The Inner Struggle

Let not your heart be troubled …

The Return Of The King” Howard Shore, composer, from the soundtrack of “The Return Of The King”, part 3 of “The Lord Of The Rings”, released on December 17th, 2003.

“The Return Of The King”, part 3 of “The Lord Of The Rings”, released on December 17th, 2003

“The Return Of The King”, part 3 of “The Lord Of The Rings”, released on December 17th, 2003

Maybe Gentle Reader is wondering what the heck I am going on about with all this talk of contrition, and remorse and seeing things spiritually?

What is the point of my meanderings about reality and the “ghost in the shell” and seeing the material from the spiritual perspective as my soul?

What it all is about is that I am looking for a framework which makes identifying attachments easier, and after identifying these attachments, to make it a more straightforward exercise in discipline and mortification to separate myself from these objects of desire and gratification.

And the Season of Lent seems an appropriate time to consider the “end of all things”, fasting and other ways of identifying attachments that get in the way of seeing God as our eternal end …

The Front Porch of Lent: Easing Into the Lenten Fast

It was common for early Christians to begin the Lenten fast immediately after Septuagesima Sunday (nominally 70 days before Easter). Just as Lent today begins 46 days before Easter, since Sundays are never a day of fasting (see “How Are the 40 Days of Lent Calculated?“), so, in the early Church, Saturdays and Thursdays were considered fast-free days, and Friday, of course, was a “fasting from meat” day, as any cradle Catholic older than 50 years or so can tell you.

I remember when that particular item was supposedly dropped, “in the spirit of Vatican II” and George Carlin brought out a live comedy album in 1972 that mocked various Catholic practices, although George, as an ex Catholic, could be said to be an equal opportunity mocker. This skit “I used to be an Irish Catholic” had a line “ … I bet there are still guys doin’ time on the meat rap“. Parochial school humour – unique to Catholics?

Class Clown

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3453565, This is the cover art for the album Class Clown by the artist George Carlin. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Little David / Atlantic, or the graphic artist(s).

I remember George was funny as hell … and I enjoyed his humour … that 1972 album was called “Class Clown” and I could identify ’cause I was one – woohoo – “#1 Class Clown”, one of the “back of the classroom tribe” sometimes known as “tree people” because we used to climb the trees outside Jarry Park to watch the Expos play for free.

Flashbacks … that was about the time I went off on my own personal diversion from the faith … for about 20 years … seems a kind of common thing with my generation … except I suspect coming back is rather less common, but there ya go.

Then (1971) came my sharp right turn over to joining the evil military without even hitting the “Group W Bench” in between. Remember “Alice’s Restaurant”? Just about gives me whiplash today thinking back. I wonder how George felt about his Catholic faith just before he died at age 71, in 2008?

But anyway, back to fasting and Friday meat fasts … in order to fit in 40 days of fasting before Easter, therefore, the fast had to start two weeks earlier than it does today.

Another quirk, … (is that the right word?) in the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass, starting on Septuagesima Sunday, neither the Alleluia nor the Gloria are sung. (See Why Don’t Roman Catholics Sing the Alleluia During Lent?) They do not return until the Easter Vigil, when we mark the triumph of Christ over death in His Resurrection.

So fasting, and no Alleluia or Gloria … focused on “the end of all things” just where are we going … after this short night in a bad hotel?

But this is really about “Let not your heart be troubled” …

Douay-Rheims Bible (John 14)
Jesus Comforts the Disciples

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

1Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you.

3And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be. 4And whither I go you know, and the way you know.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

The Apostle Thomas

The Apostle Thomas

5Thomas saith to him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.

7If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also: and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him.

8Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. 9Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Father?

the Apostle Philip

The Apostle Philip

10Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works.

11Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? 12Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.

13Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you shall ask me any thing in my name, that I will do.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

(Joel 2:28-32; John 16:5-16; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7)

15If you love me, keep my commandments.

16And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you.

18I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. 19Yet a little while: and the world seeth me no more. But you see me: because I live, and you shall live. 20In that day you shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22Judas saith to him, not the Iscariot: Lord, how is it, that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not to the world?

23Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard, is not mine; but the Father’s who sent me.

25These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. 26But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

Peace I Leave with You

(Romans 5:1-5)

27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. 28You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.

29And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe. 30I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not any thing. 31But that the world may know, that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I: Arise, let us go hence.

Douay-Rheims Bible

Cheers

Joe

25These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. 26But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Donkeys and Sheepdogs … part 3 …

And then there are the donkeys …

In case the point of this epistle seems to have wandered off into obscure tracks it should be noted that we are talking about the hallmarks of evil here … the focus of our lives should be on the the how and why of giving of self … giving to and for others … and working on what we have in front of us, the things we can actually accomplish in our daily lives, not haring off against some new windmill or some long dead horse which mission is doomed to failure even before it gets started.

I have spent some time in the last two posts identifying those actors I see doing what seems evil to me in our current landscape, identified by their works – what the results of the perpetrators’ actions are, not what they loudly proclaim to be their intentions, policies and designs. I used to think of myself as a sheepdog, but now I more and more see myself as a donkey … no longer focusing on mission impossible – fixing the world …  but rather on what can I actually accomplish for good.

The donkeys, (who I admire most of all the players), do all the daily work of keeping the machinery of life running smoothly. Oh blessed perseverance of the donkeys that turn the water-wheels  and the grindstones and the mills and the looms! Always the same pace. Always the same circles. One day after another: everyday the same.

Without that monotonous daily grind, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, no bread, no blossom in the orchard, no scent of flowers in the gardensnor anything else that we simply take for granted in our lives …  water, heat, light, gas, food, shelter, phones, and internet, and cars, and entertainment, and so on ad infinitum, all totally dependent on the efforts of countless donkeys going about their daily regimen day after day.

I worked for a while as a donkey (janitor) in the public school system in a medium sized city in our fair land. I sometimes feel sad observing that the sheep take all that the donkeys do for them totally for granted because they are never taught how things work and why. They are taught to feel good about themselves because they breathe.

They can’t read or write but little Johny needs his fix of self respect or he won’t grow up OK. he’ll be “stunted”. No child left behind and all that drek. They only ever notice what the donkeys do when it is missing for some reason, and then instead of being grateful for all the countless days when everything works they bitch the one time things don’t work. They completely miss the miracle of the countless days.

And the beautiful young empty heads look down on the donkeys and treat them with disrespect because, well, that’s what their teachers do, not all, but most. They don’t look as smart and as beautiful and as articulate as the brights running the show and that attitude is what gets taught to the empty minds in the desks.

So  the donkeys are just stupid, ugly, I don’t know, well, they are just donkeys, ya know what I mean?  “Oh Miss Simpson … the toilet is plugged.”  “OK, just call the donkey, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible”.  No discussion about how the toilet got plugged, or who is supposed to teach the empty minds that you are supposed to eat what ever you put in the toilet BEFORE you put it in the toilet.

And in spite of all the propaganda, and noise, and smokescreen, and indoctrination, nothing that matters comes from guv’mint. If you want to see the logical and material result of the guv’mint taking control of EVERYTHING, just take a look at North Korea.  There is no possible way that a reasonable case can be made that guv’mint has the best interests of the folks at heart. One has to willfully choose self interest over helping others to seek employment in gov’mint.

No one seriously believes that most gov’mint employees are there to sacrifice for the public … that they are REALLY “public servants”.  Everyone, including most guv’mint employees, know that they enter gov’mint employ because it’s an easy gig with lots of benefits where they might have to actually do something tangible for two or three hours a day and all the rest is coffee break, and lunch breaks, and smoke breaks, and socializing, you know the old saw about “safety meetings” – “nobody moves and nobody gets hurt”.

Sure, there are lots of folks doing difficult dirty dangerous jobs in REAL public service but even in the public service these folks are always on the lower rungs. The self interested ambitious employees hurry up and move up the ladder until they don’t have to work any more, they just supervise and make rules. Or they move up into higher positions in the unions. Self interest is a wonderful thing ain’t it?

