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The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline to the religion of solitude.

Aldous Huxley

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It will be 90 degrees again here to today.  In the mountains a breeze persists.  The pastures are green and bathed in sun to make them softer to the eye.

I listen to a CD entitled “Celtic Landscapes” – recordings from nature in Ireland and Scotland.

Last night I saw a Mama bear and her two small cubs.  They were given the order by Mama to take to the trees.  They did.  The little spuds hung one above the other on thin branches near the tree trunk.  No one moves unless Mama says so.

I hung my Scottish flag on the garage this morning then ate homemade raisin rumcake with a cup of dark roast.  All is good on the ridge.

I love the solitude.  The more disorder in mass culture, the better the silence and solitary life in nature.

A thunder storm erupts on the CD.  We shall have our’s this afternoon.

All the flowers are watered and trimmed.  The roses have a good number of blossoms ready to bloom.  The grass is cut.  The St. Andrew’s Cross flies free.

You see there are things that give comfort.  They are near.  They settle the soul and create space between disorder and peace of heart and the quiet of the soul.

Know this: mass culture is sick and it breeds discontent.  It takes its price from you.

Shalom.

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Happy Father’s Day

Late posting today.  I spent the weekend with my Son, my Daughter-in-Law and my two grandchildren.  Just a wonderful weekend in every way!  Hope your weekend was as nice.

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The heart of a father is a masterpiece of nature.

Antoine Francois Prevost

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Father’s Days are complicated experiences for me.  I so loved being my Son’s Dad when he was boy.  Best job I ever had.

While still a Dad and now a Grandpa, I recall growing up without a father.  Thank God, I had a wonderful mother who helped her Mom raise her four younger brothers.  She knew how to accompany me to manhood and did a really remarkable job selflessly getting me “on my way.”

Perhaps you can sense the mixed feelings I have in this regard.  So miss my having a small boy to shepherd along.  So grateful for my grandson and my granddaughter and for the privilege of having an adult son who is thoughtful and loyal, an accomplished young man and good Dad himself – and so enjoy our honest and interesting conversations where we exchange ideas and observations freely.  Yes, I miss my mother, now years dead, and carry such a grateful heart for her many sacrifices for me.

I suppose what I am saying is this: I remember the hardship on my mother and me as a child.  I know what an extraordinary woman she was and how she helped me become a man.  Likewise, I know what a joy I had as the father of my young son.

Yes, I am thankful – but, yes, these things pass in time and become the bitter-sweet memories of deeds done and days passed.

You see our greatest deeds of love become memories and dictate times past and joys slipping out of reach and out of touch.

Father’s Day has its complexities for me.  The twilight comes and the light fades – as it must.  Never easy to lose the radiance of a thing so bright, and warm, and nourishing.

God bless you all.

Shalom.

 

And Mary said, “Behold the handmade of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.”

Lk 1:38

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If Christ’s life is a guide to us, one might ask what does his conception tell us?

That, of course, puts the focus on Mary and tells us something very significant about women and, consequently, about our need to have full regard for them which warrants our reverence of them.

Contrast, if you will, Mary with Eve.

Mary’s faithfulness breeds humble obedience.  Her love of God provides her consent to her call to holiness.  Compare this with Eve who disobeys God’s instruction in Eden.  One might think of the two as showing us the difference between acts resting in one’s ego (Eve) and conduct arising in one whose faith has led her to knowledge of her True Self (Mary).

Yes, faith lived in one, matures the person – allows the certainty, comfort and courage of one who knows himself or herself as God’s beloved child.  This: a good lesson for all  … especially for men to whom it ought to be a very important understanding that prompts and promotes our love and protection of women per se and of our mothers and sisters in particular.

In a way, Mary in her response also rehabilitates Eve – redeems her disobedience.

Mary’s importance to us – to men, and to men and women, is an extraordinary lesson that we often (in the secular culture so highly charged with sexuality and gender division and confusion) forget, ignore or deny.

