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The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Gen 3:12

“I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’re said happen to me.”

Luke 1:38

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First we hear Adam in Eden after eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Next we hear the young Mary responding to the Angel Gabriel who has announced to her that she will bear God’s Holy Child.

Adam did not obey God and tried to avoid responsibility for his disobedience.  Mary, on the contrary, accepted God’s gift to her and to us – she obeyed without reservation.

Obeying God or not obeying God. This is always the singular determinative question in a life – in the life of a Nation also … Yes, in our life and the life of our Nation today.

Is this not the issue we face, the issue that we see before us now?

What do I mean?

There is substantial evidence to suggest that the Clinton Foundation functioned illegally.  Such evidence, complied by interested private citizens with extensive experience in criminal law, tax compliance and finance, has been submitted to the Justice Department.  That done, we shall see if the Justice Department and the federal government is populated by those like Adam or by those like Mary.

Mind you, when material suggests criminal activity may have been pursued by significant high-level government officials (present and/or former) with considerable influence – an investigation must commence lest the public conclude that some are above the law and, given that, our Nation is now not the honorable and law-abiding place it once was.  A conclusion that would then place the common people with the task of restoring what is good to what once was.

Think about it: do we want to destroy a Nation to favor those who, privileged by name and title, are so thoroughly corrupted?

Adam did nothing to endear himself to us by his disobedience and denial of responsibility – while Mary accepted easily the task she was called on to do.

One hopes we are, in this Nation, Mary and not Adam.

Shalom.

 

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Remember Pearl Harbor, 1941/Remember Benghazi Too

It is cold and the sky is clear, the colors true and the mountains firm and sure.  December and the Son is near.  Despite the public nonsense, it is Christmas time … and Holy Silence is here.

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Man … a wanderer and wayfarer … in search of a … holy place, a center and source of indefectible life …

the Irish monks “… simply floated off to sea, abandoning themselves to wind and current, in the hope of being led to the place of solitude which God himself would pick for them …”

Walker Percy, in “From Pilgrimage to Crusade”

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Have you seen your life as a pilgrimage?  Have you imagined it so?  Have you been given to live what God has given?  Are you so blessed by the grace of that gift to come to that place He chose for you?

Live properly and fully lived, life is a pilgrimage.  And I have come to realize this as I come to my 73rd year this month.

Yes, I have been overcome by the length of time and its passing speed, but more so the unusual continuity and scope of my life … from betrayal and poverty, to death and homelessness, to conversion and many who loved me to that place … In it all I see my gifts of interest in others, and the will to survive life’s constant and bitter combat and the desire for God in all of it.

Lately I have sought peace and quiet after years of battles – defense of others with my lawyer’s trade and growing faith – seeking truth and a just result … standing alone as loneliness prepared me so.

Seeing life as a pilgrim’s journey is a blessing that overwhelms, producing tears of wonder for the divine gift of consistency that was in me and this life so on track to be just what I had been made to be.

Imagine the innate mystery of consistency and the companionship of the right values and the best goals of service to others  … a life like the Irish Monks submission to the winds and currents of a life Godly given.  Imagine too the sight of God in those who loved me to this place.  My shepherds … my shepherds – so many, so many … angels given, angles given …

Looking back now I see one astonishing grace – that I was given to accept life as it presented and to do so without complaint or bitter feeling – but rather to accept it as what it was – the gift of challenges that built with each hard event courage, wisdom and greater strength, greater depth, greater faith, greater insight and the reward of solitude, certainty of the soul and peace which conquers all conflict.  Once lonely, I could stand alone because of Him … I am who Am.

A pilgrimage – previously unbeknownst to me.  But for the grace to walk one step at a time over hills and through dark valleys for all these years I would not know how grace delivered consistency to me … and now I see that God has done as God intended … and my unwitting collaboration with His Desire for me … grace … grace … grace – the mystery of grace.

Looking back I see through tears of awe and humility for I have done by the Grace of God what God has asked of me – simply to journey as a pilgrim would.

I pray you know the same.

Do not get bogged down in the daily voices of nonsense – they hold no sway, no mystery they.

Shalom.

 

There is a widespread sense of loss here, if not always of God, then at least of meaning.

Charles Taylor, in Secular Age

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In the above quote, Professor Taylor is referring to the consequences of secularism on American and Western culture.  His words make me think of the funeral of President Bush yesterday.

