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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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When people show you who they are, believe them.

Maya Angelo

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I have said over and over to many friends and people along the way – “people self-report.”  This is the lesson in the above.

Oprah Winfrey considers this one of her most important life-lesson: when people tell you who they are – believe them.  My corollary is this: people tell you who they are by words and deeds – by the way they spend their time, the questions they ask and fail to ask, what they do and fail to do.

That said, what do we know from yesterday’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee testimony?

Ms. Ford, the accuser, speaks with the voice of a small child.  This is quite unusual and a bit disturbing.  She is a 50 year old or older woman, a Ph.D. and she talks as if she is a child.

She appears to sincerely recount that she has been the victim of a traumatic event – one that she seems to have concealed for some time … but she has been unable to present corroborative evidence to support her claim as presently stated, to wit: that Federal Appellate Judge Brent Kavanaugh was the perpetrator.

One feels some sympathy for her in that she seems legitimately troubled.  Yes, something significant happened to this woman – and perhaps when she was quite young.  Could it be that Judge Kavanaugh represents a significant authority figure in her life and that this allows Ms. Ford to approach a very tender part of her past?  In that regard, I was surprised that no one pursued that possibility.

I was, likewise, disappointed to learn that only a portion of her psychiatrist’s notes were conveyed to the Committee.  I was, to be honest, disappointed that the ranking minority Member of the Committee put this woman in a very difficult spot and to hear Ms. Ford say: she was “terrorized” appearing before the Committee.

I am afraid that Democrat Members of the Committee took a vulnerable woman and used her for political purposes – namely, to destroy the reputation of a faithful man who seems to have led an honest, principled and lawful life in service to others.

What we saw in this matter is that principle seems trumped by political desire and, in that, a man’s good name and reputation is besmirched … and an injured woman who desired anonymity is thrust into the public light to advance the interests of those who seek power.

In this we show ourselves to be reckless, dishonorable, and very disappointing.  Political power is NOT the Holy Grail.  We are created for whole and healthy life – life of meaning and purpose.

Shalom.

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.

… with you is my grievance, O priests … My people perish for want of knowledge!  Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you … Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons.  One and all they sin against me exchanging their glory for shame.  (Emphasis added.)

Hos 4: 6, 7

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The words of the Jewish prophet Hosea tell of his understanding about what his God would do to those (the Jewish people) who consistently ignored God and God’s teachings.

Reading it I cannot but help thinking of those among us, yes even the high clergy, who reject God’s teachings enshrined in the Canons of the Church.  Likewise I think of so many in public life who proceed always with what interests them while never putting their ideas, opinions, plans to a test of faith.  Nary do they ask: What might God seek of me this day?

Too, too many people in positions of authority and influence readily exchange their own glory for shame … never giving a moment’s thought to what God might otherwise desire.

This is the road to perdition (i.e., the loss of soul and path to eternal damnation).  

Mind you, if Mr. X or Ms. Z wishes hell as their destination, so be it – but those in positions of influence and authority have no justification for leading us to that same eternal misery.  Be very, very careful as to who you listen to, who you elect, what ideas you entertain and any who appear strangers to faith, to God.

You are forewarned.

Shalom.

Happy are those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in the company of scoffers.  Rather the law of God is their joy; God’s law they study …

… the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.

The Lord watches over the way of the just but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.  (Emphasis added.)

Psalm 1

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Life is a matter of choosing good or choosing evil.  Those who choose what is good are wise – they live stable and contented lives.  Those who choose evil will be rootless and discontented.  Yes, the wicked will know death in life.

To choose “the way of sinners” is to choose what is immoral.  The wicked are those who distance themselves from God.  They distance themselves by words, thoughts and actions.

The Psalms were the prayers of Jesus.  They were His guide.  They can form you and teach you just as they formed and taught Christ.

We live in times where immorality and corruption are on display.  Indeed, we see these behaviors in high places and among the privileged.  In such a time, it is all the more important that we choose what is good and reject what is evil and those who purpose evil ideas, evil deeds, evil actions.  

If there is a blessing in a time of evil, it is that we are given the opportunity to bravely and faithfully choose good over evil … and to stand in opposition to evil.

When good prevails, prosperity and peace follow.

Your choice: live God’s law or suffer miserably and watch what was once good come to ruin.

Shalom.

 

 

… signs … Jesus … performed … have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Jn 20: 30,31

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Believing or not believing.  Belief in God or belief in nothing.  Theism or nihilism.  We face this proposition more directly today than we have probably in our history.

I have a very dear childhood friend.  He was my closest friend growing up.  We were like brothers – did so many things together.  Shared the same classes and teachers throughout school.  I was like a family member in his home.  His mother treated me like one of her children.  She and my mother were best of friends.

My friend is now in a nursing home.  He is frail.  Spends a good deal of time in bed.  As a child he was bright, friendly, a reader – social, trusted, quite capable.  In his late adolescence he seemed to be at odds with institutions and authority – but more to the point he began to lose interest in the world around him.  He seemed to make a wilful decision to reject this or that – his skepticism began to grow.  His actions seemed to say: life is worthless – this view and his skepticism grew as he aged.

He drank consistently throughout his life beginning when he was a teenager.  His initial adult working life seemed consistent with his abilities.  He had a modest political life and was elected to his local School Board.  His two children were successful.  He seemed at odds with his wife and she with him most of their married life.  She too was a negative person.

His negativity continued to grow – his work history declined as his cynicism strengthened.  He suffered from seizures.  Eventually his downward work trajectory ended when he worked himself out of a janitor’s job, being fired from a government position despite his union membership.  A very hard act to accomplish.  He burned bridges at work and with family members.  He scoffed at religion and those who tried to help him.

If I have to point to one thing that explains my friend’s decline it is this: he became a cynic – lived as a nihilist.  He lived as if to say very loudly – life has no meaning.  Nothing  met his approval – all was more or less rejected.  He lived as if to deny his own existence and existence itself.  

I see his attitude in our culture and politics today.  Those who reject national borders sound like him.  The lapses with the Vatican as to sex abuse, denying law, morality and the Canons of the Church reflect his disposition. The upheaval in sexual mores, in families, in lawless urban enclaves seem to say: “belief in good” no longer holds.   The corruption at the federal bureaucratic level says much the same thing – truth and honesty are not honored in practice.  Drug addictions, suicides, random violence and corporate men preying on women employees – but more indications of decline and decay, amoral behavior – signs of depravity and reasons for serious concern.

All this to say but one simple thing: I do not hear much said about nihilism and the denial of values, morals, conduct – rather, too often, I see others advocating decline and decay – angry people attacking structures and codes of conduct that hold us together and provide a basis for community, peace and prosperity … life itself.

Theism or Nihilism.  Believe in something or believe in nothing.  God or nothing at all.

Shalom.

REMEMBER SEPTEMBER 11th

… we all have to be “crucified with Christ,” suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion.

C. G. Jung, M.D., in Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works 12

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Is there ever a time or a life in which one did not experience a moral challenge, a struggle with temptation, the experience of betrayal or witness depravity?  No.  This is life as a mortal … this is life in the world.

Make no mistake – we live in a Crucifying Time.  But who does not.  Yes, there come times when the incidence of evil is more obvious and more heinous … but all time brings us moral struggle and one form or another of treacherous rebellion and evil dressed in “justification” and maybe even brazenly not even disguised.

Now how can that be?  Well, we are people.  Imperfect, easily tempted.  Many live in their ego and its demands and ill-formed sense of “entitlement” and superiority.

The Crucifixion (it is said) “is the central image of the Western psyche.”  It is surely the case that it conveys the “juxtaposition” of what is human and what is divine.  In these times one is offered Christ once again – plainly so.  In darkness, you know, Light is brightest.  We live in such a time.

In a “crucifixion time,” – what do you see?  What do you know?  Who are you?  What do you do?  With whom do you reside?  With God or the godless?

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.

Baseball Legend’s Birthday: Ted Williams Was Born This Day in 1918

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Lk 23:3

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We live in times that are quite challenging.  Much hostility and harsh words.  Ideas and institutions that we depend on for civility, community, fellowship, peace and prosperity are openly attacked – at times violently so.

Some among us question what they might do.  Some think of these assaults as very, very threatening.  Their thoughts turn to self-defense – they are on edge and wonder if the violence requires their armament.

Asked recently what I think about the present situation, my response – “It is time to have the courage of Christ.”

The above quote ought to be your guide in these times of ours.  Remember Luke 23:3!

The courage of Christ is to rise above the conflict, to speak Truth to others – to those who attack us and our critical institutions – especially our religion, the family, civility, truth, law, the fundamental freedoms our Constitution houses, the tenets of our faith.

Stand up, and speak up.  Give fear no place in you.

‘Tis always best to stand and speak the Truth as we know it.  Let the consequences be the consequences.  God reigns and we have nothing to fear.

Shalom.

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