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

Why are you troubled? … Managing Expectations …

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

We are not guilty, but we are indeed unworthy. I am thinking about the last couple of posts dealing with the reliability of established mainstream information authorities in the healthcare and research world. I find these discoveries of questionable integrity in the system disturbing because they call into question a model which I have believed and taken for granted most of my adult life and because, just when I need it the most, the model is crumbling in my hands as I turn to it for support in the aging process. I find myself asking “If this, then … what is truth”?

St Thomas Aquinas, 1225 - 1274

St Thomas Aquinas, 1225 – 1274

And I discover that there is a spiritual dimension to my thoughts which has no credibility in the secular world where the preoccupation is with justifying everything by the numbers and the guidelines relating to the non-existent “standard” human.  “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Trust in the Truth … no matter how things appear to us in this world … trust in the Truth.

“O my Jesus, supreme Goodness, I ask of you a heart so enraptured with You that nothing can distract it. I wish to become indifferent to everything that goes on in the world, and I want You alone, to love everything that refers to You, but You above everything else, O my God!” (St. Thomas).

Sins of the repertoire … I do not trust, … and the catechism tells me “He becomes guilty: – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;”.

The individuals (that would be us) working within the system, the culture of the day, are not culpably guilty of the sins of the system, except perhaps in our willingness to delegate responsibility to our betters in the belief that they really do know better and have our best interests at heart.

So, judgement and detraction are greatly facilitated when love of self and of the self’s opinions are coupled with caring about and being attached to everything that goes on in the world. I know better, right? Therefore I judge these others as a homogeneous herd … and this is bad, bad, bad, my bad. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

I guess I have to make clear the distinction between systemic information control and censorship of negative reporting, and the malice or culpability of all the myriad individuals enmeshed within that same system. I think the spiritual dimension is entered into through the secular materialist’s implied assurance of some form of eternal youth and health through the consumption and application of their recommended products and guidelines.

And “We The People” are, all of us, looking for that fountain of youth, that perpetuation of childhood joys where there are no clouds on the horizon and all things are possible including genuine relief from pain, discomfort and disease … in perpetuity? Seriously … we want the dream in perpetuity … and we are willing to turn a blind eye to anything that disturbs the tranquility of that dream.

Our expectations, at least at the subliminal level, exceed what is possible by a wide margin because in our inner soul we are still aware of eternity and the resurrection, still aware of a yearning, of a hole that wants filling.

As a result of that yearning, and having rejected “patriarchal authority” in favour of a dissolute life pursuing self gratification, our society has rejected the wisdom of the ages in favor of the fountain of youth implicitly offered by “Material Realism” and science divorced from spirituality.

This material state of affairs necessitates the suppression of dissenting views lest truth creep out and become visible. Unmanaged expectations are the fertile soil of our economy and our societal values.

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

Here Lies Low-Carb Joe ...

Here Lies Low-Carb Joe …

So, referring to the image on the “left” mocking the views and observations of those who do not share the mainstream health model as sacrosanct, who would rather eat the sacred cows than bow down in worship to their priesthood … we need to manage our expectations.

This might come as a surprise to some but reality is well explained by the truth that “Life is a fatal STD”.

There is no human, past present, and presumably future who can transcend mortality through the application of whatever happens to be the trendy fashionable healthcare models of any generation in history.

We have all been dieing of something for at least 100,000 years and are looking likely to continue dieing for the next 100,000 years regardless of the implied claims to the contrary of “modern medical science”.

But modern medical science, and all modern science for that matter, have so far proven utterly incapable of creating even the simplest of single cell life forms, because there is no life in it.

It seems rather obvious that absent the “source” of life we humans are incapable of creating anything from scratch, let alone life. Its like that old Spam commercial asking where the meat is and the reply that “It just isn’t in me”.

But are all the members of the homogeneous herd actually complicit in this scam writ large? Absolutely not. First the whole concept of the homogeneous herd is erroneous because we are all individuals, all outliers. There are no standard humans, not now, not ever, never.

And, reality is that most human beings (probably in the middle 90%’s) are good, harmless, more or less productive people by normal human standards, and they wouldn’t willfully harm a fly if left to their own devices. Everyone is just trying to get by to the best of their abilities in the world that they find themselves in, just desirous of pursuing life, liberty and happiness, in some order that makes sense to each individual.

Where society goes seriously off the rails is when human ambition, pride, and self worship diverges from the Manufacturer’s Instructions. And all us little folks still have to try to get by in the world in which we live. Our society and culture is all about delegating responsibility to higher and higher human authorities on the (perhaps) spurious assumption that their claims to wisdom are perhaps true, or at least truer than ours.

We are all called to something higher and transcendent, to that far green land beyond the grey rain curtain of the world … and we opt for mediocrity, and a handful of dollars, and a promise, and we never get to the beach, we die in the surf line. Because of FOMO we opt for death.

Cheers

Joe

“PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”

 

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The Inner Struggle

Nothing good to say?

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, 1225-1274

St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers’ (S. Thomas, Summa theologiae, II-II, quaest. 3, art. 2, ad 2).

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. […] Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good.

Or, in a more modern vein “all that is required for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.”

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals

The history of the Church teaches us that “truth is not necessarily found with the majority,” but rather in the “minority which has truly lived and witnessed to the faith,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals, said today in Rome.

Speaking at the symposium ‘Catholic Church: Where are you heading?,’ Cardinal Brandmüller said “when Catholics en masse consider it legitimate to remarry after divorce or use contraception … this is not a mass witness to the faith, but a mass departure from it.

Food for thought then … when is it bad to refrain from attesting to the Truth?

Bishop Athanasius Schneider in Rome, April 7, 2018 Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews

Bishop Athanasius Schneider in Rome, April 7, 2018, Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in Rome, April 7, 2018, quoting an encyclical from 1890, said: “Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33). […] The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power” (Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890).

Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII taught: “All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth—and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it. […]

Anyone who consciously and wantonly attacks known truth, who arms himself with falsehood in his speech, his writings, or his conduct in order to attract and win over less learned men and to shape the inexperienced and impressionable minds of the young to his own way of thinking, takes advantage of the inexperience and innocence of others and engages in an altogether despicable business.”

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman’s 1859 essay On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine. emphasized the laity’s role in matters of doctrine, and sought to distinguish what is a true sensus fidei (sense of the faith) of believers and what is not.

“In the history of the people of God, it has often been not the majority but rather a minority which has truly lived and witnessed to the faith,” he said. “The experience of the Church shows that sometimes the truth of the faith has been conserved not by the efforts of theologians or the teaching of the majority of bishops but in the hearts of believers.”

Cheers

Joe

Church Militant …

Having a majority does not automatically confer “truth” and “good” and “just” upon any particular sociopolitical direction of a society or group. Can we still tell the difference between right and wrong, or is our moral compass broken irreparably?

 

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The Inner Struggle

Saints …

Thursday, March 19th, the feast day of my name saint, St. Joseph. A name saint is a saint in the Catholic tradition whose name is given to individuals at their baptism within the Catholic Church. The custom of giving the name of a saint originated in France and Germany during the Middle Ages. Although once required, it is no longer necessary to name the child after a saint as Canon 855 of the Code of Canon Law states “Parents, sponsors and parish priests are to take care that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.” It is still believed that the saint whose name is chosen will serve as a special patron to protect, guide, and be the heavenly intercessor for, the individual who bears his or her name.

The rest of this is a precis of what I found on the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

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The chief sources of information on the life of St. Joseph are the first chapters of our new Testament first and third Gospels; they are also practically the only reliable sources, because the holy patriarch’s life, as with many other points connected with the Saviour’s history outside these two gospels, is left untouched by the canonical writings. Apocryphal literature is full of details, but the non-admittance of these works into the Canon of the Sacred Books casts a strong suspicion upon their contents.

St. Matthew (1:16) calls St. Joseph the son of Jacob; according to St. Luke (3:23), Heli was his father. Contrary to what was once advocated, most modern writers readily admit that in both documents we possess the genealogy of Joseph, and that it is quite possible to reconcile their data.  At any rate, Bethlehem, the city of David and his descendants, appears to have been the birth-place of Joseph.

Why and when he forsook his birth place to take up residence in Galilee is uncertain, but probably the necessity of earning a living may have brought about the change. St. Joseph, was a tekton, as we learn from Matthew 13:55, and Mark 6:3. The word means both mechanic in general and carpenter in particular; St. Justin vouches for the latter sense (Dialogue with Trypho 88), and tradition has accepted this interpretation, which is followed in the English Bible.

It is probably at Nazareth that Joseph betrothed and married Mary who was to become the Mother of God. When the marriage took place, whether before or after the Incarnation, is not an easy matter to settle, and on this point the masters have always disagreed. Most modern commentators, following St. Thomas, believe that, at the time of the Annunciation, Mary was only affianced to Joseph; as St. Thomas notices, this interpretation suits better all the evangelical data.

This marriage, was, in the intention of the spouses, to be virgin marriage (cf. St. Augustine, “De cons. Evang.”, II, i in P.L. XXXIV, 1071-72; “Cont. Julian.”, V, xii, 45 in P.L. XLIV, 810; St. Thomas, III:28; III:29:2). But soon after the espousal the faith of Joseph was sorely tried when she announced that she was with child. For a man of that time and culture this must have been an extremely painful discovery.

Notwithstanding his rights, he resolved to deal charitably with Mary and “to put her away privately; but while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. . . And Joseph, rising from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife” (Matthew 1:19, 20, 24).

A few months later, we see a whole new source of anxiety for Joseph; the time came for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, to be enrolled, according to the decree issued by Caesar Augustus, for “her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered“, and “there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7).

What must have been the thoughts of Joseph at the birth of the Saviour, the coming of the shepherds and of the wise men, and at the events which occurred at the time of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, we can merely guess; St. Luke tells only that he was “wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him” (2:33).

Still more trials soon followed. The birth of a new king of the Jews fired the jealousy of the old and bloody tyrant, Herod. Again “an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee” (Matthew 2:13).

The summons to go back to Palestine came after a few years, and the Holy Family returned to and settled again at Nazareth. Finally peace, and St. Joseph’s life became the simple and uneventful life of an humble Jew, supporting himself and his family by his work, and faithful to the religious practices commanded by the Law or observed by pious Israelites.

From that point on, the only incident recorded by the Gospel is the loss of, and quest for, Jesus, then he was twelve years old, when He strayed during the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem  (Luke 2:42-51). This is the last we hear of St. Joseph in the sacred writings, and we may well suppose that Jesus’s foster-father died before the beginning of Savior’s public life.

In several circumstances, indeed, the Gospels speak of the latter’s mother and brothers (Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19; John 7:3), but never do they speak of His father in connection with the rest of the family; they tell us only that Our Lord, during His public life, was referred to as the son of Joseph (John 1:45; 6:42; Luke 4:22) the carpenter (Matthew 13:55). Would Jesus, moreover, when about to die on the Cross, have entrusted His mother to John’s care, had St. Joseph been still alive?

According to the apocryphal “Story of Joseph the Carpenter”, the holy man reached his hundred and eleventh year when he died, on 20 July (A.D. 18 or 19). St. Epiphanius gives him ninety years of age at the time of his demise; and if we are to believe the Venerable Bede, he was buried in the Valley of Josaphat. In truth we do not know when St. Joseph died; it is most unlikely that he attained the ripe old age spoken of by the “Story of Joseph” and St. Epiphanius. The probability is that he died and was buried at Nazareth.

***

So, his was an example of a devoted life of sacrifice. Joseph embodies the tradition of Faith, Loyalty, Competence, Pride, Selflessness, Integrity, Courage, Discipline, and Sacrifice.  Quite an example to live up to is Joseph, the bar is set very high. There is a centuries long tradition of veneration of St. Joseph.

Joseph was “a just man”. This praise bestowed by the Holy Ghost, and the privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus and the spouse of the Virgin Mother, are the foundations of the honour paid to St. Joseph by the Church. So well-grounded are these foundations that it is not a little surprising that the cult of St. Joseph was so slow in winning recognition. Foremost among the causes of this is the fact that “during the first centuries of the Church’s existence, it was only the martyrs who enjoyed veneration” (Kellner).

Far from being ignored or passed over in silence during the early Christian ages, St. Joseph’s prerogatives were occasionally descanted upon by the Fathers; even such eulogies as cannot be attributed to the writers among whose works they found admittance bear witness that the ideas and devotion therein expressed were familiar, not only to the theologians and preachers, and must have been readily welcomed by the people.

