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

Kobudo, Ototabi, 2013

Kobudo, Ototabi, 2013

As mentioned in the previous post, I have decided that this needs to be broken into multiple parts – again.

First, while it is fresh in my mind, I mentioned in a previous post the expression “Check your Privilege”, which was mentioned in an article by David Warren.  Coincidentally I just got an email this morning from an MP, (that would be a Federal representative in the House of Commons) Maxime Bernier, which read as follows:

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” … to be effective, justice must be blind.  And our government should be too. The way to solve the injustices of the past is not to create new categories on which to base discrimination. It’s to treat all citizens equally. That’s not what the Liberals are doing.

They recently tabled a budget where money is allocated on the basis of “inter-sectional race, gender and sexual identities.”  They’re creating more division and more injustice. And when I called them out on it, I was told to “check my privilege and be quiet.”

This wasn’t just another troll on the internet. It came from a Liberal Member of Parliament. There are people in this government who believe my opinion is less valid because I’m a white man. They believe the government should segregate people based on their gender and skin colour and treat them differently.

Help me fight this radical ideology. I believe the government should be blind. And that it should work to the benefit of all its citizens.”

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Why is this not a surprise? It seems that Liberal Members of Parliament have a new expression for Virtue signalling, which we all know is the popular modern habit of indicating that one has virtue merely by expressing disgust or favour for political ideas or cultural happenings, or even another person’s personal values.

Welcome to “Check Your Privilege” as the latest strawman putdown belittling anyone and everything which the leftist progressives dislike or disagree with, which obviously includes anything or anyone with the damned nerve to point out their peccadilloes.

 a breathless "Me To, Me To"

A breathless “Me To, Me To”, Celebrating A Big Shiny Bright Red Nothing …

NEWS FLASH! … THE EMPEROR IS NAKED!.  And, as usual, in this and every societal directive and direction, the sitting members of the Canadian government are years behind the curve. Evidence current Canadian legal policies on infanticide and parricide which are a decade behind Europe’s.

But then Canada has always been a breathless “Me To, Me To” sort of place, a place where the inhabitants never really matured past the grade school recess. If you ever want a window on Canada’s future 10 years down the road, just look at whatever is fashionable now in Europe.

Lieberose Solar Park

Lieberose Solar Park

The prevailing paradigm in Canada is to always be ten years late to the progressive social policy party or better yet 20 or thirty years late, for example the global warming party and solar power party and carbon taxes party which Europe has now abandoned as completely unworkable.

Which is why we now have German Solar Power companies, fresh off the boat from the country with the highest electricity prices in the world, building Solar Farms in Alberta – they are out of work in Europe where there is no more public money to be had for that particular golden calf.

when one is living in a country where the norm is to be ten years old … ten years late … no new paradigm … ever,  just other people’s failed ideas and programs, it is truly jarring to have the Magisters of the Roman Catholic Church beating the “New Paradigm” drum.

What impact does this “New Paradigm” have on two millennia of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family?  Either Jesus said it, or Jesus didn’t say it … this observation is binary, at least to me in my ignorance.

Lightning on the Tiber

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt in Rome …

Let’s just “blue sky” this thought pattern for a bit. If Jesus is God, and God is “All Good and All Truth, then “It”, that is “Truth” is not subject to Reform and Paradigm Shifts. You can’t just dump two thousand years of “Truth” because is has become unfashionable in our “New Age”.

If Jesus is not the source, if Jesus is not God, then there is no church, and no Truth,  and certainly no need for the curia and all the old men of the Catholic hierarchy.

Absent tradition, the Magisterium, the Petrine Ministry, and the Catholic Church, all that remains is “Anti-Christ” and the global agenda of the United Nations, and the “New World Order”, a World Government.

In that context, why do we see the Holy Father, our “Godfather”, cuddling up with China, or being vocally supported by the agents of the “Sustainable Development” and “Family Health” agenda of the U.N.?

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See speaking at the United Nations.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See, and his “New Paradigm” can only exist in a world where “Truth” is not truth … where everything is mutable and changeable according to the fashion of the moment.

BUT:

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“Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.” (Deuteronomy 23:14)

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Where is the “Holy” in this “New Paradigm” … if what has gone before is so unworthy that a complete “New Paradigm” is necessary then how are we, the ignorant sheep of the flock to know and trust anything?

Arianism was a new Paradigm,  Pelagianism was a new Paradigm,  Jansenism was a new Paradigm, Albigensianism (Cathar) was a new Paradigm, Islam was a new Paradigm, the Reformation was a new Paradigm, Modernism was a new Paradigm. and each in its day was sincerely believed by its founders.

