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It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.

A.A. Milne, in Winnie-the-Pooh

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After seven decades on the planet, I have come to prize modesty and see the value of humility.

Most recently I have been reading a history of the last century.  In reading about the Treaty of Versailles which concluded the First World War, anyone with any intellect, a beating heart and (yes) a soul is apt to think of the ruin that followed the Treaty that we might all do better with an anatomy to which a small tail is shamelessly attached.

I say this because human beings today (at least in the Western World) attach far, far too much value to themselves.  Indeed, you see an example of this in the antics of diplomats, self-proclaimed scholars of statecraft, national leaders and heads of countries who were parties to and/or beneficiaries of the Treaty.

What do I mean?  Nations grabbed new territories where they could, – assumed rule over those who spoke not their language but the language of their country of origin or small ethic group.  Worse of all – self-determination (which was the “phrase of the day”) promoted ethnic groups, within new boundaries and those trapped under rulers and parliaments who thought little (or worse) of them, to take to violence to claim their “slice of the pie.”

In short, chaos and brutality followed the interim “peace”and laid (along with the huge problem of reparations) the ground for a second (even more bloody, destructive and demonic) World War.

One wonders if all the geniuses of the day might have been less robust in preparing the world for more slaughter and destruction had they had “a small tail” to which they were modestly but honestly “attracted?”

Aye, yes – we think way too much of ourselves and surely of all the Ivy-educated elites, celebrities, people in media, faces on television, intellectuals, the educated class and the founding techno-monkeys who sit atop piles of cash as the benefactors of asocial dispositions in themselves and many others.

Small tails, people – small tails!  Poverty of the Spirit in plain view. Tails needed.

Shalom.

 

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What good is it, brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but no deeds?  Can such faith save them?

James, 2:14

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Who among us shows their faith in their deeds?  And, who among us speaks harshly, counsels violence and division?  Some make no pretense about faith, their hatred divides.  They seek confrontation and destruction.

Who unifies?  Who divides?  Faith in the former; anger, malcontent and evil in the latter.

Why all the rancor?  Godlessness and faithlessness makes it so.

Who is calm?  Who will unify?  No one without faith.  In faith their is maturity no matter one’s age.

Today we live in shameful times among shameful people who call their neighbors “deplorables” and “irredeemables” and see nothing wrong with themselves.

Today we live among plotters, conspirators in high places, and prissy men from fancy New England prep schools who fashion themselves above all others.

Today women speak of violence and retribution but not of love and kindness.

Today some, once the subject of racism, sharpen their racist sword.  No good will come of this.  Faith is missing and anger prevails.

Today wealthy men on foreign shores finance division.  No faith have they.

We live in shameful times.  Faithless people command attention.  Followers follow.

Shameful times.

You, you of faith – where are your faithful deeds?

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

… activity that is based on the frenzies and impulsions of human ambition is a delusion and an obstacle to grace.  It gets in the way of God’s will, and it creates more problems than it solves.

Thomas Merton, in Life and Holiness

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Somehow we have assigned a ridiculous gloss of esteem to “the activists.”

Now we have a bumper crop of half-baked dunderheads haranguing and threatening others if their simple-minded admonitions or preferences are not instantly honored by submission and compliance.

Why is there a presumption that the feeble fancy of the month must be honored and obeyed?

This, of course, makes no sense.

What might your objection to his nonsense be?  Listen to Merton.

Does the person screaming some ideological or personal preference at you, know anything?  (If they did they would not be acting like a two year old with a tantrum.)

Or, does this person have any control over themselves?  The answer is obvious by the mere conduct they display.

But more to the point – have they EVER thought their “activism” might be inconsistent with God’s intention?  With nature?  Or, that it might be a disaster of an idea that they are proposing?   (Chances are if they are hysterical and screaming they are not familiar with cool-headed analysis, and dispassionate inquiry – and likely stopped learning somewhere in elementary schools – college education notwithstanding.)

By the look of these self-anointed “activists” you can just imagine what disarray their lives are.

Disordered behavior mirrors disordered being.

Well, okay, how does this relate to Merton’s above insight?

