” … such loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, in The Scarlett Letter

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Often we think of the loss of faith as an individual thing – that it is the consequence of our individual actions or inactions – ah, but we forget that we live in culture and swim in it; that it, too, can be inclined to sin and structures and dispositions of sin and the explicit and inferred rejection of God that exacts a serious cost as to our attachment to culture and to its sin, its many sins.

Folks: cultures take a tariff.  We often pay unwittingly and without any clue that we are being robbed, reduced, converted to a faithless fate.

I share an example of this.

I recently attended a wedding of a young man who had been in Catholic schools all his life, a man who attended a prominent Catholic university and is through and through attached to the school, if not its rich and deep religious ethos.

Well his wedding was without any reference whatsoever to faith.

The fellow who presided over the ceremony was a lawyer and himself a graduate of a prestigious Catholic university.  His governance over the ceremony evidenced his skill in creative and witty writing and humor, but nary so much as a remote reference to God, or to faith.

As to a sacred ceremony, it resembled more so a bowling banquet, nothing more.

Well, for some reason (perhaps, appearance) I was tapped to give the prayer before the wedding meal and so I did – preparing four short paragraphs and, imagine this: mentioning God, the wedding at Cana and Christ our Lord.

Strangely, at the prayer’s conclusion the attendees clapped, applauded.  I was surprised to say the least.  Then, I realized I was the only one to mention God the entire day.

Friends, what I witnessed was a culture losing contact with faith at an ever-increasing speed.

If anyone had told me ten years ago that I would experience this at a wedding of those previously immersed in faith, I would have flat-out not imagined that could happen.

Dear Friends, we are losing faith faster than can be imagined.

What are YOU going to do about it?  The crisis is at hand.  Consider yourself forewarned.

Shalom.

Please note I will be on retreat from Friday, August 19 to August 22.

I will publish again on August 23, 2016.

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I encourage you to review posts that you have not yet read.

God bless.

Maggie Sullivan was married to Seamus for forty years, and a fine marriage it was.  Each could be themselves and as most women know in such a comfortable experience, Seamus was, in his natural state as a man, one who could playfully tease and joke affectionally with his beloved.

Well in the midst of their give and take one day, Maggie says to Seamus, after giggling at his gentle tomfoolery, “Seamus, I must have been a fool when I married you.”  To which Seamus replied, “Aye, but I was in love and never noticed.”

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Love and Truth.  Can there be love without truth?  Not likely.

When you think about it our Christian faith tells us as much.  We have a God of Love and a narrative that shares the Truth of being human and being created by a knowing and intentional God.

If a marriage relies on truth and love, does it not follow that a family and a society does as well?

In my life I know I was raised in a family where truth was told and love flowed freely.  This was, as a think about it, a live among faithful people, those who worshiped in their honesty and affection.  There was no censorship in that place. One said what we saw and experienced.  We dealt in truth and the search for, and experience of, it.  Love followed it in tandem.  Yes, I was raised in a secure environment within that family and among others in my community who lived quite the same way.  From truth and love, courage, optimism and community followed.  Life was lived and not avoided.

It is little wonder that I have friends with whom I share a life of 66 years of close friendship, of shared truth and indissoluble love.

As experience our culture today, especially the public culture, I see little taste for truth in media, little appetite for truth in politics.

I cite but two iterations.  One, the grotesque habit of having a government “spokesman” for the President, the State and Defense Department, etc. whose only distinguishing feature seems to be to avoid truth in favor of fiction, to disassemble and pronounce things a decent and sane person would or should know is, to say the lease, a shading of the truth.

The other citation is the extraordinary one-sided and repetitive narrowness of media reporters (televised and print).

On this latter group, I recall my very bright, truth-seeking Ph.D. son who said to me some years ago: “Dad, when I begin to read something in the newspapers and find a clear misstatement of fact or truth, I simply ignore the article and move on.”

He hardly gives the newspaper a glance today.  Neither does he eat rancid food. Same principle at play.

If there is no love without truth, we are destroying our access to the life Maggie and Seamus know?  I say, “Yes.”

I can tell you this if you avoid truth you lose intimacy, a life of ease and fellowship, the joys of man’s habitual unplanned follies and the laughter, humility, and wisdom they generously produce.

Be alert to what you hear.  Be discreet in your easy acceptance of it.  See the Truth, love is comes with it.

Shalom.

There is danger in all men.  The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with the power to endanger the public liberty.  (Emphasis added.)

The true source of our suffering has been our timidity.  We are afraid to think … Let us dare to think, read, speak and write … Let it be known that British liberties and not the grants of princes or parliaments … many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established preliminaries, even before Parliament existed. (Emphasis added.)

John Adams*

It is odd to me how my efforts in writing Spirlaw over five years ago moved from a singular focus (living faith in secular culture) to address disciplines that stretch from Scripture, to contemplation, to spirituality, to mystic theology across varied faiths and many centuries, to psychology, psychiatry, cultural criticism, history at-large, American and Western and European History, philosophy, moral development, law, politics, literature, biography, and even military leadership.

Perhaps this is a function of my very varied and challenging life experience and my training in law, theology, politics, government, international relations and public policy.

Perhaps a better explanation is this: I have lived contrary to the way this culture is structured where we are compartmentalized, specialized, under-educated, homogenized and very lax in pursuing full human grow and emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual development.

That is, frankly, to say – life is not limited to but small slivers, small bits of this or that – no more than a banquet is experienced by one sampling but one item offered, and only tasting one ingredients of that dish that was, after all, prepared for our full enjoyment.

Are you as to life and as an American, and more particularly, as a Christian, one who samples one thing at the banquet?

Troubles arise when the populace, at all levels, becomes lazy and lax for then life goes off track, and too easy for a person, an ideology and a centralized power to endanger our liberty and our very existence as a nation and community of free and independent people.

You best think about this.

Sadly, I don’t listen to very many of the voices I am able to here.  I do this because they have nothing really to say.  Most parrot what contemporary culture tells them.

I am a far more selective listener and avid reader open to experience and my faith.  It seems Adams and his peers were quite the same.

Shalom.

* Note – These quotes come for Adams’ private journal (in the first instance) and from his A Dissertation on the Canon and the Federal Law (in the second instance).

If you like this post, please send it to others.  We are in a very significant time in our history.  We will correct course ONLY IF we join together. 

  

The story of Jesus as recounted in the Gospels is true to the degree that it can be … believed; its truth must be looked for in the hearts of believers …

Malcolm Muggeridge, in Jesus: The Man Who Lives

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“God moulds history to His purposes, revealing in it the Fearful Symmetry which is His language in conversing with men, history is … the clay in which He works,” so Muggeridge reminds us.

God, history, us in time, us in history, the Truth of God in Christ, believing, truth in our hearts and seen by others. 

This is forever and a day the question.

It is the question today, the question so critically raised today in the images of those in power, those we elect, treat as celebrity, listen to, read about, observe and receive.

Each of us, and us collectively, stand against this measure as Christians: it is the test of our Belief, our state of life, and living daily, in Belief.

Truth is our problems today have everything to do with the Truth we claim as seen in us, in our culture, our work, our industry, our conduct, our communities, our homes and families, our politics and government, our clerics, our Churches and our institutions.

Is not the Incarnation God’s desire to see in us Him so that we might aspire after His likeness in mortal life and the peace that this brings?

Shalom.

Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but thine, be done.

Lk 22:42

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What does one do when the world spins out of control?  When leadership is corrupt and faithless?  Seeks for itself?  Fails to serve?  Destroys?  Abandons morality?  Endorses depravity?  Divides others on racial grounds?  On gender? Denies history?  God?  Invokes lies?  Misleads?  Is full of arrogance and conceit? Is faithless?

The answer is clear.  Seek, above all, to discern God’s will and to do it.

Does Christ not show us this in His Passion?  Are our instructions not clear?  Clear in His words?

You have your guidance.  Seek, then do – God’s will.

Only dead fish swim with the stream.

Shalom.

Footnote – For those who wonder if there were better times in America, if the culture was once whole and healthy, I suggest you pick up David McCullough’s John Adams and read just the very first chapter, if no more than that.

What you will find is this: our second President was, like his peers, a common and humble man, a man of modest means who faced hardship, a man of extraordinary character and faith, a good husband, family man and father, an honorable public servant, a man to be trusted throughout his life.

Yes, we have been a wonderful culture and a courageous nation guided by faith and faithful and humble leaders.  This is why I so often write of challenges today as I do.

Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Psalm 51:20

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In listening this morning to the great choral classics sung by King’s College Choir and especially Gregorio Allegri’s exquisite Miserere (composed in the 16th century) it is hard not to realize how far we have drifted from a sacred consciousness, a Christian disposition and character, identity – and harder still not to be saddened by this self-imposed exile.

What do I mean?  Miserere’s setting is Psalm 51.  The Choir’s voices sing of things we have misplaced, forgotten, from which we have departed.

The Psalm and the lyrics are of repentance.  It acknowledges one’s sinfulness and seeks God’s mercy and compassion.  It speaks to God’s desire that, despite our sinfulness, we seek a sincerity of heart.  It seeks that we might know wisdom and be cleansed … “hear the sounds of joy and gladness” again.

Further, it seeks that a steadfast spirit be renewed and sustained in us, that we might “teach the wicked” God’s ways and “that sinners may return to” God.  Likewise that our tongues might speak of God’s healing power.

It powerfully proclaims that our “broken spirit” is our sacrifice and pleads in confidence that God will “not spurn a broken and humble heart.”

How can we deny The Word Made Flesh?  How can we offend God?  Act to offend Him? Attempt to exile Him?  How can our public figures, political advocates, judges and pressure groups act so full of pride and without a trace of humility, divorce themselves from time-tested ancient wisdom?

Who gives them the right for this mutiny?  This insurrection?  Why do we listen to them and turn away from God’s timeless voice?

Shalom.

Note – If you wished to keep yourself in a proper and healthy disposition, you would be wise to read Psalm 51 regularly.  Among the things it does, frankly, is unite us with our Jewish brothers and sisters who are the inspiration for this Psalm and its pleading.

Erich Fromm … broadened the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others – to make them controllable, to foster their dependence, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredictability and originality, so to keep them in line.  (Emphasis added.)

M. Scott Peck, in People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil

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Well, U.S. intelligence reports on ISIS have been altered so to fit the “Leftist political narrative” of the President.  Dangerous thing to do.  Hiding from the truth is always destructive, but always the sign of under-developed people, those who hide from reality and in the worse cases fill the void created with arrogance and fantasy, the latter of which they then force on others to comfort themselves.

Thus, it has always been.  Yes, Socrates spoke of this – but alas we now know so little of such things.  So much for “education.”

And there you have the American Left today.  Ideology, not reality.  Centralized control of more and more of human existence.  Control, by the way, exercised by those who are, in their personal lives, demonstratively disordered.

We seem to be in a phase of national psychosis.  Yes, a state of disorder whereby our intellectual and social functioning deteriorates while we withdraw from reality.

“A chicken in every pot” has now become for the Left and its herd “free everything!”

The truth about truth is simple to state: you can never be a whole and healthy person if you deny truth, deny reality – nor can you survive as a nation by denying truth and reality either.

Our present time calls not for heroes, or presidents, but rather simply a nation of people who can be.  How does one be?  Seek truth, think for yourself, be independent, do not conform so easily.

Electing the truth-challenged rather makes the case for national psychosis and hastens one’s concern.

What might one do?  Perhaps the words of psychiatrist Rollo May provide an answer.

  “Every human being must have a point at which he stands against the culture where he says, this is me and the damned world can go to hell.”

When truth is ignored that moment draws near.

Shalom.

Footnote – The genius of our Nation’s Founders is raised up when we realize that their desire for limited government fulfills the reality that we do not have a surplus of well-formed, truthful, honest and balanced people to serve a centralized behemoth such as we have created.

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other. (Emphasis added.)

John Adams, 1798

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You think we are not far astray, lost?  Who in the public sphere speaks from a base of religious and moral authority, understanding, comprehension?  Who dares to stand for leadership today whose life has been built on morality and religion? Whose voice reflects their religious belief and morality as the source of their core identity and action?  No one.

There is not a single person in either major party or any minor party who passes the John Adams test for leadership of this great and unique nation.  Not one.

Yes, we are in a real pickle and we had best wake up and get busy.

In the last chapter of his 1997 book Slouching Toward Gomorrah, Robert H. Bork addresses this question: Can America avoid the decrepitude, chaos, violence, immorality and disorder of ancient Gomorrah?

His answer is it can – provided it has the will to oppose and refute modern liberalism and the decay and destruction it brings … and provided its citizens embrace religion and morality in the manner that John Adams (and other Founders) did knowing the indispensable role of both religion and morality as the cornerstone of our nation and the very source of our freedom, our unity and our precious limited government.

From the New Deal to the abject godless mess we have today, have we not “had enough?”

Think about it.

Shalom.

Note – For those who care about Catholic universities retaining a Catholic identity, I suggest you track down The Sycamore Trust who keeps a vigil on this problem. It is a good resource, doing good and necessary things.  God bless.

The test of faith is always … a public profession. (Emphasis added.)

St. John Paul, II

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The notion that faith is a private matter is one of the great fallacies of modern liberalism proclaimed and housed in contemporary secular culture.

Oddly, the idea of a private, sequestered, silenced faith – a faith divorced from public life and culture – is never adequately attacked, and it should be.

Frankly, if it were dismissed we would not have a candidate who cannot avoid lying and who is constantly embrolied in legal controversaries and a candidate who seems without a comprehensive understanding of the serious problems he has identified.

We have two very inadequate candidates and two deeply flawed political parties – not to mention a journalism corps mostly worthy of elementary school.

For months now I have been thinking that, as important as this election is, God is likely showing us something far more significant and it is this: we had best return to Him or all will be lost, choas will become destruction, corruption become inescapable evil.

What is the good news that we might hold as a comfort?  It is this: St. Peter denied that he knew Christ.  (Mt 26:69-75)  Yet, then he made a public profession of his faith.  He returned to God.  That is our example.  That is our simple instruction.

Our faith is not a private matter.  It is a public matter.  Renounce and oppose those who would say otherwise.  In your doing so is our hope.

Shalom. 

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