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… do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Emphasis added.)

Isa 41:10

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We are in difficult times.  Men are assumed by some to be the source of evil, a target to be destroyed.

Some among us will do anything to gain power.  Those who lust for power wish to void electoral results.  They prefer their way to the decisions of a free people who have spoken.

Those who lust for power are poor losers.  Their arrogance exceeds fair play and their conduct does not serve them well.  Acting in bad faith, their words ring false.

In fundamental ways this nation is being diminished by some of its people.  We are rightly dismayed by what we see.  The presumption of innocence is replaced as to men or those who believe in God and a presumption of guilt is applied to each.

Yes, those who disagree with those on the Left are presumptively dismissed and discounted, chased from public places, ridiculed and insulted.

In such times one need not fear for our God is an ever-present, just God.  In such times we are called back to God.  These times are for renewing our faith, invigorating our beliefs and carrying those God-inspired beliefs into each day in the way we present ourselves to others, in each transaction, and in our quiet moments and thoughts.

Difficult times renew our faith, restore God as our point of reference.

We are in such times.  Now is a time for strength and renewed confidence.  God gives us opportunity and courage in these challenging moments.  What a blessing that we may live our faith overly and without fear in our most difficult days.

Did not David face his challenge in this way?  So shall we.

When the world around us seems less faithful, those who believe become more faithful … and overtly so.

Shalom.

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Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.

Maya Angelou

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Political ideologues are unable to do this.  They never mention love.  They make demands, insist on getting their way.  They go to extremes to divide and make enemies.  They expect all to adjust to them.  They show no evidence of a relationship with God.  On the contrary, you hear in their words only their own confusion and insistence.

It is strange that they can get away with this selfish insistence … but then again maybe that tells us that our culture is more Godless and God-ful.  If so, then we have no more ground to give the ideologue.  No more need to listen to them nor make space for their destructive disposition.  Loving them is expecting more from them, expecting them to change their ways – to be congenial, courteous, thoughtful and adult.

Yes, loving those who are unloving means not validating their nonsense.  Once the foolishness is gone – there is space to love and accept.  But no one who seeks a meal eats what is impure and spoiled.  When the standard is set, the meal can be shared.

Yup, no more ground to give.

“Well, Dear, talk to the tree until the tree listens and changes as you wish – then come back to me and we shall chat anew.”

Shalom.

Surprised.  You might be surprised at how many voice and sources I no longer listen to or pay heed – MSNBC, CNN, PBS, the major news networks, The Washington Post. The New York Times, feminists, Democrats and “social” Democrats, leftists of varied stripes, shapes and sizes to name but a few.  I prefer the clear air of a monastery of one to the open air “nitwitary” of many.

What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.

1 Cor 15:35

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I like this sentence.  Why?  Because in our life we sow many things by what we do.  Our work, our kindness, our missteps, our sacrifices, how we endure any suffering that comes our way – in these things we sow seeds.  Yet our lives and each of us personally is not the story, not the meaning of our existence – rather when we live and recede from our self-importance then we are known, then we are alive and in the full.

Think about it, when we decrease God increases.  When we are less, God is more.  In this we die to our egos, to our self-importance.  In that dying we are born.  Born to who we are – mortal beings with an eternal frontier that awaits.

Dying to self is living to the full.  Anonymity exceeds celebrity.  Our being and meaning is sacred and eternal – far more than merely mortal and earthly.

Shalom.

Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; reproaches us for sins against the law and accuses us of sins against our training.

Wis 2:12

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From the Book of Wisdom.  How vibrant is our sacred narrative!  But do we read it?  Take heed?  See how it fits our mortal life?  Today, no less!!!

Are we not a culture that finds the righteous man inconvenient?

What shows us any evidence that the accusers know the wisdom of their faith?  Or possess humility?  Or have accurately assessed their failure before they condemn others unjustly?

Who but God reproaches us so that we might grow and become friends to one another?

Do you bother to study the lessons that you have been given?  If not, why not?

Shalom.

The eternal life is not the future life; it is life in harmony with the true order of things.

Henri Amiel, in Journal

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I have taken to distancing myself from the everyday, and particularly “the news” only in so far as I cast a glance at the calamity and the ridiculous ignorance of many who “report” on it and then, God help us, provide their own uneducated, small-minded, predictable, silly “commentary” on the happenings they mention.

That one thrust alone makes space of eternity.  The intellectual poverty and rote recitations of some left leaning ideological fetish are ironically liberating and sanity-preserving, if not life saving.  Enter what is eternal and indestructible.

Aye, a far better and healthier focus where love and humility seem to grow.

In the void that the nonsense has created, I live closer to my faith, and my loved ones (especially the little children) are more in my thoughts and prayers.  God and those I love and what is good emerge as most important.

My world is now meaningful and not confined to what is inane, self-destructive, erroneous, ignorant and captive to all the “clap trap” of fickle styles, language, forms of expression and the chorus of trained parrots that passes for contemporary discourse … and such.

I much prefer what is true and not mad, to what is false and perpetually angry.

In this I remember St. Augustine who wrote: “Eternal life is the actual knowledge of the truth.”  (De moribus Ecclesiae catholicae, etc.)

As a compassionate man, I offer this to you: walk away from the nonsense.  It is disorienting, wrong-headed, and destructive of person, culture and nation.

Shalom.

 

Well now, just getting back after a holiday with my family.

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Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.

Martin Luther

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I had the company of three Catholic priests this weekend.  Each a Dear Friend.  Good people and good Priests.  Each feels the weight and humiliation of the news from Pennsylvania regarding the sexual misconduct of Catholic clergy in that state.

I share with you my conversation with these good men.

I reminded each that no man can destroy Christ’s Church.  Likewise I told them that smart people can tell who the good guys are and that, while people I know are disgusted with the manner in which illicit sexual behavior was hidden from the public, the men and women I spoke with do not hold these local priests responsible for what happened nor will they abandon their faith, Christ or His Church.

And, I told them that all my life I have encountered adversity and that it always stirs in me a resolve to face it squarely and that adversity itself allows us to recognize what it is that matters most to us, that it also clarifies who we are and what we stand for.

The truth for me is this: adversity makes me stronger, bolsters my heart and soul and stirs in me the “fight” to protect and proclaim the Truth that we know and that we wish to live by.

I encourage you to adopt something akin to my point of view.

Today we are invited to stand tall and proclaim what we believe and who we are.

In adversity comes clarity, purpose and courage.

We are never so strong as when we know who we are and what we stand for.

Shalom.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Anonymous

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Seeing.  When problems arise, it is of the greatest importance.

In each problem there is opportunity for growth, for learning, innovation and self-discovery.  Wisdom flows from engaging a problem to find its opportunity.

These are not simply the words of an optimist.  These are the words of an opportunist.

All life is opportunity.  Everything is inclined to your growth and development.  Is it not the case that a bicycle must move forward to retain balance and keep us from falling?  So, too, we must do more than look to retain our balance and forward progress.

Yes, seeing moves us forward, changes us for the better, expands us and gives us value.

In the habit of seeing, we are an asset for others when misfortune appears.  Those who see find a way to move ahead – misfortune notwithstanding.

Seeing exceeds looking as daylight exceeds the dark.

Shalom.

It is said – A former administrative assistant to Senator John McCain tells us that Mr. McCain wanted an Hispanic women (expressly not a White Male) to succeed him in “His” Senate position.  Two things strike me in this comment.  One, “His” Senate seat actually belongs to the people of Arizona not “him,” and two – in six terms in the Senate, he never resigned from the U.S. Senate so that an Hispanic woman could succeed him.

Liberals are full of all sorts of sentiments that never seem to produce actions that support or activate their point of view.

In Washington, D.C. – we have a saying as to political folks: “deep down inside they’re really shallow.”

Character is not cut in marble … it is something solid and unalterable.  It is something living and changing …

George Eliot, in Middlemarch

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Surely one of the central reasons for being alive is to determine how we shall live … and more particularly – who we are.  And that, Dear Friends, is a question of character.

Each day affords us the opportunity to determine who we are.  Each challenge we face provides us the chance to affirm who we are.  So says Psychiatrist and award winning author Robert Coles, M.D.  And, he is right.

Dr. Coles reminds us that life is like a story in that the people and events in it bring us to our own story where we determine who exactly we are – a person of character – of truth, meaning, courage, empathy, sacrifice … or one as yet unable to excel, to live fully and to face the unknown with confidence.  We either seize the day or we deny our existence.

The good Doctor reminds us of this by telling a story of a young girl he treated who was dying of cancer.  Not yet a teenager she sought to show in her brief life that she was “a good girl.”  Knowing she would die – she sought to show she was someone who was a good person.  In the face of death, with all the inconveniences of her hospitalization and the intrusive interventions of medical treatment – her focus was on establishing who she was and that she was a person of character.

Interesting isn’t it.  You can take in the news of the day and more often than not wonder where is the character of the person who is the focus of the news story?  Why would the Pope say that?  Why did the Attorney General meet with the husband of the target of wrong-doing?  Why does the Senator exaggerate so?  Why does the newsman overlook the obvious?

As a nation and a Church we’d best see people of character or we’d best fine those with character to assume the roles of those who do not.

Shalom.

Let Us Pray – for the children with cancer and for their parents that they may grow in faith in the midst of their travail.  

The moving image of eternity.

Plato, “Timaeus” in Dialogues

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In 380 B.C., Plato identified time as “the moving image of eternity.”

What are we to make of this?

Plutarch, writing in Paltonic Questions in 66 A.D., amplified what Plato said with these words: “Pythagoras, when asked what time was, answered that it was the soul of this world.

Time.  An image of eternity.  The soul of this world.

My Dear Friend and Law School Classmate Marty Donovan sent me an email today in which he said a Priest at Sunday Mass referred to time as man’s invention and then the Priest offered this: God does not know time – God’s point of reference and reality is – One Eternal Moment.

Marty said this observation just about knocked him off his seat in the pew.  His sharing it with me had the same heart-stopping reality for me.  Instinctively, that seems so right – so life-changing correct.

Why would God be trapped by time?  Why would an Eternal Being ever be separated from His Creation and all that resides in it?  To think otherwise is to imagine God with a wrist watch and a calendar, and one of those breast pocket little leather-bound calendar’s we use to record appointments and due-dates and people’s birthdays.

No, the God we know is most apt to stay with us in His One Eternal Moment and to give us His company unceasingly in all of mortal life and thereafter.

One Eternal Moment seems right.

Think about it.  How is it that our loved ones who died are so much a conscious part of our days?  How can they be, as they are for me, very much like they are still in my life – still present to me?  I dare say that as I get older those who were so dear to me and died are in some unique ways more present to me than when they were mortally embodied.

Could it be that all existence is One Eternal Moment?  Think of it this way: Scripture says that God knew us before He formed us in our mother’s womb.  Such a thought squares with the idea that we live in One Eternal Moment.  

Likewise, we know our mission here in mortal existence is simply this: to live fully the life God intended for us so that we may grow in the fullness of life and come to know Him most intimately.  With such a mortal mission would it not, then, follow that we seek the full maturation that God intends so we might know Him in Eternal Life – in post-mortal existence and come to be united with those who we loved and lost to their own eternal reward?

Does not the idea of One Eternal Moment speak to us of heaven and our afterlife?  Does it no make sense and seem right to you – as it did to Marty and to me?

This, Dear Readers and Friends, will fundamentally change how you live your life.

Shalom.

Top Secret Clearances – Last Sunday, Admiral Mike Mullen, an outstanding man who served his country with excellence in the U.S. Navy, was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday about former government officials retaining their Top Secret Security Clearances after their retirement from public service.

Obviously, there are some circumstances in which the retention is sensible and quite helpful to the Nation.

However, Mr. Wallace never asked Admiral Mullen what utility retaining the Top Secret Security Clearance had as it pertained to post-retirement private, high-paying corporate employment with those who maintain lucrative contract work with the government.

In the Admiral’s case, it would have been useful to have his view.  Particularly because 60 or more high-ranking military and civilian with Top Secret Clearances have penned their objection to any Presidential efforts to withdraw their designation.  Could we be seeing another of the inside-the-Beltway clubishness that is so common in the D.C. terrarium?

Admiral Mullen has had several board memberships with American corporations since his retirement in 2011.  His views would have been helpful but alas the question was never asked.

The truth is, not Jesus as historically known, but Jesus as spiritually arisen within men …

Albert Schweitzer, in The Quest of the Historical Jesus

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Christ within us – within each of us who process Christ.  Ah, but do you see this in our acts – knowing full well that acts are more than words?

Indeed, one might ask of self and others who profess Christ: Do the words match the deeds?

To say one acts and yet, acts in a manner that does not fit the words of professed belief – does not sqaure with professing Christ.

Listen carefully for the voice of those whose words are borne out by acts.  Their words flow in earnest.  They are not mere mortals but ones who have suffered and in that have met Christ in His suffering and know that suffering grows faith.

Ironically, our longing for comforts and wealth in life buffer the sufferings and difficulties that are meant to serve our growth in faith, our closeness to God.

Too often people wrap themselves in comforts or wear the Church as a raincoat; but, in a raincoat can one ever know the rain.  In life, rain falls so flowers may grow.

Christ is to be felt within.  Let the rain fall – comforts are over-rated.  Words must match deeds.

Christ: spiritually arisen with each of us who profess the Messiah.

Shalom.

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