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June 11, 2017

This is the day of Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad.

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There have ever been and will ever be men who … will seek to exempt … parts of their faith from (authority) … to keep their minds floating between liberty and obedience.

Alexander de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America (Volume II)

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In Texas a 19-year-old women with two adorable little girls –  ages one and two – and no husband drove to a house with a 16-year-old boy and remained there for 15 hours (doing who knows what) while leaving her children unattended in the auto.

Having been left in the overheated auto, the children died.

Today stories like this are commonplace.  Between this story and the pathetic behavior the former F.B.I. Director and a host of others (particularly in the Obama administration) and among Democrats in the U.S. Congress and the media – it ought to be obvious that we are a nation in moral crisis.

Likewise, it ought to be obvious that those who voted for Mr. Trump are making a moral statement about the dire condition of this nation and that they are ridiculed and condemned by public figures, Hollywood celebrities and a sundry airheads and ideologues in the media and the press.

Yet, what is our focus?  Foolishness.  Bathroom privileges, hunting for Russians in the electoral process, expansion of the debt ceiling on the way to eventual bankruptcy, the celebration of deviant behavior, etc.

In the face of this there is nary an intelligent thought given to the place of morality in public life and the history of our country.  And, de Tocqueville was correct: we trade our faith and its tenets for the opportunity to live as we wish. Hello, child sacrifice that we call “choice” and codify as “the law of the land.” Shameful.

One wonders were are the men and women in public life with the intellect, analytical skill, wisdom, courage and humanity to recount the truth that without faith, without a prominent and protected place for faith in culture – moral decline and eventual destruction is a certainty?

Our education system (especially the once “elite” colleges, law and graduate schools) produces ignorance and ideologues – those without wisdom, moral strength or worth.

Liberal Christopher Lasch was once asked about the decline in civility, personal industry and self-restraint in America and he explained it quite easily when he said it was the result of the decay of religion in our nation.  Yes, he saw the hazard in exiling God and faith from the center of culture, law and governing.

In a short time in America, our liberal elites and the unchurched mass have undone hundreds of years of wisdom through the pursuit of unbridled freedom to do as they wish … and children ages one and two and the unborn suffer unto death.

Wonderful.  Just wonderful.

Shalom.

We had best pray that those who are lost, might come to their senses and to faith, and for two little children who are now dead.

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.

Vaclav Havel

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Salvation.  The heart + reflection + meekness + responsibility.  So observes Vaclav Havel.

Don’t see much of this around Washington these days.  Salvation is a word rarely heard since we began barring God from public conversation.  We can thank the marshmallow middle and the strident Left for that basic act of dislocation – as to the latter their inevitable preference for error.

Heart, reflection, meekness, responsibility.  Little of this here today.  Heartless is more the form.  Reflection, like thoughts of salvation, appears permanently shelved in favor of the instant news cycle where comments issue as frequently as pulse beats as politicos and “talking heads” tommy-gun out the “latest inside scoop” replete with “unnamed sources” (a delightful name for twins today, by the way).

Meekness, my God!  None of that here.  Washington is more a mob at Filene’s Basement tearing the bargain “name brand” apparel from one another in a melee resembling Wrestle-Mania gone mad.  Meekness, it seems, is too orderly and vulnerable for Washington today.  Gone is the obvious power of a calm and measured voice.

It follows there are few signs of responsibility – at least among the those who daily carp and complain, and report and exploit.

We could use some Vaclav Havel.  Inmates running an asylum never works well.

Shalom.

Footnote – Vaclav Havel is among the most interesting figures of the late last century and early 21st century.  A writer, philosopher, political dissident and politician who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1902) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1903-2003).  A widely-esteemed and admired man or faith, courage, talent, heart, thoughtfulness, insight, humility, service and responsibility.  Don’t you wish we had such a presence here today. ‘Tis time to tell the children to be quiet.

