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The happiness on this side was like an announcement of the other side.  I realized that this was an undeserved gift and I could not grasp by what grace it was bestowed on me.

Czeslaw Milosz

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These are the poet’s words near the end of his life.  He had acquired perspective, saw the whole and stopped lamenting of things past.  We should all be so inclined.

Have you ever noticed how the least bright or least development among us fester in fear, announce in the strongest terms that we must pursue this or that “adjustment,” policy, point of view lest the planet/the universe/all humankind perish?

It is always the youngest or shallowest among us – some (but this is no longer a prerequisite) with their undergraduate degree and access to a TV camera or a radio audience ring the alarm of shear doom and name those they deem responsible for the impending catastrophe.

The inexperienced always panic and shout of the sky falling.  Yet, those who live fully and examine life along the way fear less – such is the harvest of years well and properly lived.

In the wise is faith – yes, the resignation that there is a God and time proceeds as God wills that it might.  Likewise, the wise see the humor of it all, and dismiss much of the pomp and circumstance.  Their eyes see the suffering of others, the unnecessary worry many without faith carry.  The wise go quietly into the dusk.  They sleep well when the night falls.  They do not bow to mortals.  They keep their words and thought with God and love those who love also.  Their voice turns soft as light dims.

It is Christmas time – live with the wisdom it brings … hear the words of ancient choirs sung once again so we might hear and grow in wisdom – yes, acquire the settled heart of Christmas – proof  of eternal reality.

Shalom.

 

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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.

 

 

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941: Remember, Be Vigilant

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History shows that the vital collaborationofreligionandculture has been the normal condition of human society from the beginning.  (Emphasis added.)

We have a secularized scientific world culture which is a body without a soul; while on the one hand religion maintains its separate existence as a spirit without a body. (Emphasis added.)

Christopher Dawson, in Religion and Culture

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The fundamental problem with America today is the estrangement of religion from contemporary secularized culture.  Yes, the vital nexus is broken – and all sorts of disorder flows from this severance.  

When the nexus is severed the culture is without a soul.  Manifestations of this severance run from the altar to the state house, from the person to politics, from family to the workplace, from the school house and university to daily mass media and what passes now as “entertainment.”

Life without a soul is high risk.  Yes, such a life can be deadly when it is not just confused, sad, anxious, sick and injurious.

How can one describe the brokenness of a soulless culture?

Recall the 1966 novel Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys.  In it the lead character is Charlie Gordon, a simple and sweet man of limited IQ who wishes only to be liked.

When Charlie is given the opportunity to take part in an experimental procedure that might heighten his intellect, he eagerly takes the opportunity thinking that the key to happiness is a higher intelligence that will bring him more friends.  

The process is a “success” and Charlie’s IQ rises from 68 to 185!  However with his increased intellect he sees more and suffers more – unable to understand what he encounters, the prior cruelty imposed on him by others, the shame he has brought his family and such.  Yes, in intellect alone he suffers more – suffers intolerably.

Note: the mind is not the human heart.  And culture without faith is not pleasant, indeed far from pleasant. 

This is precisely the point that Christopher Dawson makes and it is where we are today.  And make no mistake without religion we are no better off than Charlie who, with a high IQ, cannot make sense of the world he now recognizes as it actually is.

You wonder why we are in the spot we are in?  We lack the context of religious narrative in which to comprehend life and find purpose, meaning and contentment in it.

A soulless culture is punishing to those without faith.

Restore the nexus … or peace will be lost to you.

Shalom.

 

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.

Polytheists have grown weary of the wildest of fictions.  Monotheists have grown weary of most of the wonderful truths.  Diabolists here and there have such a hatred of heaven and earth that they have tried to take refuge in hell.

G. K. Chesterton, in The Everlasting Man

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This is the first Christmas in my life that I have the concern that we run the risk of having Christianity stripped from our culture and this nation.

Yes, monotheists have grown weary of the wonderful truths.  We have college educated men and women who live limited lives guided by reason, but without faith.

Such a life is incomplete and, in its nature, unsustainable.  Life in reason is not and cannot be a full life, a life of depth and vision.  A culture without depth and vision cannot help but be a small life of division, a culture lacking in intimacy – a culture in which people lack peace, contentment and unity, a culture in which one forfeits a grasp of transcendence.

Absent faith, some become “disbolists” – intent on forcing their disordered thinking on others.  Make no mistake – these individuals occupy the public stage, reside in the professions, in government, education, entertainment and the media.  They form advocacy groups to advance their trouble views – discord and destruction result, decay follows.

Today, and at this Christmas, we face God versus godlessness and the times post this question: How longer will there be a Christmas in this land?

Is it not time to renew and to go forward as a witness to Christ each day?

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!

As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Cor 15:22

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What if this thought was front and center in the mind of every Christian?  Would not the world change radically for the better?

In a real sense we have a choice: the errant Adam, or the crucified Christ.  Stated another way: the sinful Adam or our Redemption.

If one has access to Redemption are we not more than Adam?

In some ways we stay in darkness, in sin and selfishness – long after we conceive of Christ and Redemption.

Think about the present day discourse in any news coverage.  Do you hear the voices of people who know that they are redeemed?  Are the voices in the public square calm?  Assured?  Humble?  Optimistic?  Joyful?  Or are they void of faith – trapped in the world of limited unbelievers – trying desperately (at best) to find power in the human being alone?

As we approach the birth of Christ, we might ask: Do we live knowing and accepting that we have been redeemed?

Shalom.

 

Welcome Back after Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a delightful respite.

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Out of suffering has emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.  (Emphasis added.)

Kahlil Gibran

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Suffering is and has been a part of human existence since the very beginning of human existence.  Yes, we are vulnerable.  Long ago we might have learned that people actually betray one another.

Indeed, you may assume that those who hunker down in an effort to avoid suffering will impose suffering on others.  

Forget climate change.  Far more daily destruction comes at the hands of those who foolishly will to avoid suffering.

They are the ones who cannot absorb the experiences of life and the experience of other people or come to know themselves as they are and can be.  They are the family despots, the ones who exclude – keep secrets and demand total loyalty from others while giving little of themselves (having so little to give to begin).

The fear and avoidance of suffering has a faithlessness to it.

Strange isn’t it to fear suffering.  In this, one denies reality, life and the wisdom of Gibran words.

If you wish to listen to others who have something to say listen to the one who has suffered and grown because of it.  He or she gains wisdom, character and courage for they have accepted the divine gift of life as it is and have, consequently, gained peace and relationship with God.

Shalom.

 

” … 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.

 

 

 

Forget the suffering you cause others.  Forget the suffering others caused you,  The waters run and run, springs sparkle and are done, you walk the earth you are forgetting.

Czeslaw Milosz, in Forget

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Age roots in the body.  We remain, at best, of sound mind with insight from the years and the experience they bring.  For the fortunate ones joy remains, so too sight, touch, taste, sensuality, humor, gumption and guts.  But our voice softens as humility and gratitude take form – the soft voice – evidence of reverence.  Nearing home at last.

How blessed we are to age with soul in tact and heart alive with love and kindness – and long past worry and uncertainty.

There is a calm sense in being an elder for we have the range of sight unknown to the young – no matter the status, title, education, office … One must run the course to know and see.  Those ones see deeper, are content with quiet, live well among the lengthening shadows for by faith they are the sons and daughters of twilight … darkness holds no fear for them.

The aging ones who have lived well have fought the necessary fights – having fallen, they have gotten up.  In this they come to a point of common suffering and its fruit: compassion.

There is quiet and peace within when the light begins to fade.  Winter prepares for sleep.

Shalom.

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