The news people covering the funeral of former President George Hebert Walker Bush opined that we have lost our way, lost our manners, our character – that we were not as the former President was, that we are less and longed for the past.  But true to form they attribute that lost was of recent vintage.  Alas, what they lament was not lost between the presidency of the elder Bush and today.  Indeed they conveniently do not remember that Mr. Bush ran on this slogan: “A Kinder Gentler America.”

How wrong they are.  

America has been losing its way, its character since the affluent-post WW II and particularly from the late 1960’s on – and doing so at an accelerating rate – and note: now losing our way means losing America as it has been over its long history.

Indeed, you know you have a nation and leadership that is lost when – government is the referee as to bathroom privileges – when Holy Matrimony is re-defined by a Supreme Court Justice who is after all only a lawyer … which is to say not wise but merely one who is able to read.

I agree only partly with Professor Taylor in his above words.

My view: we do not lose either God or meaning in secularism rather the loss of God which is the principle cost in secularism is the loss of meaning and herein lies the folly of the Left and the Big Government types – man alone, no matter his elective “holy grail,” CANNOT provide meaning to life and death, mortal existence and eternity.  Man is but a speck of sand – insignificant in the long-term and infinite scale that is Creation in the whole – here on, and into the long darkness of endless space.

Our sickness today is this: we vie like absurd circus clowns to force our “genius” on others – same-sex marriage, global warning and the assumption that our “omnipotence” can save the day, nations without borders, the expansion of the rare statistic that is “transgenderism” to a political disposition, and the lie that is “socialism” in history, etc.

God = meaning.  No God = no meaning.

Shalom.

  

The goal of Western religions … is to bring about a relationship between human beings and God, who are not the same.  The typical attitude of the Levant, of the Near East from which our religions come, is the submission of human judgment to that power conceived to be God.  (Emphasis added.)

Joseph Campbell, in Thou Art That

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Having written of good and evil, we might turn to the discord exhibited by a large portion of the population in England, France, Italy, the United States and to a lesser effect in Germany.

What we see in each is a deep distrust of, and serious dissatisfaction with, elites who have governed over the last few decades.

What, one might ask, does this have to do with the above quote?

Western people are a Levant people.  It is foundational to us, our culture and its governing laws and institutions that we are owing ultimately to God alone – not the state or those who govern it.  Simply stated this belief is our identity and the bridge to one another.

When the state becomes too big and too involved in the intimate lives of its people, when it banishes God from the public square, approves of abortion, sees the nuclear family diminished, education become leftist indoctrination, dubious concepts as to marriage and sexuality promoted and forced on others, the freedoms in national Constitutions eroded, borders abandoned, the value national identity discounted, “climate change” adherence demanded of all, and economies decline if favor of globalism – we see the visceral reaction of common citizens – so deep is their belief that God alone is God and government, elites and boisterous advocates are not.

What we see today in France and England and the United States is common people in revolt.  Their anger is with the loss of their identity and all that flows from that identity which is based on a relationship with God not the state.

Secularism, damaging as it can be, has its limits … likewise elites have shown their limits.

What we see in the West is a fundamental shift with the thrust back to a restoration of our basic identity and the order of things.

No doubt the Left and the elites find this a hard pill to swallow.  Such is history.  Much is in play today.

Shalom.

 

The long quiet ride from the Thanksgiving gathering to the isolation of the mountains is now completed.  I am back and I post in the late, mid-afternoon.  I hope this allows for you reflection on our land and nation … and God’s providence.

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I do not know how a man can be an American, even if he is not a Christian, and not catch something with regard to God’s purpose as to this great land.

Phillip Brooks, in National Needs and Remedies

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This is who we have been – a society and political entity that is informed by faith – and particularly by Christianity.  But are we now?  This is the question.

Many proceed as if being faithful is a disqualifier.  Indeed, many have turned against faith and God – act as if such things are passe, an impediment to life and one’s personal ambitions no matter the desire that is pursued.  Power seems a common objective – and notoriety and exorbitant wealth too.

Power, in particular, is pursued regardless of the means used to acquire it.

Let’s be absolutely candid – those on the Left who seek to govern have no regard for our Christian roots, the Constitution and its protection of the common man – and the uniqueness of American Representative Democracy – a state of limited government and the Constitutional protection of the individual from oppressive government.

As you sit in the afterglow of this Thanksgiving – think about what is put at risk by the Leftists in our midst.  Have we come this far so well to discard this land – a Christian blessing?

Shalom.

Drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he is most assured – his glassy essence.  Like an angry ape – plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make angels weep.

William Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure

[Drest – Old English for “dressed.”]

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The federal government transferred an 89-year-old inmate in a wheelchair to a maximum security prison which holds some of the most violent inmates presently incarcerated in the federal prison system.  The man was sent into the general population and promptly killed – beaten to death, his eyes gouged out and an attempt made to cut out his tongue.

The man had been an FBI informant while engaged in criminal activity in Boston.  His connection with the FBI resulted in a number of alleged Mafia figures being indited, tried and convicted.  The FBI allowed the man to continue his criminal activity while they benefited from his information.  The prison to which he was sent housed men who were involved with the Mafia.  The old man had been sentenced to prison for years – but not given the death penalty.

Some say the murdered man intended to share what he knew about the FBI and the workings of its unit that dealt with informants.

Makes you wonder what motivated the federal authorities to send him to a particularly dangerous place and put him in the general inmate population – that is – rather than place him in a segregated unit.

Dressed in the authority of his glassy essence, engaging in fantastic tricks in God’s presence – he of brief authority makes angels weep.  So comes the executioner.

What happens to man is less significant than what happens within a man.

Thomas Mann, in In Quest of the Bluebird

God help us all.

Shalom.

It is within your power to withdraw yourself wherever you desire.  Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.  (Emphasis added.)

Marcus Aurelius

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What gives rise to tranquility?  Your tranquility?

If you pause to think about your health and happiness is this not the fundamental question?  I think it is.

Our eyes are the avenue to the brain.  What do you see each moment, each day?  Do you live in an “ordered” realm?  Are your surroundings in chaos, disarray?  If so, how can your eyes not convey this disorder to your brain?  And what of noise?  What do you hear?  Does not noise itself affect tranquility?

Desire tranquility?  Ask yourself what effect the invasion of unwanted ads on the internet have on you?  When you think about it they are intruders – others pushing themselves into your life – ads: from the eyes to the brain.  Do you wish unwelcome intruders into your home whenever they desire to enter?

We live in a culture where intrusion and invasion are common.  Yes, tranquility is denied routinely.  What is one to do?

Wall off these intrusions.  Control your surroundings – have your place of home ordered.  Each thing has a place.  You need not that much.  The less you have the easier it is to know tranquility.  Give no space to the TV talking heads.  You do not know their life – whether it is utter chaos – which it probably is.  Why listen to sick, confused people?  They bring no tranquility – only chaos.  And celebrities?  Ugh!!!

And, problems.  Do you welcome those who bring problems into your life?  To do so does not bring tranquility.

And what about your interior journey?  Have you quietly and diligently examined your life experience and come to know the pluses and minuses of those so important to your development from birth to adulthood?  And what of the losses, betrayals, great disappointments?  Have you faced them honestly and learned what was intended to be learned?  And how about you?  Do you know what triggers your most salient thoughts, reactions, attitudes, convictions?

Finally, can you be silent and alone?  And most importantly, do you have a home in religious narrative?  Do you keep the company of history’s great contemplatives?

When you think about it – tranquility soothes the Spirit and we are all first and foremost spiritual beings.  Tend to that thought and act on it – and you will come to greater tranquility – no more anxiety, no more naked vulnerability to intrusions and the idiocy of the noise and disorder surrounding you.

Shalom.

Postscript – When we see another, do we see a man or a woman or do we see color, age, ethnicity, status, physical attributes?  Can tranquility come from such seeing?

St. Michael the Archangel defend us against the wickedness and snares of the Devil … thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls.

The Prayer of St. Michael

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How do you prepare each day to meet the challenges of this world?  How do you become equipped to refute what is wicked, what is unjust, hateful – what advocates dishonesty or exclusion of others?

What do you say in the presence of words that divide and urge the injury of others?  What do you say to the civil “servant” or the elected official, or the powerful whose behavior is unacceptable, who fosters violence and exclusion?

Are you strong of voice in these times, and these encounters?  Or are you one who thinks that affluence purchases your silence because after all you have much to lose?

