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Rainy Day and it begins with Sonny Criss and Blues in My Head.

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… Christ has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him … he bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you have come to share in the divine nature, and escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. (Emphasis added.)

2 Peter 1: 3-4

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We live in a noisy world.  A whole lot of nonsense spoken and visible – and we are without a filter.  That said, think about what nonsense you take in and the way it alters your state of being, your mood, your perception of the world.

Let’s me frank.  We are exposed to people who speak but know nothing.  People whose words are better ignored for the idiocy they convey.  Too many godless and childish voices and we do virtually nothing to avoid them.

Listen to Peter.  Christ is our screen – yet, we let people talk to us who know not much and surely not Christ.  Why would you let yourself listen to foolishness – to godless nonsense?  Do you let others serve you rancid food?  Of course, not.

Where is your discretion?

If you wish to digest what is good, to hear what is purifying and clean and points to eternity and the good that is freely given to you – then pay attention to Christ, to his disciples – to what is in Holy Scripture and what has good and has withstood the test of time.

Presently there is corruption all around and abundantly so in those with who dominate  public arenas.  Time to be discreet.  Sharpen your hearing and your sight by taking up the habit of reading Morning and Night Prayer (as Catholics we call this prayer of the hours).

Being engaged in a routine of morning and evening prayer orients your eyes and ears to what is good, grows your heart and soul – is an immediate guard to the depths of corruption and inanity that is ever-present in public discourse today.

Be wise.  Be a discrete listener and viewer.  Such discretion leaves the insanity and corruption to others.  You need not be drawn into all this mess for you have been given Christ.  Make this gift your foundation, your orientation to each day and what surrounds you.  Health, happiness and wisdom awaits you.




Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the more massive characters are seared with scars.

Khalil Gibran

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In mass communication a whole lot of people talk and we are presented with them on television, by the media at-large, in the press, on the radio, on “talk shows,” on late night television, as a byproduct of the publicity-laden celebrity culture and in politics … and by elites (who lives resemble nothing close to the average person).

What is my point?  Who among these fit Khalil Gibran’s test of character?  That is: who has suffered and possesses, as a result, the strongest of souls.  Put more bluntly – what the heck do these people who are thrust upon us know about life?  Are they mature adults?  Are they wise?  Insightful?  Seasoned by real life?  Socially and emotional competent?  Spiritually informed and engaged?  Psychological developed?  The answer is a resounding “No.”

Put very simply: the people forced upon us are not worth listening to.  I have dismissed these people entirely.  I have no television and am better for this.  I gave up newspapers long ago.  Except for the Wall Street Journal they offer nothing worth my attention.

Give me life, and its sufferings and I’ll learn.  Give me those who have been in battle, suffered personal loss and I’ll learn from them.  Give me those whose lives have presented hard lessons early and often and I’ll heed their words everyday.  Give me the best authors who have devoted themselves to the deepest questions and I’ll grow in maturity, insight, wisdom, confidence.

We listen to people who should be dismissed out-of-hand.  In this we are flat-out dumb, unthinking and easily “played,” bamboozled – made the fool.

Really, what do the people you listen to have to offer?  What do you know of their life?  What exactly have they done that warrants your attention?  Nothing, really.

First step to wisdom?  Be a very careful listener.  After all, do you eat any old “food” placed in front of you?  No, you don’t.

Smarten-up.  Regurgitating the nonsense you hear makes a fool of you.


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the word of the Lord, because you know the labor in the Lord is not in vain.  (Emphasis added.)

1 Cor 15:58

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St. Paul is addressing the people of Corinth.  He speaks of courage.

I often say to others that “all courage flows from faith.”  Yes, St. Paul makes this point: to stand firm in life – in ordinary and troubled times – one must have faith, be of faith – trust in the word of the Lord.

There are similar passages in the Old Testament that make this point as well.  You see, that is the dynamic of faith in times that require courage of each of us.  We live in such times today.

There are many among us who prefer we listen to them, adopt their faithless views.  Much of what has been propounded by those without faith (the abortionists, the racists, those wedded to power and control, those who put their trust in gender and sexual practices – to mention but some) speak without belief – speak and act without reference to God, indeed speak as if God does not matter, does not exist or is “the enemy.”

