“I always fancy that the day will come when people will suddenly discover that they have lost what is behind them, and have noting to gain from what is in front of them.”

Ernst Wiechest, in Tidings

+ + +

“I always fancy that day will come when people will suddenly discover that they have lost what is behind them and have noting to gain for what is in front of them.”

I imagine that day. Feel the emptiness of losing your past – what has been the foundation of your identity, your familiarity with others and who you were made to be – the experience of your parents, your childhood, your grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, your cousins, your playmates, your childhood and its place, your adolescence, your early adulthood, your church, your best friends, your childhood play and early successes, problems met and conquered, lessons learned, deceased loved ones, days of sun and early hints of triumphs, first-loves, simple pleasures and cherished memories born of old age and retrospection.

Wiechest was born in Poland in the late 19th century. He was a writer and poet who stood in opposition to Germany’s national socialism ideology and earned time in Buchenwald concentration camp for his troubles.

I fear Wiechest’s words speak to us today.

Having thought of America’s Greatness – we are assaulted by those who deny it, who desire its rejection, its deconstruction.

Who in their right mind wishes to lose what is and was behind them? The measure of our individual and aggregate identity as Americans and human beings. Worse yet, what sort of person has the gigantic ego sufficient to think that they are so pre-ordained or so astonishingly capable as to tear down monuments and institutions willy-hilly … to be replaced by designs of their own preference?

In the last seven or so decades we have sailed off course. God has been first lost – then rejected, the brain has seemed to displace the soul as the winds of hedonism grew from subtle to strong. Politics offered artificial distances where fellowship had grown. The individual mattered more than the whole, boundaries were crossed, genders bent.

We are in the process of losing what is behind. No house can stand without a foundation.

Shalom.

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness … ” (Emphasis added.)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

+ + +

The price of distancing oneself from God is quite high – personal discontent is but one such price. Imagine this: you deny God and live a life void of happiness and one in which you never find the truth. Secularizing life produces unbelievers and that means the place of faith in every day life is diminished.

Think about this: our Founders took great pain to insure that we enjoy the freedom of religion. Smart they were. Be alert to the loss of our precious freedoms – and especially any actions that diminish our freedom of religion.

Shalom.

“… but deliver us from evil …”

The Lord’s Prayer

+ + +

This is the last petition in the Lord’s Prayer. Its place as the last petition ought to remind us that Jesus did not ask Our Father to vanquish evil from life but that we might be delivered from evil. Hence, in this life it is our task to pray that collectively we all be delivered from Evil – Satan … the murderer, the deceiver, the liar, he who divides us from God, opposes God and brings us sin and death.

So what have we done to banish Evil? Banish the corrupter? What have we done TODAY in our present circumstances to banish Satan, corruption, hatred, lies and death and destruction?

Have we ever considered in this contentious political struggle for power – those who tell untruths to gain personal power or those in the media who assist others in their gaining political power by invoking untruths are furthering Satan’s desires rather than opposing The Evil One? Ironically, our task is to join together in prayer and action to further God’s desires not the desires of those who crave political power at all costs.

Today is Inaugural Day. Are we welcoming one who opposes Evil or one who covets power, those who crave control over others or seek to serve and protect all from Evil and deliver us to God?

In the present circumstances ask yourself if ideology is truth? If it is inspired by God or reflects the lust for power at the costs of division and the fragmentation of the population one from another. Ask too if ideology does not deceive? Does not rather present a “holy grail” designed to further chaos and the thirst for power and control over God’s children and His desire that we first seek the Kingdom of Heaven … seek it as one people united in faith?

Can it be that in our present state of being we are drawn in to efforts not to vanquish Evil but to sustain sin?

Understand that we live in dangerous times as Evil seeks to deceive and destroy. In this, is it not likely that Evil would desire to divide a united nation whose pledge is to unite as one under God?

Be smart, be faithful – do NOT be deceived by the Evil one and those who might advance his interests. You would be wise indeed to recite the Lord’s Prayer each day and live the content of that prayer each day.

Shalom.

Postscript – Ludwig von Mises reminds us this: “There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men.” I suppose this leaves us to ask: who are we at this time in our history?

“There is a destiny that makes us Brothers (and Sisters),* none gets this way alone. All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.” *Author’s Insertion.

Edwin Marham

+ + +

The works of the poet are food enough to re-focus our thinking today – in light of the antagonism that is so on display here in Washington and seems to have infected the political liberals and Left.

Given the chance to unite what they see as a divided nation (one they have spent a considerable time dividing), one would think it wise and in the the Nation’s best interest and their own political interest to make of a fractured people – one united nation.

One can only hope they might heed the words of Edwin Marham. The high road often provides the best view – all the better to lead a united people into the future – strong and formed up as one people under God.

As if any other impetus is needed, I offer these words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church “Victory over the ‘prince of the world’ was won once and for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself to death to give us life.”

