Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Of Trolls and False Believers …

“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Even as thou seekest the truth, the truth that thou seekest thou shalt find.  So finding a relevant post while considering the mocking commentary of the trolls whenever I include some portion of “Divine Intimacy” in my posts I herewith re-post from Fr. Hunwicke’s site:

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Continuing to consider Archbishop Lefebvre’s book, from my own background in Catholic Anglicanism, I discern in it more than a whiff of that admirable Anglican Ulsterman, C S Lewis. Not that Archbishop Lefebvre, I am sure, will have read him; but because first-rate Christian thinkers so often, laudably, converge.

Take a particular tricky theological problem: explaining how souls rooted in a false religion may find their way to God, without asserting – or leading others to think you mean – that all religions are more or less as good as each other: ‘syncretism’ or ‘indifferentism’.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Mgr Lefebvre writes ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it! Therefore, the respect that is owed to these souls would not imply that respect is owed to their religion”.

And: ” … these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.

But none of these values belongs in its own right to these false religions … The wholesome elements that can subsist still belong by right to the sole true religion, that of the Catholic Church; and it is this one alone that can act through them”*.

I think this is admirably expressed, and it reminds me strongly of the penultimate chapter in Lewis’s The Last Battle. A young Calormene, brought up in the worship of the false god Tash, meets the Lion Aslan, the Christ-figure in Lewis‘s rich narrative. “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days, and not him. …

But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.

He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true … that thou and Tash art one?

The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.

*****

Note: “…these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.”

Truth-teller:

Truth-teller: At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, historian Robert Conquest had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment

But what is one to find in the worship of self and the corollary deprecation of all others of all religions which might kindle a “flame of dawning faith”? What can one find in Atheism, the ultimate worship of self, which might kindle the “flame of faith” in the Divine?

Back in the day, there was a term in use in some quarters which precisely described those who sincerely believed a ideology or philosophy which was empirically provably wrong. That term was “useful idiots.

Robert Conquest was the principle proponent of of this “Useful Idiot” terminology to describe the “Brights” of his day.

“In 1968, when Worcestershire-born Conquest first published his ground-breaking account of Stalin’s atrocities, the world was a very different place.

Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear. It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War (WW III) seemed. Across the Western world, many (including most in the military) doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.

The Trudeaus and Castro

The Trudeaus and Castro

What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) (and coincidentally one of Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s professors during PET’s time at the London School) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the (Soviet) regime whenever it was criticised.

Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood. It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.”

*****

So too in the spiritual realm, the “Useful Idiots” uphold the narcissistic adoration of self as the “ultimate good” and consider man as the pinnacle of all things.

These poor benighted souls are the useful idiots of the spiritual world, those unknowing followers of the dark one, the “Father of Lies”, who has existed for all of man’s history and never ceases to strive to drag all souls down to his realm of darkness.

Perhaps one of the best  portrayals of how this process works in the spiritual realm is C.S.Lewis’s book: The Screwtape Letters” .

The principle tenant of the doctrines of communism, socialism, fascism, secularism, and all the currently fashionable “isms” of the progressives is that man is the measure and pinnacle of all things, in other words “self worship”.

This is THE fundamental plank of the platform, the defining characteristic of all secular progressives and a defining characteristic of all those who mock believers of every stripe, lumping all who do not share their religion of self worship into the single pot of “those superstitious fools”, not the enlightened elite like “We Brights” who have put aside the “crutch” of religion.

This “crutch” is in reality a “life-ring” in a sea of desolation, and this action by the worshipers of self is a blessing for traditional religious believers, namely all those who believe in a Supreme Being above man, because:

“… The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. …

This mockery of the “Brights” strikes directly to the roots of pride in ourselves, our attachment to esteem and the respect of others, hence the blessing in such mockery. Our attachment to the things of this world must be ripped up root and branch and replaced with attachment to God.

Cheers

Joe

patience and charity in all things …

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Pride, Humility, Approval, Love, Charity …

Yashi No Mi (Ohnaka), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Trouble is, for all of us, we have to choose to accept what Christ is offering. Christ simply presents us with “options”. He does not impose His choices, “for our own good”, very much unlike our current crop of all too human masters, in all their myriad halls of power from the sublimely national to the municipally trivial. All for “our own good”.

We, the laboring proles are plainly just too stupid to come in out of the rain and therefore require some serious “looking after”, as any of thousands of public service bureaucrats will plainly tell you while staring down their collective noses at this afront to their routine and wondering who let the sheep and goats into their office complex. Get back to the barnyard you sheeple. Leave important things to us management piggies.

Jean-Pierre Rampal, Yamanakabushi: Japanese Melodies, Vol 3 (1978)

So, that last paragraph is a illustrative example of pride in action. It’s just oh so easy to slip into. Hurt pride to counter the affronted pride of the management piggies. Obviously, you useless drones, I am waaaay more important than all those other animals. Pay attention to me and render unto me the obsequious respect due one of your employers.

Better be careful Joe. Hit the wrong manager on the wrong day and you just might become a test case for a “quality of life” policy decision. After all, this is Canada, and remember, the managers have now made it legal to remove ANY inconvenient animal, not just the inconvenient babies.

Be patient, be humble, be uncritical, be undemanding, be “invisible”, collect your Kool-Aide ration on time (just remember not to drink it). Whatever you do, don’t attract attention, it just might become the undesired kind of attention.

Lest we forget, I have read somewhere about a number of socialist progressive regimes in the not-too-distant past who had perfectly wonderful benefits and great retirement plans for “believers” and which believers “were just doing their jobs”.

And for the run-of-the-mill barnyard animals, there were always scenic holiday camps in beautiful far away places like at Treblinka and Ravensbruck for those who made themselves too obnoxious. The final solution never looked so promising.

Those were indeed salad days for the progressive proponents of eugenics, finally being free to deal with some serious problems of social engineering which had been plaguing good citizens for generations.

The progressive world was enraptured, George Bernard Shaw and the idolized ladies of the Famous Five finally had their fondest dreams, which they dedicated most of their lives to realizing, coming true in living color, the smoke of the crematoriums rising like incense to their god.

History tells us that the political construct fabricated by dead white males known as “Western Christendom” thought otherwise. It seems in those days that a lot of regular folks and their political proxies didn’t agree with the fond views of the progressives.

Yes, Virginia, there once was a time when even politicians had a moral code (at least publicly) and it still resembled Christianity, and killing folks who looked different or didn’t agree with you was still frowned upon in “polite” society.

“The Greatest Generation” stepped up to the plate and at great personal sacrifice and risk denied the progressives their breakout victory that time. Where are they now?

Does any thinking human being see the same courage and conviction in Gen-X, the Facebook generation? That’s an open question. I know where my money is sitting, your mileage (kilometrage?) may vary. Can anyone smell “breakout victory” in the 21st century.

But in Canada, just in case there are some geriatric relics of courage and integrity left, we now have Bill C-14, known euphemistically as Canada’s “Assisted Dying” law (just like the other euphemism, Pierre Trudeau’s 1982 gift to posterity, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, also known as  the “Pro-Choice”  law).

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Kojo No Tsuki (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album Japanese Melodies (1990)

I have no doubt that every single loyal German or Russian regime follower was quite comfortable typing the memos, pushing the buttons, making up the schedules, and buying the supplies as long as they could have cover.  And now we can all do the same thing here in Canada, all, amazingly, here and now, just like we old farts read about in the history books before history was banned and replaced with “Social Studies”.

I wonder when D Day will come for us. And it will, oh it surely will.

The only thing in doubt is whether the agents of justice will be some heretofore unnoticed tribe of courageous isolationists (the remnant) with backbone and moral courage, or if the agents will be supernatural, as in Egypt’s plagues. Because it is certainly coming, no mater what the  worshipers at the pool parrot at their critics.

“I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Instead of Humility I/we indulge ourselves in Pride. Instead of Love we look for approval and call that love. We look at the invitation to follow Christ’s plan, the Manufacturer’s Instructions regarding this Model 1 Human, conceived and created in the image and likeness of God.

Our response is that we are not Godlike creations but rather highly evolved ape animals and as far as the plan, well “Thanks but no thanks, we already have a better plan”, and as every bureaucrat can tell you their plan is superior to everyone else’s, including God’s.

And we can all see how that plan is working our every day in every way all around us in our society.  Are you over 65, have a handicap, are you “inconvenient” for someone?  Maybe you just voted the wrong way and some civil servant found out. Have you got your notice in the mail yet to report to the nearest “quality of life” processing centre?

I just watched a movie called “Equilibrium” a movie from 2002 staring Christian Bale. In a futuristic world, a regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death.

Clerick John Preston (Christian Bale) is a top-ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist these rules. In the movie the authorities call this “processing”, and the killing takes place at “processing centres”. And reality is not much different now.

You can rationalize literally any course of action with the right regulations, professional associations and government encouragement which can just as easily be a carrot as a stick depending on which direction the “initiative” is taking, which “options” are being pursued.

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

Always remember, “Be charitable in your judgements, and never take yourself too seriously”

 

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Logically Speaking … What If Everything The Progressives Assert Is True?

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

HotBathMonkey

HotBathMonkey

-8 degrees Celsius, sunny with cloudy periods, or cloudy with sunny periods. Sunday is a good day for thinking. I might even get dressed!  Or not! Sure wish I had a hot tub.

I’d guess that most of this is a personal gedanken experiment,  the meanderings of someone who has too much time to think and not enough experience of the reality of daily life given that I have retreated to the Shire and spend my time congratulating myself about how intelligent and fortunate I am.

So I am indulging  myself by contemplating my lack of charity, patience and humility, my default position (un-vocalized these days) that I know the answer, or at least I am on the right track, and anyone who doesn’t get that is an idiot, full of sound and fury but (fortunately) signifying nothing.

Why do I feel deeply offended by some of what I read over at (for example) Being Liberal (how convenient that there is an easily accessible site where the left can effusively wear their heart on their sleeve), and other sites, and by what I hear every day on most of the MSM both Canadian and American (thank God for satellite TV)? Polarized doesn’t even begin to describe the gulf between the views.

001-a-orcIs it uncharitably to imagine progressives in the image of Tolkien’s Orcs and Goblins? I am certain that in fact the orcs and goblins of “The Lord of The Rings” were in fact literary references to the progressives of Tolkien’s day. Was Tolkien uncharitable?

Is it because they and their opinions are truly wrong or is it simply because they don’t agree with me? Why do I strongly feel that they (Progressives) haven’t thought through the implications of their declarations about reality and desirable social engineering, and the concomitant ridiculing and vilification (Bulverism) of virtually any voice raised in disagreement (is this what I am doing?).

cs-lewis-tyrannyMany of these folks are manifestly intelligent and well intentioned. Many of them do a lot of “good” work, spending their lives helping the downtrodden and disenfranchised, the needy and destitute.

But equal or greater numbers seem to spend all their waking hours ridiculing their “enemy” and explaining in great depth and with great volume why anyone who disagrees with them, any religious who do not share their religion, are wrong and not to be credited with any reasonable points.

Any attempt to engage in any discussion is met with an immediate attack aimed at destroying the new opponent which their “sensors” have detected.

In a logically twisted sort of way it seems at times that if they ( Progressives) are right (as in “correct”) to castigate and vilify those whose views they don’t share, that is, if they are truly OK to be writing and broadcasting and posting what they “believe” is reality (because after all they are all “basically good people”), then it must be equally OK for me to do the same thing, right?

And if they are wrong about what they believe and post, etc., then is it not equally wrong for me to indulge myself , so where do we go from this impasse? How do we move from this “preferential option for confrontation” to a place where we can discuss methods and directions “with good will”?

Maybe the answer can be found in looking dispassionately at the declarations and the methods and examining the points, assumptions and observed results, all the while striving not to take anything personally. I think “Not taking anything personally”, even when is is obviously intended to be both personal and as hurtful as possible, is how we get out of this conflict.

That requires a boatload of Charity and Humility, which I find to be in short supply these days. That’s what I’m working on, and I am making progress, albeit glacially at times.

So methods and declarations, the slings and arrows of outrageous fate … I find these days, having arrived at a political position closely akin to “A Pox On All your Houses“, that politics simply no longer provokes anything beyond sadness, but Faith, Logical argument, unreasoned Theological or Philosophical opinions still field barbs I cannot resist. No lack of Pride there, eh?

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

For example, “God can create anything so can he create a weight too heavy for him to lift? (or some other rhetorical impossibility)”.  This is a rhetorical question of the sort I have had thrown at me when I respond or comment on egregious declarations about Catholicism.

In the past, unfortunately, I had great difficulty letting them pass (still a struggle) and my naturally provocative nature makes non-believers uncomfortable.

Which sort of discussions frequently came up (before I learned to keep my damned mouth shut) when being accosted by unbelieving family members (or other acquaintances who are also unbelievers) who in their cleverness and self worship imagine themselves astute. ( AHA!  I’ve got ya now Joe). Let’s discredit Truth and by proxy discredit guilt and responsibility.

Another variation goes like this “If god can do anything, can he create a 4 sided triangle or a square circle?” (Now I’ve really gotcha, eh?). The argument might be termed “Reductio ad absurdum” but is actually “Ad hominum”.  Always looking for a way to put down and belittle believers, insecure in their unbelieving, and unaware of their logical error since logic has been conspicuous by it’s absence for most of their 50 or 60 years on this earth.

Of course God CAN create anything, and God CAN do anything … except self contradiction is not a thing. God is THE absolute almighty being and imagining a weight which The Almighty can’t lift is is to imagine a contradiction in terms. A four sided triangle or a square circle are glib but utterly meaningless constructs.

001-eskimo-inuit-sunglassesThese geometric and physical fantasies are all nonsense, all nothing, rather like approaching the real world with nothing but theories about how things “should” operate and more theories about why the world doesn’t conform to the first theories. And if the world fails to conform to one’s narrow view, well, I have a theory about that…

If one is accustomed to believing one’s theories about the world and people no matter how incongruent with observed facts and events, when the world diverges from the theories, then it is a small leap to believing that things like square circles are logical.

By way of illustrating the prevalence of illogic in daily life let’s look at the canard of “Pro Choice”. Very popular with my sisters – Pro-Choice – interesting place to build your house of cards.

Imagine us entering a restaurant and being shown to our table by a helpful Maitre d’. The waiter approaches with your drinks and menus and everyone quietly peruses their menu. The waiter returns after the drinks are almost gone to take our order “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I take your order, what are your choices?”.

