You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Christ’ category.

Happy are those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in the company of scoffers.  Rather the law of God is their joy; God’s law they study …

… the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.

The Lord watches over the way of the just but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.  (Emphasis added.)

Psalm 1

+ + +

Life is a matter of choosing good or choosing evil.  Those who choose what is good are wise – they live stable and contented lives.  Those who choose evil will be rootless and discontented.  Yes, the wicked will know death in life.

To choose “the way of sinners” is to choose what is immoral.  The wicked are those who distance themselves from God.  They distance themselves by words, thoughts and actions.

The Psalms were the prayers of Jesus.  They were His guide.  They can form you and teach you just as they formed and taught Christ.

We live in times where immorality and corruption are on display.  Indeed, we see these behaviors in high places and among the privileged.  In such a time, it is all the more important that we choose what is good and reject what is evil and those who purpose evil ideas, evil deeds, evil actions.  

If there is a blessing in a time of evil, it is that we are given the opportunity to bravely and faithfully choose good over evil … and to stand in opposition to evil.

When good prevails, prosperity and peace follow.

Your choice: live God’s law or suffer miserably and watch what was once good come to ruin.

Shalom.

 

 

Advertisements

… signs … Jesus … performed … have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Jn 20: 30,31

+ + +

Believing or not believing.  Belief in God or belief in nothing.  Theism or nihilism.  We face this proposition more directly today than we have probably in our history.

I have a very dear childhood friend.  He was my closest friend growing up.  We were like brothers – did so many things together.  Shared the same classes and teachers throughout school.  I was like a family member in his home.  His mother treated me like one of her children.  She and my mother were best of friends.

My friend is now in a nursing home.  He is frail.  Spends a good deal of time in bed.  As a child he was bright, friendly, a reader – social, trusted, quite capable.  In his late adolescence he seemed to be at odds with institutions and authority – but more to the point he began to lose interest in the world around him.  He seemed to make a wilful decision to reject this or that – his skepticism began to grow.  His actions seemed to say: life is worthless – this view and his skepticism grew as he aged.

He drank consistently throughout his life beginning when he was a teenager.  His initial adult working life seemed consistent with his abilities.  He had a modest political life and was elected to his local School Board.  His two children were successful.  He seemed at odds with his wife and she with him most of their married life.  She too was a negative person.

His negativity continued to grow – his work history declined as his cynicism strengthened.  He suffered from seizures.  Eventually his downward work trajectory ended when he worked himself out of a janitor’s job, being fired from a government position despite his union membership.  A very hard act to accomplish.  He burned bridges at work and with family members.  He scoffed at religion and those who tried to help him.

If I have to point to one thing that explains my friend’s decline it is this: he became a cynic – lived as a nihilist.  He lived as if to say very loudly – life has no meaning.  Nothing  met his approval – all was more or less rejected.  He lived as if to deny his own existence and existence itself.  

I see his attitude in our culture and politics today.  Those who reject national borders sound like him.  The lapses with the Vatican as to sex abuse, denying law, morality and the Canons of the Church reflect his disposition. The upheaval in sexual mores, in families, in lawless urban enclaves seem to say: “belief in good” no longer holds.   The corruption at the federal bureaucratic level says much the same thing – truth and honesty are not honored in practice.  Drug addictions, suicides, random violence and corporate men preying on women employees – but more indications of decline and decay, amoral behavior – signs of depravity and reasons for serious concern.

All this to say but one simple thing: I do not hear much said about nihilism and the denial of values, morals, conduct – rather, too often, I see others advocating decline and decay – angry people attacking structures and codes of conduct that hold us together and provide a basis for community, peace and prosperity … life itself.

Theism or Nihilism.  Believe in something or believe in nothing.  God or nothing at all.

Shalom.

Christianity (is) not … a matter of getting … ideas straight but rather of getting (one’s) life straight.

Robert Barron, in The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path

+ + +

Ultimately people want to live well, have peace, experience love, be free of troubles, worries, sickness and injustice, be able to laugh, enjoy friendship, and realize the value of their own good work.

Life is about “getting life straight.”  And that is a faith matter.

Yet, in the course of my lifetime, I have seen interest in faith (particularly Christianity) decline and, in the void that is created, I have seen people seek meaning in ideology and satisfaction the prosperity that has come to us mid-last century in a free market economy with peace at hand.

