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.

Standard
Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Christ and Antichrist (part 2)

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 snow has finally stopped … my coffee is hot and black, my music clip today is the title piece from Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”.

This trio of films had been dismissed by neo-pagan secular humanist reviewers as a simple “adventure movie, set in a strange world, climaxing with a battle between the forces of good, represented by the heroes and heroines, and the forces of evil, represented by the stranger, the odd, or the mean-spirited (Yes, I guess Sauron and Saruman might be described as odd, the stranger, or even mean spirited, yes mean spirited, that’s accurate I guess, especially for a society which buys into the idea that it is just OK to dismember babies and sell their body parts for profit).

These scenarios, make it all too easy for filmgoers to cheer for the good guys (with whom they quite naturally identify) and boo the bad guys (stand-ins for everything they don’t approve of) (isn’t this exactly what these neo-pagans are actively doing in this very review? I suppose, logically then, there is no “good” and “bad” then … always excepting, of course, that if the neo-pagans don’t approve of any particular Religious or believers then that is “good” because anyone who disagrees with any of the progressive left is “a priori”, even by definition, “BAD”).

The world is seen as the stage for dueling dualisms, “us” versus “them” (BAD GUY ALERT!) where it is perfectly acceptable for one side to completely obliterate the “other.” This kind of simplistic storytelling contributes to the creation of what Sam Keen has called the “hostile imagination”? (So good and evil are not real, it’s just “us” versus “them” or “The Other” …  So I guess, logically, there could be no such a thing as “Sin” in this neo-pagan worldview. Gee, that’s convenient … hmmm … sounding rather “anti christian” here, dare I mention, a subtle flavour of “Antichrist”).

This worldview develops out of prejudice and hatred, two diseases of the mind  ( I guess what they are saying is “believers with a moral compass are actually prejudiced, hating, and diseased” … Wow! Who knew! I bet these reviewers have  weekend part time job crafting sign and posters for all those anti-Trump protestors the MSM so love to cover) but back to diseases of the mind in which we project our feelings of fear, resentment, self-disgust, anger, alienation, and paranoia on others whom we perceive to be different (especially strangers).”

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the hugely popular “Return of the King” was the culmination of nearly 10 years’ work and the conclusion to Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy based on the timeless J.R.R. Tolkien classic.

Aragorn leads the allies to the Black Gate in an attempt to distract Sauron from seeking out Frodo, Sam and the Ring. But Sauron’s army is much larger, and Aragorn is losing the battle. Their hopes rest with Frodo.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” presents the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Hobbits Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the `one ring’, while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron’s evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith.

Remember, “The Lord of the Rings was written in an era when folks still superstitiously believed that good and evil realy existed in an absolute sense and were not just a matter of opinion. I guess that makes me an anachronism, a man out of time.

Anyway, here we are again, a few hours later and I was explaining the idea of “The Mystical Body of Christ”, and how it came about, as a prelude to positing the idea that the “Antichrist” is not a specific figure who we are striving to identify, but rather “the mystical body of Satan” acting out in “the Spirit of the times”, a perfect example of which is the above review viewed as apologetics for evil as a matter of opinion.

Historically, later on in the story of the Church, after the time of Saint Paul and the world he wrote to, as the Church grew, the Church Fathers, including St. Augustine, reaffirmed and amplified Paul’s assertion that the Christian Church is a spiritual extension of Christ’s body.

His Holiness Pope Pius XII

His Holiness Pope Pius XII (By Michael Pitcarin

Pope Pius XII , who was Pope during my early childhood, popularized the phrase in his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi  (June 29, 1943).

The Catholic Dictionary explains it thus: “The Church is a body because she is a visible, living, and growing organism, animated by the Spirit of God. (The Church) … is a mystical body because her essential nature is a mystery, and all her teachings, laws, and rites are sacramental sources of grace.

And she is the mystical body of Christ because he founded the Church. He remains her invisible Head and through him all blessings are communicated to her members, and through them to the rest of humankind.”

The Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council issued the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” or “Lumen Gentium” (November 21, 1964; “Light of the Nations”), which reflected the broader, universal nature of the mystical body by stating that all persons are members of the Church, at least potentially, because Christ came to offer salvation to everyone.

Speaking of full membership in the Church, Pius XII, in his Encyclical on the Mystical Body, said it is the society of those who have been baptized, and who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.