Judaism is a theology of the common deed, of the trivialities of life, dealing not so much with the training for the exceptional as with the management of the trivial.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man Is Not Alone

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Rabbi Heschel offers us a simple and powerful observation.  In what he says is this: he reminds us that our faith makes the small deeds of each day holy.  Yes, each breath is sacred.

This point of view gives us a divine and eternal contact in the simplest things – those things done quietly, things often unnoticed – taken for granted.

I see the implicit holiness of my grandchildren in their being itself.  Jack, at two years five months, and Fiona at six months.  She beams her smile instantly and often and looks at the world in wide-open eyes – seemingly happy with all she sees.  Jack bubbles with excitement and joy.  If you wish to see his cowboy boots or his green toy tractor or his Teddy Bear – he runs full speed to his room and back so he might share his belongings and himself with you.  Joyful Jack – full speed ahead.

Yes, we are designed to make the everyday holy.  You see it in children so very clearly. Let them remind us of our innate holiness so we might remind others of their sacredness.

In all things glorify God.  In the quiet of this certainty, life gains its meaning and its immutable, everlasting value.

Shalom.

” …  from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat … “

Gen 2:16

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In standing between good and evil the human person is more than animal.  He possesses more – that more is conscience.  He and she must choose what is good, not what is evil.

Our choices, you see, either bring us closer to God, or separate was further and further from God.  It is in the first that full life is known and experienced, and in the second that death comes to us before our mortal end – a death that extends into eternity.

We die as we live.  Conscience is always in play.

Funny how this proposition is lost to us today.  We no longer imagine the dynamic of an existence between good and evil and the role this plays for us in active choice, decision-making, and the vital place for conscience in our daily existence.

Case in point, the nitwit Democrat Liberals (and their bed mates in the teachers’ union) who run affluent Montgomery County, Maryland, welcomed an 18 year old illegal immigrant and another 17 year old friend into the school system placing them with 14 year old students in the 9th grade.  (The school system, predicatively, prides itself in ignoring an immigrant’s legal status.)  Well, these two non-English speaking geniuses were arrested this week for pushing a ninth grade girl into a boy’s bathroom in a local high school and sexually assaulting and raping her.  The authorities, of course, never vetted these young men – had no idea who or what they were.

No sense of responsibility for good and evil equals no conscience, and evil emerges.

In the above case, the Country school administrators, the teachers’ union, Country Liberal Democrat pols and those who support them ought to be held equally accountable for their part in this heinous assault.  Choosing evil has its price … or surely must have its price in a good and faithful society.  And that price ought to be the exile of the fools who prepare the way for evil, yes, an immediate exile for those who are a threat to public safety.  Send them far East of Eden, never to be seen again.

Let’s face it, in our secular age, we seem to think and act as if one’s mortal end is the end of our existence, that all in mortal life is all that is, and all that matters.

With such an ignorant mindset, the onus (it follows) is for us to live as fully as we fancy in the here and now – conscience aside.  Hence, we proceed to ignore reality, consume all that we can, acquire all we can, glorify ourselves, fuel our life experience with drugs, sex, alcohol, greed, power, status, celebrity (however fleeting) and the false idea that we are “masters” of all and wiser and more sure-footed than others.  Baloney.

Does one wonder why so many pursue selfish interests to the absolute exclusion of common sense and others – even family?  Or why divorce is so common? Likewise that children are abandoned?  Mental illness and obesity flourish? Suicide, too? Gang violence? Adultery? Pornography, as well?

In a culture without conscience, do not the executioners prevail in number while the innocent are, like the girl who was raped, offered up by those who choose evil and its furtherance?   Have we not had more than enough of the agents of evil: the Liberal Democrat and the “progressives” (Marxists) that gather with them?

Tree of good and evil, Friends.  Let’s get real.

Shalom.

God created man in His own image … male and female He created them.

 Gen. 1:27

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As you know this blog seeks to explore the place of faith in contemporary secular culture. In doing so, I look out the window of my small cottage onto the world and I often comment on the antics and misdeeds of modern culture and the people who populate it.