However as to ideology, I am most troubled.

Ideology is a body of ideas reflecting the “perceived” needs of an individual, group, class or culture.  Needs, mind you, of this mortal existence.

Unlike faith, it is earth-bound and reflects the desires of a class of individuals.  Its goal is not the realization of a full life but rather it is smaller than that – it seeks only the self-authored, contemporary desires of a group – often pursued with force so to impose a narrow and self-interested view of life on all others.  Apropos, politics, propaganda and public tantrums are three of their favorite coercive tools.

Ideologues, you see, care only that their views (which comfort them) be forced on others – never time-tested and never challenged.  Totally accepted as totalitarians demand.

Imagine living with someone who, exposed to an idea, assumes (because they like the idea and feel empowered by it) to make of that idea their world view and the “thing” that  governs their world as they experience it – as if this idea is the prism through which all experiences are, and must be, filtered.

I guarantee that living with such a person is close to living in North Korea or a re-education gulag.  This is where we are today as to ideology – in its public and private hues and noises.

Convince a potential ideologue a hammer is a “hat” and that person will spend the rest of life trying to fit that hammer to their head and expect you to do the same.  Yes, they will abandon all reason in favor of foolishness.  Me?  I’ll take faith – you can keep the hammer.

Shalom.

 

 

REMEMBER SEPTEMBER 11th

… we all have to be “crucified with Christ,” suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion.

C. G. Jung, M.D., in Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works 12

+ + +

Is there ever a time or a life in which one did not experience a moral challenge, a struggle with temptation, the experience of betrayal or witness depravity?  No.  This is life as a mortal … this is life in the world.

Make no mistake – we live in a Crucifying Time.  But who does not.  Yes, there come times when the incidence of evil is more obvious and more heinous … but all time brings us moral struggle and one form or another of treacherous rebellion and evil dressed in “justification” and maybe even brazenly not even disguised.

Now how can that be?  Well, we are people.  Imperfect, easily tempted.  Many live in their ego and its demands and ill-formed sense of “entitlement” and superiority.

The Crucifixion (it is said) “is the central image of the Western psyche.”  It is surely the case that it conveys the “juxtaposition” of what is human and what is divine.  In these times one is offered Christ once again – plainly so.  In darkness, you know, Light is brightest.  We live in such a time.

In a “crucifixion time,” – what do you see?  What do you know?  Who are you?  What do you do?  With whom do you reside?  With God or the godless?

Shalom.

 

Sunday, September 9, 2108 –  in the rain, and wind, the fog and the cold … where forest meets pasture – I write drawing on my biographical experience – my own lived life and what it is for me to write.  My hope is that this will connect with you, give you something you did not have before you read this post.  Give you a sense of how personal writing is.

# # #

William Faulkner… once characterized his approach (to writing) as “oratory out of solitude” … Of this approach (Walker) Percy made a new thing altogether.  The solitude of The Moviegoer isn’t the solitude of a rebel or an independent, but of a man who is alone in a crowd.

Paul Elie, in The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage

+ + +

Percy, the converted Catholic medical doctor turned extraordinary Southern novelist, who wrote the award-winning novel The Moviegoer and said of the power of writing and of fiction in particular that he could “banish alienation through the … alliance … of character, reader and author.” Now look specifically at this in Paul Elie’s words above: Walker’s solitude was that “of a man who is alone in a crowd.”

That so explains my history and my writing.  I write from a strong sense of what it is to be alone, and, yet, at the same time possess the gift of a facile nature as to social existence and being with others.  I suspect that each of us must know suffering or we do not know life … Indeed, I cannot imagine the experience of The Divine without our suffering and disappointment – and the sublime reality of solitude … including the task of knowing we are alone.

Before I began blogging, I had faithfully maintained journals for years – every page filled beginning to end.   Social as I was – writing was self-examination and a reach for others.

While I was always comfortable with people – my ease with others and interest in them was a compensatory gift from God that was designed to offset the pains of desertion, death, betrayal, loss, poverty and the witness of my mother’s suffering in difficult circumstances.

Yes, writing was a way to understand myself and all that surrounded me.  My blogging is more of the same.  Seems that God had this path in mind for me – some hard experiences to teach and grow me – so I might be with others in a helpful way.