The Church came into being when Christ died on the Cross, but it was formally inaugurated on Pentecost, when He sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised. St. Paul speaks of all Christians as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one Mystical Body (see 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:13).

The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints

St. Paul did not use the word Mystical. It was developed more recently to bring out the fact that this union is unique, there is no parallel to it. It is not the same as the union of a physical body, nor that of a business corporation.

The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Church suffering means the souls in Purgatory. The Church triumphant is the Church in heaven. The unity and cooperation of the members of the Church on earth, in Purgatory, in Heaven is also called the Communion of Saints.

Joshua

Joshua

When St. Paul uses the word “Saints” in opening an Epistle, he does not mean they are morally perfect. He has in mind Hebrew “Qadosh”, which means set aside for God, or coming under the covenant. Being such means of course they are called to moral perfection. But of course, not all have reached it in this world.

The word “Saint” in the modern sense means someone who has been canonized by the Church in recent times, or was accepted as such by the Church in earlier times.

Saint John Paul II

Saint John Paul II

If a person is shown to have practiced heroic virtue–beyond what people in general do – in all virtues, the title “Venerable” is given; with two miracles by that one’s intercession, the title is “Blessed”; two more miracles can lead to canonization and the title of Saint.

Now, outside some people within the church and some believers, folks who have even a passing understanding of the process by which the Roman Catholic Church arrives at the point of proclaiming an individual as a “Saint” are rather thin on the ground.

It most certainly is not some “group think” resolution arrived at by a board room meeting of some cabal presided over by the Pope and involving the various department heads (the Curia) of the Roman Church establishment, the executives, so to speak. .

This is an in-depth rigorously developed legal investigation, requiring postulation, presentation, gathering of evidence, a defense team (The Postulator) and a prosecution team (The Devil’s Advocate).

Popular culture, namely the society which seems to embody the spirit of the times, the “Antichrist”, seems to understand “Saints” in the way presented by Hollywood and the MSM, and routinely call their “Saintliness” into question because, after all, the saints make us enlightened moderns look bad, by any standard.

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

Dan Brown, and the Hollywood team who rework his novels as screen plays for those who don’t read, are entertainers and entrepreneurs. Dan and the Hollywood screen writers don’t do in depth research nor do they write Truth, although their publicists go to great lengths to give the gullible customers of their product, the “low information” folks, the impression that in fact that is exactly what they do show and tell.

The plot lines of many modern movies reveal a puerile fascination with the sins and motives of others, preferably “respectable” others, which would not be out of line in the National Enquirer.

Dan and the Hollywoods (Hey! nice name for a new band) are popular and very successful developers of sensationalist entertainment. They want to sell their gloss of reality in the interests of forwarding the Big Lie, and making a boat load of money along the way.

Michael Moore

Michael Moore says the vast majority of Trump supporters are like rapists, Oooo, nice, just feel the love …

Part of that process necessarily involves extensive denigration and belittling of any and everyone who disagrees with their point of view, especially political enemies,  the Church, Christ, and Christians, the currently fashionable victims of choice.

Perhaps part of this choice is because of course Christians don’t retaliate by routinely show up in your office with an AK-47 to fix your breathing problem. This is where we get back to the Christ – Antichrist discussion.

So, as previously stated, “The Antichrist” is the opposite of Christ, the “Not Christ”. The Antichrist manifests the will of Satan among mankind. Satan’s whole ambition is to be like God in power and might, and he works for this with all of his might, night and day.

Remember, “Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Satan’s stated intention is to replace God, and the mystical body of Satan, “The Antichrist”, is the means to do this.

The mystical body of Satan, an analog of the Mystical Body of Christ, denies mankind’s necessity for God, and asserts himself (the worship of self), that is “man”, as ruler of this world.

It does not matter to Satan whether his mystical body believes in him or not.  In fact, things go easier for him when mankind doesn’t believe in “The Father of Lies”. Ask yourself “what kind of a world would be willing to accept Satan as Lord”?

It seems apparent, given the popularity of every vice and evil in our modern society, that this modern world we live in has come to such a state. The prevailing spirit in the world is the “spirit of the Antichrist,” the mystical body of Satan.

The mystical body of Satan has been working since the earliest days of the church. (1 John 4) and the “Antichrist”, this fervent spirit of rebellion permeating the populace, can be summed up as every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

This spirit of rebellion alleges that Jesus had something that we don’t have, that He was divine, that He didn’t have lusts and desires as a natural man, and therefore, He couldn’t actually sin.

Hollywood stars

Hollywood stars Mark Ruffalo, Olivia Wilde and Michael Moore led protesters to Trump Tower after the president made comments about the deadly violence in Charlottesville.

That’s  what Hollywood and and the secular humanist coreligionists would have us believe. Christ couldn’t sin because He was special, but we just can’t help ourselves and we are really rather nice people dontcha know?

And anyway, Christ is my buddy, he is all about mercy and forgiveness and get along go along … huh?

But if we believe what’s written in Scripture, Christ had the same flesh and blood that we have. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.” Hebrews 2:14.

He had the same lusts and desires, which caused Him to be tempted, and He had to fight to keep from sinning. He had the Holy Spirit to guide Him, and strength and help from His Father in heaven.

Because of His life and His sacrifice He made the same available to us, and therefore we are able to follow Him on the way that He opened up through the flesh and back to the Father, as members of “The Mystical Body of Christ”.

Halloween Party ...

Halloween Party …

But many folks really don’t want to discipline themselves, many folks have no inclination to rein in their worship of self.

As a culture we strongly resist having to put in the effort, take up the same battle that Christ did. Saint Paul explains in great detail that we don’t want to fight against the tendency towards sin that we have in our human nature.

It seems that nowadays, and perhaps it’s been like this in all times, most people, the masses, aren’t willing to fight hard against human nature, the unbridled concupiscence of our flesh. And the result is the ascendancy of the spirit of the Antichrist.

Lust

Just a fashion show … the 7 deadly sins …

This spirit of concupiscence shows people an easier way to exist, a way of self gratification and taking the easy path. The spirit of Antichrist allows the sins that separate us from God to live on by covering them with tolerance, “love”, and freedom.

God’s word clearly states what is right and wrong, what is sinful and what is pure. But when enough people live in sin, for instance adultery, sodomy, pornography, fornication, murder, and so on and so forth, our society gives it a pass. Sin is no longer considered sin, it is considered a “right”.

Our western “civilization” sports a population who are indoctrinated almost from birth in a system of beliefs in which  God’s laws are rejected, and the laws of society, and eventually even the laws of the nations, change to accommodate this adjusted view of what is right and wrong.

For just one example, how did murdering children and elders and other inconvenient people move from a crime punishable by death to a generally accepted right under the sobriquet of “choice”?  Anyone?  Anyone? The mystical body of Satan, the Antichrist, in action I guess.

So impurity and sin are allowed to live, and mankind grows farther and farther away from God – which is exactly Satan’s intention. The majority of the world has given over to this spirit, because it allows them to live comfortably, without a guilty conscience.

Waiting On The Night To Fall”, by “Casting Crowns”, from the album “Thrive” (2014).

“Waiting on the Night to Fall” is a great tune by “Casting Crowns”, I added the lyrics to the tune in my next post “Christ and Antichrist … (part 3)”, in case anyone is interested. But now, back to the subject , the Antichrist in tis world …

This is the mystical body of Satan in action in the world right now. This is “The Antichrist” … this is the “Not Christ”. “Devil’s Advocate”, released in 1997, was an American supernatural horror film directed by Taylor Hackford, written by Jonathan Lemkin and Tony Gilroy, and starring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, and Charlize Theron. The film did a pretty good job shining a light on “the spirit of the times”.

Mankind is more and more reliant on itself and being governed by itself and worshiping itself in an orgy of narcissistic self gratification, rather than being led by any “higher power.”

Albert Jay Nock

The mass of man, the masses, in the famous words of Albert Jay Nock who wrote (in “Our Enemy The State”) in the 30’s, the following observation:

There is, for example, no human right, natural or Constitutional, that we have not seen nullified by the United States Government. Of all the crimes that are committed for gain or revenge, there is not one that we have not seen it commit – murder, mayhem, arson, robbery, fraud, criminal collusion and connivance.”   Albert Jay Nock, from Our Enemy, the State

These days, in the west, which used to be known as “Western Civilization”, Nock’s mass of mankind, “the masses”,  now believe, in the spirit of the Antichrist, that mankind can accomplish anything.

When that belief is fully realized then Satan will finally have what he has always wanted. Seen or unseen, acknowledged or not, Satan will have control of a world that has no need for God.

Once the mystical body of Satan, “The Antichrist” has free reign then there will be a terrible time on the earth. The true, evil nature of the Antichrist, the mystical body of Satan will be revealed.