One might say, quite fairly, that the feminists have done more damage than good in ignoring Mary – the most significant woman in human history.  Yes, many troubles flow from such willful ignorance.

One never profits when one’s focus is on mere earthly status at the expense of what is eternal (the ego at the expense of the True Self); for there is no value in mortality absence eternity.  We ignore Mary at great, great cost.  How foolish we are!

We must change our ways.

Shalom.

Another School Shooting – This time in Santa Fe, Texas.  Ten dead, others wounded.  A sole shooter.  A high school student – described by his classmates as quiet, shy, nice and the brunt of some ridicule – somewhat of a loner.

And so the same questions begin: guns or no guns, how to protect the students and teachers?

When will we ever begin to see the cause of these events?

Let’s face it – life in a highly secularized culture that exiles God from it has minimal intimacy  … little basis for caring about more than self – hence lots of grotesque narcissism – top to bottom.  And let’s also acknowledge that the Left (feminists included) breed antagonism and division – ditto those who (sadly) see all others as divided by race –  despite the huge efforts made in stamping out once “legal and institutional” racism.

Truth is the Left functions by dividing people one from another, group from group as if we are NOT all Americans, men or women, God’s children, afforded equality under the law  – or least until Ms. Hillary was excused from her misdeeds while Mr. Trump was set upon by those who wish to fashion for him a crime he did not commit.

And let’s not forget abortion and the level of callousness that these deaths establish, in the millions, since abortion was made (and shamefully so) “legal.”

A secular society hostile to faith as this one is – is society that does not articulate the value of life – but rather takes actions after actions to prove just the opposite – that life as we now live is not sacred, valuable, to be cherished and embraced.

The cause?  Those who proceed to institute policies and advocate foolishness without any regard for the existence of God.  Pathetic.

From Mary’s obedience to our treacherous rebellion!  A disgrace.

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given by God.

1 Cor 2:12

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The foundation of our health and human prosperity is in the Spirit.  Yet, the culture we live in promotes the mind as if our well-being resides in the head.

Nay, it resides in the heart and in the soul.

A full life relies on our spiritual development, not our intellectually development.  I say this as one who was a college degree, a law degree and two graduate degrees (one in international affairs – American foreign policy and economic policy, and the other in theology).

That said, I make this point: in my career and in my personal life – seeing with the eyes of a Believer made the greatest contribution to my personal and working life.

Plainly speaking – the experiences of my life were more revealing and more instructive because of my spiritual life and its development.  I found greater understanding and greater peace – and yes, wisdom – because I cultivated my spiritual development, became more faithful, placed an importance on worship and directed my reading to those things that would help me grow in the Spirit.  In doing so, novels revealed truth to me, psychology and cultural criticism, philosophy, comparative mythology, and history opened for me.  Likewise biographies of those who traveled hard roads and experienced God were a great help, as were the words of Carl Jung, M.D., and Thomas Merton and Joseph Campbell, and St. Augustine, Thomas Keating and others, and, of course, Scripture.

What is my point?  Our culture would have us confine our self to the head, but the brain is a secondary organ and does not lead us exclusively to the greatest and most significant understandings.  The heart and soul are the key to a good and satisfying life.

It is the Spirit upon which we ultimately rely and the Spirit enlivens the heart and soul.

Attend to the Spirit, for we are of God – and God is pure Spirit.

Shalom.

Democrats – Another Democrat public official (the Attorney General of New York) resigned because of his history of physical abuse of women.  He adds to the list of Democrat money-raisers and politicians who have been exposed as women abusers yet claimed to be champions of women.  It would be nice if this was a surprise – but it is not.

 

In order to be enchanted we must be, above all, capable of seeing another person – simply opening one’s eyes will not do.  (Emphasis added.)

Jose Ortega y Gasset, in On Love, Aspects of a Simple Theme

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In his book A Secular Age, Charles Taylor tells us that those in secular culture have lost their capacity for enchantment.