The moment the first guv’mint official used the fateful words “the people” or “the voters” or “the proletariat”, or “the constituents”, instead of “John” and “Mary” and “Joe” and so on, they stopped being “of the people, by the people, for the people and joined the wolf-pack. But they are “stealth” wolves, because they have brains enough to rig the game in their favour but not enough balls to come out into the open – which is maybe pretty smart on their part, all things considered. If they were honest about how things work they would be strung up by the suckers they are milking.

And then there are the sheepdogs … I used to believe I was a sheepdog … I used to feel good about being a sheepdog … I used to feel good about being different.

If you have no capacity for violence or exploitation then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence or exploitation and no empathy for your fellows, then you have defined a sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, understand that exploitation is wrong, and a deep love for your fellows? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed,  who lives to stand against the wolves, circling the flock looking for righteous combat with the predators.

Unfortunately, the sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. (example: my experience in the airport, below) He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land and they can’t deal with the wolves. They would prefer that the sheepdog didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an FN or an M-16 or patrol the skies and the sea lanes. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

And here is the ultimate tragedy, or irony if you look at it that way. The wolves outside the walls get all the attention, all the hype, they are the ones who get all the media attention with endless debates about terrorists and freedom fighters, and so on. And meanwhile the 5th column wolves inside the walls have poisoned the sheep against the sheepdogs. Now the sheep are taught (thank you very much academia) that the sheep ARE entitled to whatever they want and think whatever they think and they can do pretty much whatever they please as long as it doesn’t threaten the 5th column and they are taught that the sheepdogs are the bad guys with guns.

And because the 5th column keep putting wedges between the sheep and the sheepdogs they maintain control over both and none dare call it conspiracy. Since at least the 60’s and 70’s all the usual useful idiots have had a field day dissing the sheepdogs, not because they knew anything real about them but simply because it was “Cool” to hate “The Man”, right Bill Ayers? and they knew they were safe. The sheepdogs would never bite them. All very courageous that.

I remember being screamed at and spit on in the Winnipeg airport simply because I was traveling in uniform and the beautiful young university students thought it was cool to call someone in uniform a “Baby Killer!”. And this was and is encouraged by the “enlightened ones in academia and the media and paid for by guv’mint. I believe that incident happened because the uniform represented everything they knew in their bones that they could never be and never do and they felt weak and it scared them.

You gotta know that there is nothing particularly morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones. And, lucky for the enlightened ones, the sound of the guns never includes the sheep unless they are victims, so the sheepdogs are really no threat to them at all.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in North America said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warrior-hood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

As mentioned, there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. Because of that he is the only threat to the predator and the predator knows this.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself. The predators sense weakness.

Both the violent psychopathic predators, and the stealthy 5th column predators sense their victim’s weakness. The 5th column, in particular, sense both the weakness and ignorance of their victims and also are very aware of their own weakness, hence their colossal need to hide that weakness deep and dark, far way from the light.

SatanRegardless of the soft lies of the Prince of this world, there is no comfort or safety in giving in to evil. No satisfaction in self indulgence.  “There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men“. – Edmund Burke.

The big weakness the blind spot, of the sheepdogs is that they must not and cannot turn on the 5th column. They literally cannot bite the hand that feeds or they become wolves.

As I get older and more experienced and less convinced that I can “save the world” by being a good sheepdog I more and more realize that the real heroes are the donkeys. They move under the radar working steadily every day to protect the folks from the 5th column and the little weasily predators prowling within the walls. They do this by simply doing their jobs, their essential jobs to the best of their ability regardless of how they are treated.

So we “gird our loins” and prepare to go on, and on and on … “Stranger passing by, tell the Lakedaimonians. Here we lie, having obeyed their orders.” Leonidas. 480 BC.  If we fail to grasp that true life is about sacrifice and serving others, even unrecognized, then we are doomed to die for all eternity.

“… Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;  One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” Tennyson, “Ulysses“.

Cheers

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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