Yes, this makes for harsh language, for the actions of the modern secular person and their organizations are far, far from the image of God.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortions are legal and constitutionally protected, nearly 60 million unborn children have been killed.  Hardly seems like the majority of the Court in Roe v. Wade could have acted as if they were made in God’s image.  Ditto – abortion advocates – especially feminists for whom the life of a child gives way to their own desires. Made in God’s image?  If judged by their actions, No.

So how does one explain this departure from the essence of God’s creation of man and woman?

The answer is in the tree.  The tree?  Yes, the tree.

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)

Yes, many among us have elected what can be fairly judged as evil and made a place for their views in this land.  Yes, judges, and those who would be mothers, and politicians and multiple self-serving advocates would seem to have furthered evil, institutionalized it..  That is America today.  That is the product of godless secularism, the Democrat Left, of the Marxists parading at “progressives.”

This is the view from my cottage window, and why I write as I do … and why I so often close the shutters of my window – so I might live free of evil, and its carnage, and absurdity and its lies, its anger and hostility, and its advocates in robes and in plain clothes.

Finally, make no mistake – to be made in God’s image requires we choose good – not evil. To do otherwise is to take the gift of our life and deny God.

Further, such evil as we pursue, multiplies evil.  Today, we see it in the destruction of marriage, the attacks on this Nation and its borders, the distorted appetites of fallen people marshalled into protected legal status – as if these appetites are want of a God who seeks that we choose what is good and pure.

Our task?  Return to God, or live with the shutters closed.

Shalom.

The day begins with the frozen stillness of a winter predawn sky and snow-covered ground … and with two Our Fathers and two Hail Marys … and the Introitus with its reassurance and certainty … Yes, in the snow-covered ground God calls us back to our purest self.  Yes, the same snow that fell on Jews in the frozen winters of their captivity in Nazi death camps.  The same snow.

 Soon enough a fire will warm the house and the burning wood will crackle, and time will be at once past, immediate and forever.

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A thought transfixed for me: for the first time in my life I saw truth … The truth – that love is the ultimate and highest to which man can aspire. (Emphasis added.)

Viktor Frankl, M.D., in Man’s Search for Meaning

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There is a scene in Schindler’s List when Oskar Schindler emerges from his residence to find ashes falling from the sky like snow flakes.  These ashes?  The burning bodies of Jews killed in the concentration camp where his factory was located.

Snow and ashes.  God and man.  Love and hate.

I am a Catholic.  My wife was Jewish.  A sweet, smart, funny, petite girl without any malice that I ever detected.  I will never understand how anyone could justify killing her because she was Jewish.  Nor will I ever understand anti-Semitism.

I would think a wise and good-hearted man might recognize that Israel should not be betrayed as it was when the Unites States failed to protect her and her population at the recent United Nations Security Council vote.

I am left with a simple conclusion: those who betrayed Israel are neither wise nor good-hearted.

Last night it snowed here.  The day holds the chill of winter as it is before the sun ascends.

In the quiet of this early morning, I readied my wood-burning stove to provide heat for the day.  First I emptied it of ashes from its prior use.  I thought of Sylvia, and those who perished in Nazi camps.  Snow and ashes.

Snow and ashes.  Do those who betray Israel ever think of snow and ashes?  It would seem not.

What have we become?  Auschwitz and abortion.  Snow and ashes.

Shalom.

Please feel free to share this with others on Twitter and Facebook, if you wish.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!

The Son of God became a child, so we might become the Children of God.

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Last night I had a dream.  It was disconcerting, the kind of dream you have now and again of being stuck by facts, circumstances, errors and misunderstandings in a spot where others might hold you liable for the fate of another.

In the dream, my penalty was to be blamed for the demise of an evil person who, in the dream, I was expected to defend in trial – carrying out my duties as a lawyer.

