The Inner Struggle

Riches … and living in This World …

I Am In thy Hands, O Mary”, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Doctor Scott Piper, Sir Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP & Sr. Maria Miguel Wright, OP;  from the album “Mater Eucharistiae”, (2013)

Mater Eucharistiae, the Dominican Sisters of Mary - Mother of the EucharistLiving in this world it is astoundingly difficult to avoid becoming attached to the things of this world, not the least because we are almost completely unaware of those attachments unless things start going against what we want, in  terms of outcomes and tastes and opinions and the physical realities of enjoyment, food listening, seeing, entertainment, sex and so on and so forth.

Had a nice get together this weekend for a fish fry with friends and acquaintances, all more or less my age, all retired service members and or their spouses as have survived the vicissitudes of time and we share many views and opinions, no surprise there.  What hammers home as we all age together is that death is no respecter of political or economic or moral views.

How so very many are no longer with us for these get togethers, a mere half dozen from the 100 plus who entered boot back in 71, and in spite of the many claimed by misadventure, these days Cancer seems to be the weapon of choice of the Reaper. We have been completely loosing that war for well over 60 years now, billions and billions spent, and billions in profits to all the usual academic and commercial interests, and the gravy train keep on rolling and no victory in sight and something like 95% casualty rate among the sufferers. Why is it so hard to admit that the current model is not working? Anyway …

Death claims the virtuous and the deviant, the affluent and the poor, the liberal socialist and the conservative capitalist, the religious and the secular, the parent and the child … death comes for us all … often when we are really not ready to depart. The only thing that seems to stand out is that those who believe in eternity and live accordingly have Hope. The rest do not, just a grim journey down into despair, and all the “stuff” we spent our lives for has no saving grace at all. Puts one in a reflective headspace to consider all this.

I have recently posted a couple of articles reflecting on what I am faced with in the aftermath of our recent federal election and also the aftermath of our recent Amazonian Synod in Rome. Both events, and the surrounding actions and reactions surrounding these events, have left me, in the present, deeply depressed and trying to see a path forward in the gloom … looking for some glimmer of light to look forward to. I think Christ has an answer … of course … both to how to view the worldly antics of our secular and religious leadership and how to go forward dealing with the daily depression.

In Romans 8, 12-17 (old missal) St. Paul compares the two lives which always struggle within us, are at war within us. The Old Man and the New Man always struggle to control the man (or woman). The Old Man, is a slave to passion and pleasure, the things of this world, a slave to self indulgence, a slave to sin, from which come the fruits of death. The New Man, is the servant of, or even better, the child of God, producing the fruits of life, fighting for the right, without question or pause, willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause, and our smart polite secular society is truly hellish when one thinks about all those practices which used to be anathema and are now common place … no longer even commented upon, truly truly, Old Man to the core.

To paraphrase Paul, “If you live according to the Old Man, according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you live by the Spirit, if, by the New Man, you mortify the flesh, you shall live”. One of my favorite, perhaps my most favorite of authors, Rudyard Kipling touched upon this truth (the battle between the flesh and the spirit) in his poem “If”. For those of you who never heard of Kipling here is a bit of bio on the man who is perhaps one of the greatest non-Catholic Christian writers in our recent history.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is best known for his novels The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and Kim, and his most famous poem, “If—”.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born December 30, 1865, in Bombay, India, to a British family. When he was five years old, he was taken to England to begin his education, where he suffered deep feelings of abandonment and confusion after living a pampered lifestyle as a colonial.

He returned to India at the age of seventeen to work as a journalist and editor for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. Kipling published his first collection of verse, Departmental Ditties and Other Verses, in 1886 and his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888.

In the early 1890s some of his poems were published in William Ernest Henley’s National Observer and later collected into Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), an immensely popular collection which contained “Gunga Din” and “Mandalay.” In 1892 Kipling married and moved to Vermont, where he published the two Jungle Books and began work on Kim.

He returned to England with his family in 1896 and published another novel, Captains Courageous. Kipling visited South Africa during the Boer War, editing a newspaper there and writing the Just-So Stories.