My blogging is an offset to being the lonely man in a crowd.  I think if you review what I write you may well see that proposition within the writing – ironically, like Walker Percy, I reach our from an “aloneness” within – in order to make contact with others to banish the alienation of my history, wounds and disappointments.

For me my “alliance” is: my history, self-understanding, the world as it inflicts sufferings on us and you, the reader.

If you never read anything I wrote I would be left with the past, the sounds, knowledge of myself that never reached another human being, and a world that dispenses suffering in ample quantity.  Too much to bear by one’s self.

If no one ever read the blog – I would be a voiceless disciple, a man mumbling alone, an unheard voice.

Like others, I write an “oratory out of solitude” so I might live and help.

Shalom.

I welcome any thought you might have on this particular post.

 

 

Socialism … cannot not be brought into harmony with … the Catholic Church … the reason being that it conceives human society in a way utterly alien to Christian truth.

Pope Pius XI, in Quadragesimo  Anno

+ + +

With today’s loose talk about socialism, it is wise to ask those who speak in its favor several questions, to wit:

  • What are the consequences (under socialism) to the life of the human person and his and her experience of what it is to be human?
  • What effect does socialism have on the spiritual life of a person?
  • How can the centralization of power in the socialist state keep from crushing the autonomy and sacred nature of the human person?
  • How can socialism fail to concentrate power in the hands of a small and privileged ruling elite while turning all others into mere slaves of socialist policy?
  • How is socialism consistent with the sacred nature of being itself?
  • Why does socialism discredit religion and exile God when it gains power?

Strange as it may seem, Thomas Merton helps orient us to these questions in a chapter entitled “The Inward Solitude” in his book No Man is an Island.

In that chapter he writes of the sanctity of each human being and reminds us as individuals and, by implication, as a society that we are to respect in others their autonomy, their privacy, their loneliness and solitude for there each person is unique and there each comes to know God and themselves – made just as they are by The Divine Creator.

While Merton is talking about one’s spiritual life and psychological well-being, his words are the essence of individual liberty, independence, privacy and sanctity which are all threatened by the centralized socialist state that always and everywhere is at odds with faith, religion, God and economic freedom for the secular, socialist state courts no rival – neither the free and sacred person, economic freedom, nor God.

The socialist state is godless and seeks to separate the person from the Divine.  Aside from socialism’s historically established economic and social failures – it alters the essence of the experience of human life such that it imprisons the Spirit of each who yearns for fullness and for meaning, for God, peace, community and prosperity.

Think about it.  Those who promote socialism are UNABLE to justify its conduct and the barren end it produces.  This is what Pope Pius XI is saying.

To comprehend socialism in practice – look at socialist Venezuela today with its starvation, poverty, state corruption and heavy hand.

Venezuela: a once prospering and wealthy democratic state turned to ruin.  Voter beware.

Shalom.

The eternal life is not the future life; it is life in harmony with the true order of things.

Henri Amiel, in Journal

+ + +

I have taken to distancing myself from the everyday, and particularly “the news” only in so far as I cast a glance at the calamity and the ridiculous ignorance of many who “report” on it and then, God help us, provide their own uneducated, small-minded, predictable, silly “commentary” on the happenings they mention.

That one thrust alone makes space of eternity.  The intellectual poverty and rote recitations of some left leaning ideological fetish are ironically liberating and sanity-preserving, if not life saving.  Enter what is eternal and indestructible.

Aye, a far better and healthier focus where love and humility seem to grow.

In the void that the nonsense has created, I live closer to my faith, and my loved ones (especially the little children) are more in my thoughts and prayers.  God and those I love and what is good emerge as most important.

My world is now meaningful and not confined to what is inane, self-destructive, erroneous, ignorant and captive to all the “clap trap” of fickle styles, language, forms of expression and the chorus of trained parrots that passes for contemporary discourse … and such.

I much prefer what is true and not mad, to what is false and perpetually angry.

In this I remember St. Augustine who wrote: “Eternal life is the actual knowledge of the truth.”  (De moribus Ecclesiae catholicae, etc.)

As a compassionate man, I offer this to you: walk away from the nonsense.  It is disorienting, wrong-headed, and destructive of person, culture and nation.

Shalom.

