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… the Boston Irish are different … (than any other Irish who settled in this country)

(future President and Colonial Boston’s) John Adams, a thirty-year-old lawyer … viewed “popery” as incompatible with liberty and agreed … that Catholicism had no right to recognition or toleration.

Thomas H. O’Connor, in The Boston Irish: A Political History

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I have always wondered why my friends, family, neighbors were never afraid to speak up, were frankly tough, determined people who seemed to fear nothing – who would, in the face of adversity, double-down and be all that more insistent to overcome any obstacle they faced.  The answer to my wonder: Boston – where we lived, where we grew up and built life long bonds with others.

I was raised among the Irish and as a Celt (Scot) with a similar disposition and history vis a vis the British,  I took on the character of the remarkable Irish people that were my friends, second family, my brothers, sisters and neighbors.

History Professor Thomas O’Connor lays out the history peculiar to Boston of years upon years of Puritan and Protestant hatred of the Irish.  I give you one example: in the 1700’s November 5th was a day of Protestant parades celebrating anti-popery which ended each year with the burning of an effigy of the Pope followed my violent clashes between Puritans and Catholics.

Nothing toughens one as having to defend yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors against bigotry and hatred.  Yes, the Boston Irish (of whom I am in union) are a rare breed – an extended family, a clan of courageous, hard-nosed, clever, determined people – more than willing to step up and speak out – those with no fear of authority figures.

Knowing this I wonder where is the toughness of today’s working and middle class who have been dealt a bad hand by the arrogant, self-serving elites – the globalists who export jobs to foreign lands and support or pursue what can generously be described as policies that diminish family and marriage and allow unborn children to be destroyed?  Where are faithful people, Believers, particularly Catholics and evangelicals who see these things and others and remain polite when their faith is assaulted?

I can say but one thing – quietude is not the habit of the Boston Irish as to such matters.

You might want to think about that.  We are too quiet, too silent, too polite.

Perhaps this is why I gravitate to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame …

Shalom.

 

 

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Remember Pearl Harbor, 1941/Remember Benghazi Too

It is cold and the sky is clear, the colors true and the mountains firm and sure.  December and the Son is near.  Despite the public nonsense, it is Christmas time … and Holy Silence is here.

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Man … a wanderer and wayfarer … in search of a … holy place, a center and source of indefectible life …

the Irish monks “… simply floated off to sea, abandoning themselves to wind and current, in the hope of being led to the place of solitude which God himself would pick for them …”

Walker Percy, in “From Pilgrimage to Crusade”

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Have you seen your life as a pilgrimage?  Have you imagined it so?  Have you been given to live what God has given?  Are you so blessed by the grace of that gift to come to that place He chose for you?

Live properly and fully lived, life is a pilgrimage.  And I have come to realize this as I come to my 73rd year this month.

Yes, I have been overcome by the length of time and its passing speed, but more so the unusual continuity and scope of my life … from betrayal and poverty, to death and homelessness, to conversion and many who loved me to that place … In it all I see my gifts of interest in others, and the will to survive life’s constant and bitter combat and the desire for God in all of it.

Lately I have sought peace and quiet after years of battles – defense of others with my lawyer’s trade and growing faith – seeking truth and a just result … standing alone as loneliness prepared me so.

Seeing life as a pilgrim’s journey is a blessing that overwhelms, producing tears of wonder for the divine gift of consistency that was in me and this life so on track to be just what I had been made to be.

Imagine the innate mystery of consistency and the companionship of the right values and the best goals of service to others  … a life like the Irish Monks submission to the winds and currents of a life Godly given.  Imagine too the sight of God in those who loved me to this place.  My shepherds … my shepherds – so many, so many … angels given, angles given …

Looking back now I see one astonishing grace – that I was given to accept life as it presented and to do so without complaint or bitter feeling – but rather to accept it as what it was – the gift of challenges that built with each hard event courage, wisdom and greater strength, greater depth, greater faith, greater insight and the reward of solitude, certainty of the soul and peace which conquers all conflict.  Once lonely, I could stand alone because of Him … I am who Am.

A pilgrimage – previously unbeknownst to me.  But for the grace to walk one step at a time over hills and through dark valleys for all these years I would not know how grace delivered consistency to me … and now I see that God has done as God intended … and my unwitting collaboration with His Desire for me … grace … grace … grace – the mystery of grace.

Looking back I see through tears of awe and humility for I have done by the Grace of God what God has asked of me – simply to journey as a pilgrim would.

I pray you know the same.

Do not get bogged down in the daily voices of nonsense – they hold no sway, no mystery they.

Shalom.

 

… Epictetus was telling his students … that there can be no such thing as being the “victim” of another.  You can only be a victim of yourself.  It’s all about how you discipline your mind.  (Emphasis added.)

James B. Stockdale, in Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in the Laboratory of Human Behavior 

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You can tell the strength of a nation by the number of “victims” in its population.  Yes, those who willingly and loudly proclaim they are “victims” are showing their weakness and in the aggregate showing the nation to be weak.

There is nothing flattering about being a victim.  And much less so when “victim-hood” is claimed as a life long “status” to gain the sympathy of others, lay claim to financial support and particular “privilege” as a persistent “advantage” as to life’s routine tasks.  Yet, worst of all – those who adopt the permanent status of “victim” implicitly excuse themselves from living as full and as responsible a life as they are able to live.

Oddly, and with intention and cunning, the Left loves to count people as victims and in doing so advance their own agenda – which is to gain power and control over others.  Frankly, the Left is shameless in this regard – their faux interest in others is always an interest in themselves.

“Cynical,” you say.  Yes.  They are a cynical and insincere bunch.  They gain at others expense.

Want to live free and with dignity?  Heed what Epictetus has said.

You need not make yourself a victim … for being a victim diminishes you and sows the seeds of perpetual unhappiness, discontent and under-achievement – in short: a life far below your talent and ability.

Think about it.

We can no longer counsel or tolerate the production of “victims” so some may claim power and control over those they diminish and consign to dependence and unhappiness.

We do not have a Declaration of Dependence – but a Declaration of Independence.

Shalom.

 

 

… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for the child that has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Matt 1: 20

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Some ask, why is it that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph separately from Mary?

In religious narrative there are always common, good lessons to be learned – many, in fact.  Here we see that God wishes a commitment from each of us individually.  Yes, God desires that each of us grow in faith and in relationship to Him so that we might be fully grown and have stability and certainty amid life’s chaos, confusion and corruption.

What was true then is no less true now.

Think about the cost imposed when we neglect the Truth of religious narrative.  In doing so, it is really quite shocking that in the present day when there are many in the West who wish to destroy the gift of civilization that we possess –few public figures have the intellect to discuss the precious value that is in Western civilization and the disaster that would be its deconstruction.  Nor, I add are there competent discussions about the rise of China as the global power to replace the United States and its allies as the source of global strength and stability.

Suffice it to say – that lacking faith and quality education, we have ignorance and chaos – leaving us without the personage capable of leadership when we most need it.

Indeed, the election of a non-politician as President reflects the poverty of the “educated elites” and the raw fact that the average citizen sees the problems of the day when the privileged do not.

Could it be that those closer to faith are closer to wisdom and courage?

Shalom.

Dismal Elites – The idiotic statement by Chief Justice John “Short Pants” Roberts just confirms again the foolishness of the privileged “elites.”  The notion that there are not Judges with political portfolios and disposition (nay, bias) is a ridiculous claim for the Justice to make … then again he “thought” that the unconstitutional Obama “Care” mandate was a “tax.”

Lesson to be learned – the elites like to remain part of their herd … ridiculous things are said on behalf of preserving one’s place at the top of the pyramid.  Well, la-di-da!

 

Deconstructionism … is the last, predictable, stage in the suppression of reason and the denial of the possibility of truth …

Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind

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No borders.  Families without fathers.  Random mass murders.  Opiate deaths. Aborting a child in the womb as a “choice.”  Thirteen genders.  White men as “the problem.”   “Equality” as the Holy Grail.  Being a “victim” and capitalizing on it.  Leftist government making permanent dependents of more and more.  Uncontrolled national debt.  Targeting police officers for execution.  Millions of illegal immigrants living here while others wait years for legal entry.

