“Marriage is a sacrament, hence the married life is especially sanctified by sacramental grace … married life is a truly spiritual vocation … it is accidentally rendered difficult by the fact that married people do not recognize their spiritual opportunities …

Thomas Merton, in Life and Holiness

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I am struck by the truth that comes to us when we marry the one we love. What truth? The truth that in loving another in marriage we come to know the love imparted by God in all things He creates. Yes, when we love a spouse we are opening the gate to realizing what it is for us to be loved by God …Imagine this: in our very creation – in our birth realized – we carry the capacity to love as we are loved by Our Creator. Think of the gift we are given! How can we be anything but awed and amazed that we contain the facility to know God and love others as we are loved by God.

That said – is it not a tragedy that marriages – a sacramental event – can be so easily vacated? How much we need to feel God’s love in the love we process for our spouse.

This culture would be far better off, far healthier – if – in loving another – we connected our expression of love with the interior reality that we contain within us God’s love of us and those to whom we pledge our love.

Shalom.

POSTSCRIPT – Posting hate today. A busy day and not much tie to sit and think and write. Sorry for the delayed posting.

“Give me thy grace, Good God, to set the world at nought, to set my mind fast upon thee and not to hang upon the words of men’s mouth, to be content to be solitary, not to long for worldly company, little by little utterly to cast off the world, and rid my mind of all besides thee …”

St. Thomas More

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This is a segment of a longer prayer that St. Thomas More had written in the margin of his book of hourly prayer after his troubles had begun and he resigned his offices at court.

So what lessons might be learn from these words? First – in times of trouble seek God more urgently. Second – reject the world in favor of a focus on God and your faith. Third – turn a deft ear to the words of mortals – especially the words of those who are faithless who’s instinct is to destroy what God hath given. Fourth – welcome a solitary life and the fellowship of those of like mind in faith. Fifth – give no satisfaction to those who desire to dismantle what we have been given – in favor of the destruction of our sacred heritage and its articulation in our Federal Republic, our Constitution, our role in the world, our sacred freedoms and the legacy of our courageous and faithful Founders.

Having re-oriented your disposition as to the world – reject what is godless and the dubious ideas and acts of those who intend to glorify their crass desires to destroy what is good and sacred in favor of things that embellish on their selfish, sick disposition to place you and all others under their heal. Yes, the privilege of times of darkness is this: we get to draw ever closer to God and we get to resist the craven desires of the mindless individuals who seek only chaos and conflict.

Shalom.

”It is a sense of the sublime that we have to regard as the root of man’s creative activities in art, thought and noble living … what we see and cannot say is the everlasting theme of mankind’s unfinished symphony … ”

Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion

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Rabbi Heschel is talking about our experience of the ineffable. Yes, we carry within innate questions about life and God, about love and eternity. Yet when you think about it – there is very little daily public conversation about such things. Rather there is conversation about far more mundane matters. Indeed there are very few in our culture who bring us thoughts about the most sublime aspects of life. Note how strange this is insofar as all humans have the instinct for what is sublime, ever present and sacred – yet the conversation of such is routinely ignored. Our nominal ”leaders” and “talking heads” are devoid of any artful discourse about anything that matters in the intimate lives of people. This tells us something significant, namely – those we listen to have no particular depth or insight as to the identity of personhood and relationship with supernatural reality, God, the narrative of a fully known and lived life. In particular we often listen to people who have little or nothing to say. Yes, public discourse is mostly a BIG nothing-burger. Listening to Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi and many others comes to mind.

Recently I saw a PBS interview with Bill Gates. It was quite amusing. At the onset Mr. Gates was talked freely and fluidly – yet when the interviewer raised questions about his long term contacts with Jeffery Epstein and his overnight visits to Mr. Epstein homes his responses were fumbling, an odd configurations of redundancy and unease. I mention this because it was quite striking (police call this clumsy chatter “hinkey” as in odd and revealing). It was to me – revealing … a chatty man became a nervous, fumbling and redundant fellow. It reminded me how easily our culture provides useless discourse and hardly presents any conversation of depth and importance and surely nothing reflective of “the ineffable” – that which is in the core of our being and has been in the human person century over century.

What can be gained by a life in which we almost never explore the interior content of a given-life? The answer? In such a perpetual state we succeed in living only a most superficial and thin portion of the sacred humanity we have been gifted to possess. Seems like a most rudimentary task is avoided at great loss. A culture that evades substance is NOT destined to last the test of time.

In light of this – is it not wise to ask: why am I listening to X or Y or Z? Would our time not be better spent plumbing the depths of the human heart and soul? Would we not be healthier, wiser, happier, more purposeful, more insightful and more contented if we actually sought what is within as saints, poets, artists, writers, philosophers and Holy men and women do?

Shalom.

“One of the reasons why religion seems irrelevant today is that many of us no longer have the sense that we are surrounded by the unseen. Our scientific culture educates us to focus our attention on the physical and material world in front of us.” (Emphasis added.)