Medieval

Medieval – Lissner Troice Sergieva Lavr

No wonder then that Modernism and Secular Humanism and Progressivism all conflate “Organized Religion” with human maleficence and essentially teach that all religions are the same, delusional, superstition, Medieval, and should not be taken seriously by any reasonable person, any sophisticated “modern” person.

Still, mankind feels an undeniable thirst for the spiritual, a thirst for something above and beyond himself, a thirst for a “higher order”. And the Progressives seem to be comfortable ignoring the “deeply spiritual” New Age movements proliferating in their own ranks even as they mock and denigrate the ages older “organized religions”.

They seem to be able to ignore the fact that the adherents of “organized religion” have always vastly outnumbered the “New Age” pantheist religious of our “modern” day.

And both old and new together dwarf the tiny minority of vocal unbelievers, the “elite” worshipers of “man”, and “self”, as the higher order personified, the “brights”, the atheists, who get all the publicity from the “…journalists, who know nothing about anything, and are therefore liberal all round.”

We moderns are too advanced for such “religious” superstitions. So we get such joyous “nuanced and contextualized” outbursts as Cardinal Parolin “pontificating” about new paradigms …

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin stated that Pope Francis’ teaching on marriage and the family found in his  controversial 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia arose from the Pope’s “new paradigm” for the Catholic Church.

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There is much ado these days, much controversy, in Catholic Church circles and some media, about this “New Paradigm” in Catholic doctrine, as initially expressed in Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia“, and most recently we see:

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Pope Francis, and Father Antonio Spadaro

Pope Francis, and Father Antonio Spadaro

February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department.

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So, when did the Assistant to the Director of the IMF’s Communications Department get the right to make the calls on who gets censured and who gets excommunicated in the Roman Catholic Church? And why is a senior Catholic cleric agreeing with him?

Well, that is for the next post …

Cheers

Joe

So much to read, so little time, this “thinking” thing really makes life harder doesn’t it?

 

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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)

*****

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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The Inner Struggle

Humility … and the cultivation of same …

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

The only thing for which you will not be envied, is the lowest place; therefore, the lowest place place  is the only one where there is no vanity and affliction of spirit.” (Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 – 1897)

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 - 1897

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 – 1897

One of the great stumbling blocks to receiving God’s mercy is to live in the past. I am coming to believe that is what Jesus means when he states, in the Gospel of St. Luke, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

St. Therese of Lisieux in her “Little Way” understood this very well. She thought that we focus too much on our dark side, our ugliness, and not enough on God who is the Light of Light. She believed that we needed to have confidence in the consuming furnace of His Love for us.

Shortly before her death, St. Therese stated, “You may truly say that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into a flaming furnace. All possible crimes, a multitude of offenses, a drop of water in an immense furnace; that is the proportion”.

The Pool Of Worship

The Pool Of Worship

As I remarked in a previous post, I have finally realized that it is impossible for a proud man to give himself humility … it is impossible for an impoverished man to give himself wealth … it is impossible for a sick man to give himself health.

Therefore, to be truly humble, that is genuinely humble, 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. Isn’t it funny how accepting responsibility shows up as the foundation of every attempt to know oneself.

I must acknowledge and accept my faults and my failings without trying to assign any other case or cause for them than my own miserable failings. There are no reasonable excuses for bad talk, or bad behaviour, or bad thinking. My bad is just that … my bad. I cannot slough off responsibility for myself and my conduct by blaming others, or the situation I find myself in, or the actions or faults of others now or in the past. I am responsible and I am to blame for what I do, or think, or say.

In a brief aside, a little wandering off the path, but on point regarding responsibility as a part of humility, is the occurrence of one of the greatest injustices, even tragedies, of the 20th century, namely the development of the cult of “repression” amongst Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and the cult continues to this day, alive and well, even amongst those who have become practitioners known as mental health counselors, sometimes known as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (at least in B.C.).

Katherine K. Young, 2015

Katherine K. Young, 2015

The cult of “repressed emotions” arose in concert with the development of psychoanalysis, which grew out of the theories Sigmund Freud.  A more current phenomenon related to important aspects of Freud’s “repressed emotions” theory has been the “modern”  Western teaching of contempt for men in our popular culture, known as Misandry.

A very lucid analysis of the impact of this “feminist” religious dogma can be had in “Spreading Misandry” (2001) and “Legalizing Misandry” (2006) by Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young. they have since come out with a third book which unfortunately I have not read, maybe I will get to it this year … just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

It is also interesting, and amusing,  that Paul Nathanson doesn’t get a mention in most search engines. It is affirming for one, like myself, who believes in a “left bias” in our culture to find again that anti male, anti conservative, bias in action in the “Wikipedia” search engine which I mentioned in another previous post. Katherine K. Young must have broken through the filters because she is a female PhD.

