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You can’t lie to your soul.

Irvine Welsh, in Porno

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Whole lot of people in Washington in positions of authority and in politics who are at odds with their soul.

That’s the net on these IG reports.  That’s the nature of “power” and government today in our nation’s Capitol.

A whole lot of this is the product of the Democrat Left – although the moderate Republicans are also easily co-opted in order to sustain the electoral system, their role in governing and the guise of respectability.  But there is no virtue or anything beautiful in dishonesty.  “Swamp” indeed.

Just look at the upper management echelons of the FBI, Justice Department and the Obama White House and administration.  Look at the Clintons – their foundation and their personal conduct and the behavior of those around them.  Not good.

Now the test is presented.  What will we do with what we see and know to be dishonest?  Weasel about?  Lie to ourselves about lies?  Or face the truth squarely and set the record and ourselves straight.

In our representative democracy when one trades away virtue and honesty for power, one deprives the populace of freedom and the protections of law and the U.S. Constitution.

You know once trust is lost, it does not easily return.  Lying undoes even the best form of self-governing.  A lot at stake here, Friends.

Shalom.

 

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That millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make  people sane.

Erich Fromm, in The Sane Society

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It is a little ironic for me to utilize the words of a Left-leaning secular humanist like Fromm but – assuming his words have merit, accuracy and hence a quality of timelessness such that they can be invoked in any era – it seems to me they offer an opportunity for today.

The opportunity?  The opportunity to ask of ourselves in the West and in the United States if some of our prominent ideas and their political advocacy conveys what is ill or what is well.

I think of abortion.  I think of children born to women who are not married.  I think of the collectivist nature of liberal orthodoxy, “borderless” borders, the application of equality that seems to shun individual responsibility and the recognition that people are of vastly different capabilities and drives, a disdain for police officers, a dismissal of religion, the reverence afforded the celebrity – the people in visual media, in the press … and such.  The list could go on.

On many fronts, it is reasonable to ask – Are these common acclamations contributing to sanity or insanity?  Do we look like a healthy or ill society?  Have we put the propositions of the Left to this test?  Fromm himself would ask this.  One wonders why we do not.

Yet for example, that a bundle of people think that there are endless numbers of “genders” neither makes it so, nor makes it sane.

My point is Fromm’s point – a collection of people saying or doing the same thing makes what is said or done neither true nor healthy, per se.  Time to put advocacy and ideology to the test.  Good for us?  Healthy?  Destructive?  Foolish?  Sane?

One wrong idea can make a whole people sick.  Destroy harmony and community, a nation, even.

And the whole multitude sought to touch him; for there went virtue out of him and healed them.

Lk 6:19

Yes, it is virtue that is the measure.  Life seeks the advancement of virtue and the health and fulfillment of the whole person.

Shalom.

… what we are is to be sought in the invisible depths of our own being, not in the outward reflection in our own acts.  We must find our real selves … in our own soul … the principle of all our acts.

Thomas Merton, in No Man is an Island

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This from a wonderful essay entitled “Being and Doing” in Merton’s No Man is an Island.

His words are very useful in a mass communication, digital and social media culture where images and acts are often center stage and narcissism is a real problem (as reflected in its prominence in therapy and as daily exhibited in the news and on TV).

As to our present climate public acts are so a part of others need for attention.

In the present era we seem to be besieged by those who need to sustain a public image at all costs.  We seem to have a culture that accommodates projecting images as the normal form of being while passing completely on the critical important core of one’s self – the soul.

As Merton noted in his 1950’s essay – “I need not see myself, I merely need to be myself.”

Yes, Merton gives us in eleven words the heart of health, meaning and contentment – not our image (and surely not our narcissistic actions and proclamations) but our eternal soul.

How smart he was.  Imagine now how we are surrounded by narcissism and self-promotion.  How many say nothing of value and cannot maintain day-to-day coherence.

How public figures have convenient double standards that say subliminally: I have no guide but ideology invoked and applied to bolster my personal preference.

It is, I think, fair to say – we have many lemmings, but few Mertons.  Therein is our illness, agitation, confusion, calamity, untruths, treacherous deeds and great unhappiness.

Shalom.

 

 

Stay Safe this Memorial Day

The Master said, “To see what is right and not do it, is want of courage.”

Confucius, in Analects

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I have noticed in my lifetime that courage is easier to find in the common man than in men with status, wealth, privilege and estate.

Likewise I am stunned by the lack of courage among my fellow lawyers.  Many prefer picking “low-hanging” fruit at high billable hours than “a fight.”  It follows far too often that a client pays “through the roof” only to find their lawyer avoids conflict.

Perhaps valor is simply suited for the common man whose life inevitably is hard, has risk, brings him evidence of injustice which MUST be addressed directly and immediately.

I conclude: some fight, most take flight.

Think about this (consider it Bobby’s Rule): when one sees evil but does nothing he or she makes life harder for others for they pass along a troubled person who (when he or she is not challenged in place) simply moves on to others to wreak havoc until finally someone fights back.

Who are you?  The one who lacks courage?  Or the one who confronts the wrongdoer and in doing so – does his or her sacred duty.

Courage, people!  To lack it is to be a disgrace.

Shalom.

Postscript – Confucius speaks this truth in the 5th century before Christ.

I define evil, then, as the exercise of political power – – that is, the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion – – in order to avoid extending one’s self for the purpose of nurturing spiritual growth.  Ordinary laziness is non-love; evil is anti-love.

M. Scott Peck, M.D.

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Dr. Peck, of course, wrote a marvelous short book about evil (People of the Lie) in which he noted that lying is evidence of evil.  Peck observes that evil is built on lies.

Peck’s above words (that of a noted Psychiatrist) are worth thinking about with what we face today: the questionable conduct of high-ranking people in the FBI and Justice Department and, seemingly, in the intelligence community.  Yes, we see a collective partisan interest in using their positions politically – in order to destroy a candidate for President and, once elected, the man himself.

Such conduct as we see is ripe with lies.  For Peck – this is evidence of evil.

Notice that in Peck’s words he says that those who pursue evil do so rather than extend themselves to grow spiritually – in effect, to mature and take on a healthy wholeness.

The root of evil is, it seems, faithlessness – a disregard for God.

When you think about it – he is describing (in the extreme) people like Stalin, Hitler, Mao and others – those who are godless and treacherously sick.  Yet, people as people can easily submit to lying and evil.

That said, Peck reminds us that evil is anti-love.  Yes, hostility to God.

What an indictment he has made.  Where do our present miscreants fall?

We live in times that are fundamentally challenging.  They put us to the task of asking: Who are we?  And, what have we become?  And, who dared corrupt us this way?  What shall we do to those who destroy what is good?  Shall we all return to faith, to Truth and to God?

Shalom.

 

“God resisteth the proud.”

Ja 6: 6

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The costs of pride are substantial.  The prideful are not careful.  They become lax and costly mistakes follow.  The prideful in leadership pave the way for a nation’s demise.

When those in leadership positions are prideful you can expect giant mistakes that are costly to all who are subject to their actions.  Yes, pride leads to lawlessness.

We see the obvious destructive consequences of prideful, partisan Leftist bureaucrats in the fiasco that has been the government handling of the Hillary Clinton national security breach, and we see it in the lawless “weaponizing” for the law enforcement and national security apparatus of the federal government against candidate and now President Donald Trump.  Yes, pride can excuse those who put us to risk, destroy the innocent, the rule of law, liberty and a nation.

How can pride be so costly?

Pride robs God of the glory due Him.  Pride makes of God – an exile, an enemy.  It creates a vast distance between God and the human being.  In that distance grace disappears.

The prideful are isolates from God, others and self.  They destroy community.

As leaders, the prideful make us strangers or enemies to one another.  Nothing destroys a person or a nation like pride.  It is toxic; it is corrosive.  It divides.  It kills the soul and the person.  It stokes the fire of envy and hatred.

And pride’s remedy?  The humble recognition that God is the author of all that is good – and we are merely recipients (not the source) of all the good that we might do, or that we might experience.

For a guide to daily humility and a protection from the evil that is pride, I offer this from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:7) –

” … whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” 

Individually, and in the aggregate, we MUST humbly return to God, or we shall perish by our own hand.

Shalom.

 

A Week of Spring Rains Leads to A Late Post

Pride is a profound depravity; it is the worship of self; man becomes his own god through excessive self-love.

Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

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Pride – a depravity.  Yes.

Those who are prideful come to think of themselves “lord and sovereign master”of all things.  They see themselves as simply smarter than others and more entitled, born to be revered, lauded and “in charge.”

In many instances they both show and disclose the arrogance that is the product of American higher education from once distinguished colleges that have become merely ideological nursery schools.

The prideful’s attitude and actions deny the existence of God.  Rules, they show us, simply do not apply to them.  Every defeat they encounter is blamed on others.  Humility eludes them.  They act as if they are “the first beginning” and “the last cause.”

Godless.  Yes, we have among us many prideful, godless men and women who fancy themselves better than everyone else.  These men and women need public adoration – seek an audience.  They take delight in undeserved applause.

Craven, empty people – these prideful ones.  Full of vanity, the attention paid to them blinds them to the matter of Truth … and honor, honesty, virtue, self-sacrifice, courage, faith, fellowship, intimacy, love, caring and kindness.

Look around – you see so easily those of vainglory.  No leaders they.  In them there is no trust.

Shalom.

 

There must be, after all, some standard one dare not destroy lest the fruits of tomorrow prove to be rotten

The present moment is dark … seen from a distance  … it will appear as short as the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution … and the number of victims (two to three million, more or less) will seem scarcely more than a few thousand beheaded French aristocrats.

Czeslaw Milosz, in The Captive Mind

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Milosz writes this in the later 1950’s as a victim of Communist rule in Poland and Eastern Europe.  Of course, at that time (as to be expected) – Western intellectuals placed their hope on the new Leftist order of the Soviet Union and Communism notwithstanding Stalin’s mass arrests, murders, forced starvation, and imprisonments.

Point to be made: intellectuals and students and those who fancy themselves “fancy” are easily captured by totalitarian rule so long as they are in positions of power.

Our plight today in the United States has a darkness to it.  Efforts have been made to unseat or de-legitimize an American President.  Untruths have been told.  Collaborations have been joined.  Deception employed.  Laws and ethical constraints dishonored.

Destroying the structure of a constitutional representative democracy will surely produce its “rotten fruit” – and not but a short time from the acts of destruction.

Alas, lest the Tree of Liberty be poisoned, we ask: Will transgressors be held to account?

Shalom.

 

 

In Memory of My Mother

To the mother alone is given, that her soul during the nine months should touch the soul of the child, and impose upon it predispositions to truth, gentleness, goodness.

Jean Baptiste Lacordaire

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There is no way to overstate the role of a mother in a child’s life and the life of a nation. Yes, to her is given the sacred disposition of soul touching soul.

One can judge a nation by its mothers and its children … and by the manner in which men protect mothers, children and nation.

That said, what can one say of our nation and its abortions, promiscuity, unwed mothers, children without fathers … about a land where sex “trafficking” is present as is child abuse?

What can we say about an elite class where the powerful and notable have exploited women?  Abused them?  Assaulted them?  Where adultery is commonplace and the  female body is preyed upon?  Where fewer men stand tall and strong in defense of the innocent, and of women and children … and where the sexes are divided for political purposes?

Too often in our culture I see that women are mistreated.  Just today I read a story of four adult immigrant men who drugged and sexually assaulted a poor 15-year-old run-away girl over a four day period of abduction.  The men were participants in sex “trafficking.”

I am grateful my mother and grandmother, my aunts and great aunts, and wife Sylvia are not alive to see this.

If we care about mothers and the sacred place of women in human existence, we’d best change radically the way we function as to women and girls.  No more assaults, no more rapes, no more exploitation – stronger punishments, speedy trials, fast-track appeals, quicker convictions, longer jail terms, fewer prison comforts.

Men: protect women and children, your neighbors, the elderly, the weak and in-firmed.  Live with honor.

Shalom.

 

It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans … Purge the evil person from your midst.

1 Cor 5: 1, 13

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We live in a mass communication culture.  We see much – on television, in the movies, on the computer, in print.

The charge of St. Paul applied today creates a broad responsibility for us.

Think about how we are informed about public affairs and the content of our present conversation – about sexual mores and practices, about adultery, about abortion.

Think too about the words that are used.  Think about what is justified and the absence of shame.

Think about the female grade school teacher who discusses with her class her impending “marriage” to another women and the nature of their interpersonal contact.  Think about the crude and unfunny language of the woman at the White House Correspondents Dinner and about the political advocacy witnessed today, and the comments made in the media by people whose lives we know nothing.

Is not St. Paul addressing these things?

Are you a careful and discreet listener?  Or do you mindlessly take all this in?  You had better be the former than the latter.

You are responsible for what is said, done and condoned in society.

If you tolerate anything you will get things that you will come to regret.  Indeed, we have been an uncritical audience too long.  And that is how we have come to see the rubbish we have seen, hear the language we hear, dismantled the family, lost our children to bad habits, drugs, violence, immortality and idleness.  That is why we have the woeful, shallow, crass public and media figures we see.

Think about the celebrities.

We tolerate far too much that is presented to us.  Discretion is needed.  Only you can reject that which St. Paul notices.  If you welcome immorality, you will get endless immorality.

Shalom.

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