Kim, Kipling’s most successful novel (and his last), appeared in 1901. The Kipling family moved to Sussex permanently in 1902, and he devoted the rest of his life to writing poetry and short stories, including his most famous poem, “If—“. He died on January 18, 1936 at the young age of 70 years; his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey. Kipling’s complete works are available as an e-book on Kindle for a pittance. The literary production values are poor (not flashy) but the works are original, pure, and beautiful.

“If…”

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

by Rudyard Kipling, in A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)

Paul Corrects Peter

If you mortify the deeds of the flesh you will live … Baptism has begotten us to the life of the spirit, but it has not suppressed the life of the flesh in us. The New Man must always struggle against the Old Man, the spiritual must always struggle against the corporeal.

Grace does not excuse us from this battle, but gives us the power to sustain it: “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

Grace gives us the power to “Hold on”, Grace gives the New Man the power to hold on and continue the struggle against the Old Man when things go in the pot and it looks like all is lost … “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

Grace …

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;

Grace …

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Grace …

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

Grace…

We must detach ourselves, from all these earthly things and creatures: “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much;” in order to keep all worldly things in their proper priority of place.

David Warren

As David Warren remarks: “Where Kipling goes wrong, predictably because he is not a Catholic, I think, is by omitting the one thing I could reliably do, to make the world a better place; however indirectly. It is to become Holy. This, truly, is “to advance one’s own cause” — in the highest sense, selfish.

It is the selfishness that is distantly reflected, as it were in mudwater at the bottom of a pit, in The Fable of the Bees. (In that, the ideology of Capitalism was foreseen: “private vices, publick benefits.” The author, Bernard Mandeville, was our English Machiavelli. He preferred selfish vices, to “virtue signalling.”)”

We are commanded “…to be Holy as your Father in heaven is Holy” … to “live in the Divine will”.  God must reign over all. There will always be attachments in the human heart, but they must be subordinate to God and to His will so that they can never usurp His place as the mainspring of our actions. The spiritual life, the life of the New Man, is a love affair with Jesus. Remember, as a small child, holding on tightly and trustingly to your father’s little finger and you walked out for the first time … remember trusting your father … we are called to Trust our Divine Father totally because he loves with an everlasting love that transcends the love of every human father who ever loved his little boy or girl.

We must be utterly convinced of the need to “Hold on …” so that we will not get self satisfied, or puffed up about our virtue, or perhaps discouraged when old sins come back to haunt us over and over again, even many years after we had thought them dead and gone. “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7,1) and “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence” (Mat 11,12).

But this never ending struggle should not discourage or frighten us. We are children of God and can call upon his paternal help without fear of being ignored or hung out to dry. St. Paul says “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba, Father.

It’s A Wonderful Life … with the right lenses we can see what is actually important.

This world never tires of selling us that which is not important. None of our daily serving of important worldly news and information matters even one wit or is worth the time to digest it. When we are busy admiring our beautiful front lawn we are missing the exquisite treasures sitting there in plain view for those who can stop worshiping the beautiful lawn. Nothing so fertilizes the field of despair as buying what this world is selling us, all the beautiful little ponies, all the little golden calves.

Sell everything and go for the eternal treasures with every power and ability that is in you. GO FOR IT! We should be putting at least as much effort and work and struggle into acquiring the things of the eternal reality as the children of this world put into acquiring the things of this passing world.

Nothing darkens our gaze on God, nothing weakens our striving to reach God, to live in God’s Will,  as much as a single strong attachment to anything of this world, a single attachment to the Old Man. That is the great source of all the trouble and trials in our lives, and I have absolutely nothing to be upset or depressed about since absolutely nothing of this world really matters … it all winds down to dusty death and passes away no matter what we do … any of us.

Ave Christus Rex! Viva Christo Rey! Hail Christ the King! Ave Christus Rex!

Cheers

Joe

 Galadriel, “The Lord of the Rings”
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Life in a small town

Are Things Getting Better or Worse?

Mother of Sorrows”, Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent At Ephesus”, (2014)

Thinking about the divinity of Christ and stewardship.  There seems to be some controversy around the Amazonian Synod these days, a certain resurgence of the 60’s beliefs that place man subordinate to Nature in the cosmic scheme of things.

There are flavors of pantheism, and animism, and priestesses of Gaia and a little wiff of Arianism and even the return of Liberation Theology,  and the Green-Vegan assertion that perhaps mankind should not be seen as the guardians of mother earth but rather as her “house-guests”.

In fact, reality is that we were created as the Stewards of God’s Creation … it is our assigned task … God is our employer so to speak in that role and it is not up to us to decide that we are not up to the task, or that we are only “house-guests”.  It is God’s role to chastise us if we are not good and faithful stewards. and we are truly experiencing a chastisement these days, are we not?  How are things going in the world where you are?

Robert Royal

Recently Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., wrote the following in an article… We discovered that we had each just come upon, independently, a passage in Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf is speaking with Denethor, who is steward, but not king, of Gondor. Things look bleak. Sauron is about to attack. Denethor is trying by any means he can to hold on to power.

Gandalf speaks to him of the predicted return of the true king:

. . . my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event [the king’s return], which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to ask for. But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. [Emphasis added.]

Gandalf the White

In short, in times like these, if we are wise, we too all become intentional stewards; we take care to preserve or grow whatever we can, even as the large forces of history and culture stagger around, and the large schemes to control them seem mostly to make things worse.

And there’s another large benefit of realizing you are a mere steward: you also come to understand how much we always need the King of Kings to guide his Church.

60 AD Roman Temple in Britain

Now my post is mostly made up of verses from scripture … verses which I believe are particularly applicable to our modern day and age. I wrote in the previous post:

It seems that whenever mankind has things good, the first thing mankind does is thumb the nose at God or some even flip Him the bird, God doesn’t exist, God doesn’t care, I don’t know about God but I am definitely gonna worry about me first and have fun right now.  4000 unbroken years of “Things are great, God doesn’t matter!  WHOOAAAH! Things are BAD!  “You and me Lord, You and me!”

70 AD Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

Prosperity, Peace, Babylon, Prosperity, Peace, Persia, Prosperity, Peace, Rome, Prosperity, Peace, Islam, Prosperity, Peace, Nationalism, Prosperity, Peace, Communism, then came the 20th century and WWI, WWII, and WWIII, Prosperity, Peace, ISIS, now into the 21st century, … are things looking better or worse than last century?

Does anyone notice a pattern here? Where do we feel that we are on the Prosperity, Peace, Disaster, Downfall cycle? We can look at what is actually going on around us and, in spite of what out leaders and the elite of the intelligentsia tell us, all those happy Brights do things seem OK to you?”

911 Modern Temple of Mammon in New York

Your mileage may vary, but my gut tells me we are approaching a major correction … again.  So every day is a day for praying and reading scripture, but especially Sunday, and Joshua has some things to say about the behaviour of people which are still applicable to we the people in this day and age, especially applicable in this day and age I think.

The True Worship of our Day

Scripture speaks of this … four millennia of up and down … seems like the folks have always had a short attention span, an event horizon only a few inches in front of their nose, and a pathological abhorrence of studying history, to at least try to learn from what went before … the magisterium of experience so to speak. for what really matters is recounted in scripture, not in the politically correct social studies texts which are the indoctrination instruments of the current generation of pond scum at the top of the stagnant pool, the pool of worship

*****

Joshua 23:

1And when a long time was passed, after that the Lord had given peace to Israel, all the nations round about being subdued, and Josue being now old, and far advanced in years: 2Josue called for all Israel, and for the elders, and for the princes, and for the judges, and for the masters, and said to them: I am old, and far advanced in years: 3And you see all that the Lord your God hath done to all the nations round about, how he himself hath fought for you:

Joshua ...

Joshua …

4And now since he hath divided to you by lot all the land, from the east of the Jordan unto the great sea, and many nations yet remain: 5The Lord your God will destroy them, and take them away from before your face, and you shall possess the land as he hath promised you.

6Only take courage, and be careful to observe all things that are written in the book of the law of Moses: and turn not aside from them neither to the right hand nor to the left:

7Lest after that you are come in among the Gentiles, who will remain among you, you should swear by the name of their gods, and serve them, and adore them: 8But cleave ye unto the Lord your God: as you have done until this day.

9And then the Lord God will take away before your eyes nations that are great and very strong, and no man shall be able to resist you. 10One of you shall chase a thousand men of the enemies: because the Lord your God himself will fight for you, as he hath promised.

11This only take care of with all diligence, that you love the Lord your God. 12But if you will embrace the errors of these nations that dwell among you, and make marriages with them, and join friendships: 13Know ye for a certainty that the Lord your God will not destroy them before your face, but they shall be a pit and a snare in your way, and a stumbling block at your side, and stakes in your eyes, till he take you away and destroy you from off this excellent land, which he hath given you.

14Behold this day I am going into the way of all the earth, and you shall know with all your mind that of all the words which the Lord promised to perform for you, not one hath failed. 15Therefore as he hath fulfilled in deed, what he promised, and all things prosperous have come: so Will he bring upon you all the evils he hath threatened, till he take you away and destroy you from off this excellent land, which he hath given you,

16When you shall have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he hath made with you, and shall have served strange gods, and adored them : then shall the indignation of the Lord rise up quickly and speedily against you, and you shall be taken away from this excellent land, which he hath delivered to you.

Joshua 24:

Abraham and Isaac ...

Abraham and Isaac …

1And Josue gathered together all the tribes of Israel in Sichem, and called for the ancients, and the princes, and the judges, and the masters: and they stood in the sight of the Lord: 2And he spoke thus to the people: Thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: Your fathers dwelt of old on the other side of the river, Thare the father of Abraham, and Nachor: and they served strange gods.

3And I took your father Abraham from the borders of Mesopotamia: and brought him into the land of Chanaan: and I multiplied his seed, 4And gave him Isaac: and to him again I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave to Esau mount Seir for his possession: but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. 5And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I struck Egypt with many signs and wonders. 6And I brought you and your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea: and the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen, as far as the Red Sea. 7And the children of Israel cried to the Lord: and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them. Your eyes saw all that I did in Egypt, and you dwelt in the wilderness a long time:

Moses parting the Sea ...

Moses parting the Sea …

8And I brought you into the land of the Amorrhite, who dwelt beyond the Jordan. And when they fought against you, I delivered them into your hands, and you possessed their land, and slew them.

9And Balac son of Sephor king of Moab arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and called for Balaam son of Beor, to curse you: 10And I would not hear him, but on the contrary I blessed you by him, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11And you passed over the Jordan, and you came to Jericho. And the men of that city fought against you, the Amorrhite, and the Pherezite, and the Chanaanite, and the Hethite, and the Gergesite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite: and I delivered them into your hands.

12And I sent before you hornets: and I drove them out from their places, the two kings of the Amorrhites, not with thy sword nor with thy bow. 13And I gave you a land, in which you had not laboured, and cities to dwell in which you built not, vineyards and oliveyards, which you planted not.

Choose Whom You will Serve (also see Deuteronomy 10:12-22)

14Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him with a perfect and most sincere heart: and put away the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

16And the people answered, and said: God forbid we should leave the Lord, and serve strange gods. 17The Lord our God he brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: and did very great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way by which we journeyed, and among all the people through whom we passed. 18And he hath cast out all the nations, the Amorrhite the inhabitant of the land into which we are come. Therefore we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.

Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin ...

Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah

19And Josue said to the people: You will not be able to serve the Lord: for he is a holy God, and mighty and jealous, and will not forgive your wickedness and sins. 20If you leave the Lord, and serve strange gods, he will turn, and will afflict you, and will destroy you after all the good he hath done you. 21And the people said to Josue: No, it shall not be so as thou sayest, but we will serve the Lord.

22And Josue said to the people: You are witnesses, that you yourselves have chosen you the Lord to serve him. And they answered: We are witnesses. 23Now therefore, said he, put away strange gods from among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel. 24And the people said to Josue: We will serve the Lord our God, and we will be obedient to his commandments.

25Josue therefore on that day made a covenant, and set before the people commandments and judgments in Sichem. 26And he wrote all these things in the volume of the law of the Lord: and he took a great stone, and set it under the oak that was in the sanctuary of the Lord. 27And he said to all the people: Behold this stone shall be a testimony unto you, that it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which he hath spoken to you: lest perhaps hereafter you will deny it, and lie to the Lord your God. 28And he sent the people away every one to their own possession.”

*****

I guess that would be enough for one day. The parallels with our day are startling if one takes a moment to consider, if one has eyes to see and ears to hear. Are we, as a culture and society, really THAT sure that we are right about God … the last 4000 years of history do not seem to be on society’s side in that bet …

Cheers

Joe

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. Spread the Flame of Love of your Immaculate Heart over all of humanity, now and at the hour of our death, Amen

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Uncategorized

Amoris Laetitia and Auschwitz …

Twilight And Shadow”, Howard Shore, from “Lord Of The Rings

A couple of posts ago I posted a long article on the moral controversy surrounding the subject apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis. This post is another where the writer has articulately pointed out the significant moral equivalencies between the Pope’s memo and the Nazi program of extermination – the final Solution.

Go there. or read it here, or if you roll that way, just ignore it, along with abortion and euthanasia and all the other nice progressive amoral planks of our modern progressive society. Your call.

*****

According to AL, a conscience may “recognize that a a given situation does not correspond objectively to the demands of the Gospel” but sees “with a certain moral security … what for now is the most generous response”.

Let us examine how this moral principle might apply in situations of organised and industrialised genocide. A man involved in the extermination of Jewry, for example … if he were to decline to collaborate in any more murders, not only might he be subjected to discriminatory responses, but his family also might suffer grievously. His marriage might suffer!

Is he, perhaps, required by the Bergoglian moral principle of “what is for now the most generous response” to try, gradually so as not to be noticed, to reduce the number of Jews whom he kills each day? Or might Bergoglianism mean that he should do his very best to see that they die less painfully? Or should he attempt, again without drawing too much attention to himself, so to work the system that in three months time he gets transferred to duties which involve him less directly in extermination … like, for example, harmlessly organising the train schedules?

I am aware that my questions lay me wide open to an accusation that I am either an unbalanced crank in making an equivalence between well-mannered habitual adultery among the nice, if rather gleefully rutting, German middle-classes, and genocide; or ‘antisemitic’ for illustrating a moral priple by talking so calmly about something as vile as what Nazi Germany did to the Jews.

It is my view that such an accusation by such an interlocutor would in fact amount to an admission that Adultery is not really sinful … that it is, well, perhaps not technically in accordance, quite, with the book of rules, but it is not really wrong. Cardinal Coccopalmerio has in fact said something rather like this.

It is also my view that a mortal sin is a mortal sin is a mortal sin is a mortal sin. And Mortal Sin is the area into which, like several fair-sized and unstable bulls in a very tiny china shop, Bergoglio and his cronies have strayed. And by sanctioning what Fr Aidan Nichols has neatly called “tolerated concubinage”, I do not think they will bring a single murdered Jew back to life or even save a single victim in future genocides. In fact, quite the contrary. Do we save lives … or marriages … by chipping away at the Decalogue, or by shoring it up when it comes under threat?

A person, you tell me, may well know a rule yet be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently. So …. if this does not also apply within genocidal situations, where can it apply?

A person’s long involvement, you tell me, in sinful actions may well so habituate him to those actions that the subjective sinfulness, as AL claims, is radically diminished … yes; I happen to agree with you there, and, like all confessors, I am mindful of this when I sit with my ear against the grill. But you won’t forget, will you, that somebody who has been killing Jews for a couple of years might also well be in such a condition. And the tribunals which judged War Criminals after 1945 don’t seem to have taken this laudable casuistic principle into their jurisprudence.

Bergoglio’s ‘jesuitical’ campaign to circumvent Veritatis splendor paragraph 80, as well as Familiaris consortio, is both a moral and an ecclesial disaster. If Bergoglian ‘moral principles’ prevail, then, as Fr Aidan Nichols has accurately put it, “no area of Christian morality can remain unscathed“.

*****

Cheers

Joe

Now don’t you dare step out of line my precious … we will get to you in good time. And while you are waiting please visit https://bccla.org/our-work/blog/lamb/

There is ALWAYS a way to rationalize evil in our progressive nation.

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The Inner Struggle

Riches …

I Am In thy Hands, O Mary”, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Doctor Scott Piper, Sir Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP & Sr. Maria Miguel Wright, OP;  from the album “Mater Eucharistiae”, (2013)

Mater Eucharistiae, the Dominican Sisters of Mary - Mother of the EucharistToday is the 8th Sunday after Pentecost. The Epistle today is Romans 8, 12-17 (old missal). In it St. Paul compares the two lives which always struggle within us, are at war within us. The Old Man and the New Man always struggle to control the man (or woman).

The Old Man, is a slave to passion and pleasure, the things of this world, a slave to self indulgence, a slave to sin, from which come the fruits of death.

The New Man, is the servant of, or even better, the child of God, producing the fruits of life, fighting for the right, without question or pause, willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.

To paraphrase Paul, “If you live according to the Old Man, according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you live by the Spirit, if, by the New Man, you mortify the flesh, you shall live”.

One of my favorite, perhaps my most favorite of authors, Rudyard Kipling touched upon this truth (the battle between the flesh and the spirit) in his poem “If”.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is best known for his novels The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and Kim, and his most famous poem, “If—”.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born December 30, 1865, in Bombay, India, to a British family. When he was five years old, he was taken to England to begin his education, where he suffered deep feelings of abandonment and confusion after living a pampered lifestyle as a colonial.

He returned to India at the age of seventeen to work as a journalist and editor for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. Kipling published his first collection of verse, Departmental Ditties and Other Verses, in 1886 and his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888.

In the early 1890s some of his poems were published in William Ernest Henley’s National Observer and later collected into Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), an immensely popular collection which contained “Gunga Din” and “Mandalay.” In 1892 Kipling married and moved to Vermont, where he published the two Jungle Books and began work on Kim.

He returned to England with his family in 1896 and published another novel, Captains Courageous. Kipling visited South Africa during the Boer War, editing a newspaper there and writing the Just-So Stories.

Kim, Kipling’s most successful novel (and his last), appeared in 1901. The Kipling family moved to Sussex permanently in 1902, and he devoted the rest of his life to writing poetry and short stories, including his most famous poem, “If—“. He died on January 18, 1936 at the young age of 70 years; his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey. Kipling’s complete works are available as an e-book on Kindle for a pittance. The literary production values are poor (not flashy) but the works are original, pure, and beautiful.

“If–“

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

by Rudyard Kipling, in A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)

If you mortify the deeds of the flesh you will live … Baptism has begotten us to the life of the spirit, but it has not suppressed the life of the flesh in us. The New Man must always struggle against the Old Man, the spiritual must always struggle against the corporeal.

Grace does not excuse us from this battle, but gives us the power to sustain it: “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

Grace gives us the power to “Hold on”, Grace gives the New Man the power to hold on and continue the struggle against the Old Man when things go in the pot and it looks like all is lost … “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

Grace …

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;

Grace …

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Grace …

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

Grace…

We must detach ourselves, from earthly things and creatures: “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much;” in order to keep all worldly things in their proper priority of place.

God must reign over all. There will always be attachments in the human heart, but they must be subordinate to God and to His will so that they can never usurp His place as the mainspring of our actions. The spiritual life, the life of the New Man, is a love affair with Jesus.

We must be utterly convinced of the need to “Hold on …” so that we will not get self satisfied, or puffed up about our virtue, or perhaps discouraged when old sins come back to haunt us over and over again, even many years after we had thought them dead and gone. “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7,1) and “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence” (Mat 11,12).

But this never ending struggle should not discourage or frighten us. We are children of God and can call upon his paternal help without fear of being ignored or hung out to dry. St. Paul says “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba, Father.

This world never tires of selling us that which is not important. None of our daily serving of important worldly news and information matters even one wit or is worth the time to digest it. When we are busy admiring our beautiful front lawn we are missing the exquisite treasures sitting there in plain view for those who can stop worshiping the beautiful lawn.

Sell everything and go for the eternal treasures with every power and ability that is in you. GO FOR IT! We should be putting at least as much effort and work and struggle into acquiring the things of the eternal reality as the children of this world put into acquiring the things of this passing world.

Nothing so darkens our gaze on God, nothing so weakens our striving to reach God, as a single inordinate attachment to anything of this world, a single attachment to the Old Man. That is the great source of all the trouble and trials in our lives.

Cheers

Joe

 Galadriel, “The Lord of the Rings”
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