The earliest traces of public recognition of the sanctity of St. Joseph are to be found in the East. His feast, if we may trust the assertions of Papebroch, was kept by the Copts as early as the beginning of the fourth century. Nicephorus Callistus tells likewise — on what authority we do not know — that in the great basilica erected at Bethlehem by St. Helena, there was a gorgeous oratory dedicated to the honour of our saint.

Certain it is, at all events, that the feast of “Joseph the Carpenter” is entered, on 20 July, in one of the old Coptic Calendars in our possession, as also in a Synazarium of the eighth and ninth century published by Cardinal Mai (Script. Vet. Nova Coll., IV, 15 sqq.). Greek menologies of a later date at least mention St. Joseph on 25 or 26 December, and a twofold commemoration of him along with other saints was made on the two Sundays next before and after Christmas.

In the West the name of the foster-father of Our Lord (Nutritor Domini) appears in local martyrologies of the ninth and tenth centuries, and we find in 1129, for the first time, a church dedicated to his honour at Bologna. The devotion, then merely private, as it seems, gained a great impetus owing to the influence and zeal of such saintly persons as St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gertrude (d. 1310), and St. Bridget of Sweden (d. 1373). According to Benedict XIV (De Serv. Dei beatif., I, iv, n. 11; xx, n. 17), “the general opinion of the learned is that the Fathers of Carmel were the first to import from the East into the West the laudable practice of giving the fullest cultus to St. Joseph”.

His feast, introduced towards the end shortly afterwards, into the Dominican Calendar, gradually gained a foothold in various dioceses of Western Europe. Among the most zealous promoters of the devotion at that epoch, St. Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419), Peter d’Ailly (d. 1420), St. Bernadine of Siena (d. 1444), and Jehan Charlier Gerson (d. 1429) deserve an especial mention. Gerson, who had, in 1400, composed an Office of the Espousals of Joseph particularly at the Council of Constance (1414), in promoting the public recognition of the cult of St. Joseph.

Only under the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471-84), were the efforts of these holy men rewarded by Roman Calendar (19 March). From that time the devotion acquired greater and greater popularity, the dignity of the feast keeping pace with this steady growth. At first only a festum simplex, it was soon elevated to a double rite by Innocent VIII (1484-92), declared by Gregory XV, in 1621, a festival of obligation, at the instance of the Emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I and of King Charles II of Spain, and raised to the rank of a double of the second class by Clement XI (1700-21). Further, Benedict XIII, in 1726, inserted the name into the Litany of the Saints.

One festival in the year, however, was not deemed enough to satisfy the piety of the people. The feast of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, so strenuously advocated by Gerson, and permitted first by Paul III to the Franciscans, then to other religious orders and individual dioceses, was, in 1725, granted to all countries that solicited it, a proper Office, compiled by the Dominican Pietro Aurato, being assigned, and the day appointed being 23 January.

Nor was this all, for the reformed Order of Carmelites, into which St. Teresa had infused her great devotion to the foster-father of Jesus, chose him, in 1621, for their patron, and in 1689, were allowed to celebrate the feast of his Patronage on the third Sunday after Easter. This feast, soon adopted throughout the Spanish Kingdom, was later on extended to all states and dioceses which asked for the privilege.

No devotion, perhaps, has grown so universal, none seems to have appealed so forcibly to the heart of the Christian people, and particularly of the labouring classes, during the nineteenth century, as that of St. Joseph. This wonderful and unprecedented increase of popularity called for a new lustre to be added to the cult of the saint.

Accordingly, one of the first acts of the pontificate of Pius IX, himself singularly devoted to St. Joseph, was to extend to the whole Church the feast of the Patronage (1847), and in December, 1870, according to the wishes of the bishops and of all the faithful, he solemnly declared the Holy Patriarch Joseph, patron of the Catholic Church, and enjoined that his feast (19 March) should henceforth be celebrated as a double of the first class (but without octave, on account of Lent).

Following the footsteps of their predecessor, Leo XIII and Pius X have shown an equal desire to add their own jewel to the crown of St. Joseph: the former, by permitting on certain days the reading of the votive Office of the saint; and the latter by approving, on 18 March, 1909, a litany in honour of him whose name he had received in baptism.

So happy St Joseph’s Day

Cheers

Joe

cropped-sunrise.jpg

 

 

 

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