001-a-vulnerable-the-deception-2

Vulnerable … the Deception

I order Prime Rib Au Jus, rare with all the trimmings and veggies, my partner chooses the Baked Atlantic Salmon with Roast Potatoes and a Spinach Salad, the rest of the guests reply “Yes!”

The waiter, a little confused, repeats “What are your choices, folks?” and the rest of the guests reply again “Yes!, we are pro-choice, therefore Yes!, our choice is “choice”!

“I am very sorry folks but we cannot serve “choice” here, we are unable to create “choice” here, we need you folks to make a choice between the various items which you have on the menu.

Then and only then can we move forward here, you have to MAKE a choice, “choice” is not a choice.  The waiter is faced with an insoluble problem both logical and grammatical.

You have to make a choice!  You can’t choose “Life” because that would make you “Pro-Life”, and unfortunately the only other “choice” is “Death”. Death for the children, death for the elderly, death for the handicapped, death for the ugly, “eugenics” that’s the game, and we are well on our way to the Great Society. Newspeak presents “Pro-Choice” as a euphemism for “Kill everyone who you find inconvenient”.  Pro-Choice is the biggest, most cowardly, cop-out of our modern society.

USHMM 89063 Men with an unidentified unit execute a group of Soviet civilians kneeling by the side of a mass graveWhat’s the moral difference between killing folks in a clinic, and killing folks in a ditch?

The logic of “Pro-Choice” can apply to any behaviour in the entire range of human behaviors, and the language of Progressive Newspeak will give you a get out of jail free card for any perversion or inhuman crime imaginable. Just vote the right way and you can do anything you like, because you are basically a nice person, right?

There is no such thing as sin, “I’m OK, You’re OK” that’s what Progressive Social Theory teaches the voting public. And this social theory leads to some unbelievable practices. But the problem is that “denial” is not the same as “proof”, and material reality in every aspect requires “proof”. Of course, “outside” the material is also part of reality but no proof regarding extra-material things is possible for humans.

Any cursory observation of modern life and the memes dispensed by the talking heads on MSM outlets make it manifestly obvious, that for the Secular Progressive Humanist, the Theory is more important than facts, logic or anything else, especially any part of daily reality that seems to go against the Theory!

Unfortunately, if one is completely immersed in the sea of illogicality it is impossible to understand that God cannot do or create anything that is a self contradiction. All self contradiction, is nonsense, is “Nothing”. There is no such thing as a “Triangle which has three sides, but on some occasions it might have four, maybe.” This is a “nothing”.

Self contradiction is a place reserved for Modern Humanist “Thinkers”.  Self contradiction is a “nothing” and as some of us know “nothing is impossible to God”.

Back before there were “Progressives”, and “Wiccans, and Gia,  and “Atheists”, and “Secular Humanists”, and “National Socialists”, aka Modern Progressive Humanists of all stripes, the folks (and philosophers and scientists for that matter) understood that you needed both “Theories” and “Practice”.

Learn To Be Lonely”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

001-a-philo_mediev

Queen of The Sciences

So, our medieval ancestors understood Theology as the “Queen of the Sciences”. Her twin sister Sophia (the Greek word for “wisdom”) was also venerated in the discipline of Philosophy. It was hard to tell the two beauties apart, but together they once ruled the many domains of human knowledge. This was the domain of “Theory”. Theories fell into the disciplines of Theology (The Queen of the Sciences) and Philosophy (Wisdom).

Practice was how you did things in the material world while taking into account the dictates of the Queen and the Handmaid. The practice was guided by the theory, but the theory was proven out by the practical experience of daily life. Theory and Practice are equal partners. Theory without Practice is like a wagon without wheels, a hard load to pull. Equally, Practice without Theory, is like riding swiftly down the road in your wheeled wagon while stone cold blind, a sure recipe for utter disaster!

001-a-star-trek-motivational-posters-captToday we find that Philosophy and Theology are increasingly irrelevant backwaters in the modern university, ridiculed for engaging in seemingly endless “solipsistic” debates. Not surprisingly,  we find the modern view is theoretical, Godless, and endlessly self referential.

Gee! That sure sounds like the actual definition of solipsism! Solipsism is the idea that a person’s mind is the only thing that actually exists. It is a philosophical argument that maintains reality is based on the perceptions of one’s mind, and therefore nothing really exists except for that perceptual reality of one’s mind.

So how do they come off accusing the disciplines of Philosophy and Theology of “solipsism” when the foundation of  both sciences is fundamentally outward looking in search of answers that man cannot find on his own – nothing even slightly self referential there. I’d guess this skull twister would be explained buy the modern concepts of “attribution” and “transference”, but that discussion has to be for another day.

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertPatience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. It’s like climbing Everest!

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The Inner Struggle

An injurious manner of speaking cannot be approved …

The Beatitudes

Contemplating one’s sins. The problem with developing a conscience is that is is really uncomfortable and one can rarely do much about those times in the past when one swallowed one’s leg up to the hip, except to be ashamed and sorry.

In our outrage at a perceived evil do we indulge ourselves in an “injurious manner of speaking”? When we write about apparent errors and evils perceived in the secular world around us do we do so with charity and compassion or with the very malice and contempt the use of which we are castigating in others’ propaganda efforts, the secular sales pitch which tempts and converts so many?

Crusaders Charge 2015-10-01-niles-aIn essence, what I ask here is “Do I (and others whose work I read) retaliate in kind for perceived injustice, do we match “atrocity with atrocity” in a small verbal war of attrition fought in our own minds and transmitted through our writing?

Am I using a “Donald Trump” style of communication or a “Jesus Christ” style of communication?

orcsWhen I match them, the “others”, stone for stone and stick for stick, am I loving my enemy as Christ commanded or am I returning hate for hate because of my own wounded pride?

Whatever my “good intentions”, am I on the side of the Angels or the side of the Orcs? Sins of pride piled upon sins of malice piled upon sins of hate, sins, sins, and more sins to the last syllable of time, Screwtape, and the father of lies must be laughing all the way home.

Gandalf StudyI am reviewing all my posts, doing fact checking (again), and looking for inappropriate content and style. Looking back, checking the back trail, in retrospect it’s kind of like looking at a large mirror of one’s thoughts, undeniably one’s own sins and biases and food for reconsideration of one’s approach now removed from the heat of the moment. In a post a couple of years ago I quoted a small book called “Liberalism is sin”.

In the uproar after it came out in Spain in the 1800’s, the work was denounced even within the church because it offended some bishops. Eventually, the conflict made it to Rome where the ruling came down in favour of the original work and the detractors were required to withdraw their efforts to suppress the little book.

In part the Sacred  Congregation wrote:  “The same judgment, however, cannot be passed on the other work, that by D. de Pazos, for in matter it needs corrections. Moreover, his injurious manner of speaking cannot be approved, for he inveighs rather against the person of D. Sarda than against the latter’s supposed errors.

Therefore, the Sacred Congregation has commanded D. de Pazos, admonished by his own Bishop, to withdraw his book, as far as he can, from circulation, and in the future, if any discussion of the subject should arise, to abstain from all expressions personally injurious, according to the precept of true Christian charity; and this all the more since Our Holy Father, Leo XIII, whereas he urgently recommends castigation of error, neither desires nor approves expressions personally injurious, especially when directed against those who are eminent for their doctrine and their piety.

So I guess the take away is simply that “the ends never justify the means”. That using the same styles and tools as one’s opponents to berate and castigate ones opponents instead of dealing only with the facts in question is simply never acceptable. My grandfather used to say, “if you  can’t say something good about someone then say nothing at all.”

Looked at in this way the problem of how to write about these atrocities, dressed up as they are in a secular cloak of desirability, is rather magnified. The bar of quality and justice is significantly raised when considering writing a charitable blog about evil things in the mainstream culture.

Cheers

knight_templar_battle_wearyAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice. And who says he is an idiot? Maybe he’s right and I am the idiot, maybe not, but can I leap to judgement using the same clubs the “idiot” uses?

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The Inner Struggle

Some Troubling Thoughts …

Eternity’s Sunrize, Bill Douglas, 2000

Do you ever do or say things that, on later thought, you are not real proud of? I can think of lots of things over the last 65 years or so. Saying I was sorry or made up for it or didn’t know any better or … whatever still doesn’t make them OK in my own estimation and I am very much self loving and self centered. How does it look to a loving Father to see His child behaving so badly?

Not real comfortable with yesterday’s post. Can’t take it back, but there it is, not comfortable with the actions and opinions of my yesterday self. Blogging has this good/bad side, in that you can reconsider what you have opined at a later date and no matter how hard you thought about it at the time, it comes about that later you may not feel that way or may see problems with your thinking, see the smart remark or acid image for what it really is, none other than a reflection on your own lack of charity and poor judgment.  At the same time, having posted it one cannot deny that you thought and said it, can’t pretend to a personal superiority you don’t have.

Yesterday I posted a caustic image reflecting judgement upon some prominent people who I don’t really know at all, simply finding myself offended by their stated views I judge, and judge harshly. No only that but I share that judgement by way of this venue with other like minded viewers thereby compounding the harm that I do by my harsh judgements.

So is it serendipity or is it the whisper of an angel? Today, while surfing around, I came across “Pope Leo’s Vision of Satan’s 100 years of Increased Power, and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”

and another interesting, even frightening site “A Sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice“which concludes with the following:

“Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well.

As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.

Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and confirming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned.

What is the use of knowing whether few or many are saved? Saint Peter says to us, “Strive by good works to make your election sure.” When Saint Thomas Aquinas’s sister asked him what she must do to go to heaven, he said, “You will be saved if you want to be.” I say the same thing to you, and here is proof of my declaration. No one is damned unless he commits mortal sin: that is of faith. And no one commits mortal sin unless he wants to: that is an undeniable theological proposition.

Therefore, no one goes to hell unless he wants to; the consequence is obvious. Does that not suffice to comfort you? Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved. Why torment yourself so? For it is certain that you have to commit mortal sin to go to hell, and that to commit mortal sin you must want to, and that consequently no one goes to hell unless he wants to. That is not just an opinion, it is an undeniable and very comforting truth; may God give you to understand it, and may He bless you. Amen.”

Rather Sobering … not many “cheers” here.

Joe

knight_templar_battle_wearyFreedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free. In the end we are all free to choose whether to reject this world and all it’s temptations or acquiesce to the easy path. We choose to be free or to be slaves.

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The Inner Struggle

Day by day …

Started yesterday shoveling madly at 7:00 AM to make sure the walks and such were clear for customers and deliveries. Here we are 24 hours later and everything is melting and every where I shoveled is clear and dry. Great.

Today things were warm enough to melt in places and the weather geeks are calling for rain tonight before everything freezes up again and makes morning driving treacherous. Japanese Chill Out on the speakers, sipping Port and contemplating the difficulties for modern man  in the FIAT of the Blessed Virgin.

Over on David Warren’s blog we find the following tonight:

I am struck by the contemporary response to the ancient Christian doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, as of the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth. We just can’t believe anyone was so “pure.” Which is a paradox: for in the same moment we think this we have undermined our notion that there is no such thing as purity. We have revealed that we know exactly what we are denying. This is the paradox of atheism. I’ve never met an atheist who did not know exactly which God did not exist, little as he knew Him.

and

Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est:  “For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His name.”

This is the mystery of the fiat of Heaven, the decree that we are strangely free to honour or ignore. In our sinfulness, we usually ignore it. But she who was without sin honoured it without hesitation, becoming in that moment the Mother of God. At the moment of His earthly conception, she, as his mother, set for the world His first example, of joyful obedience to the Father’s will.

We sinners find this hard to understand. We moderns are afraid to render the fiat as Mary did; are alarmed even to hear it, because God’s plan for our own future may not be congruent with our own plans. And it is true that we have the right to choose: the way of life or the way of death. And have been given some time to think about it.”

And, as he so often does, David has absolutely nailed my stumbling block to the wall in perfect clarity.

As Augustan prayed “But I, miserable young man, supremely miserable even in the very outset of my youth, had entreated chastity of You, and said, Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet. For I was afraid lest You should hear me soon, and soon deliver me from the disease of concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished.”
Confessions, XIII, Chapter 7, 17

I find myself vaguely reluctant, a shadowy background of reluctance, seen out of the corner of my spiritual eye. Reluctant in my prayers offering myself and all that I am and ever will be wholly to God’s plan for me lest it turn out to be not what I expected or wanted. I remarked on “Confessions in another post alluding to this discomfort.

I know with certainty that as much as I am reluctant so am I failing to live God’s will for me and yet I know absolutely that He holds everything in his hand and I am nothing without his thought. So much for logical embracing of reality … my mirror is warped. I see the knot and cannot touch it with the tools at hand. What now?

To think on the fact that God created all and is all good and deserving of all our love.  How could a being such as this have anything but my best interests in mind in His plan for me? So  it has to be as Augustine proclaimed: “…concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished.”.

I am, obviously, quite attached to my favourite sins, my favourite trains of thought, my favourite judgements and opinions, my pride, my ego, my surety that I see things aright … hmmm. Charity for all and malice towards none, a high setting of the bar. Do I REALLY want to give up being judgmental when it is so much fun and makes me feel so superior?

Time for another glass of Port.

Cheers

Joe

Das_Jüngste_Gericht_(Memling)“May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Why so Self-Righteous, Joe?

Koto Harp. nice comment found today, rang a bell of recognition … The single purpose of youtube comments is to drastically lower your hopes of seeing mankind survive the next century without stupidifying each other to death.  That being said, this is enjoyable music.

Yesterday’s post, on review, was rather negative. What is so wrong with my thinking that I feel at some level a steady low level of anger that the world doesn’t go the way I believe it should? If I truly believe that this world will pass away and is simply not important, then why get upset that we have termites chewing away in the bilges of the world bringing us ever closer the final sinking?

I should be looking forward to the sinking with joy, not resenting the termites because they are “getting away” with something and I feel it is just not right.  Just let it go Joe, let them be.

StrawmanI feel a mixture of sorrow and hurt, sorrow that so many don’t see what I see and cannot give me any coherent reason for their different belief except to brand me “stupid”.  Hurt that my natural brilliance goes unrecognized when I should be applauded, and somewhere in there a desire for revenge for the hurt inflicted by being set up as a straw puppet for the rubes to yell at.