Awww, Mom … Are we there yet?

Cheers

Joe

I Think it’s getting out of control !!!

Standard
The Inner Struggle

Brother Death Take My Hand …

Into the West”, performed by Annie Lennox, composed by Howard Shore, from the LOTR soundtrack, (2003)

Thinking about my father, gone from this mortal coil some 33 years now, and still fresh in my memory as if I had coffee with him yesterday. Wishing, with all my heart, I could sit down and talk with him about things I have learned in those 33 years.

Death takes everyone … death is what binds us all together … no one escapes, no one buys their way out, no one. No one, no matter the extreme sacrifices made on the alter of self to appease the gods of our secular lives, no matter the banality of the attachments of this world of flesh and passion and decay.

No matter the pride and achievements in this short night in this bad hotel … no one … escapes … Brother Death.

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… 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. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Here, at the end of all things, Brother Death takes our hand and leads us towards the light at the end of the tunnel of the tomb … and the light … is the glorious light of Eternity’s Sunrise, or the smoldering glow of Mount Doom.

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ shall come again, sung or chanted after the consecration, the Memorial Acclamation, at every Catholic Mass. This is the Christ who died, descended into Hell, then rose that Death shall have no dominion.

We live, if we live at all, in Him. He is The Eternal Sunrise. Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Saviour of the world.

Cheers

Joe

Praying for Humility … at the end … of a short night …

Standard
The Inner Struggle

Naked came I …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

*****

20naked JobThen Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped,

21And said: Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.

22In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God.  Job 1: 20-22

*****

From Job 1: 20-22 Old Testament to Luke 22: 1-13 New Testament

*****

SatanThe treason of Judas. The last supper. The first part of the history of the passion.

[1] Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the pasch, was at hand. [2] And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death: but they feared the people.

[3] And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. [4] And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them.

[5] And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. [6] And he promised. And he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude.

[7] And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed. [8] And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go, and prepare for us the pasch, that we may eat.

[9] But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? [10] And he said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he entereth in.

[11] And you shall say to the goodman of the house: The master saith to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? [12] And he will shew you a large dining room, furnished; and there prepare. [13] And they going, found as he had said to them, and made ready the pasch.

*****

All is gift, and nothing have we here which we deserve or earn but by talents and abilities given us at birth by God the Father. And all that we earn is apportioned in goods of this world, all of which have their origin in God the Father. We do not create anything but rather are more or less talented manipulators of what the Creator made or set in motion.

Jesus betrayed by JudasSt. Luke directs our attention to the actions and motivations of Judas Iscariot, and points out that  Satan entered into Judas. Satan made use of Judas’ free will and his natural human propensity for self interest and evil.

All that follows is orchestrated by Satan using his “minions” and “useful idiots”.  The conduct of the humans  in this account and in the affairs in this world down through the ages reveals clearly what Satan desires.

Destruction, dissension, selfishness, suffering, dishonesty, suffering and misery, all the clear outcome of Satan stirring up all that is evil in the human heart.

And yet Christ has intimate and detailed knowledge of all that is to come, and Satan and humans, all creatures of the Father, have free rein because the omnipotent Father and the Son embrace that freedom in their creatures.

Satan and Judas freely decide to betray Jesus and Peter and John freely decide to obey Him. And all four of them equally prepared the Passover  in accordance with God’s will.

C.S. Lewis calls these aspects “simple good” and “complex good”. The obedience of John and Peter is simple good, the good that comes out of the evil of Satan aided by Judas is a complex good, in other words good wrought by God out of the evil of mankind.

We are all of us faced daily with exactly this choice, to obey, or to disobey, and thereby choosing our path and the next set of choices we are faced with.

Cheers

Joe

Desert walkIt is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Tolkien, “The Return of the King

Standard
The Inner Struggle

Older and Wiser …

“The Wind Of Liudao”, Jia Peng Fang, from the album “Faraway”, (2002)

Once a soldier, always a soldier“… 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“.

Just how do we get from “… not to yield.” to “tired old men”?  From a previous post I recap:

What are our fondest desires, in fulsome pride? Self-Will, to be Esteemed, Loved, Extolled, Honored, Praised, Preferred, Consulted, Approved, Understood, Visited … pretty much covers the entire gamut …

What are our deepest fears? To be Humiliated, Despised, Rebuked, Calumniated, Forgotten, Ridiculed, Suspected, Wronged, Abandoned, Refused … again, pretty much covers the entire gamut of human fears, and yet, and yet …”

When the sum of all our fears grind out the anticipation of our fondest desires … desires forgotten in the mists of the past, crowded out by the realized fears, is that what produces “old and tired”? And yet …

Saint John Paul the Great (1920-2005)

Saint John Paul the Great (1920-2005)

Lord, what I once had done with youthful might,
Had I been from the first true to the truth,
Grant me, now old, to do — with better sight,
And humbler heart, if not the brain of youth …

and

The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time has made;
Stronger by weakness, wiser, men become
As they draw nearer to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.

Love will not backward sigh, but forward strain
On in the tale still telling, never told. …

from: The Diary of an Old Soul, by the Scotsman, George MacDonald (1824–1905)

Gandalf the WhiteIt is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Tolkien, “The Return of the King

Honor, Faith, loyalty, competence, pride, selflessness, integrity, courage, discipline, sacrifice,  tradition,  virtues to live by. The virtues we strive to live by, for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, onto death or the end of the world in spite of everything the world throws at us in it’s effort to deny life.

The thing that all of these virtues or qualities have in common at their root is they are all about “Giving”  to others. Giving away what we have and are for the benefit of others, even unto death.

To develop these “characteristics” one has to live them, repeat them, over, and over, and over, until the repetition ingrains them so deeply into every cell of our being that thought never enters into it. it just IS the way you live, as natural as breathing.

Aristotle makes this point about the virtues in general, with courage as one of the virtues he addresses. As he notes in his Nicomachean Ethics, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

For Aristotle, the key to virtuous behavior (to include courageous behavior) is habituation. We have to habituate ourselves to facing fear and reacting courageously. A great deal of military training focuses on exactly that — the formation of certain military virtues through repetitive training.

Pool of WorshipThe corollary is, of course, that choosing self indulgence also becomes ingrained. We become what we do. “Giving” to others or “Taking” from others for ourselves are the two sides of the coin. We choose what we become.

It is so simple that few acknowledge it, because to do so would mean having to take responsibility for our lives. Not being responsible has become, in our modern culture, literally a “get out of jail free” card. We can do and demand whatever we want and if anyone tries to stop us or hold us accountable THEY are the bad guy.

Honor and loyalty are kind of like a religion, a part of our religion. It is a religious experience.  It’s a belief in the standards, values, morals of an organization and an adherence to them, [but] . . . it’s not a mindless adherence. . . .

Duty, honor, sacrifice: You have a duty, and by properly executing your duty you cause an honor to be associated with yourself,  your profession and your beliefs. “Now do I swear fealty and service to my Lord, to speak and to be silent, to do and to let be, to come and to go, in need or plenty, in peace or war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my Lord release me, or calls me home, or the world’s end“.

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?”William J. Bennett – in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

People are worth defendingWhat is worth defending? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for?  In a nutshell? People … the folks … because they are intrinsically valuable and worthwhile as individuals and as a group. and, for the most part, utterly defenseless. they are so defenseless that they don’t even know that they are defenseless. They are, in this aspect, like sheep.

Make no mistake about it … there is evil out there … there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? 8 years in the Military and 10 years in the Corrections Service teaches one the reality of evil people. Evil is nothing more than the “absence of good”, and therein lies a whole world of hurt.

In any manifestation of evil the underlying or sometimes overt aspect of evil, the “dead” giveaway, is how the actors value and treat ordinary people. In each and every instance without exception the manner in which any person, organization or ideology treats ordinary people is the hallmark of which side they fall on.

Jesus in the WildernessAnd no matter what the mental and rhetorical gymnastics the perpetrators go through there are ONLY two sides. You are either on the side of the Angels, or on the side of the Demons. There is no middle ground. Even refusing to choose, denying that there is a choice is merely to choose self indulgence and everything that implies. There are no votes of “Present”, no option to “Abstain”, in real life.

There are only two forces in the universe who have died for you – Jesus Christ, and the soldiers, airmen, sailors, police and peace officers and all the rest of the pointy end sheepdogs who put it all on the line for the sheep every time they go to work. Jesus Christ died for your soul, the rest died to make it possible for you to accept Christ’s offer in freedom, peace and safety.

Cheers

Joe

You are either on the side of the Angels, or on the side of the Demons. There is no middle ground.

Standard