The actions of the Court somehow proceeded without me and the man, indeed an evil individual, was convicted and his associates were to exact a serious punishment from me.

Facing death, they encircled me and cut into a vein in my arm and one in my hand.  I felt no pain and was resigned to accept my fate and my end.

With the second puncture, I awoke and at that inevitable cusp between dream and consciousness I knew it was Christmas and that I belonged to Christ.  At that exact moment, pain, death, injustice and the calamity that becomes the world was conquered because it was Christmas and I belonged to Christ.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Shalom.

A Post Today for Parents and Children

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Our consciousness does not create itself.  It wells up from unknown depths … it wakes each morning out of the depths of sleep …

Carl Jung, M.D., in The Psychology of Eastern Meditation

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Jung would say that we are not born tabula rasa – with a clean state.  No, his views is that each person’s brain has a history of human experience and within each person is a psyche that will seek expression, fulfillment, realization of personhood.

Jung would say that each of us is born with “a high complexity” and “existing determinants” that persist throughout each life.  Yes, in many ways we play out our particular being within this divine design.

The fact that we share this excursion seems, it appears to me, to promise our completeness provided we accept life, its lessons and – listen to the cues we observe within – evolve as we are uniquely called to life within this divine design which is itself made to insure uniqueness and commonality.

It follows, in my mind, that relationships with others, intimacy, marriage, love, family, fellowship, friendship, community and nation flow from this magnificent divine design.

What a gift is this life and its living.

Shalom.

Would any seed take root if he had not believed His promise when God said,

“Dears, I will rain.  I will help you.  I will turn into warmth and effulgence,

I will be the Mother that I am and let you draw from My body and rise, and rise.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

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If there is no God, how can these words from the 13th century survive, interest us, speak to us, make us think, perhaps alter our consciousness, orientation to daily life, and the meaning of our existence?

Aquinas thought that contemplation and solitude were among the greatest gifts we are given.  But alas we are very busy, and noisy.  So easily distracted, indeed to a state of exhaustion and impatience.

He became a Dominican monk and lived a vow of poverty with complete devotion to God.  Even in the 13th century this was a radical departure from what was.

His family kidnapped him and held him in isolation for two years in their castle to try to dissuade his choice of a monastic life.  This only strengthened his will and his faith.  In his solitude and forced imprisonment, he memorized Holy Scriptures.

Released he became a master at the University of Paris and focused his attention on Aristotle’s writings on metaphysics.  From this he learned how to make the profound seem simple to his audience.

In his studies his faith deepened and matters like the growth of a seed or the expanse of the human being came to form and to his understanding and he shared his insights with all.  To this day his words survive.

Are you not the seed promised life-giving water and eternal warmth?

Shalom.

Tomorrow’s Post: How the Democrat Left lost and Trump became President.

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving 

To … prove God’s existence is a very different thing from … thanking Him.

Soren Kierkegaard, in The Present Age

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I call you to give thanks for what you have been given.  I do so by sharing some of the things that I will give thanks for today:

+ for a Loving God and the grace I have been given to believe in God since I was a very small child

+ for God’s moral order and the strength and humility to adhere to it

+ for a loving family and a Mother who saved my life at the cost of her own desires and needs

+ for those who loved me and those I have been graced to love

+ for the struggles and challenges in life that have always taught be more than any education could ever have

+ for having been born in America and for our ancestors who built this great land of freedom and opportunity

+ for the men and women in the armed forces who have protected us at great cost to themselves and still do today

+ for my son and my daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren – Jack and Fiona

+ for my health and the health of friends and loved ones

+ for friends – so many, and so undeserved

+ for this beautiful land

+ for the recent election and the opportunity to repair the destruction we have brought upon ourselves by errant ideology, excessive pride in self, selfishness and unnecessary hostility toward others

+ for Christ and his sacrifice for us, all who have lived and yet will come to life.

God bless you all.  Rejoice today … and be glad.

Shalom.

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