Facing Satan or his minions in high places or low, what would you say?  What do you say?  Would have the strength, courage and faith of St. Michael?  Do you have that strength, courage and faith?

If not, you’d be but a collaborator with the Evil One.  That said, you offer no friendship to others.

Why?  Why do you stand idly by and watch the destruction of souls?  Have you no heart?  No conscious?  No faith?

Shalom.

Only the honorable people resist injustice.  The rest – the honorless – are afraid of their own shadow.

Mehmet Murat ildan

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The Turkish economist and literary writer has it just about right.

But have you noticed that we don’t talk much about what it takes to be an honorable man in contemporary America today?

Maybe we ought to think about this – what is an honorable man?  It seems we live today without many such men.

I grew up in the immediate post-World War II America.  I lived on a street and in an extended family with men who served in the War.  The question of being an honorable man was not necessary – men had proved their worth, showed their courage and character in the demands of war.

My mother was born just in time for the Great Depression and, in short order, World War II.  She manifest courage and honor by necessity.

The affluence we have come to know in the post-War, post-Depression times seems to have scrubbed us of questions as to honor, courage, heroism and sacrifice.

Simply stated, I do not find many men of honor.

In my profession (the law), I see men who, despite the professional ethics that govern them, routinely fail to fight for their clients.  Yes, I see many cowards and fakers in the law.  Frankly people who would have never made it in the Boston I knew as a child.  There honor took many forms – be loyal to your people, help the other guy, don’t let anyone “bully” another weaker person, protect your family and women, respect others, work hard, don’t complain – just compete and get better at life, get stronger and wiser in the ways of the world.

I see things in public men and women that are, to me, astonishing – and in lawyers and judges, too – things that are disgraceful … but to whom no shame attaches.

It has come to the point that I see this dishonor in the “public people” – those that I have no regard whatsoever for … I turn from them as I might an offer of rancid food.

Somewhere along this timeline we are going to revisit what is it to be an honorable man.

“Selflessness.  Humility.  Truthfulness.  These are the three marks of an honorable man.”  So says, writer Suzy Kassem.

I might add – courage as well.

You know I lost so much in this life, I refuse to forfeit my dignity or watch others lose their’s.  Maybe that’s why I really loved the fight required in trying cases and arguing appeals – defending the interest of those poor and weak who live among us.

Shalom.

 

Within a few months of seizing power, Lenin had abandoned the notion of individual guilt, and with it the whole Judeo-Christian ethic of personal responsibility.

Paul Johnson, in Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties

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Thinking of the Kavanaugh “trial” I was reminded of Johnson’s comments on V. I. Lenin and, in particular, how Lenin used the law to consolidate his power in the Russian Revolution.  Indeed, I thought of what we witnessed in the conduct and views of the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and feminists who served as Kavanaugh’s character assassins.

Suffice it to say, the parallels were not flattering – but, rather quite alarming.

When Lenin seized power, as Johnson records, he “cease(d) to be interested in what a man did or had done” … and began “commanding, his repressive apparatus to hunt people down, and destroy (people) not on the basis of crimes, real or imaginary, but on the basis of generalizations, hearsay, rumours.”  (Emphasis added.)

Eventually, Lenin and his police force turned to the arrest and killing of groups of people who he wished to silence – (Solzhenitsyn reports) priests, school teachers, monks, parish counsels, church choirs, homeowners and the like.

Harrison Salisbury in his book Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (London 1978) p. 565, reminds us that the Cheka (Lenin’s secret police) saw their job as “exterminating the bourgeoise as a class” without regard to any deeds or words, but rather to simply rid Russia of anyone who might challenge those in power.

What we witnessed in the Kavanaugh hearing, and in the relentless attacks (of the political Left and Democrats in and out of government) on a sitting President is too close to the lawlessness of Lenin and his revolutionaries to go unnoticed.

Best be careful – what we see is not what we want in a lawful and free society.

The origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of immutable morality.  (Emphasis added.)

Cicero, in The Laws (52 B.C.)

Abandon God and you abandon morality and the wisdom of the Ages.  Such a deed is foolish – suicidal, even.

There are many among us whose ignorance and desire for power does precisely that – they abandon God, morality, and the wisdom of the ages … in doing so justice is lost.

Think about it.

Shalom.

 

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