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God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. (Emphasis added.)

C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity

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Such an interesting thought, clearly stated.  The stakes in a Christian life are not to be simply nice, or to conform to the rubric of the practices of religion – but rather to live as the children of God.  In that alone is redemption.

It is not enough to be nice, nor is it to live nicely behind closed doors while the world around you collapses.  A sequestered life is not sufficient for a Christian.

Look around you, we live in a culture that more and more resembles Sodom and Gomorrah.  New York City has a public hotel that encourages residents to engage in all sorts of sexual activity in plain view to their neighbors in surrounding apartments. Their mayor shelters nude women who solicit cash donations from tourists in Time Square. His justification?  The women are undocumented aliens and New York is a sanctuary city.

Chicago is a killing field.  The City of Angels (Los Angeles) is for the most part a shambles with widespread poverty and homelessness.  And we bar mention of God in public places.  How sick is this!

What is your responsibility?  What side of the divide are you on?

Shalom.

God, bring us to our senses.  Give us the courage to speak out.

 

… those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Mt 23:20

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Make no mistake there are distinct, substantive differences between our two major parties.

Do not be deceived the last electoral result highlighted the very real difference between the common citizen and the elites: those with power, money, status – the intellectual and celebrity class, globalists, the media, the perpetual Washington insiders whose class status is far different from Mom and Dad in small town U.S.A. , and between the ideologues, “special pleaders,” and mere citizen taxpayers.

Frankly, the privileged class lost and the most politically-focused of them (the Left and the Washington wags who are used to being “important”) are offended and not taking their bite of humble pie very well.  Yes, their obstruction and rhetoric is destructive – having gone beyond civil debate.  Actually, their behavior mimics the Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature who fled their state and hid from their official duties so as to thwart the election of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Like all actions people take, the angry objection to the voters choice of President tells us about those who are upset.  One thing it says is this: politics and power is a high priority for them – probably too important for their and our wellbeing as a nation.  Make no mistake a subset is NOT greater than the whole.  No one is more important than the nation.

It is always hard to speak to your Brother and Sister when they must be reproached – but speak we must – speak calmly, in a soft voice, as a friend, with authority and care. Reconciliation is the goal and it must always be.

Losses are difficult for many.  Those of us who have lived modestly and, in my case, on the “wrong side of the tracks” amid the very serious conflicts one can encounter – we are used to life’s ups and downs.  We learned long ago that no one wins all the time and that it is the losses which actually teach us the best lessons, impart the greatest truth and wisdom.

The one thing that we need now is a calm conversation with those who are most displaced by their perceived loss.  For civility to return, maturity must be cultivated and in this instance it means those hurt must listen to the voices of those who care for their welfare and that of this nation.  Yelling, fighting, anger will only inflame and put much at risk … including each of us.

Remember the opposite of love is not hate – but rather: indifference.  We cannot afford to draw battle lines, engage in nasty and dishonest behavior, retribution, character assassination, or violence.   Honest, calm conversation is the need.  An end to extreme language that excites ideologues and flames the fire … it must cease today, now.

I hope we are all to the task.  It is the humble who are exalted.  They are strongest who life has humbled.  Make no mistake – in the end the humble remain standing while the prideful fall. 

Shalom.

Postscript – I am always amazed that the “talking heads” on T.V. and many elected officials talk and talk without ever citing an authority – the words of someone whose insight and wisdom they share.  You have to conclude that they are talking through their hats, haven’t cracked a book since the 3rd grade.

You wonder: why would I listen to these people?  They really do not warrant my time.  They do not.  Happy landings.

God works in history, therefore a contemplative who has no sense of history, no sense of historic responsibility … is not fully a Christian contemplative: he is gazing at God as a static essence … But we are face to face with the Lord of history and with Christ the King … light of the world … We must confront Him the awful paradoxes of our day …

Thomas Merton

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If there is one (and there is) central failure that puts us in the conflict, and confusion, and chaos … and danger and division, that we face today it is our failure to know and serve God as the Lord of History.

All of the immorality, hostility, bitterness, rancor, hatred and rank stupidity can be assigned to that one failure.

Likewise, the destructive behaviors we witness in special pleaders of unwise causes are the product of God’s exile, and in that absence – the geometric ignorance and needless destruction it produces.

Yesterday, I watched an episode of The Ozzie and Harriet Show and one of The Rockford Files.  The former from the 1950’s and the latter from the 1960’s.  Each was a delight. Each well-written, and nicely acted. Each told an engaging story – the former in a family context, the latter in a detective format.

In the former we saw truths about husbands and wives, men and women, family, brothers, neighbors, boys and girls and human nature.  It was fun to watch. Truth told in a gentle and amusing manner.  It was nice TV … it sat a tone, was believable – represented a reality that was and could be: a relaxed and kindly family environment.

In the latter, we had a “who done it” yarn with the focus being the work of a not-so-successful, and unflappable private detective whose status-life was that of living in a trailer parked on asphalt adjoining a stretch of California beach.

Our hero detective was an anti-hero – an earnest man (yet not beyond employing a street-smart trick now and again) who was resigned to the riff-raff of life without losing his kind and understanding nature.  He was, indeed, an everyman with the wonderful grace to live life as it presented – without scorning what he saw.

Yes, in the 50’s and the early 60’s we effortlessly lived with God the Lord of History and in so doing, we were not out-of-control, frantic, required to “get-our-own-way.”  We were then, sublime, without anxiety or fits anger, public or otherwise … better yet there was no need for intolerant crusaders.  Social justice had yet to emerge to anoint any and all mediocre C-minus-minus people into obnoxious “know-it-all” crusaders.  In short, looking back you see that when God is recognized as the Lord of History … our life is easier and our relationships much more pleasant.

I’ll pass on the very unfunny bores of late night TV, and the likes of Chuckie Schumer and the talking heads of CNN, MSNBC, et al, the vacuous celebrities who have opinions about all manner of things never thoroughly considered, and on the minor leaguers of The Times, The Post etc.

Today we are so dumb and uninformed we don’t realize life (properly considered and experienced) is so much easier … death-defying anxiety and hostility is not mandatory.

Try thinking of God as essential – as the Lord of History … ignore those who speak as if God is either dead or indifferent to us … Such people are as common as a penny and just as valuable.

Shalom.

Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts … the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality … played a definite part in unleashing upon the world … horrors and miseries (World War II).

Winston S. Churchill, in The Gathering Storm

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Wars have their prelude, their component miscues and misadventures, their self-delusions and grand deceits.

One thinks of this now as many troubling signs emerge.

Russia is in Syria propping up a brutal regime, Iran pursues both nuclear weapons and expansion while supporting insurgents in foreign lands, North Korea strives for a nuclear arsenal and European countries seed authority to stateless Brussels bureaucrats while terrorists roam their homeland largely unabated.

In the United States, we enlarge the national debt, fatten the dependent population and the expand the expectations of citizens for more and more national benefits.

Some European nations are beginning to resume required national military service, yet attention turns to “global warming” as if nothing is more important. Fantasies absorb us.

In our once mature and sane representative democracy, college students require pampering and “protection” from free speech while some assault civility and those with whom they disagree.  On campus, hate is protected by cowardly administrators.

In the public square God is unwelcome while obesity looms and one wonders where the next “Greatest Generation” has gone.

As Churchill rightly notices, the antics of the Liberals pave a nasty road to a tragic destination.

Hard to dispute this today.  Indeed, we have lost touch with truth, and consequently, with reality.  But neither truth nor reality have lost touch with us.

At the foundation of moral thinking lie beliefs in statements the truth of which no further reason can be given.

Alasdair MacIntyre, in After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory

When immorality prevails, we have stopped believing … without belief, truth and reality are lost and the storm gathers.

Shalom.

Postscript – An “unfunny”* female “comic” thought it amusing to be photographed holding the “head” of President Donald Trump.  Darling …

It is, thank God, always the case that people “self-report” – tell you who they are. So with this woman we see the Left is quite comfortable with those who behead their enemies. Charming …

(* “unfunny” is a state of being whereby a person does not have a humorous impulse in their body … if you see these people coming, run quickly in the opposite direction … if you encountered them in a social setting, make yourself disappear as soon as possible)

” …  from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat … “

Gen 2:16

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In standing between good and evil the human person is more than animal.  He possesses more – that more is conscience.  He and she must choose what is good, not what is evil.

Our choices, you see, either bring us closer to God, or separate was further and further from God.  It is in the first that full life is known and experienced, and in the second that death comes to us before our mortal end – a death that extends into eternity.

We die as we live.  Conscience is always in play.

Funny how this proposition is lost to us today.  We no longer imagine the dynamic of an existence between good and evil and the role this plays for us in active choice, decision-making, and the vital place for conscience in our daily existence.

Case in point, the nitwit Democrat Liberals (and their bed mates in the teachers’ union) who run affluent Montgomery County, Maryland, welcomed an 18 year old illegal immigrant and another 17 year old friend into the school system placing them with 14 year old students in the 9th grade.  (The school system, predicatively, prides itself in ignoring an immigrant’s legal status.)  Well, these two non-English speaking geniuses were arrested this week for pushing a ninth grade girl into a boy’s bathroom in a local high school and sexually assaulting and raping her.  The authorities, of course, never vetted these young men – had no idea who or what they were.

No sense of responsibility for good and evil equals no conscience, and evil emerges.

In the above case, the Country school administrators, the teachers’ union, Country Liberal Democrat pols and those who support them ought to be held equally accountable for their part in this heinous assault.  Choosing evil has its price … or surely must have its price in a good and faithful society.  And that price ought to be the exile of the fools who prepare the way for evil, yes, an immediate exile for those who are a threat to public safety.  Send them far East of Eden, never to be seen again.

Let’s face it, in our secular age, we seem to think and act as if one’s mortal end is the end of our existence, that all in mortal life is all that is, and all that matters.

With such an ignorant mindset, the onus (it follows) is for us to live as fully as we fancy in the here and now – conscience aside.  Hence, we proceed to ignore reality, consume all that we can, acquire all we can, glorify ourselves, fuel our life experience with drugs, sex, alcohol, greed, power, status, celebrity (however fleeting) and the false idea that we are “masters” of all and wiser and more sure-footed than others.  Baloney.

Does one wonder why so many pursue selfish interests to the absolute exclusion of common sense and others – even family?  Or why divorce is so common? Likewise that children are abandoned?  Mental illness and obesity flourish? Suicide, too? Gang violence? Adultery? Pornography, as well?

In a culture without conscience, do not the executioners prevail in number while the innocent are, like the girl who was raped, offered up by those who choose evil and its furtherance?   Have we not had more than enough of the agents of evil: the Liberal Democrat and the “progressives” (Marxists) that gather with them?

Tree of good and evil, Friends.  Let’s get real.

Shalom.

The day begins with the frozen stillness of a winter predawn sky and snow-covered ground … and with two Our Fathers and two Hail Marys … and the Introitus with its reassurance and certainty … Yes, in the snow-covered ground God calls us back to our purest self.  Yes, the same snow that fell on Jews in the frozen winters of their captivity in Nazi death camps.  The same snow.

 Soon enough a fire will warm the house and the burning wood will crackle, and time will be at once past, immediate and forever.

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A thought transfixed for me: for the first time in my life I saw truth … The truth – that love is the ultimate and highest to which man can aspire. (Emphasis added.)

Viktor Frankl, M.D., in Man’s Search for Meaning

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There is a scene in Schindler’s List when Oskar Schindler emerges from his residence to find ashes falling from the sky like snow flakes.  These ashes?  The burning bodies of Jews killed in the concentration camp where his factory was located.

Snow and ashes.  God and man.  Love and hate.

I am a Catholic.  My wife was Jewish.  A sweet, smart, funny, petite girl without any malice that I ever detected.  I will never understand how anyone could justify killing her because she was Jewish.  Nor will I ever understand anti-Semitism.

I would think a wise and good-hearted man might recognize that Israel should not be betrayed as it was when the Unites States failed to protect her and her population at the recent United Nations Security Council vote.

I am left with a simple conclusion: those who betrayed Israel are neither wise nor good-hearted.

Last night it snowed here.  The day holds the chill of winter as it is before the sun ascends.

In the quiet of this early morning, I readied my wood-burning stove to provide heat for the day.  First I emptied it of ashes from its prior use.  I thought of Sylvia, and those who perished in Nazi camps.  Snow and ashes.

Snow and ashes.  Do those who betray Israel ever think of snow and ashes?  It would seem not.

What have we become?  Auschwitz and abortion.  Snow and ashes.

Shalom.

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Everything living … strives for its own wholeness.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Letters

Life calls us forth to independence … anyone who does not heed this call … is threatened with neurosis.  And once this has broken out, it becomes an increasingly valid reason for running away from life and remaining forever in the morally poisonous atmosphere of infancy.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Symbols of Transformation  

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Put to the measure of Jung those governing nations in the world are falling far short of doing their job – of advancing the healthy growth and development of their citizens.

Look at the world news presented by the BBC today.  The President of Philippines tells us that when mayor he killed three men.  In oil-rich Venezuela the off-beat socialist government rules over economic chaos and desperation.  In Aleppo, Syria, the panicked residents of that war-torn ancient city cannot evacuate until a “deal” is struck between the government and its rebel opposition.

In the chaos and perpetual disorder that is the resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo, the president remains while his term has ended and war and refugees are “the status quo.”  In Poland, citizens protest because the government intends to limit journalists’ access to members of Parliament.  In North Korea the mass of people assemble to commemorate the fifth year anniversary of their deceased Ruler whose son now rules. And, in Moscow a restaurant named after the Communist Secret Police who killed thousands of people has opened.

In the U.S., our outgoing administration is proud that they expanded the ranks of those who are dependent on taxpayer handouts and is pleased they dropped the unemployment rate while increasing the numbers of idle adults no longer “looking for work.”

If everything seeks it wholeness and independence someone is going to have to explain to me how breeding mental illness among our population is something for which we might be proud.  Indeed shame might more be the healthy feeling.  But alas, is leadership itself unhealthy?

Shalom.

Postscript – The Left fashions itself gifted to usher in “change.” Yet, men are not God are they.  Better the man who understands the value of tradition and the wisdom it contains.  Those who preserve and sustain tradition perpetuate wisdom and show themselves smarter than the self-acclaimed intellectuals who store up pride in place of humility. 

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference …

Elie Wiesel

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It is rather amazing to me that in a society that spends lavishly on education, we can have public discourse that seems so often devoid of familiarity with history or culture.  The absence of each leaves us talking of things without knowing very much, having any insight.  The result: we are trapped in ignorance, bound for error.

I cite a simple case in point today and I will follow tomorrow with another one or two.

Joseph Campbell in his excellent book The Hero of a Thousand Faces tells of the “head hunting tribes” of New Guinea who sought to excise the image of the father as an archetypal figure who intrudes in the blissful paradise that is the relationship between the mother and the infant.

In this culture whatever is killed in life, by the protector men in the culture, becomes a symbol of the intruding father and the killing restores an equilibrium, a state of paradise. In this context, they project aggression on their neighbors and violent conflict becomes a natural result in the course of securing contact with what is recognized as a perfect setting – the mother and the infant.

Well, so what?

If you review cultures, you will find that these sorts of ideas are not uncommon, that the human being projects all sorts of notions that, attempting to secure a sacred experience, produce behavior that might seem wrong, immoral, savage. The further point is this: such paradigms and their resultant conduct are common to the psychological nature of the human person.  Well, still – so what?

Has anyone in public commentary sought to understand precisely what poor inner city violence (say, in Chicago) that has young Black men killing one another and innocent bystanders says psychologically?  Culturally?  Does anyone seek to decipher what this might actually say?

Is it an expression of the loss of the institutions of fatherhood and family in the urban Black experience?  Does it arise as a statement of the grief, or protest, or disorder that Black men know within from the loss of something so vital as fatherhood and family?

Could anyone not image the pain endured when such a vital identity as fatherhood is denied?  And family lost?  As Christians who value above all the Father and the Son, and revere the Spirit and the Virgin Mother, is what we see not speaking to us at greater and more urgent depth?

I just never hear much of a conversation that sheds light on what is a tragic, serious and desperately sad problem that we must come to understand and address.

At present we seem so uncaring in our abject indifference.  We talk, and the killing continues.

Shalom.

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