Sigmund Freud (sitting left), Sàndor Ferenczi, and Hanns Sachs (standing) Otto Rank, Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, and Ernest Jones.

In Studies in Hysteria (1895) Freud proposed that physical symptoms are often the surface manifestations of deeply repressed conflicts. At the time Freud attracted many followers, who formed a famous group in 1902 called the “Psychological Wednesday Society.” The group met every Wednesday in Freud’s waiting room.

As the organization grew, Freud established an inner circle of devoted followers, the so-called “Committee” (including Sàndor Ferenczi, and Hanns Sachs (standing) Otto Rank, Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, and Ernest Jones). At the beginning of 1908, the committee had 22 members and renamed themselves the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

So thanks to Freud and his true believers in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society every bad actor in the 20th century could get a “get out of jail free” card just by showing up and getting psychoanalyzed. Gee, I wish I had been psychoanalyzed … maybe then I would not have to suffer all this guilt for not being humble …

But, and it is a very BIG “but” (no dietary pun intended), Freud’s theory is good at explaining but not at predicting behavior (which is one of the goals of science). For this reason, Freud’s theory is unfalsifiable – it can neither be proved true or refuted. For example, the unconscious mind is difficult to test and measure objectively.

Overall, Freud’s theory is highly unscientific …  most of the evidence for Freud’s theories are taken from an unrepresentative sample. He mostly studied himself, his patients and only one child (e.g., Little Hans).

The main problem here is that the case studies are based on studying one person in detail, and with reference to Freud, the individuals in question are most often middle-aged women from Vienna (i.e., his patients). This makes generalizations to the wider population (e.g., the whole world) difficult.

However, Freud thought this unimportant, believing in only a qualitative difference between people. Freud may also have shown research bias in his interpretations – he may have only paid attention to information which supported his theories, and ignored information and other explanations that did not fit them.

Annnnd back to humility … seriously folks, I have to recognize that the good that is in me is a pure gift from God and never claim it for my own. Jesus Christ taught “responsibility” not “It’s not your fault, sweetheart.”

I suppose that it is normal to desire to  be humble, and I also suppose that it is normal not to desire humiliation. I pray for God to make me humble but I resist mightily any occurrences and events which I find humiliating. So, I figure that the self (my “self” anyway) started out life very proud, in fact the exact opposite of humble. I started out absolutely convinced of my own superiority. I loved myself with an absolute love.

Life seems to have been a more or less steady grinding away of that feeling of superiority. Now I ask myself, my “Self”, how is it possible to become humble without enduring humiliation? Today, this seems like a reasonable question, and looking back over the years I wonder why it never came up before?

And I think that the reasonable answer is that it’s impossible to achieve humility without experiencing and enduring humiliations. And it is probably reasonable to assume that the sturdier my self regard, the more extreme and enduring are the required humiliations to effect a change in my self regard.

Saint Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens

Saint Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens

Humility is truth, and and the practice of humility is sincere recognition of truth. If I was sincere in recognizing this truth I would find it very just to be humiliated and scorned and treated without consideration.

So the pain I feel when treated unjustly and without consideration is a sure sign that I have not embraced true humility.

I have read that the saints were so firmly convinced of  this truth that they never found the humiliations which came to them too painful. The saints always considered these humiliations less than they deserved.

I never heard anything bad said of me which I did not clearly realize fell short of the truth. If I had not sometimes  — often indeed — offended God in the ways they referred to, I had done so  in many others, and I felt they had treated me far too indulgently about these” (Teresa of Jesus, also known as Teresa of Avila, 1515 – 1582)

More coming on humility, and also on judgement, of oneself, of others, and Final Judgement …

Oh Joy

Joe

If it looks proud, and walks proud, and talks proud, it must be proud, right?

Humility are not us …

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Humility … revisited.

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)

Been writing about all the NO JOY places in my life, my personal raised bed garden of negativity and resentment. So, where to go from here?  Presumably to a better place, I hope, a place more accepting of my own failings and the differences of opinion and point of view encountered every day. A place where the resolutions I have made about change and dealing with my failings actually get realized in my daily life and not just muttered about when I am talking to myself, by myself.

How about trying to spend more time contemplating my own faults and less time opinionating (is that even a word?) about the faults of others. So what to do about the EGO thing, namely MY ego. No fragile shy retiring flower is THAT ego, just one forged titanium armor plated battle bot, which believes that the best defense is a good offense.