Election supervisors who can’t count or adhere to the law, lose thousands of ballots and conveniently find more that are favorable to their political preferences.  A socialist member of Congress who thinks that the three “chambers” of government are the President, the Senate and the House.   A lily white woman who fabricated an American Indian lineage to “get ahead.” Proponents of “sanctuary” cities who shelter the lawless and pass the cost of the taxpayer.  The godlessness.  Advocates of “free” everything.  Women at war with men.  The permanent division by race.  Same sex “marriage.”  The presumption of guilt attaching to a man – the presumption of innocence extinguished.  Legislating from the Bench – judicial activism.  Waste and redundancy in government. Entrenched partisans in a bloated bureaucrary. The exile of faith from the public square.  The destruction of education.  The loss of a free and independent press and news media.  Letting non-citizens and convicted felons vote so the Left can gain power.  Disdain for our heritage, the Constitution, liberty, and the “old White men” who gave us our freedom – and for all the men between then and now who fought and died for us.  Disregard for our Flag and our history.

The denial of American exceptionalism.

It is Thanksgiving and we live now in a culture where the Democrats, Leftists, Marxists, and anarchists wish to dissolve this Great Nation.  We are at a critical stage – death or survival.  

When you break bread tomorrow – think about this. 

Shalom.

I have found … by Your great mercy, that the love of a man’s heart that is abandoned and broken and poor … attracts the gaze of Your pity … That you have perhaps no greater “consolation” … than to console Your afflicted children …

Thomas Merton, in Thoughts in Solitude

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It is not our choice to live free of conflict, disappointment, ill fortune, betrayal, failure, hurt, mistake, injustice, hostility, error, illness, disability and death … These coexist with love we do not warrant, welcome we never need to earn, friendship far exceeding our merits … gratuitous kindness and forgiveness …

Yes, life presents the teaching moments of difficulties and hardships as ways of humbling us and bringing us wisdom and the priceless ability to acquire the pains and experiences of others and to witness trust in God, and grow closer to Our Creator.

In Thomas Merton’s words is a gem: God always consoles His injured children.  Yes, we need not fear injury no more than we can avoid it in the rough and tumble course of human existence.

God’s presence and consolation is a certainty.  That being so – why fear?  Is fear not an absence of belief?  Are believers not the greatest leaders?  Do they not display the greatest calm in the face of the greatest struggles and most difficult calamities?

That said – sadly I do not see much in most who claim to lead.  I do not see belief in those who would lead.  I see godless ideologies and schemes that flow from them.  In them, I know with absolute certainty that what they propose and advocate is destined for failure and disappointment.  There is no leadership without belief – for without belief there is neither sight nor courage.

Are we not far better off knowing our limits and God’s unlimited expanse?

Believe.  Fear not.  In God one moves with confidence.

Shalom.

Sleet, snow and a warm fireplace in the mountains – a quiet day of classical music, tidying up and starting the Christmas cards.

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It is tragic to see how blatantly [one] bungles his own life and the lives of others, yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Aion (Collected Works, Vol. 9, Part II)

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Jung speaks of the individual, yet what he says is no less true of the aggregate.

Yes, Jung’s words can be applied to us in the aggregate as a body of people, a nation … and frankly ought to be as a means of introspection, self-examination and correction.

Frankly, President Trump’s “drain the swamp” precisely captures the sentiments of the vast voting public who knows we are way off course.  Indeed, the midterm election to the extent that the Trump’s political party gained seats in the Senate and the minority party gained seats in the House by running more middling candidates is an indication that voters realize Washington is a swamp, with swamp creatures and swamp-like behavior.

I write about faith and culture and have a background in law, theology, politics and public policy.  That said I have strung together a handful of tragic “bungles” manifest in today’s culture … things that we are not acknowledging which can lead to tragedy.

Here they are:

  • we are a populace with little knowledge or appreciation of Western Civilization or America’s history and its unique government structure
  • we have departed from a belief in God and the practice of faith – and lost any sense that there is a natural order to things material and spiritual
  • our affluence has bred softness, arrogance and the expectation of entitlement
  • our “elites” are afforded status and attention they do not warrant
  • we have a very poor understanding of the psychological and spiritual development needed to be a healthy, mature human
  • the role of family has declined while dependence on government, immorality, division has increased
  • we are largely ignorant of the U.S. Constitution and abuse it routinely by shaping it to political demand
  • professions like law, news reporting, university teaching and government service have lost their integrity
  • we have neglected our military and allowed our adversaries to gain an advantage on us
  • secularism has dramatically altered for the worse the experience of being human.

Time to look at ourselves honestly and stop bungling ourselves into tragedy … or extinction.

Shalom.

Elites – Look at England.  The British people wish to leave the EU and restore their national sovereignty and their Prime Minister cannot and will not negotiate a break with the EU.  Much like our situation in America – the elites are disconnected from the population, do not recognize the value of the average citizen – rather they scorn them.  This is much the remarkable position of Democrats and life-long swamp denizens.

 

 

St. Michael the Archangel defend us against the wickedness and snares of the Devil … thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls.

The Prayer of St. Michael

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How do you prepare each day to meet the challenges of this world?  How do you become equipped to refute what is wicked, what is unjust, hateful – what advocates dishonesty or exclusion of others?

What do you say in the presence of words that divide and urge the injury of others?  What do you say to the civil “servant” or the elected official, or the powerful whose behavior is unacceptable, who fosters violence and exclusion?

Are you strong of voice in these times, and these encounters?  Or are you one who thinks that affluence purchases your silence because after all you have much to lose?

Facing Satan or his minions in high places or low, what would you say?  What do you say?  Would have the strength, courage and faith of St. Michael?  Do you have that strength, courage and faith?

If not, you’d be but a collaborator with the Evil One.  That said, you offer no friendship to others.

Why?  Why do you stand idly by and watch the destruction of souls?  Have you no heart?  No conscious?  No faith?

Shalom.

Only the honorable people resist injustice.  The rest – the honorless – are afraid of their own shadow.

Mehmet Murat ildan

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The Turkish economist and literary writer has it just about right.

But have you noticed that we don’t talk much about what it takes to be an honorable man in contemporary America today?

Maybe we ought to think about this – what is an honorable man?  It seems we live today without many such men.

I grew up in the immediate post-World War II America.  I lived on a street and in an extended family with men who served in the War.  The question of being an honorable man was not necessary – men had proved their worth, showed their courage and character in the demands of war.

My mother was born just in time for the Great Depression and, in short order, World War II.  She manifest courage and honor by necessity.

The affluence we have come to know in the post-War, post-Depression times seems to have scrubbed us of questions as to honor, courage, heroism and sacrifice.

Simply stated, I do not find many men of honor.

In my profession (the law), I see men who, despite the professional ethics that govern them, routinely fail to fight for their clients.  Yes, I see many cowards and fakers in the law.  Frankly people who would have never made it in the Boston I knew as a child.  There honor took many forms – be loyal to your people, help the other guy, don’t let anyone “bully” another weaker person, protect your family and women, respect others, work hard, don’t complain – just compete and get better at life, get stronger and wiser in the ways of the world.

I see things in public men and women that are, to me, astonishing – and in lawyers and judges, too – things that are disgraceful … but to whom no shame attaches.

It has come to the point that I see this dishonor in the “public people” – those that I have no regard whatsoever for … I turn from them as I might an offer of rancid food.

Somewhere along this timeline we are going to revisit what is it to be an honorable man.

“Selflessness.  Humility.  Truthfulness.  These are the three marks of an honorable man.”  So says, writer Suzy Kassem.

I might add – courage as well.

You know I lost so much in this life, I refuse to forfeit my dignity or watch others lose their’s.  Maybe that’s why I really loved the fight required in trying cases and arguing appeals – defending the interest of those poor and weak who live among us.

Shalom.

 

If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine …he must take up his cross and come with me.  Whoever cares for his own safety is lost; but it a man let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self.  What will a man gain by winning the whole world, at the cost of his true self ?

Matt 16: 24-26

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Picking up our Cross is exactly what we are asked to do – just as Christ did.  Our Cross is the life we are given – not a life we design and work to exclude or avoid the unpleasant aspects, the injuries, hard work, betrayals and misfortunes – but all of life that comes to us.

How many Catholics and Christians have I seen that try to live “designer” lives – lives that fashion to the exclusion of life’s difficulties?  Many.  Too many.  They are faint believers at best.

The test of a Believer is this: do you have the faith in God that allows you to accept the life you have been called to live with the confidence that God has His needs and reasons to send these challenges your way?  Do you carry your Cross?

It is that simple.  Live life – and live free and in faith with your Creator.

Shalom.

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