We are NOT created for a life dedicated to altering the universe.  We are not the Creator of the universe.  We are merely the beneficiaries of its creation.  We are not omnipotent.  We are at best mere humans.

That said, many, many among us do not take particular interest in growing fully in life.  These people don’t much like the humbling self-examination that such a task requires.  They are, one might say, lazy – preferring ideology and childhood to maturity and hard work  … all the better, by the way, to prepare for a life of an “activist.”  Ain’ that grand!

Shalom.

 

… examine everything carefully, hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thes 5: 21-22

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God created man and woman to be in close personal relationship with their Creator and with one another.  (Gen 1:27)  We are made to be complimentary to one another.  In such union there is divinity – Holy Matrimony.  Yes, our relationship is sacred and honoring it is our duty and the source of our peace and happiness.  Scared it is.  Political it is not.  Divine it is.  Ideological it is not.

The relationship between men and women is good and it is our duty to retain its goodness.  But among us there are those who would destroy this.  Many radical feminists and others who pursue craven desires seek to divide woman from man.  Too often we are silent and inert when such hatred and division is so near, so clear, overt and hostile.

We are called to good, not silence in the presence of evil.  Woe to those who are silent in the presence to of evil … think of the threat posed to innocents, to children in particular when evil of this sort is left unchallenged – permitted its voice without opposition.

If you wonder that others possess such hatred, think of radical feminist Andrea Dworkin’s words: “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high heed shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.”

With words like this, is anyone surprised at the conduct of radical feminists women and the Democrat Left and those who counsel hostility?  Did they not show their colors in the Kavanaugh hearings?

Things that are sacred to life and essential to peaceful, free society, fellowship and community are being attacked.

Are we to remain silent and in this muteness hasten further destruction and division?

Shalom.

Postscript – Ms. Dworkin is best remembered for her good work in opposition to pornography – a topic well worth one’s opposition.  Sadly, she passed away in 2005 at age 59.

In a way, her life shows us that violence begets violence.  How well I know this from my own life experience.  Which for me is precisely why it is essential that we address anyone who urges hostility and attacks what is good – particularly what is godly and good.  May she find eternal rest.

 

The moment you have a self at all, there is the possibility of putting yourself first – wanting to be the centre – wanting to be God …

C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity

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Lewis writes here about corruption – an individual’s corruption – a vital element in human history, an issue each human must face in his or her life, a critical factor in understanding corruption in culture … in those around you – particularly among those holding or seeking power and the legions of advocates for this or that which promotes or demands simply their selfish desires without regard to anyone else.  In politics and culture today, we have many such errant narcissistic individuals and groups all more or less nihilists.

Make no mistake – the foundation of corruption is the individual desire to be his or her own God.  Yes, such thinking is insane and produces discord, division and conflict.

Yes, thinking one is one’s own God is frankly – living a colossal LIE.   You doubt this?  Think abortion as mere “choice,” or Holy Matrimony as same-sex “marriage,” or slavery as acceptable, or division by race, or multiple “genders.”  These are manifestations of men and women acting as God.

As Lewis so correctly says this “hopeless event” of human as God: it is men and women “invent(ing) some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God.”

We like to think of ourselves as smart, intelligent, an educated society.  Yet, the thinking and conduct such as described here (and so clearly visible among political-social-sexual “activists,” pundants, college professors and their ill-schooled products of nonsense, ideologies and hubris – as well as entertainers, celebrities, the media and some who would be “clerics,” and lawyers with grossly little intellectual depth or range or insight, among others) – simply puts the lie to our brilliance, and the opinions of a whole range of people whose godlessness defines their ignorance, establishes their uselessness.

Yep, God versus godlessness.  Sanity versus insanity.  Truth versus gibberish.

Shalom.

 

How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust.

Psalm 40:4

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There was a Mass said Thursday morning at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, for Judge Kavanaugh and his family.  The Judge and his wife requested that those praying for them read Psalm 40.

I give you the above verse from that Psalm.

When we are aggrieved it is always best to turn to God.  We didn’t see any of this among his accusers, those who gathered to shout and scream, his Democrat opponents, the ideological Leftists, and radical feminists who demanded his head on a spike.