Karen Armstrong, in A History of God

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Elevating technology as we have may have been a fool’s bargain in some respects. Think of the cell phone and unsolicited messages on our cells and our computers. We are in a bind whereby we have electronic exchanges often without a dialogue with a human being.

In this exchange of machine for the human being we have the dubious “pleasure” of dealing with cell phones and computer keyboards, and sharing ourselves with recorded messages when we actually wish to speak with an living person insofar as we have a reasonable expectation and need to have a conversation with a human being that is fluid and might just address our need for particular answers to our inquiries and that necessitate direct personal interaction.

Think of what Ms. Armstrong says – we have exchanged God for the physical and the material … and the technological. Ironically the latter removes us from human interaction. Indeed if you look around you see that we have not expanded our ability to eloquently deal with human discourse person-to-person. We seem to have shortened the opportunities for regular human exchanges. Think of the loss of the open air marketplace where over the centuries they were a place where people gathered for exchanges with one another – that were largely personal, conversational, familial, friendly and communal. Add to that thought this: retail stores are closing and malls are being depopulated and removed from the landscape. Yes, we are now people of the “on line” purchase!!! Who can imagine that this is wholesome and makes us a more complete human? Oh goodie! “I am whole without any face to face human contact whatsoever!”

Yes, we have created distance from others and implicitly from God. When human discourse crumbles – imagining discourse with The Divine crumbles as well.

Is living in the world of Bill Gates and other techie “mouse-trap makers” doing anything to advance your humanity? Likely it is doing the exact opposite. Think I bet you spend more time daily with machines than you do with discourse with people. You might want to ponder the cost of such an existence.

Shalom.

“Wherever there is love, social bonds are strengthened, and wherever it is not found, they disintegrate – and this applies in a special way to the more fundamental bonds …These are the bonds which in time enter into our professional life, our relationships with our work colleagues and our neighbors and our social and political relations; they enter into the whole life of society, the nation and the state.”

St. John Paul II in The Way to Christ

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This is an excerpt from a retreat former Pope John Paul gave when he was a Cardinal. His words here were directed at our responsibility to love – for, as he said here – “Love is the center of human life … (and) the absence of love leads to destruction and failure.”

Woe that we might hear this retreat presentation today for if there is any most obvious ill we see in our culture it is a lack of love.

I point to the harsh division in politics – the hateful words of radicals intent on destroying the Nation and its foundation. Likewise I think of abortion and all the children whose lives have been ended in the womb. I think of the corruption of elected officials and the desire of some to gain total control over their neighbors. I think as well of the gang conflicts in Chicago, the lives lost and violence that is unbated and often un-prosecuted. I think of sexual assaults committed by men in powerful positions and of those who engage in trafficking children. I think of corruption among those in politics and particularly in governing at the state, local and Federal level and of those who traffic in lethal drugs that are killing our sons and daughters – and the violence in families, and the public destruction of our history and the rank ignorance of many public voices whose words mis-inform, divide and antagonize.

Where love is lacking destruction and failure follow. We are at this junction today. Shame befalls us. We must elevate discourse. We must shun those who divide and listen carefully to those who love and risk living in truth and kindness. Anything short of morality and virtue divides and destroys and you know this. So why do we tolerate the voices and deeds of those who appear to lack love as their foundation? Why do we listen to those who destroy? Do we not see the darkness that closes in?

Shalom.

” … soul … refers to the inner most aspect of man (the human person), that which is greatest to man (him or her), that by which he (or she) is most especially in God’s image: ‘soul’ signifies the spiritual principle in man (and woman).”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 363

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We each share in the soul – the “dignity and image of God.” Our life and existence is animated by the soul and the spirit and in this we are to become the body of Christ and ’a temple of the spirit.’

Indeed we have sacred meaning and it is our task to live in a manner that reflects the dignity and image of God and of Christ.

When you think about this think about your attitude and think about our daily national discourse – its content and those who speak as authorities or commentators. Ask yourself this: do these people act and speak in a manner that projects the dignity and image of God? If they so not – you are best to ignore them for you deserve better and are obligated as a sacred being with a soul to live a higher order and your adherence to anything less subverts the spiritual principle of the human person and mankind.

Our’s is a sacred mission from birth to death and NO ONE has the right to diminish this MOST intimate and holy nature of our God-given identity.

Remember we live by and for God and not any other who claims authority over us in a way that subverts God, our soul and spirit – our sacred identity and responsibilities and privileges thereto. It is, by the way, the distance from God that leads to our troubles and discontent – and living for and with God that renders our peace, happiness and contentment.

Shalom.

“ … you, my son, will be named Prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the presence of the Lord to prepare his way, to teach knowledge of salvation to his people that their sins be forgiven, through the merciful heart of our God … ”

The Benedictus, Luke 1: 68-79

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We have a sacred call. We are to live our faith in consort with God. That has been our mission since the beginning of time and it is thus so today.

Yes, our first and most important task is to live our faith each day. We are vital to God’s plan for humanity. Our meaning is in daily witness. Our foundation as a person is our faith and its daily witness.

If you wanted to see a positive change in our culture – our living first and foremost our faith each day would bring that positive change. Just imagine your life with the quiet and contented heart of faith.

I give you a modest example of the contentment. Today I arose to write my blog and the fancy-Dans in the technology bubble have converted what once a simple writing enterprise into this small type. The problem? Those in the tech business never seem content with what works. It is as if their display of more choices and dazzling options must alter what worked just fine. That seems like the pursuit of things not needed my mere mortals who are quite find without fancy unnecessary changes that merely make what was easy now difficult. That state of being is exactly the opposite of what God offers and is memorialized in the Benedictus. We are far better of with simplicity … God’s design is a constant throughout the ages – it does NOT change and our peace and tranquility is offered in the same manner in all ages.

Live simply and in quiet. Do not make simple matters complimented. God’s beauty, power, plan and love is far simpler than small font where once larger font was fine.

Shalom.

“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’ : aim at Earth and you will get neither.”

C. S. Lewis, in The Joyful Christian

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We live in a time when Christianity is under attack. We are betrayed by our “own” success – our longevity, affluence, individual freedom, the demise of education as it once informed us of our remarkable past, of Western Civilization and the irreplaceable role of Christianity and Judaism in the creation of the West and its nation-states, peaceful coexistence, law and order, civility, beauty, morality, sustaining virtues and board base of knowledge – including an understanding of our heritage and hence our faithful, gifted identity.

But alas we hear the loud hollow voices of the poorly-learned who wish to latch on to ideologies that are proven failures and often become monuments to total control of others. In this I recall a quote (the author of which I do not know) – it reads : “Every society’s judgments and conduct reflect a vision of man and his destiny. Without the light Gospel sheds on God and man, societies easily become Totalitarian.”

Look beyond our shores. What is attacked here is also attacked in Europe.

The question before you and all of us is this: Do you see that when Christianity is attacked it is America, our hemisphere and the West which is being destroyed … our heritage lost, wreckage alone to remain. Such result brings us chaos and ruin, poverty and vulnerability to those who wish us only ill.

Is this the future you desire for yourself, your children and grand children? The destruction of faith you love and live day by day?

We live in very serious times and few in the public square have any grasp of what is at risk. One wonders how we have let the voices of the ignorant ”schooled” shape discourse – they know so little … The likes of Augustine of Hippo, G. K. Chesterton, C. G. Jung, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henry Nouwen, St. John Paul II and so many others are lost to them.

The words of the loudest in public space are best the property of peanut vendors – nothing more. And in the midst of it all: Christianity is attacked and the darkened and divided past is offered as a shameful substitute.

Be a very selective listener and a vocal opposition.

Shalom.

“The active life is essential to every Christian … The active life is the participation of the Christian in the Church’s mission on earth whether it means bringing to other men (and women) the message of the Gospel, or administering the sacraments, or preforming works of mercy, or cooperating in the world-wide efforts for the spiritual renewal of society and the establishment of peace without which the human race cannot achieve its destiny.” (Emphasis added.)

Thomas Merton, in Life and Holiness

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As a Christian what have you done to bring spiritual renewal to society?

Have you stood in opposition to the misuse of public education that is adversely aimed at your children or anyone’s children? Have you stood wisely in opposition to those that desire to expand the reach of government while minimizing the protected rights of each American? Have you stood in opposition to those who desire to substitute socialism for a free market economy thereby eliminating the proposition that ALL are welcomed to be enterprising and hard-working in furtherance of their skills and willingness to build a small, self-supporting business?

Have to lived the Gospels in a way that helps others? Have you furthered the Church’s mission? Supported the Church with your hard-earned monetary gifts? With your time as a volunteer?

While a priest or minister may be called one way, the laity is called to complimentary tasks and our nation and the Western World in particular which desperately needs a spiritual renewal – a task that you can engage by overtly living your faith actively and in the public square.

God needs your active living out of your faith – America needs you in this regard as does Western Civilization at this moment in global history. Nothing but the will of God keeps us contented, prosperous and safe.

Make your life a life that is reflective of your faith, of Christ and your Church! America desperately needs you, faith, your Church, and your witness – a spiritual renewal awaits and the stakes are very high.

Shalom.

“Sing joyfully to God, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before his presence with exceeding joy … Bless his name, for the Lord is sweet, his mercy endures forever, and his truth from generation to generation.”

Excerpt from Morning Prayer – Saturday

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“Sing joyfully to God … ” In our public discourse does anyone mention God or speak in reverence in His obvious presence? Or is God forgotten while we carry on lengthy discussions and those in authority rule as if there is no God?

“His truth (endures) from generation to generation.” Show me the man or woman in authority whose demeanor and speech reflects God’s truth. Show me the nation that reflects God’s truth from generation to generation.

Aside from Israel, I see no other nation that is led by God’s truth. Yet, our Founders were inspired by faith and their relationship with God – so why are we not apt to hear of God in our public discourse especially among those who express discontent and desire to reshape this country.

There is nothing we face in life that is not improved upon if all rest on God from the start. Hence in times of troubles all is resolved by sustaining a daily relationship with God. Indeed I can tell you this – beginning each day with morning prayer settles the mind and the soul.

Shalom.

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