Why oh why, with this one truth, do we not assemble as Brothers and Sisters? Why the division? Why the antagonism? Does anyone think that we live more securely as a divided nation? Cannot even Christ’s death teach us we must be one body, one blood?

Shalom.

“We set forth our petitions before God … so that we ourselves may realize that in these things it is necessary to turn to God for help.” (Emphasis added.)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

+ + +

We are in the mess here in America because we have turned our back to God. We have done so because we have adopted the mistaken notion that we do not need God.

Let’s be honest – we have people on the Left who place their trust in Karl Marx. In doing this they endorse godlessness and intend to steer our Great Nation to “socialism” (i.e., communism by another name).

We are soon to be submitted to grand follies of government (grand schemes) proposed by those with no particular achievement or skills but for their election to political position under the dark cloud that profiles as a corrupt electoral enterprise.

Yes, from the late 1960’s to today (the last six decades) we have pursued division among us, demoralization, abortion, the neglect of virtues, the abandonment of God, the denigration of religion and worship, disregard for our remarkable Republic and its Founders and our forebears, and for the courage of millions of military men and women who served this Nation at great personal price.

Yes, we have denied God – walked away from God. We lacked the intelligence and scope to pause and look for the wisdom of Aquinas and so many others in our human history who have gifted us with wisdom for the ages.

Thus we stand on the verge of being governed by some of the most ill-equipped people yet in American history to enter public political life. Imagine the risk to the Republic. Imagine the compounded risk we face insofar as we have departed from God on whom we relied for centuries because we have erroneously assumed we no longer need God’s help!!!

Imagine the calamity that awaits. For our own survival – we must return to God … IN WHOM WE MUST TRUST!!!

Let us follow Aquinas and return to the habit of making our daily petitions to God and in this seek guidance to restore all we have thus far discarded or destroyed or dare put to risk.

Shalom.

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realigning who you are at the deepest level.”

Elkhart Tolle

+ + +

Have you noticed that you hear recently the word “dystopia” used when for decades you have never heard that word, and while you do not know precisely what it means its use suggest that it describes something “bad”? Well the word itself comes from the Greek word meaning bad or hard and the Greek word for place.

Coincident to hearing this word, I have observed recently that a handful of movies have a darkness to them – show people who are confused, conflicted, living in a darkened time and space. Yes, these films convey life in a bad or hard place – featuring characters who appear to be suffering and confused, wandering through life, stumbling through life as if they search for meaning, coherence, something that is good, satisfying, purposeful and lasting.

Art imitates life. That said, our movie-makers are telling us stories of our present existence as they see it. These films are captivating in that the characters look much like you would see every day and quite regularly but they have an unsettled way about them – as if in an uncomfortable manner they seek something of value, that which might give them comfort and meaning, a healthy connection with another, love and belonging. In the absence of either love or belonging we see drinking, drug use, sexual contact with desperate others who also present as having this search for connection, what is good and reassuring. Ironically the wanderers seek belonging, love, affection, relationship – those fundamental yearnings that the human possesses as a birthright, a thirst and need that humans are “hard wired” to desire.

Enter Elkhart Tolle.

In the midst of life in a time of darkness and detachment one is wise to attend to who you are at the deepest level. That is to say, in dystopian times it is best to withdraw to quiet, to solitude, to resources that tell you about being human, having a spiritual quality housed within you.

In a dystopian period it is wise to be quiet and to restore the notion that there is a Divine reality and you are part of it. Yes, the solitude that helps in a troubled time can be attended to by recognizing that we have a soul (a psyche, if you prefer) and our existence itself has a sanctity, a holiness that periods of darkness cannot dissolve into nothingness no matter the actions of others.

Are we in such a time today? Perhaps we sit on the edge of it – its first wave of a darker and harder existence. At the minimum, it is hard to find those whose words and life give us meaning.

Happy is the man or woman, adult or child who is loved by those who know the precious value of human existence and give us a respite, show us love and comfort in darkness and when doubt presents itself.

Shalom.

“ … united we stand divided we fall …”

Alexandre Dumas

+ + +

Divisions in family and the nation state are deadly. Today we are a divided Nation and it seems we are getting more so each day. Yes, we have cultivated division by “identity politics” and the proliferation of all sorts of “special pleaders” who advance their story of victimization resulting in particularized status, enhanced political advantage, and a degree of autonomy-by-small group – the latter memorializing but more and deeper division.

Winston Churchill wisely noted that “where there is no enemy within, the enemy outside cannot hurt you.” This is both psychologically true and true as to the nation state. Yes, countries that are united flourish while those that are divided and who’s population is splintered whither and die. Likewise division can be injurious to the person and his or her psychological wellbeing and one’s full human development. We are, of course, social beings and made for fellowship and community, a melding of one from many – hence the United States, not the Divided States.

In our own case, we have been damaged by ideology and ideologues. Their aim is to disassemble America’s foundation – conform us to the footprint of socialist states and, better yet, to a state of communist totalitarianism. Make no mistake the Democrat Party and those on the Left pursue radical departure from our heritage, our institutions, our Constitution and our free market economy. This: a mighty damage from simple acts of division.