To be enchanted is to be charmed, enraptured – capable of being taken by delight.  The word itself is rooted in the Latin word incantare meaning: to chant magic words.

What Taylor is saying is that in a secular existence one cannot easily be enraptured, taken by the mysticism of sacred things, lost in sacred words.  In terms of Ortega y Gasset – Taylor is saying that one is unable to know a love of another completely.

Mind you Ortega y Gasset reminds us that to take another in one must do so not with eyes but with heart.

Considered fully, Taylor makes a very serious observation; in secular culture we are unable to be fully human, to know the love of another as fully as we once could.  Taylor is saying in secular existence we lessen or lose the capacity for intimacy, for relationship with others – lose the capacity for deep intimate union with others.  In this we are less human, less fully developed, less able to experience the mystical experience of faith or the wholeness of our being.

Taylor’s view seems right to me.

I listen to the contemporary music of the 1940’s and 50’s and I hear ballads that express the love one can have for another.  The content of the music of those days was overflowing with descriptions of the rapture of love of another.

I hear very little today that conveys such sentiments.  No now, I mostly hear coarse lyrics, and I see marital infidelity, divorce, abortion, the rise of pornography, harsh language on the public airwaves and little that models healthy devotions of man to woman, and woman to man.  It is my view that feminism has actually deprived woman of their humanity and men and women are much the worse for this.

Secularism levies a heavy price.  No wonder we manifest such unhappiness and loneliness.  Maybe it is time to reject secularism in all its crippling forms.

Shalom.

Absolutely shameful.  Congressman Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, indicated today that there was no intelligence material alleging any collusion between Russia and candidate Donald Trump that would have justified the opening of an F.B.I. investigation of Candidate Trump.  He made this comment after reviewing the existing intelligence reports that would have contained such information should it have existed.

Mr. Nunes also said that two former associates of Candidate Hillary Clinton (the former Secretary of State in the Obama administration) were disseminating information to people in the State Department – leaving Nunes and others to wonder if Hillary might have been the impetus for investigating her opponent Donald Trump.

This is all absolutely shameful and fitting a totalitarian regime.  Very serious stuff.

 

 

 

If there be any man who is not enlightened by the sublime magnificence of created things, he is blind.  If there be any man who is not aroused by the clamor of nature, he is deft.  If there be any one who, seeing all these works of God, does not praise him, he is dumb; if there be any one who, from so many signs, cannot perceive the First Principle, that man is foolish.  (Emphasis added.)

St. Bonaventure, in Intinerarium Mentis in Deum

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I am sure I live among disordered people – for each day I get up I am presented with evidence that we are surrounded by people who have absolutely no idea of nature, its immutable presence and the confides of its boundaries.

What do I mean?  I give and example: men are men and women are women –and while they share common characteristics they are not the same and are not interchangeable.  Each has their blessings, gifts, innate and unique talents and insights, and ways of seeing and being … and this is a beautiful thing.

When a culture loses an understanding and appreciation of nature, it loses its sanity and on the way to insanity it generates hostility and manufactures abject foolishness.

Need an illustration of the insanity?  Airlines are re-thinking the policy of allowing “comfort” animals on commercial passenger flights – because passengers are now bringing animals like small ponies as their “comfort” animals.  (Yes, this is true.)

In public policy matters, the “small pony” is exhibited by any number of iterations arising from feminism and homosexual advocacy.  Men and women are not meant to be “at war” and there is no such psychological designation as “homophobia.”  Notwithstanding that there is no such diagnostic category as “homophobia,” it has entered the public lexicon as if it is “a truth,” an actual psychological disorder.

This is a problem.  You see when nature is denied, truth is denied.  Consequentially, what flows is that which is unnatural and false.  Reality becomes unexamined fantasy.

If we have any particular group to “thank” for this is it people in the intellectual community who latch on to fantasy and ignore truth.  Their ideas now presented as mainstream suggest to me that rather than affording them the cap and gown of university achievement – consigning them to wear red bulbous nosed and large rubber feet seems more fitting.

The tragedy of denying nature is the tragedy of becoming less educated, less wise, less insightful, less truthful, less human, less stable and less sane.

We are, it seems, as St. Bonaventure says – blind, deaf, dumb and foolish.  Not a good development and one reason why I listen to few people and spend my time in nature, with cows, mountains, sky, and beauty.

Shalom.

Never Understood – The Democrats have filed a lawsuit claiming that the Russians, Wikileaks and members of the Trump campaign conspired to defeat the Democrat candidate in the last Presidential Election.

I have never understood their claim that Russians favored the Republican candidate over the Leftist Party’s candidate.  Let’s face it – the Democrat Party is the political party of the Left.  For heaven sakes, it had a Socialist seeking their Party’s nomination and their last President had a C.I.A. Director who voted for a Communist for President at one time.

How is it that the Party of the Left would be the Party that the Russians wished to get defeated?  What sense does that make?

 

O taste and see the Lord is good …

Ps 34:8

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Tasting and seeing.  Are these not acts of experience … of ingesting, of taking into oneself?

Yes.  Of course, they are.

Is this not exactly the essence of the Incarnation?  Is this not the essence of Christ in human form?  Is this not the message Jesus brings to his peers, his neighbors, the strangers he encountered, the people of authority, the wealthy and the poor of his day, the well and the ill?

Is this not the message he brings to us?

We are to experience God.  Ingest God.  In this experience we close the gap between the Creator and the created.  This is God’s intention in offering Himself in Christ.

Believe me, once you come to understand that it is the experience of God that is offered to you – you will not be burdened by the weight of this world, its trials and trivial activities, its gossip, its corruptions, its temptations, its hostilities, its divisions, its anxieties and its evil.

The experience of God will change the way you live, bring you above the quarrels of those who do not have that experience.

In the experience of God is contentment – no matter the storms that swirl about you.  In the experience of God the words of God are fulfilled in you.

Yes, we are made to taste and see God.  In this we understand St. Athanasius who said, “God became man so that man might become God.”  Yes, we will see that we dwell in God, that we are One with God – divided and lost no more.  Does Jesus not show us exactly this!!!

Taste and see.

Shalom.

Oh, Goody!  U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, (Democrat, N.Y.) is introducing legislation today to decriminalize marijuana under federal law.  It is reported that in the legislation there will be special federal funding to assist women, racial minorities and homosexuals in entering the marijuana business.  (Apparently, hetrosexual White males do quite well in this business as is.)

Chuck Schumer.  What a guy!  Wears his eyeglasses on the tip of his nose (the old Ben Franklin look).  My pause with Dear Charles rest on this: bifocals, Chuckie!!!  We are way past the 18th Century, Charles – come and join us.  By the way, be careful with the kite and the metal key in thunderstorms … don’t want you getting hurt.

According Jean-Paul Sartre, man invents himself, he “designs” his own essence … However, I think the meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but detected.  (Emphasis added.)

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

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Design or detect?  There you have in the former existentialism and in the latter the long-standing proposition that we journey in life so as to come to know (as life and its experiences unfold) who we have been made to be.

The former is prevalent in modern secular culture where God is dismissed as the author of each human life and the human being is left with the endless and taxing burden of “making himself.”

The tiring project of creating yourself fuels celebrity, image, fabrication, transgenderism, Feminism and assists Marxism, the nihilism of Leftist fascism with its black masks and black wardrobe, etc.

Existentialism is fabrication.  It is inauthentic, fake, phony, make-believe.  It is trends, fashion, stylized hair cuts, plastic surgery, breast augmentation, acquisition of just the latest things.

Life in the present age gives us this choice: spend all your time and energy “creating” yourself or simply being alert to who you are and, as life’s experiences present themselves to you and growth in-depth and understanding as to who you have been made to be and hence – why you are here.

My suggestion: go for the “who” and “why.”  It is a much easier road and far more enjoyable.

You can live in fabrication, or live in fullness.  The former provides anxiety and uncertainty and the latter ease, pleasant resignation and comfort in all encounters.

Your choice.  One leads to intimacy and meaning, the other leads to atomization, pretense and loneliness.

This very situation confronts us every day – in multiple venues – but especially in news and entertainment.  That being the case – I ignore most of what contemporary secular culture offers.  I prefer ease and comfort to abject foolishness, disorientation and sickness.  The best things you do are often the things you do not do.

Shalom.

… Christianity modeled a nobler way of life than what was on offer elsewhere in the rather brutal society of the day.  In Christianity, women were respected as they weren’t in classical culture and played a critical role in bringing men to the faith and attracting converts.  In the age of the plagues, the readiness of Christians to care for all the sick, not just their own, was a factor, as was the impressive witness to faith of countless martyrs …

George Weigel, in “The Easter Effect,” (The Wall Street Journal, March 31-April 1, 2018

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In these words Mr. Weigel is recounting how it was that Roman Emperor Constantine ended all state sanctions against Christians who heretofore were considered a danger to the ruling powers, outlaws of sorts.

In these words Weigel shows that the way Christians lived propelled their growth in Rome and across the lands to the East.  These early Christians showed others a nobler way to live, a way to live that provided meaning, access to purpose and promise, and joy as well.  This Christianity gave those who believed hope and a context in which one might live with optimism.  This Christianity offered a moral code and a way to an ordered life.

Christianity offers no less today.  But alas Christians are suspect in our land today and more to the point Christianity’s moral understandings are being dislodged from our culture.

In place of Christian moral values, we have not value-relative but valueidiosyncratic.  Each individual gets to be his own author of moral conduct.  The chaos that ensues is inexhaustible.

A little, insignificant waif (U.S. Army enlisted clerk) Bradley Manning gets to disclose troves of top secret material at will and is pardoned by a clueless President for whom both Christianity and the heritage of the West seem utterly alien.  Additionally, Edward Snowden, a contract security specialist, does the same thing and flees to Russia where he remains today with no efforts to secure his return to face the consequences of his criminal, treasonous conduct.

In contrast to the elevated place of women in early Christianity today we have the residuals of Sex in the City women – droves of women of all shapes and sizes that place their identity in sexuality and their clutch for power (that is, political in particular or mere public identity that has as to celebrity and mass communication an impact that comes not from any achievement but from having a familiar, fabricated image).

This, of course, is far enough afield from women in Constantine’s time – that it now befalls to men to model Christian values to others in a time and culture that holds men responsible for all the evils of the world (while still expecting them to lay down their lives in defense of others).

So here is “the bottom line” for us today – good and decent men and women who seek to parent children who will be immune from the ugliness of today’s culture must do and be as the early Christians  – must live by the code of conduct and morals of their early ancestors.  Failing that, further chaos and decline is predictable.  Such an ordeal hardly seems what parents and elders like me would wish for any man, woman or child.

Are you not so called?  Or do you wish to be the ones who watched as Christianity faded from view?

Shalom.

If today’s blog connects positively with you, send it to another who might benefit by reading it.

 

Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018

Relationship to the Self is at once relationship to our fellow man, and no one can be related to the ladder until he is related to himself.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Collected Works XVI

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Honest self-examination is critical to one’s growth and development, to wisdom, healthy social relations, contentment, autonomy, loving and being loved, confidence, humility and a rich and deep understanding of faith and God.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is constantly having to respond to those who ask who he is, and especially to the Jewish authorities who questioned him in an aggressive way.

Jesus responded always in the same self-revelatory way.  He told all who he was.  There is a stunning lesson to be made in his responses and it is this: know who you are … and as a Christian recognize that you are a child of God.  In this one thing is psychological and spiritual health.  Absent this: sickness, confusion, heartache, unnecessary suffering, division, hostility, depression, addiction and self-destruction.

The choice is presented.

Shalom.

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