A wonderful target for the crowd to throw rotten fruit at while screaming invective. When I put this little stew of emotion and thought together the outcome, what I “feel”  is “Anger”.

I “feel” that this conduct, this way of living and interacting with others, both they with I, and I with they, slides into “evil”. Evil being the absence of God, rather than a separate power in opposition to God.  There is no “Dark Side” Luke. There is no “Force”. There is just God, and no God. And right now the no God side appears to be winning.

Am I not clearly told in scripture that “The gates of Hell shall not prevail against us”? Why isn’t that enough for me? Why do I feel I have a right to be angry about the state of affairs and angry at the folks who don’t see things I do? Pride and a desire for recognition, a recognition that I am right and the crowd doesn’t get it?

Why on earth, Ha! … on earth, would anyone in their right mind expect the crowd to suddenly see the light and not respond badly to anyone who tells them they are naked and better get dressed quick ’cause there’s a cold wind a-comin’.

Obviously the right conclusion is that I am so wrapped up in my own pride that I just don’t see reality myself. I am blind to reality.

Cheers,

Joe

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Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Everywhere in Chains … part 3 …

Two nights in a row of freezing rain, 3 days ago -20 degrees Celsius, then warming to +5 in the afternoon. Mornings are a skating rink, and of course everything is coated in a thick layer of ice. Used up 4 20 Kilo bags of ice melter salt in the last two days.  Coffee’s good though and Primrose Lake Pickerel for supper, Yum. Civilization is nice and comfortable. Rule of Law, peace, all those little things that folks just take for granted.  I work daily with the elderly. My mother died last June. My mother in law is 82 and on her way even thought she is in total denial. The utter banal tragedy of human pride.  It is hard to delude oneself when death, dying and the dead are all around one.

Thinking a lot about FIAT as I go through my days. Thinking of all the little irritations in life.Thinking about my disquiet when I perceive that things are not developing along the paths I believe are right and good.

The Universal Church in all it’s byzantine politicization. The concept of Social Sin. “Communism in a Cassock”, seen this all before as a recovering victim of that orgy of family violence called Vatican II.  Am I going to fall into the same traps as I did 50 years ago? I don’t think so, I am older, more experienced with the ways of men and more patient. Taking the long view. Reading the Old Testament. Lots of food for thought there.

My relatives … hmmm … no blood relatives to worry about any more,  just in-laws, trying to see them as souls and children of God.  Difficult, as they go out of their way to make sure that  I know that they do not believe in any such rubbish.  Of course I am a rude, appalling redneck, not really fit company in their social circles (unless they need something I can do of course).  Relatives, … a good opportunity to practice charity and selfless love. I suspect that is why they are in my life now.  Business – Year-End,  nuf said.

FIAT –  MY plans and desires, MY wishes, MY favorite sins these days all seem to be in my head, my thoughts about the situation, and other people, the news, events in the world, willful stupidity in some quarters.  There is a tendency today by some in the Church only to use the word sin when they are referring to the so-called “social sins” like sexism, racism, genocide, oppression of the poor. This view has dangerous consequences: it leads to a decline in the sense of personal responsibility for one’s actions, one’s own sin(s) and awareness of personal sinfulness and so the need for personal forgiveness. The Holy Father (JP II) dealt with this question in Reconciliatio et Paenetentia (no.16). This is an excellent and instructive article – straight from the horses mouth – so to speak. Take it seriously.

When I feel resentment and disagreement because I do not see the Church proceeding along a path that I approve of; when I personally object to the palace purge of stalwart defenders of Truth in the name of “better relations with the world”, and so on and so forth … how am I any different from the legions of schismatics, and protestant “reformers” throughout history  who decided they knew better than Holy Mother Church.  NON SERVIAM is as big a deal now as it was when there were only Angels and God.  It is God’s Church. Not mine.  Who am I to suggest that God does not know what he is doing? The Old Testament is one long tale of human woe.  Rise, fall forgiveness, rise, fall, forgiveness, rise, fall, forgiveness, and so on ad nauseam. man always seems to fall into the trap of deciding that he know best how things “should” be.  Over and over again and never learning anything? Isn’t there some definition of insanity that touches on that theme? FIAT?

My own spiritual experience can be condensed into:  WOW!  This is so cool.  Oh My God!  God?  If I was God I would …  There is no God!  Why don’t these idiots get this?  I am God. Why the hell isn’t this working? Hello, my name is Bruce, and I am not God.  Why don’t these idiots get this???  Listen Lord, your servant is speaking.  Don’t you hear me? What the hell?  HELL! WOW!  and so it goes, full circle only now I am just trying to shut up and listen. Sin is personal. No one is exempt. No one is special. From Cain to Joe in one long unbroken chain. FIAT?

Sin is always a personal act, an act of freedom of will on the part of an individual person and not of a group. Non Serviam is an individual expression of free will.  An individual may be indoctrinated, conditioned, incited and influenced by numerous and powerful external factors. He or she may also be subjected to tendencies, defects and habits linked to his or her person. In many cases external and internal factors may reduce the person’s freedom and therefore his responsibility and guilt. But it is a truth of faith, confirmed by our experience and reason, that the human person is free. This truth cannot be disregarded in order to place the blame for individuals’ sins on external factors such as structures, systems or other people. I believe that were I a young man in Iraq now, born into that culture, I would be one of those fellows hiding behind chequered table cloths.  So what have I done in the past that compares and where does that leave me now – asking forgiveness and mercy? FIAT?

To remove personal responsibility for sin denies the individual person’s dignity and freedom, which are manifested in this responsibility for sin committed. Therefore there is nothing so personal and untransferable in each individual as merit or virtue or responsibility for sin. We. are. guilty.  As a personal act, sin has its most important consequences in the sinner himself, in his relationship with God, who is the foundation of human life. It also weakens his spirit, his will, and his intellect. At this point we must ask what was being referred to by those who frequently speak of social sin.  The expression and the concept in fact have various meanings.

To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that, by virtue of human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual’s sin in some way affects others. This is the other aspect of that solidarity which on the religious level is developed in the profound and magnificent mystery of the communion of saints, thanks to which it has been possible to say that “every soul that rises above itself, raises up the world.” To this law of ascent there unfortunately corresponds the law of descent. Consequently one can speak of a communion of sin, whereby a soul that lowers itself through sin drags down with itself the church and, in some way, the whole world.

In other words, there is no sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, the most strictly individual one, that exclusively concerns the person committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family. According to this first meaning of the term, every sin can undoubtedly be considered as social sin.  Some sins, however, by their very matter constitute a direct attack on one’s neighbor and, more exactly, in the language of the Gospel, against one’s brother or sister. They are an offense against God because they are offenses against one’s neighbor. These sins are called social sins, and this is the second meaning of the term.

In this sense social sin is sin against love of neighbor, and in the law of Christ it is all the more serious in that it involves the Second Commandment, which is “like unto the first.” Love thy neighbour as thyself. Forgive thy neighbour as thyself. Likewise, the term social applies to every sin against justice in interpersonal relationships, committed either by the individual against the community or by the community against the individual; every sin against the rights of the human person, beginning with the right to life, including the life of the unborn; every sin against a person’s physical integrity; every sin against others’ freedom, especially against the supreme freedom to believe in God and adore him; every sin against the dignity and honor of one’s neighbor; every sin against the common good and its exigencies in relation to the broad spectrum of rights and duties of citizens.

The term social can be applied to sins of commission or omission – on the part of political, economic or trade union leaders, who though in a position to do so, do not work diligently and wisely for the improvement and transformation of society according to the requirements and potential of the given historic moment; as also on the part of workers who through absenteeism or non- cooperation fail to ensure that their industries can continue to advance the well-being of the workers themselves, of their families and of the whole of society.

The third meaning of social sin refers to the relationships between the various human communities. These relationships are not always in accordance with the plan of God, who intends that there be justice in the world and freedom and peace between individuals, groups and peoples. Thus the class struggle, whoever the person who leads it or on occasion seeks to give it a theoretical justification, is a social evil. Likewise obstinate confrontation between blocs of nations, between one nation and another, between different groups within the same nation – all this too is a social evil. In both cases one may ask whether moral responsibility for these evils, and therefore sin, can be attributed to any person in particular.

I am thinking of the recent Martyrs in Libya.  In earlier times it took 500 years of slaughter before Christianity finally rose up and confronted evil.  The utter asininity of Obama’s pontification on the Crusades beggars the imagination.  The progressives who choose to ignore history in favour of their fantasy  “du jour” are truly doomed to repeat it in all it’s brutality.  How long will we wait this time around? Or are there even enough real Christians left now to do anything about this evil.  Is thinking these thoughts a sin?  Is this Social Sin? This world is not what matters. What if it all ends tomorrow? Fixing my culture is not my job. Fixing my Church is not my job.  We are all men and all commanded to fix our own souls first. FIAT.

Realities and situations such as those described, when they become generalized and reach vast proportions as social phenomena, almost always become anonymous, just as their causes are complex and not always identifiable. Hence if one speaks of social sin here, the expression obviously has an analogical meaning. However, to speak even analogically of social sins must not cause us to underestimate the responsibility of the individuals involved. It is meant to be an appeal to the consciences of all, so that each may shoulder his or her responsibility seriously and courageously in order to change those disastrous conditions and intolerable situations.

This truth cannot be disregarded.  All this useless struggle and sin is just pride of self – the fantasy of the eternal self, the self at the center of all things. We are not expected or commanded to win in this world – that is the purview of the devil and his legions. Humans who strive to win in this world are simply “Useful Idiots” to revive a Cold War figure of speech.

FIAT

Joe

Das_Jüngste_Gericht_(Memling)

 

 

 

Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

 

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