We have succeeded, through divisive politics, to divide our culture, make enemies where once there were neighbors and friends. In our division we are weaker and more vulnerable to those in the world who wish us ill.

A nation splintered and divided can neither prevail nor long exist. So one asks: can we stand the “luxury” of dividing this Nation and its “fundamental” alteration – advocated by those who least of all have done anything in particular with their life, nor show the talent and wisdom, for such an unnecessary and destructive objective.

Shalom.

Postscript – When a Nation becomes as to its population – two distinct groups, it becomes an “us” versus “them” environment and we know from abundant historical examples that such a division breeds oppression and at times – civil conflict. We need not move in that direction. Best to swallow one’s pride and unify under the Constitution and organizational structure that our Founders wisely constructed. Enough with this division.

“The masses in highly industrialized countries like England, the United States, or France are largely de-Christianized. Technology, and the way of life it produces, undermines Christianity far more effectively than violent measures do.”

Czeslaw Milosz, in The Captive Mind

+ + +

A dear friend of mine who is a Priest, and a very good one, gave a homily recently in which he said he had five nieces and nephews who did not believe in God because they said no one could prove that God existed. They took this position notwithstanding that they come from a long family line of practicing, believing Catholics – a number of whom entered religious life and despite the fact that they had attended Catholic schools.

My dear friend’s words struck a note with me not dissimilar to what Czeslaw Milosz has offered in his book The Captive Mind. Likewise what he said resonated with my long time interest in the relationship between secularism and faith and the cost of the former as to the latter, and as to one’s heart and soul, one’s happiness and stability, one’s meaning and purpose, and one’s opportunity to experience the fullness of human existence.

While I do not say that technology is bad, but rather I wonder what effect it has on us and our full growth. Does in have a cost in addition to a benefit? Are we aware of the cost?

When I receive an “invitation” to meet my Doctor on a video chat rather than an office visit, I wonder what the cost is of not having a hands-on, face to face visit. I recall that Jesus placed his hands on the sick and impaired and they were healed.

When I am invited to electronic transactions I wonder if we will no longer meet face to face and that we will dull our capacity to know others by their glance, their facial expressions, their sensitive smile or their sparkling eyes and soft voice. I imagine the price we pay for forfeiting our ability to take others in by our encounter with them in person. I wonder what this might do to love and caring, empathy and sympathy, human understanding and relationships.

Perhaps Milosz was correct in early 1950’s when he was writing A Captive Mind. Perhaps he saw all the way to 2021. Maybe the heart and soul see longer even than the 71 years between 1950 and 2021. If one sees that far, perhaps one can see to eternity … I suppose that might require we engage our heart and soul despite what might be a culture’s other focus. I wonder if my Dear Friend’s nieces and nephews suffered from a “captive mind” which might forfeit one’s life in the heart and in the soul.

Shalom.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 37:4

+ + +

Amid troubles and uncertainty we wonder, sometimes doubt and feel lost. We seek from others indications of what we might do to find peace and tranquility. In the midst we often begin to ask: what is a good life? “Tis a good question.” My son says “it is the only question.”

In the midst of chaos we cannot depend on standard institutions and surely not on government to lead us to calm, purpose and meaning. On the contrary, religious narrative is a source of stability and insight … especially in the matter of securing a good life – one with calm and purpose.

Above we see that God offers us “the path of life” – raises us above the turmoil, brings us rest – interior quiet and a distance from the immediate noise and discontent – provides a purpose and joy that will last forevermore.

Today we have a way to distance ourselves from the noise and nonsense that fills the air.

Shalom.

In narcissism “one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself. While the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but … the viewpoint of being useful or dangerous to one.”

Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

+ + +

There is something quite troublesome about those who would invoke “fundamental change” upon America. It is the gaul of it, the astonishing presumption that those who wish to fundamentally change this Nation and its precious institutions, legacy, and culture do so without a moment’s hesitation to think that maybe, just maybe, they possess neither the authority nor the smarts to pursue unilaterally such an extraordinary task – a task that came out of a remarkable historic trajectory that found its home in the hearts and minds of extraordinary and faithful people who were themselves the summary product of the pains and suffering of the ages understood in their heart, soul, and faith and articulated in their uniquely elevated intellect and wisdom.

Yes, our Founders were rare beings – the likes of which we do not see today.

Who but a narcissist could pursue willy-nilly such a task and the fundamental dismantling of the rarest of Nations? Only the godless, the sick and self-centered, the foolish and ignorant, ill-informed – those with the highest regard for themselves and a depth of disgust for all those who surround them or came before them. Yes, such a task is engaged by those among us who are deeply distorted, ill within. Rather brings to mind those who rebel against the Divine.

We are forewarned.

Shalom.

Categories

Log In

%d bloggers like this: