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The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

V. S. Naipaul, in A Bend in the River

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At any moment that you look around at those “in charge” or the celebrity, you run the risk of seeing at the top of the pile those who are nothing – because they choose to be nothing.  They may be school headmasters, judges, elected officials, public figures, teachers, TV hosts or their guests, etc.

Seeing those who are nothing by choice in command positions initially leaves an uneasy feeling in one’s stomach.  It is the way your vulnerability registers within you.  Then, the mind kicks in and one thinks “this is a huge mistake … but perhaps this is common in human history over the centuries.”  Sobriety appears in the form of this cold shower.

Only the sober acceptance of this “mistaken” state of being – the fact of this huge miscue – can one begin to seek in self and some others the things that are good and true, eternal and meaningful.  It is not that you are disappointed but rather that you are liberated from the illusion that he or she who has a title is “something.”

Mind you, this is less a cruel joke than a liberating moment – a time when one realizes that the emperors are often more like fools, frauds and slackers than cosmic heroes.  With this you are left with your dignity and drawn into the quest to find your way – using the wisdom of the ages, the words of sages, the ancient tales, the myths with lasting truths.  This is not exile but a homecoming.  Your odyssey comes into focus – you follow in the footsteps of the ancients.

Shalom.

Fox News Educates.  Well former Oval Office occupant Barack Obama endorsed the value of Fox News recently when he said in an interview that – had he listened to Fox News, he would not have voted for himself.  Now that is an endorsement of Fox’s educational value!  Perhaps mandatory viewing of Fox might be the way to go – with candidates and the public.

 

 

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Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives.

C. S. Lewis, in The Four Lives

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We are made to seek contentment, to love and be loved.  In this one fact alone is evidence of God and the essence of our sacred being, itself.   Yet, today there are piles of evidence that we are neither content, nor seemingly loving or sufficiently loved.

“Evidence?” you ask.  Yes.

Look around.  See how few intact families there are.  See the divorces.  The adulteries.  The overt expressions of selfishness and hatred.  How we have elevated sexuality and exploited the human body.  Look at the predators and those who remained silent while knowing of their assaults, their habitual abuse.  Look, too, at pornography. The sexual abuse of children.  Abortion.  Parents killing their children. The addictions.  The “normalizing” of abhorrent conduct – the fiction of “same-sex marriages,” the lunacy of multiple genders.  And the grotesque violence.  All a product of the desperately unloved.

Now contrast these things with the God who is Love.

We live in a time when God is forsaken and destruction is advanced as a substitute.  We make Sodom look tame.

Many like to point to a President as the cause of our serious problems.  Others expect “politics” or government to be the source of our health, contentment – salvation.

No, these cannot satisfy.

Our happiness resides with us, with who we are – and with the recognition that God is necessary and the source of all that is good in us, good in human existence and in this mortal world.

It is Christmas time.  The source of your happiness is born this month.  Wake up!

Shalom.

I awake to the sun almost above the mountains and the voices of those singing Gregorian chants for Advent.  I am content.  I am close to loved ones.  I have grandchildren whose very life tells of God and what is good, eternally good.  I have enough life in my past to know that I am blessed to have come this far and had so many gifts presented to me.  So many memories, so clear that I can relive them – see them once again.

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“The only ultimate reality is God.  God lives and dwells in us.  We are not justified by any action of our own, but we are called by the voice of God … 

Thomas Merton

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These are the words of Monk Thomas Merton speaking in Calcutta in 1968, months before his death.

Who among you recognizes that God is the ultimate reality?  That He dwells in us?  That we are called to existence by the voice of God?

Look about.  How many so foolishly believe that their action justify them – make them someone – when it reality they are already someone.

If there is one most alarming thing I see today it is godlessness and the advocacy of those who show no humility, no reverence.  Rather, with a smidge of “education” which does little more that indoctrinate the dull to mindless Marxism, these loud ones of the Left parrot their superficial mantras and foist their views on others.

So much for the once esteemed universities and colleges.

Dear George Carlin was right “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.”

What to do?  The road is clear, visible, here in front of us and it is presented in a most timely manner.  Turn the godless Leftists in all their iterations away.  They are the few.  We are the many.  We have quite enough of “unbelief.”  It has done sufficient damage to warrant dismissal.

Here in Washington, D.C. the public transit system will not allow the Catholic Archdiocese to purchase advertising space to offer Christmas greetings to transit riders.

Shall we be Moscow?  Or Havana?  Or North Korea?  Or shall we be the United States?

Is enough, not enough?

Shalom.

Another Dullard – Joy Reid, a CNN personality, offered this gem recently: rural Americans are destroying democracy.

Ms. Reid has her B.A. in film-making from Harvard.  (Whoop-dee-do!)  From film-making to demographer/political philosopher/constitutional scholar!  Shazzam!!!  No humility visible there.  Wait ’til the people in Iowa and rural Maine learn that they are destroying American democracy.  Won’t they be surprised.

Memo to Ms. Reid: A B.A. from Harvard is just about as good as a high school diploma.

The Left Takes Another Torpedo Hit – Matt Lauer of NBC has been fired because of his sexual conduct in the workplace.  It seems that sexual miscreants end up as Democrats in the Congress or as self-righteous Lefties in the media and Hollywood.  Who would have thunk it!?#!???  Democrat.  What a bunch they are!

” … the greatest enemy of the Gospel is ideology.  Ideology is a man-made format of how the world ought to work, and Christians instead believe(d) in the revealing truth of Scripture.”  (Emphasis added.)

Charles Colson

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Human beings since the beginning of time have wanted to proclaim their own divinity.  We do this no less today than we always have.

Think about government and politics today.  We place confidence in government in a manner that thwarts our reliance on God and diminishes the growth and development of our faith.

When we vest trust and need in government and politics we undermine our faith in God, reduce the scope of our human, psychological and spiritual existence and our wisdom, certitude and contentment.

The limits of human institutions has been recorded in the New and Old Testament.  We are less able to perfect the world than we think.  Yes, our ego is not a path to omnipotence but rather often a display of our limitations and our need of God.

Our political party on the Left does just that: having no relationship with God and relying on the (dubious) “genius” of man and woman – it stubbornly sells what does NOT WORK, namely: man’s reliance on man to the exclusion of God.  Frankly the failures of the Left are visible in history and in the world – now and for years prior to today.

The trust in man, politics, ideology and government is a primary source of our many present problems and divisions.  Only a fool would continue to advocate further self-centered reliance on man and man alone.  It is time to humbly admit our estrangement from God and take responsibility for many follies that this behavior has produced.

Vesting confidence in government as we do is vesting confidence in man and woman and that is one of the primary ways this nation draws away from God and advances secular existence to the exclusion of our relationship with God and the contentment and stability that faith produces.

Shalom.

 

 

 

The proverbs of Solomon … To know wisdom … receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity … fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Prov 1: 1, 2, 3, 7

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We seem to concede a great deal of our living to others, to the structures that surround us.  Perhaps, it is the desire for “easy” living – a “just-add-water” kind of intellectual and personal shortcut.  A shortcut that assumes carelessly, and without thought or examination, that “those in authority” know what they are doing and they act in our best interest.

Living by fantasy or myth?  So it seems.  Indeed, facts appear to incline to the exact opposite proposition than that “those in authority” know best.

In re-reading British Historian Paul Johnson’s 800 page book Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties I am reminded how Johnson reports that the Germany of World War II was prepared by the unexamined actions of state leaders in the late 1800’s and the early years of the twentieth century.  That is to say: government made choices that unwittingly readied their people for a collision course that became the Second World War.

In particular Johnson points out that the ranks of the industrial workers expanded between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as German industry grew and that the elites and military class resisted sharing power with them so an extensive welfare state was established to placate the population, and that Bismarck manufactured “imaginary foreign threats” that created a unified, subdued German populace – and unwittingly prepared Germany for war.  Yes, Johnson reminds the reader that these fears worked their way into subsequent politicians and leaders who fostered German aggression.

What is my point?  Proverbs were designed to make each person wiser, to cultivate knowledge and good conduct, independent thinking – greater understanding and insight.

The German state Johnson describes was governed in precisely an opposite manner.  It was meant to deceive and reserve all control in the hands of the ruling elites.

Are we not in a very similar situation today?

The Democrat Party of the Left is rigging its primaries, colluding with the Russians to secure outlandish allegations against a political opponent.  While in power they are making insider-deals with Russian oligarchs to provide them access to American uranium while identifying a goodly number of Americans as “a basket of deplorables” and furthering the nuclear development of an Iran that seeks “death to America.”  Mind you, the comfortable Republican elites are more than willing to go-along-to-get-along.

Frankly, it is the above circumstances which explains the last Presidential election result.  Unlike pre-War Germany some in our population know that something is seriously amiss.

Maybe a focus on Proverbs might be in order.  Maybe we have an affirmative duty to acquire the wisdom of Solomon.  Think about it.

Shalom.

Screamers –  When I grew up “screamers” were losers.  This was once again re-inforced when yesterday a handful of Lefties “screamed” in unison because Hillary is not president (nor sane, apparently).  These people can vote.  How sweet.

 

Knowledge can only be gotten in one way, the way of experience.  There is no other way to know.

Vivekananda, in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

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A culture does itself harm when it glorifies formal education at the expense of experience, for it is experience that teaches, imparts wisdom, provides confidence, humanizes, teaches you about your adversary, brings you into contact with God.

We are a culture that glorifies education and mistakenly elevates certain once venerable colleges as being magically able to make mere graduates “wisdom figures.”  Ridiculous.  Silly.

Those with wisdom have lived and experienced.  It is in experience that we learn – the greater the challenge the more wisdom we acquire.

Look with care at those on the public stage.  Most of those who appear know little – have no particular expertise, have lived unexamined lives, are far from wisdom and maintain personal lives of chaos and confusion.  They have nothing but foolishness and self-promotion to offer.  They lack insight, are at best trite … not worth your attention.

In contrast, you are far better served by maintaining your spiritual life, coming to know your ancient text and its story.  A Christian’s relationship with God is rich in wisdom and truth – something, incidentally, that those in the public space seem to lack, or willfully neglect.

Your religious narrative and the faith to live what is presented to you are all that is needed to prosper and grow in wisdom and courage.

Shalom.

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and intelligence aglow.

Helen Keller

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I bet you seldom if ever think about “joy.”

Joy.  ” … the holy fire – that keeps … purpose warm … and (sets) intelligence aglow.”

I heat my cottage with a wood burning stove.  The warmth surrounds you – protects you from the dampness and the cold.  There is something superior to this natural warmth – it connects us with timelessness – with the past, the present moment, tomorrow and forever after.  It is a quiet warmth, a personal warmth.  It is a warmth that settles the soul and rises above the daily noise and distraction of this world.

My childhood friend wrote me to tell me that her little grandson Ben had a successful heart operation.  Joy.  This news made me think of joy – this holy fire that keeps purpose warm in a cold and often disordered world.

How does one tend this holy fire when we flood the air with nonsense, grumbling, distraction, disorder, rancor and proof of sickness?  Why do we waste time on those who are destructive?

Think about it.  Today we hear of Jose Ines Gracia Zarate who shot and killed Kate Steinle, and of Rose McGowan who left a bag containing illegal narcotics at a Washington airport.  And we hear the public chirping of non-entities like Meryl Streep and others who for some inexplicable reason command attention.

One wonders how joy is so easily tamped-down.  Joy is extinguished by the racket of non-entities, the noise and antics of the foolish and the felonious.  Are you listening Hillary?  Are you listening Bill?

Why do you give time for the nonsensical?  Would it not be wiser of you to tend to your holy fire?

There is no warmth in celebrity, nor in the disordered who barge into our life each day.  Without the holy fire warmth and intellect fade … and discontent flourishes.

Why do you let others dampen your joy?  Do you not see that like Prometheus they are fire-stealers?  Yes, they turn your world cold, and joyless – – – how lax are you to let it happen so.

Guard the holy fire.  Live in joy and wisdom.  Expel those who would steal your fire.

Shalom.

 

 

I do not know … by what subtle stages this conflict of the spirit of man gained on the doctrine and practice of Communism in me.  I do know that over the years the unwanted thought … crossed my mind: What is lacking in Communism?  What lack is it that keeps the human level of Communism so low, that makes the party a rat’s nest of intrigue and faction?  What is the source of its corroding cynicism … that makes us waste human life and effort without scruple …?  Why … thirty years after the … revolution … Communists have not produced one single inspired work of the mind?  What is our lack?  (Emphasis added.)

… I asked at last: can it be God?

Whittaker Chambers, in Witness

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Chambers, an American and a Communist Party member, recounts his thoughts in 1937 prior to his break with the Party and his renunciation of his role as a Soviet spy.

His words then are applicable today.  Why?  Liberalism and one of our two prominent political parties and its many activists groups have taken on a Marxist disposition as their guide, and foundation of their political discontent.

Indeed, how else can you explain a President signing off on selling our uranium reserves to our Russian adversaries?  How else can one explain the cozy relationship between the Clintons and Russia?  How can one explain Russian oligarchs enriching the Clinton Foundation by millions of dollars?  Or explain the Leftist feminists who link their complaints to the Marxist dogma of class, race, and “imperialism?”

We are in a Chambers Moment.  Will we conclude as he did – that we, too, need God?

I know of no other way to restore this culture or the human person to health and sanity.  We are badly disoriented and artificially divided.  God alone can make us healthy again.

In the strangest way – in a mystifying way, I see our healthy turn in the troubles of the day.

The bark is being (incident by incident) stripped off the Left.  Its principal Party is being exposed for its lying and corruption.  Its special pleaders are losing favor with the public.  The media that echoes Leftist views is dying – its newspapers have been discredited time and again.  Its campus hold seems farcical and cartoonish – a Doonesberry character of the absurd.  Feminism, too, seems like this – gender politics the same, occupying a juncture of absurdity, fantasy, abject foolishness – too much the curse to warrant any serious reflection.

Take heart.  The spirit of man cannot be denied for we are spiritual beings before we are anything else.

Shalom.

 

Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.  With Major Major it had been all three.  Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.

Joseph Heller, in Catch 22

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We live in a subpar age, and Washington, D.C. and the federal government, the military excepted, is the epicenter of “the way below average.”  Yes, the vaunted are moronic – so inept that even their corrupt practices are all thumbs lampoonery.

Think the Trump dossier episode.  Hillary and Bill and their hand-puppets at the Democrat National Committee paying for a comic book version of an intelligence report implicating candidate Donald Trump in a bizarre illicit romp with Russian ladies of the night – the “content” of which is drawn from Russian government sources.

How inept must you be to allege Trump is doing the Russians bidding when you yourself are in bed with the Commies and beholding to them.  Talk about “unimpressive.”

I’ve seen a lot of life.  Lived a number of very interesting experiences.  I can tell you this: Washington has a surplus of slugs and dullards who screw up regularly – but most when they try to be too clever, too cute – and nowhere more so than when they try to thread the needle as to criminal conduct or questionable behavior.

Let’s face it, the guy with a Harvard, Yale or Georgetown B.A. ain’t likely to know much and surely not likely to be a criminal genius … supplemental law degree or not.  These are paddy-cakers and what they lack in character and good judgment, they make up it hubris.

Think the Clinton Foundation, the Trump dossier, Bill Clinton’s escapades and idiotic lying about sex with an intern.  Think too of “the tarmac meeting” and (God help us) Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and just about anything FBI Director James Comey touched, the Benghazi debacle, giving Russians access to America’s uranium reserves, Eric Holder’s “fast and furious” resulting in the death of a U.S. Border Agent … so many other inept exercises gone south.

Indeed, we have people in politics and government who make Joe Heller’s Major Major look like a Mensa member.

What might one say?  Only this: Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.  (Ps 146:3)

Shalom.

Biggest Problem – Perhaps the biggest problem we face is this: dubiously educated “elites” who have the highest regard for themselves and no regard for God or others.

 

 

“(Jean) Piaget and (Lawrence) Kohlberg both thought that parents and other authorities were obstacles to moral development … (and) if you want your kids to learn … don’t lecture them about the Ten Commandments.  And, for heaven’s sake, don’t force them to obey God or teachers or you.”

Jonathan Haidt, in The Righteous Mind

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There you have it – our present day moral foundation: the not-so-moral or wise world of contemporary Liberalism and all the destruction, chaos and illness that it has produced in that last 50-plus years.

Harvard’s Lawrence Kohlberg taught in the late part of the last century.  His work unwittingly furthered the upside down “moral” world we see today in America and the West.

As Haidt says “he transformed moral psychology into a boomer-friendly ode to justice, and gave [college-exposed baby boomers] a tool to measure children’s progress toward the liberal ideal.”

Further, moral psychologist Haidt says as to Mr. Kohlberg, ” … by using a framework that predefined morality as justice while denigrating authority, hierarchy, and tradition, it was inevitable that the … worldviews that were secular, questioning and egalitarian” would be advanced.

Think about it.  We are like lemmings.  We follow without examination.  We do not challenge.  We accept and repeat the mantra of the allegedly esteemed.

As to morals – we discount anything historical or comparative … spiritual, interior, deeply personal, faithful, ageless.  Our reward?  Abortion, euthanasia, fatherless families, shameful murder rates, corruptions hither and yon, addictions, suicides, broken families, sexual perversions aplenty, a gigantic idle dependent class, a President who doubled our national debt and made us dreadfully vulnerable in so doing.  All this the product of an idiotic application of “morality” without mentors, sages, adults, wisdom figures, trusted narratives that have survived many centuries, faith, regard for historical record and God.

This is the fundamental foundation of our present foolishness as foisted upon us by witless “elites.”

I end with a profound story.

When I was at Notre Dame I had a friend and colleague who was a graduate student of Lawrence Kohlberg.  He told me that he invited his mentor to visit him at Notre Dame and that Dr. Kohlberg sat in his house one eve for dinner with his family.  He recounted  that after dinner Kohlberg (having spent days at Catholic Notre Dame) began to cry and in the ensuing conversation (having been moved by what he saw at this faithful University) that Mr. Kohlberg confessed that all his life he had focused on the “wrong thing.”

Yes, having missed God’s place in morality and the lives of humans Kohlberg wept.

Lawrence Kohlberg died a victim of suicide at age 59.

Friends, what we face is deadly serious.  

Shalom.

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