Nicodemus, who had first come to him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight … Now in the place where He crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had been laid … they laid Jesus there.

Jn 19: 39, 41, 42

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One hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes.  An unused, new tomb in a garden.  And Nicodemus, a Pharisee, had come at night to speak to Jesus (Jn 3:1-18) knowing that his colleagues condemned Jesus.  Yet, Nicodemus appears to anoint Jesus’ dead body with valuable spices and gives to him a tomb.

From skeptic to Believer.  That was Nicodemus.

He came to see that Jesus was the Messiah who the Jewish people awaited.  

Mind you, it was standard practice that the bodies of those who were crucified would be taken to a trash site and thrown among the rubbish and waste.  Nicodemus (and Joseph of Arimathea) would not let that come to pass.

It is said that the myrrh and aloes were likely intended for Nicodemus burial.  Indeed, one hundred pounds of these spices were very valuable and quantity sufficient to bury a king.

In his belief and love and devotion of Jesus, Nicodemus gave of himself and in doing so proclaimed Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

Would that you be Nicodemus.

Remember, Nicodemus was a Jew and under Jewish law touching the body of a deceased person made the one unclean.  Yet, here is Nicodemus in his actions proclaiming the new law of Christ.

In Nicodemus we see one who dared not come to Jesus in daylight – but radically changed his life because of the Light of Christ.  Amazing.

Would that you be Nicodemus.

Shalom.

Lots of talk, but no action.  Washington and the national news media spends all sorts of time piddling away at this or that allegation designed to delegitimize President Trump – but spends no time on Hillary Clinton, her lawyers, political consultants, her staff and cohorts of one sort or another when it is obvious that multiple laws were broken and national security was badly compromised.  Washington and the media simply ignore this – and ignore the conduct of those associated with the Clinton Family Foundation and those in the Obama government whose conduct also seems to raise questions of illegality.

You know when the law is NOT applied equally to all – people will (rightfully) treat the law and those who govern as null and void.  We are headed in that direction – each a law unto himself or herself.  Liberals seem intent on destruction.    

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The monk is a man who lives in seclusion, in solitude, in silence outside the noise and the confusion of a busy worldly existence.

Thomas Merton, in Contemplation in a World of Action

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A monk lives in response to existing culture.  His thinking is both critical and healthy.  He sees that a present culture does not promote his values, virtue or an integrated, well-formed life.

A monk seeks wholeness and a depth of spiritual existence that cultures usually ignore in their all-consuming demands and expectations.  A monk seeks to understand life and people.  He seeks psychological, emotional and social fitness.  His path is to Truth and to God.  Clarity, peace and wisdom come to him.

His days are composed of work and prayer, silence and listening – quiet, reading and worship.  He finds time to contemplate life at large, its meaning, its best use and ways of being.

The ways of a monk are the perfect counterpoint to the disintegration that is today’s secularized America.

Today we are rife with conflict, antagonism turned to hatred in many instances, division, hostility, abandonment of virtue and morality, to the intrusion of state and the destruction of critical institutions, the lost of a nation’s boundaries and heritage, and its common understandings.

Chaos displaces the order of common understanding and mutual respect.

Each day brings evidence of disorder and often brutality – conduct whereby those who might otherwise lead discredit themselves.

We are no longer unified and living as neighbors guided by good.  Too many force their views on others, advance their disorder on others as if our acquisition of their strife and sickness normalizes them – makes true what is false.

At a time like this – in a culture like this … think of those who go “off to the mountain as the fish to the sea.”

Maybe you can learn from the way of monks.  Can you not acquire their ways in forms that create healthy distance between you and what is destructive?

Your health, wholeness, peace and wisdom resides in the ways of the monk.  In your culture today comes disintegration, illness, hostility, confusion, amorality, untruth and self-destruction.  Your life need not be composed of these things.  

Shalom.

A Book of Interest – You might like a short book entitled Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life by Hugh Feiss, a priest in the Order of St. Benedict.  It is a fine resource for those who wish to make healthy adjustments in the face of rank disorder and destruction that is exclusive secular culture today.  Peace be with You. 

 

Our cultural elites, the modern liberals, have contempt for democracy because it produces results and elects politicians they disapprove of.

Robert H. Bork, in Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline

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American liberals in their various iterations have diminished what we once possessed: a civil society whose public and private institutions reflected our common cultural inheritance – that of European Christendom.

The evidence of this runs the gambit from law and the judiciary, to family, morality, sexual mores, politics and political practices, university and secondary education, vehicles of mass communication, entertainment, the press and even some of our religious institutions.

The degeneracy that this brings is clear in so many ways – one being the image this weekend of former F.B.I. Director James Comey hawking his recent book.

Poor Mr. Comey.  He is want of personal understanding of himself.  Consistently his public utterances tell us: “something is wrong with this fellow.”

His actions only seem to confirm his disordered state and bolster the idea that he is the just result of modern liberalism’s own inbreeding.  Yes, the ideas of elites which bear little resemblance to that of the common man and woman are visible in many on the Left who assume public leadership and voice.

Here in Mr. Comey is a lawyer who while under oath in testimony given the Congress tells of appropriating government documents and leaking them to a Columbia law professor to share with The New York Times in order to get a “Special Counsel” appointed to investigate/delegitimize an elected President.

What lawyer would disclose his illegality and questionable objectives without any apparent recognition that he is describing his own lawlessness?

Likewise how could the head of the F.B.I. mismanage the Hillary Clinton national security mess so completely as to make it utterly clear to the public that “the fix” was in and the F.B.I. administrative cabal of Leftist political partisans surrounding Mr. Comey were far from pedigree conspirators or reasonably decent and honorable barristers?

In his actions and interviews, Mr. Comey offers himself as the poster child for the incoherence, corruption and incompetence that is the modern liberalism of the cultural and political elites wearing the “Democrat” label.

Toto, we are a long way from European Christendom, America as it once was, and from decency and wisdom.

Our restoration will evolve only insofar as we individually return to faith, have the courage to speak up, and to reject the poisonous fruit of modern liberalism.  Indeed, it has done sufficient damage as is.

Shalom.

 

 

I looked for you in everyone and they called me on that too

I lived alone but I was only coming back to you …

and springtime starts but then it stops in the name of something new

and all my senses rise against this coming back to you …

Leonard Cohen, in Coming Back to You

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Each of us has someone – and probably more than one someone – that we have lost to mortal time.  For many, the years of loss have piled up while the memories persist and set in us deeper roots.

It need not be springtime to feel those losses – but in springtime when all is new and delicate and beautiful, those losses seem to move about like the warming breezes – turning our attention to the touches we knew, the embraces we shared, the laughter we had and all those days together.

Spring is “the coming back” time.  I give you this –

So take your walk, and sit a bit when the breezes beckon you

 for in the Spring when warm sets in, I’m coming back to you.

Shalom.

 

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God in yours.”

Lk 2:20

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Somewhat contrary to what the average American might think.  But what is this saying and what does it mean today?

Well, one way to think of this is to pause and entertain for a moment this: we are easily distracted and in those distractions even captured by them.  An example – the quest for wealth can be addictive.  It can cause in us a dominant concern for money and the things it can buy.  But we are so much more than what we possess and the wealth we are able to acquire.

That said, we do not desire that some are poor in need.  Our personal assistance to those in need is a sacred responsibility.  In doing this, it is wise to remember that we need not let money interrupt our spiritual welfare and full spiritual development.  Indeed in each of us are greatest needs to be loved, received, befriended, seen and heard … When we seek others we are confirming two things: (1) that we need the company and intimate friendship of others … and (2) that desire is the desire to seek God – yes, our longing is precisely what exists in us to seek the One who is Truth and Love, and Eternal … and on our way we find others and our true self.

We are each blessed to be “poor” in spirit – for our longing is ultimately for Love and the God who is Love.

Shalom.

 

A [person] entrusted with the care of souls ought to have certain wisdom of which does not consist of words only, but chiefly of experiencea certain wisdom of life … If such a thing can be taught at all, it must be of a personal experience of the human soul.  (Emphasis added.)

Carl Jung, M.D., in Letters

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Some guy goes to a pricey college after prep school and then to an “esteemed” law school and then into law practice or politics and we are told in time that “he can part the seas” (or if he is a real egotist he tells you he can make the seas recede several feet).

Pure idiocy … but this is the nonsense that dominates razor thin thinking about public figures today.  We get the public figures we deserve.

Public figures are a reflection of who we are as a people.  It you see pretenders and fools in public life – you live among pretenders and fools.

Wisdom figures, to the contrary, have lived and learned from a life fully experienced.

Too many public figures have simply traveled easy street and matriculated at some well known college and assume in time “positions of authority.”

Easy streets and a modest degree from a known college are not in any sense apt to produce “a certain wisdom of life.”  Far from it.  Have we not had sufficient numbers of fools with that meagher portfolio – affluence, a private secondary school, nice summer vacations, a house at the beach, a fancy college, law school and “authority.”

In the bar fight that live is – you’d best have someone who has thrown some punches, been knocked down and got up again … and again and again.

Live experience, alone, provides life wisdom.  Combat is your teacher.

Shalom.

Like every other human being, I am a splinter of the infinite deity … If the human [soul] is anything, it must be of unimaginable complexity … the only equivalent of the universe within is the universe without … as I reach this world through the medium of the body, so I reach that world through the medium of the psyche.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Memories, Dreams and Reflections

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Jung in describing the psyche is also conveying to us the nature of human health and wholeness whereby one lives not merely through the body but (and more critically) through the psyche as well.   Indeed, for Jung and other psychiatrists and learned people – a person is far from well (and prone to sickness and disorder) who lives within the body alone.

Looking about America in this age and time it is quite obvious that we are awash in disorder.  The social pathology is visible daily in news stories.  A state governor, despite being married, has a bizarre public sexual romp with his staff person, a man and woman beat their four year old child to death for spilling soup, a caretaker places a child in an oven to punish her … And the list goes on and on …

Are we not the only country that seeks tax revenue from drug use?  And look at the failure of custodial authorities (schools, social workers, police, teachers, principals) to attend to the obvious sickness and danger that Dylan Cruz plainly displayed and the pathetic social policies associated with that failure (the suppression of data on criminal conduct in Broward schools by the creation of “deversionary placements” so as NOT to have to face school violence done by “minority students” and the police officers unwilling to enter the building during the shooting for fear of running afoul of those who govern policy).

Let’s be honest – we live in a disordered culture, one in decline with manifestations of mental illness that simply go unacknowledged – denied, disguised, normalized or hidden.

In Jung’s words – we deny we are “a splinter of the infinite deity” and in that we starve the soul and ignore the psyche – the nexus between the world within and the world without (that which recognizes a mortal existence that is housed within eternal reality).

Yes, we are very poorly evolved and hence psychological problems, injuries and death abound.

We see these problems starkly in the ideas and actions of the political Left.  Indeed, having the lunatic Left present and active is like we are in foster care of Sarah and Cheryl Hart (the two lesbian mothers and “mates”) who drove their SUV off a California cliff into the Pacific Ocean 100 feet below with six helpless foster care (Black) children in the vehicle and to their collective death.

Any honest comment on American life, culture and society today must begin with an understanding that there is a great deal of mental illness that is unaddressed, dressed up as “normal,” excused, and tolerated despite the brutal costs that it imposes on others and the population at large.

We have drifted a long way from health and happiness and the decline is accelerating at a compounding rate.

That said, I offer you the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. –

In the shadow of death may we not look back to the past, but seek in utter darkness the dawn of God.

Shalom.

Grandeur of character lies wholly in force of soul, not in the force of thought, moral principles, and love, and this may be found in the humblest conditions of life.  (Emphasis added.)

William Ellery Channing, in Self-Culture

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Yes, as Jean-Paul Richter said so simply in Titan – character is higher than intellect as intellect is function and life is the functionary.  And, yes – character comes from the soul.  It does not come from “rules of the road,” ethics, social relations, ideology, the ideas we hold, the fads of the day, self-interest, wealth, status, etc. – and it surely does not arise from finding oneself on the television or sitting on the op-ed panel of some once useful newspaper that is now far less than it ever may have been.

That said, character is less visible now in American culture than it was as short a time ago in the 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Character seems to have faded in the image culture, in a secularized land, the culture of mass communication and affluence … in the culture of the poorly-educated college graduate and the narrowly trained intellect for it is as Richter said that intellect is function and life is functionary.  Yes, living engages the soul and from the soul comes character.

It follows that a life of challenge challenges the soul and character is coaxed out of these experiences and only in character is knowing known … wisdom presented.

In our present state intellect (in its most diminished state today – so clearly seen in talking heads and people we encounter who speak of things they do not know) there is not much sign of character.

It used to be the case that America attracted immigrants who saw in this land (as was reflected in its people) those who had character – and who took on all the odds to journey here where acculturation to our ways was expected and liberty to prosper was freely offered.  But alas that is not the case now.

Now, people travel here, and like our entitled native born college-“educated” class who make a life of complaining about this country (that which used to be their country) – we find our newest entrants and our offspring seeking the largess of government and complaining that this or that is wrong, “unfair,” disadvantaging in some way (as to gender, sexual practice, race, ideology, etc.)

In all of this it seems we must say: character and individual achievement is far less visible than it was 60 years ago.