What a vast difference in orientation to a problem.  The man and his wife turn to God and the others act like there is no God but them and their own bias view.

That right there tells you what the Great National Divide is.  It is God vs. godlessness.  Humility versus arrogance.  Peace and lawfulness vs. anger and lawlessness.

Who would you rather be governed by: those who maintain a relationship with their faith or those who serve as their own god?

Think about it.

Shalom.

October 5 – my wife Sylvia’s birthday.  She passed away 40 years ago.

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The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

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It is both sad and disappointing to see Democrats in Congress behave as they have in the Kavanaugh hearings.  Likewise, it is alarming to see them encouraging others to “get in the face” of whose with whom they do not agree.  Such encouragement is reckless and encourages hatred and violence.

Can Mr. Booker (who calls for such actions) not recall that a man opened fire on Mr. Booker’s Republican colleagues on a baseball field with the intent of killing as many as he could?  Inciting people to aggression rather exposes Mr. Booker’s frequent moral posturing as insincere venire.

What kind of people wish to incite political violence?  Not sane or responsible people.    Not one worthy of elected office, membership in the U.S. Senate or the privilege to conduct the nation’s business and the sacred mission to protect its people, its Constitution, its heritage and its honor.

What kind of people act as Senator Feinstein did to withhold from her Committee colleagues a letter from a woman seeking anonymity  – only to release it in a last-ditch effort to destroy an innocent man – an admired judge, no less – in order to forestall their Party’s loss of (judicial) power?

Power.  That is the nub and it beckons Rabbi Heschel’s wisdom.

The Democrats present to us as a party that values personal and exclusive possession of political power more than anything else.

There is an old adage in politics that Republicans do not seek political position as fervently as the Democrats because Republicans are talented enough to be attracted to real work, private industry, building a business, adding wealth and work to communities.  There seems to be truth in this.

Those who crave power are those who must be deprived of it.

Public service is an honor, not an entitlement.  Democrats don’t appear to understand this.

In Rabbi Heschel’s words they appear unable to say no to (them)selves.  Such a flaw easily justifies corruption as the ends justify the means.  We see this in the conduct of the FBI and Justice Department with attempts to destroy Mr. Trump and excuse Ms. Clinton in her criminal mishandling of national security material.

A disposition that finds comfort in corruption makes one unworthy of political leadership.  It looks like the midterm elections are likely to reflect this.  In they do, we shall have an opportunity to seek to restore honor and selflessness to our politics and culture.

We would be wise to think about Rabbi Heschel’s words.  We are lost at the present moment, and conduct we see is utterly destructive and unworthy of our Republic.

Shalom.

Postscript – I just finished watching The English Patient.  It is an exquisite story of the tenderness of love in the midst of a horrible war.  It is a story told against the vastness and beauty of a barren desert and its ruins.  It is a tale so sharply in contrast with the misguided antics of those who today bitterly and recklessly grasp at power, scheme for it.

The contrast says this: there are some who love, and know its divine experience and suffer its penetrating loss … and there are those who crave their own elevation above all others and all things.  In this – good verses evil.

It is now 40 years since my wife died at 29.  I am capable of anger and fight.  However I prefer instead to carry the message of love eternal which excels in mortal passing, the long sleep of death.

… do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Emphasis added.)

Isa 41:10

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We are in difficult times.  Men are assumed by some to be the source of evil, a target to be destroyed.

Some among us will do anything to gain power.  Those who lust for power wish to void electoral results.  They prefer their way to the decisions of a free people who have spoken.

Those who lust for power are poor losers.  Their arrogance exceeds fair play and their conduct does not serve them well.  Acting in bad faith, their words ring false.

In fundamental ways this nation is being diminished by some of its people.  We are rightly dismayed by what we see.  The presumption of innocence is replaced as to men or those who believe in God and a presumption of guilt is applied to each.

Yes, those who disagree with those on the Left are presumptively dismissed and discounted, chased from public places, ridiculed and insulted.

In such times one need not fear for our God is an ever-present, just God.  In such times we are called back to God.  These times are for renewing our faith, invigorating our beliefs and carrying those God-inspired beliefs into each day in the way we present ourselves to others, in each transaction, and in our quiet moments and thoughts.

Difficult times renew our faith, restore God as our point of reference.

We are in such times.  Now is a time for strength and renewed confidence.  God gives us opportunity and courage in these challenging moments.  What a blessing that we may live our faith overly and without fear in our most difficult days.

Did not David face his challenge in this way?  So shall we.

When the world around us seems less faithful, those who believe become more faithful … and overtly so.

Shalom.

The wisest woman builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Prov 14:1

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Thinking about the coverage and commentary of last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I am struck by how uninformed and uneducated are the Committee members, their colleagues in the Congress, and members of the media.

Some of us read and think – they seem to do neither.

What do I mean?  Faced with the predictable rage of Gender Feminists no one in the above-named bodies has knowledge of feminism – its history and evolution and the distinction between Equality Feminism and Gender Feminism, nor recognizes the divide between female feminist scholars as to the two feminist cohorts.

People in these bodies do not see, as scholars do, that those pursuing equality are lawful reformists and those on the Gender side seek revolution – an overturning of propositions fundamental to Western Civilization, long-accepted historical norms governing interaction between men and women, our institutions (including family), history, the legal system, federalist form of representative government as well as peaceful co-existence, prosperity, civil discourse, peace and tranquility.

Nor could most (if not all) in the Congress connect Gender Feminism with the founding declaration of the (Marxist) radical S.D.S.’s Port Huron Statement (1968), nor see in Gender Feminism their dedication to the proposition that the source of all evil are men, by which radical women replace “the establishment,” so hated by S.D.S., with the “patriarchy” as the target now to be destroyed.

Who in our esteemed institutions recognizes the Gender Feminists repudiate science as a source of male oppression, and dismiss nature in kind.  Who sees the destructive results of this view?  Who stands in opposition to it?  Who explains its destructive behavior?

Faced with revolutionary nihilists – those in Congress and the media see only women – but have no critique as to what precisely these outraged women represent …

… folly with their own hands tears down the house …  Yep.  That’s what we got.

Alas, this got me thinking: who in the Congress has a Ph.D. in philosophy, psychology, theology, American history, intellectual history or literature?  That is – who has done the work to properly attend to our affairs in this day and Age when revolutionaries are enraged and hateful destructive Marxist predicates govern their actions and complaints?

The answer: only one person in Congress has done any rigorous work likely to provide an understanding as to what is right before us.  That person?  Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska (Harvard and Oxford training and a Yale Ph.D. in American history).

Sasse did a most interesting dissertation on the rise or the secular Left and its counter-balance, the religious Right, in the last part of the 20th century.

Sasse correctly sees the tension as between Unbelievers and Believers that was fueled by Courts and culture – each of which has moved from faith to opposition to it in the last 60 years.

Indeed, Sasse’s dissertation helps one see that the elites (not just Gender Feminists) are at odds with the “bottom-up” supporters of Donald Trump and seek (in a rather pathological manner) both his demise and the silence and compliance of his voters by demonizing them.

In that contribution alone – we can understand a great deal and realize … folly leads to houses being destroyed.  That’s right where we are, sports fans.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What made you establish in man (and woman) so great a dignity?

St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue 4, 13 “On Divine Providence”

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Whence human dignity?   So inquires St. Catherine.  The question is this: how and why did God impart dignity to each man and woman?

She answers – the dignity is born of the incalculable love that God has for man and woman – for all of the human race – each and every one of us.

Yes, in this grant of love we are given the unique gifts of self-knowledge and self-possession, of loving one another, loving God and being loved by God – of being in communion with one another.

This is the Christian’s heritage and the heritage of Western Civilization.

But alas do we see its evidence of this among our neighbors or have they lost their sacred identity to lust, to status, power, money, politics, self and selfish desires, to perversion, ideology, arrogance and hatred, addictions, infidelities, sex, lies, violence, lawlessness and dishonor?

The present day Kavanaugh Confirmation matter puts us to the test.

Are we destroying our institutions and furthering our distance from God, or do we show signs that we are today the people that we once were?

Shalom.

 

 

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