Those of us who believe must summon the courage to speak in opposition to what is godless, destructive, divisive – even evil.  Yes, in faith comes courage and in courage we speak.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a woman whose thoughts went only to gender.  Her sight was very narrow – all matters centered on her concern about her gender and sexuality.  She saw her existence through that narrow bodily prism.  It was like talking to a brainwashed fanatic.  She had no point of reference but her gender and sexuality.  She had been reduced to much less than who she has been divinely made to be.

This is the nature of absurdity that the Left has given us in their “identity politics.”  People no longer see who they are – and like intemperate, spoiled children they scream and hold their breath in fits of rage and lunacy having abandoned all sense they have been given.

People like this are akin to “the possessed,” the demonic.  There is no discourse with them, nor do their words warrant our time or attention.  Sadly they discredit themselves.

Yes, we face this challenge: to restore common sense and maturity to those whose disposition is godless and hostile.  Failing to do that we will not have a nation or a community, friendship and peace.

The biggest part of our present task is to reject the poisonous fruit of “identity politics” which has propounded what is false, reductive, divisive and attempts to make normative that which is not.  Our best approach: do not listen to those who are possessed.

Yes, as St. Paul says – give yourself to the word of the Lord and have the courage to speak and witness truth to what is false and destructive.


In living we are directly doing the will of God … our very existence is contact with His will … life is holy and a responsibility of God and man.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man is Not Alone

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If you can imagine that your existence is willed by God, that each moment of your existence fulfills God’s will – would you think differently … act differently … feel differently than you do?

If one’s very existence touches the will of God, would you make different choices in life than you now do?

Each day I awake and in due time look at the news of the world.  Typically, I see some article that tells of something like this: a man tried to drown his two twin children, or a school teacher threatened to flunk a student with whom she was sexually involved if that student “broke” off their “contact.”

Seeing these things, I am repelled – not just by the event but by the fact that these things are thought newsworthy.  

These reported stories make me ask: Why would I want to know this?  What effect does reading this have on me?  On others?  Do these stories not bring us down? Sow seeds of despair?  Turn our appetite for life sour?

I am sure that every day there are any number of horrible acts committed and that newspapers and the news media in-general have their pick of horrible stories to convey – but is there any glancing thought that feeding others these stories has a debilitating effect?

The mere reporting of such stores tells us that the lost souls offering these stories neither conceive of living as collaborating with God’s will, nor that life itself is holy, sacred, divine in its creation and ought to be respected as such.

The truth is if you look around you will see all sorts of actions which deny that life is holy, sacred and divine.  Having seen this so clearly, I have decided to ignore this crap.

My view is quite simple: why do I want to have my spirit be poisoned by the godless conduct of those gripped by evil and its manifestations?  I know such people and acts occur, but why must I be made a party to them each day? Consequently, I’ve come to “keep by distance” from these reports just as I reject a diet of rotten food.

Why bathe in other people’s dirty water, or each rancid food?


If this post strikes a positive cord for you, please send it to others.  The process of reclaiming the public square and public space calls for our participation … and that means you and me together.

Technical knowledge is not enough.  One must transform techniques so that the art becomes artless art, growing out of the unconscious.

D. T. Suzuki, in Zen and Japanese Culture

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How do you fully live?  Yes, how do you access and activate the unconscious – awaken the essence of the human legacy?  Same question really.

He met the conformity of culture as structured by man but never conceded its control over his breathing, his heartbeat, his life here – as it preceded him and stretched into eternity.

He always had one foot outside the box.  His wry comments and independent judgment kept him free and gave him a sharper vision than most.  He saw behind the silk scene – people, after all, were not clever in concealing their shallow and predictable motives.

He was not often fooled.

Having access to the unconscious, getting to know it in detail made his life art – artless art, a movie from birth to mortal death … and then the everlasting sequel, a seat above in the presence of a warm May sun.

He was never much for formulas.  A blank canvas was more his comfort. Something to write on, to scribble freehand what came to heart, mind, wrist and hand.  Free flowing.

Operating on the margin of the box – turning the rules into sources of amusement and dismemberment so to say: “You do not have me yet.”  Life in the present structures as a game of escape and evasion, lest he suffocate, dry up and become weak and brittle.

Victory.  Life as artless art in all its ease, in each breath, in listening, hearing and seeing.

The experience of experience in its full range – from joy to sorrow and back again, never a dark day in triumph over the warmth of the sun reflected in the others, the friends, the children, love, laughter, kindness, the beauty, the quiet, the memories, the experience in yesterday and today.

… artless art …


Set your heart on doing good.  Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.


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Cultivating virtue will make you happy.  But who among us, who in public space and in the media and among politicians, comedians, celebrities appears to seek virtue?  Perhaps, no one.

Who indeed does within your family?  Probably a few, but likely not many?

And in the mob of Leftist protesters?  None.  Militant feminists?  None.  Abortion advocates?  Do they seek good in their heart?  No.  Militants are joyless and those who advocate death of innocents obliterate any good that might have once resided in them. For how can the abortionist feel any more joy than the executioner?  Or the heroin pusher.

And what of those who compromise your virtue?  What might you do?

The fact is we live in an age without an abundance of virtue.  This leads to the dilemma of what one might do socially when invited to spend time with or among others who are vulgar, crass, tasteless grunts, ogres, louts, loudmouths?

For me, I prefer to savor my time and select with care with whom I associate and how I spend my time.  In short, I gently excuse myself from invitations that would have me in the company of those whose conduct and disposition fall short of virtue.  Yes, I prefer solitude to disorder and riff-raff.

Discretion is wise, and good for us.  It preserves our dignity and our tranquility.

Emil Durkheim noted that freedom from social ties correlated with suicide.  It might be said today that immersion in social settings charged with normless individuals produces a soulful suicide.  And who among us desires such an end?  Not I.


Footnote – I often find that the mute button is a most useful feature on a TV remote. Ah, sweet silence rather than the chatter of the foolish.

Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.”

1 Sam 20:42

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These are the words of Jonathan to his friend David.  Jonathan’s words tell us that their shared relationship with God cements their friendship from generation to generation.

In the present hyper-secular world and its mass communication, this is a significant reminder for us.

These words lead me to ask: Who are your friends?  With whom do you keep company?  To whom do you listen?  Do you let any fool in mass communication culture into your head? Your heart?

Are you a discrete listener?

If you are disquieted, confused, upset or troubled, ask yourself who enters your life? Whose words do you listen to?  Might they be the source of your discontent?

In mass media culture, all sorts of disordered people have a public voice.  Nitwits can be very disorienting … and we let them gain easy access to us.

Case in point.  I see in the news today that Jimmy Fallon (another in the growing list of late night faux Johnny Carsons) slammed President-elect Donald Trump at one of the many idiotic, self-congratulatory, celebrity “awards” dog and pony shows.

Jimmy Fallon.  Really?

Why listen to a guy’s political views who was a “communication” major from the College of Saint Rose?  I mean, come on – Saint Rose?  Communication? Wouldn’t he have learned to talk by the time college appeared on his horizon?

Ge’ez Louise, the guy combs his hair with a stick of butter. What could he possibly have to offer?

We are made for healthy association with one another and, of course, with God. Yet, if we indiscriminately welcome disorder and foolishness into our head and heart, we are hardly feeding on what is good and true, valuable, insightful, wise, sincere, lasting, useful.  (I guess Mr. Fallon missed this at Saint Rose while “studying” com-mun-i-ca-tion.)

In mass culture we listen all too much to those who have nothing to say and are unworthy of our attention.

Be discrete.  Don’t be a lemming.  Don’t degrade yourself.

Take in those things that advance you, that grow the Spirit within you.  Less than that and you dine on garbage.


Footnote – If you wonder why Donald Trump tweets it is simple: the culture is insane, godless, and politically-correct crap, full of what is false – very totalitarian, and utterly amoral.  As Saint John Paul II said it is not politics but culture that matters. The truth of the matter is this: politics arises from culture. Donald Trump is attacking the errant, corrupt, authoritarian Leftist, godless culture that has been developed in a straight line with every Democrat from FDR to Obama.  Few see this and its necessity and genius.  

… the first Christian hermits abandoned the cities of the pagan world to live in solitude.

Thomas Merton, in The Wisdom of the Desert

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Why does a man live alone in nature, removed from the population and the city?

‘Tis a useful question.

As for the 4th century men who did so we can say, as Merton does, that they sought their salvation, saw its individual characteristic and their own responsibility for its solicitation.

Indeed, they saw that the pagan society that they knew offered little to further their salvation.  Rather, they concluded that it impeded access to it.

These men would not let the ways and values of the pagan culture destroy them, co-opt them.

They took no comfort in the Cross becoming part of the presiding temporal powers.  This, itself, is particularly interesting.  They seemed to know that civil matters where not spiritual in nature, that to The Divine alone belongs the primacy.

Think for a moment: these men saw Christian life as spiritual, as “extramundane” – as simply existing in the Mystical Body of Christ … and they saw that their responsibility was to seek life in Christ.

These men stood for the idea that man was personally responsible for his life and what it said of him and of God.  

Contrast that with today – when so many are captured by the common denominators of secular culture, its herd, its folly, its untruth and its destructive, conflictive and unsatisfying ways.

These men did not wish to be ruled by the decadence.  They did not see themselves, mind you, as superior to others but rather only more intent on living in accord with their faith. They lived socially in aid of one another and strangers as governed by their faith and “the charismatic authority of wisdom, experience and love.”  They “sought … their own true self, in Christ.”

Today I live on a ridge looking out on rolling pastures, forest, and mountains. Minutes ago the sun rose in the East over mountain peaks announcing once again that God reigns eternally …

Each sunrise – unique in its colors and hues – raises up God the Creator … enkindles my gratitude.

In my solitude, quiet makes the music so much sweeter and evocative.  In the solitude, I think of God in a daily silence, and meet the Desert Fathers.  In solitude, I have good company.


Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement of the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.

1 John 2: 15, 16

Detachment requires discretion.  And this means, one must be refined in their view of the world, listen to that is said with a careful ear.  Be a wise observer, a critical thinker.

Rather than rush in and follow others easily – pause, think, assess, accept only what is consistent with the peace that lives within you, for discreet detachment feeds the self and soul so that you might be fully formed in being as God has made you to be, so that you might know peace, stability in chaotic times and, most importantly, know God and have a self that can draw close to God and serve Him.  After all, do you not wish tranquility – especially when chaos and conflict reigns?

Think about discreet detachment like this: when driving are you not safer driving within the speed limit, adjusting your speed to the road and weather conditions?  So, too, is discreet detachment.  Yes, just as the latter is wise, so too is the former.


Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.

Jean Francois Revel

The Western World has lost its civic courage … such a decline is particularly among the ruling and intellectual elite.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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What does one do when a culture crumbles?

Well, understand the dynamic.  In the above we have three important aspects of a crumbling culture.

The first: when “leaders” and those who influence public opinion wallow in self-guilt, and convey this to others in all its many forms, recognize that they are devoid of courage and will neither defend themselves nor anyone else.

Second, in a crumbling culture courage comes from the bottom up, for it is the average man or woman who knows hardship and is accustomed to enduring courageously as his or her mother and father, and ancestors have done routinely for decades upon decades.

Third, in a crumbling culture rely on those with courage who know who they are, for they have faith and confidence undimmed by darkness.

Now what is the one constant that you can adhere to when a culture is on the decline? What is the one thing that can stave off the despair of The Decline evidenced in the guilt-ridden and cowardly?  Those lost to belief?

Heed King David’s advice to his son and employ it.  He said this:

You will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel.  Be strong, do not fear nor be dismayed.

1 Chr 22:13

Obedience to God, relationship with God alone offsets decline, nullifies the worse of godlessness and its despair, of self-guilt and fear, weakness and stupor, dishonor and addictions, lies and all uncertainties and their anxieties.

God alone maintains against a crumbling culture.

Forget the elites and the intellectuals, the appearance of plenty, politics and the assorted media hand puppets, and the utter nonsense of ideologies, the courts and legislatures, the presidents and kings, and by God forget “celebrities.”

The Gift exists in crumbling cultures. The Gift is God.



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