So what is the warning?  Forget all the fluff, live from the soul outward for if the soul is denied character is lost.  Without character we become, frankly, quarrelsome and unlikeable – easily defeated.

I see, frankly, so few who exhibit the character that says of a person – “I am a soulful person. I see my origin in the grace of God.  I live beyond the narrow confines of the superficial, and the mass culture.  I take what comes and do the best I can with it for I seek to succeed as an individual, a sacred being who has been given a life and access to a land of liberty and opportunity.”

As for me, I avoid the herd and “popular culture” and my life is quieter and more meaningful in its relative solitude.  Yes, after years of putting the soul to the test, I am as whole as I might reasonably aspire to me – knowing full well that there is still hardship to come, character to be grown, and a soul that lives here and beyond.

Shalom.

 

 

 

The origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality.

Cicero, in The Laws

Holiness toward God and justice toward men usually go together.

Philo, in Abraham

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Cicero wrote the above in 52 B.C. and Philo wrote his words in 37 A.D.

Justice is reverential.  No relationship to The Divine – no justice.  Indeed, today we see living proof that there is no justice without a relationship with God.

Our Godlessness produces our lawlessness – even among lawyers, judges, the court system, legislators, prosecutors, the F.B.I. and Department of Justice.  Take for example all the corrupt conduct and unlawful leaks in both the Justice Department and the F.B.I., and the F.B.I. shamelessly plotting to discredit a lawfully elected President.

Indeed, take the behavior of Special Counsel Mueller who initiated the appropriation of a private lawyer’s confidential documents normally afforded “attorney-client privilege” when the U.S. Attorney in New York City yesterday raided President Trump’s private lawyer’s office, home and temporary residence in a Manhattan hotel.   

Indeed, let’s be serious – the work of the F.B.I, the Justice Department and individuals in the Obama White House and in the intelligence agencies during the Obama presidency were intent on discrediting candidate and President Trump notwithstanding the fact that (a) their actions were unlawful, and (b) Mr. Trump was lawfully elected to office.

Yes, the conduct of individuals in the White House, in the intelligence agencies, in the F.B.I. and the Justice Department – with the assistance of lobbyists and Washington lawyers and law firms amounts to coup – our nation’s first such lawless attack on a properly elected President.

Need more examples?  Those seeking to destroy Mr. Trump and American democracy strain themselves to damage Mr. Trump while doing nothing to prosecute Hillary and Bill Clinton and their cohorts for multiple punishable criminal offenses.  Or take the idiocy of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (a Catholic) who (with four colleagues) discovered the lawfulness of same-sex marriage after hundreds of years in which no one drew the same conclusion as to homosexual conduct.  Ditto, the legal status afforded abortion.  Oddly, our historical record on the unlawfulness of abortion goes all the way back to the 6th century B.C. – yet abortion is now a Constitutionally-protected right in America.

What explains the errant conduct of lawyers and those in the “justice” system today?  No regard for divine law, morality or God.  The lawless are Godless.

Want to change the present situation?  Return to God.  Honor the wisdom of the past.  Elect only those whose faith is the very core of their existence.  Stand up to and discredit those who oppose our history, God’s law and God.  Award them the status they deserve: unemployment and public ridicule.

There is no other choice today.  You must be overt and unwavering – cast out the godless … they have done enough destruction.  Time to draw closer to God in everything we do – day to day.

Shalom.

The high-minded man must care more for the truth than what people think.

Aristotle, in Nicomachean Ethics

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It takes courage (implicitly born of faith) to speak the truth when it might not be popular with others.  Truth-tellers must be willing to “go-it-alone” – that is to prefer the company of a God of Truth than his or her fellow men and women.

When you think about it and look about, there are not too many public figures in whom you can comfortably place your confidence.

Surely we have seen this become more that fact than it once was.  Indeed, our once reliable newspapers and news media outlets seem far too partisan.  Having chosen sides and played to the bias of their audience, they have forfeited the distinguished task of simply “calling balls and strikes.”  This is a great loss to liberty – leaving us each to think for ourselves and doubt much of what we hear and what is “reported” to us.

If there is a bright side to the present circumstance it is this: when those who claim to be truth-tellers are no longer trusted – one stands alone with God to sort all things out.

God has His ways.  Intent on our welfare – God manages a presence when significant losses arise and we become disoriented and sick.  Maybe that is where we are today.

Shalom.

Last Three Posts

  • Fools Who Condemn Men
  • Ideology and the Neurotic
  • Standing with Peter and John

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