I love my opinions, and I enjoy having them, and I enjoy writing about them in this blog. After all, that’s why I started writing so many posts ago, to get this stuff off my chest and this is all about me, right?  Isn’t it?  You mean it’s not all about me?  (8-(

My opinions are big brain opinions, and require serious judgement, and thinking about what the judgements point to. And where’s the fun in opinions that are flawed and imperfect, no, I’m aiming for “practically perfect in every way”, I want Poppins Opinions! 

Oh, anyone at all can have lots of opinions, even without any thought at all, but where’s the fun in that? I hear all about that in the media every day whenever I bother to turn on the news. Anyone can do that, anytime at all. No, what I want are opinions with real weight and credibility, and these sorts of opinions require some amount of critical thought in order to at least determine if they pass the sniff test, and that is what I’m trying to achieve, right?

If I hope to achieve “respected” opinions, I have to give some consideration of the likelihood of this opinion balloon getting a lift, if this particular batch of hot air has more lift than the surrounding hot air.

No point in judging and articulating exactly what is irritating and frustrating in others, in what they say, in what they do, in making wild ass guesses about motives and intentions if I can’t prove logically and in detail why I’m right about them being ass-hats.

Hairy Roaring EGO!

Hairy Roaring EGO!

Great big hairy legged EGO roaring it’s superiority for the whole world to applaud. This is the driving desire underlying the whole opinion thing, and there is truly “No happiness here for Joe” … DAMN!

Seriously, I just have to chuck all these NO JOY modes of thinking, gotta chuck all these judgemental habits, the resentment of opinions and actions which differ from mine … No Joy HERE! My life depends on this.

Examining my conscience, thinking and listening, and trying to find what is wrong with me and not confirming it by expounding at length on what is wrong with others.

Thinking about anger and humility, thinking about meekness, cultivating detachment from the perceived “rightness” of my own opinion and the turmoil generated by defending that “rightness”. If I was not so attached to my superior position and the need for validation I would feel less anger and resentment (maybe none at all?) when not accorded the adulation I feel I deserve.

Meekness, Humility, aye, there’s the rub … sincerity … being completely honest with oneself about oneself …

So, being completely honest with oneself seems to be rather painful, admitting to myself that in fact I am not “practically perfect in every way” hurts. What to do about this?

Dune, Frank Herbert, 1965

Dune, Frank Herbert, 1965

I am thinking that I have to keep on doing this until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Or, at least keep on doing this until I can simply accept what is and accept the hurt … to paraphrase Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear:

I must not fear the hurt.

Fear of the hurt is the mind-killer.
Fear of the hurt is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear of the hurt.
I will permit my fear of the hurt to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear of the hurt has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

Reference the novel “DUNE” 1965  which I thought was a great book back in the early 70’s, along with Atlas Shrugged,  “The Virtue of Selfishness“, by Ayn Rand,   Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig  and  An Introduction to Zen Budhism by D.T. Suzuki.

Kumo ga Ngareru  Gogo”, Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)

Ah, those were the days … back when I was all knowing and immortal and certain that Man was the pinnacle of all things. Back then I hadn’t yet discovered that “man as the pinnacle” had all kinds of unhappiness attached to it.

But, back to “Only I will remain” … here I come upon a whole new world of effort, because if only “I” remain then where is the room for God? All these problems of judgement and arrogance and resentment and pride start with the foundational problem of “Only I Remain”. God cannot come to us if we are full of ourselves, if I am full of myself God has nowhere to sit in my soul. God is polite and loving and will not force Himself onto a “self” centered soul.

I can’t be God centered if I am self centered. And developing a “self” that is not “self-centered” involves chucking out all the “No Joy” opinions and behaviors of the past. Even the idea of a “Self” which is not “Self-centered” is kind of an oxymoron, right? It’s sort of like that stupid old joke favored by the Lefties about “Military Intelligence”.

Steering a course away from the shoals of “Self-centered” means adapting myself to the mentalities, preferences and needs of others and doing the right thing with good will. Yeah …  doing the right thing with good will … a whole world of struggle and discipline in that little task.

If I give myself a free pass to say whatever comes to mind because “the other” whoever, is wrong, rude, ungrateful, malicious, stupid, they don’t understand, they never learn … then I have already run aground on the reef of my ego.

The excuses I use to heal my self image and justify my bad behaviour are endless. And they are all completely useless in the quest to steer away from being self-centered. The fact is that if I am full of myself God has no room to come into my soul. The fact is that in everything … in essence and in act … in natural and supernatural … I depend on Him and I can do nothing without Him.

I continue to exist, even in my self-centeredness, because He wills that I exist. Divine Charity …

More thinking about humility and meekness … and charity … more thinking …

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Joe

Sitting under a tree, weeping, thinking … praying …

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