 

Well now, just getting back after a holiday with my family.

# # #

Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.

Martin Luther

+ + +

I had the company of three Catholic priests this weekend.  Each a Dear Friend.  Good people and good Priests.  Each feels the weight and humiliation of the news from Pennsylvania regarding the sexual misconduct of Catholic clergy in that state.

I share with you my conversation with these good men.

I reminded each that no man can destroy Christ’s Church.  Likewise I told them that smart people can tell who the good guys are and that, while people I know are disgusted with the manner in which illicit sexual behavior was hidden from the public, the men and women I spoke with do not hold these local priests responsible for what happened nor will they abandon their faith, Christ or His Church.

And, I told them that all my life I have encountered adversity and that it always stirs in me a resolve to face it squarely and that adversity itself allows us to recognize what it is that matters most to us, that it also clarifies who we are and what we stand for.

The truth for me is this: adversity makes me stronger, bolsters my heart and soul and stirs in me the “fight” to protect and proclaim the Truth that we know and that we wish to live by.

I encourage you to adopt something akin to my point of view.

Today we are invited to stand tall and proclaim what we believe and who we are.

In adversity comes clarity, purpose and courage.

We are never so strong as when we know who we are and what we stand for.

Shalom.

Baseball Legend’s Birthday: Ted Williams Was Born This Day in 1918

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Lk 23:3

+ + +

We live in times that are quite challenging.  Much hostility and harsh words.  Ideas and institutions that we depend on for civility, community, fellowship, peace and prosperity are openly attacked – at times violently so.

Some among us question what they might do.  Some think of these assaults as very, very threatening.  Their thoughts turn to self-defense – they are on edge and wonder if the violence requires their armament.

Asked recently what I think about the present situation, my response – “It is time to have the courage of Christ.”

The above quote ought to be your guide in these times of ours.  Remember Luke 23:3!

The courage of Christ is to rise above the conflict, to speak Truth to others – to those who attack us and our critical institutions – especially our religion, the family, civility, truth, law, the fundamental freedoms our Constitution houses, the tenets of our faith.

Stand up, and speak up.  Give fear no place in you.

‘Tis always best to stand and speak the Truth as we know it.  Let the consequences be the consequences.  God reigns and we have nothing to fear.

Shalom.

August 26, 2018 – Late Sunday Afternoon Post

We are now living in an era in which it comes home to us in greater and greater measure that the dream of our own goodness is an illusion of the worse sort. (Emphasis added.)

There is no person who can answer the problem of evil, which is another way of saying that we have need of Christ.  It is in him that we make our way to the Father … It is in his spirit and in the light of his grace that we pass through the darkness of this world, not by understanding, but by grace.

Fr. Mathew Kelty, in Sermons in a Monastery

+ + +

Fr. Kelty is making the point that man is capable of good and of evil and, notwithstanding, that we are made by God and hence “worthy of dignity, reverence, and respect …”

That is to say: we have intrinsic value and need not attempt to base our worth on “our goodness” per se.  Rather, that we prosper by acknowledging our nature and remaining in relationship with Christ alone who “walked the ways of light and darkness, of death and hell, and rose that we might follow after him as becomes the children of God.”

So why might I elect to draw this to your attention?

I do so because we are engaged in a struggle in Washington whereby some people are making a concerted effort to find wrongdoing committed in the past by a duly elected President in order to chase him from office – overturn his electoral victory.

Yes, those on the prowl convey that they see in themselves an extraordinary “goodness” that justifies their effort.  Apparently born to the presumption of their own “goodness” they seize the front of the line convinced that, perfect as they are, they “know what is best” for all of us – mere citizens.

In Fr. Kelty’s way of thinking – the presumption of goodness on display is prima facie proof of unfitness for such a task.  Further, in Kelty’s view, such people know neither themselves nor Christ.

The fatal mistake of those in pursuit of some bad deed from the past?  They have not come “in contact with one’s deeper self” and the truth that we are not angels, but only at our best when grounded in a relationship with God.

Think about this.

Good people are able to see their limits and act accordingly.  Purity and perfection are not the lot of mortals.  No one acquires the expanse of wisdom and modest range of intellect – each of us retains only, at best, God-given nature.

Shalom.

 

Welcome Message

Categories

Log In

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: