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Holy Saturday

” … You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.  He has been risen; he is not here.  Behold the place where he laid.”

Mark 16:6

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Jesus was plunged into sorrow, but triumphed over this world and all its vices and deceits.  This said, as a Judeo-Christian culture – how can so many who say they are Christians act as if what Jesus did does not matter today?

Is it not true that if we actually believed would we put so much trust in politics, government, in seeking power, and focus all our efforts on material goods, or destructive pleasures and addictive vices?

Western Culture and this nation will rise or fall in direct proportion to our belief in God and, as Christians, our relationship with Christ Jesus.

Today our faith and traditions and founding propositions are under attack … and for Christians it will be our relation to Christ which will decide the day.  One of our two major political parties and our once reliable press advances perspectives and policies that are hostile to what the West is and the place of God in our lives and public our affairs.

Speak not and act not and you will have assumed the posture of Judas.

Dear God, help us to see the glory of the empty tomb and to act upon that glory each and every day.

Shalom.

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The function of faith is not to reduce mystery to rational clarity, but to integrate the known and unknown together into a living whole.

Thomas Merton, in New Seeds of Contemplation

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You recall that faith is a virtue.  Why is that?  Well it is not merely a matter of knowing but a matter the Spirit, of “spiritual courage” as C.S. Lewis says.

In faith we exceed the fade of a particular time or Age.  In faith we live beyond the limits of science and its (sometimes) temporary “certainty” – that is: its “truth” subject to change, its own evolution, its trek to greater understanding as science and discovery grow over time.

Faith is wedded to “belief” and belief is a derived (in Germanic origin) from a word connoting “beloved” – love.

In faith then is belief and love – far more than reason but not limited by mere rationality.

Faith, like your life itself, is about so much more.  Does one not have confidence in one’s spouse, one’s child, one’s brother, one’s sister, one’s father, one’s mother, one’s best friend?  Does not that faith capture something larger than reason?

If one has faith in one’s best friend or spouse or sibling could not one have faith in God … belief in the One who is Love itself?

Imagine the poverty and despair of those who cannot believe in love … or a whole culture where belief is missing.

Think of this, in a culture of unbelief is not the experience of human experience reduced?  Would not addiction, homicide, suicide, hostility, division, anxiety, abortion, infanticide, adultery, divorce, hatred, alcoholism, selfishness, self-destruction, cowardice, chaos, amorality, nihilism, conflict, despair, corruption, greed, indifference, ignorance, unhappiness, lawlessness, loneliness, lust, envy, lying, dishonesty, suffering, vanity, violence and evil grow?

Shalom.

They came to a place named Gethsemane … And he took … Peter, James and John … He said to them … “keep watch.”

Mark 14: 32, 33, 34

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“Keep watch.”

These are the words of Jesus when, knowing His trial was near, he entered Gethsemane to pray, to seek time with Our Father.  Yes, in His distress, Jesus sought time with God.  Ought we do any different?

We face gravely troubling times today.  Like our Jewish brothers and sisters in their flight from captivity in Egypt there is much discontent, grumbling among our neighbors, those in public life.  Anger, immorality, division and corruption abound – indeed in high places this is so.

Think for a moment what Jesus asked of Peter, James and John.  He asked that they might “keep watch.”  Is that not our job too?  Are we not to watch for evildoers, those who wish to deny God and destroy His intentions for us to humbly live well caring less for self than for others?  Are we not to trust in Him, carry His mission?

Ah, but do we?  Look about.  Could corruption flourish if we really “keep watch?”  Could immortality be “protected” if we were to really “keep watch?”  Would babies be killed if this were so?  Would there be justice for some, but excuse for others – if we were to “keep watch?”  Would evil be excused?  Responsibilities abandoned?  Anger be prevalent?  Division created?

You know the answers to these questions.  Keep watch.  Do nothing less than what Jesus asked.  Ah, yes – in this mission you must stand in opposition to that which is evil and not of God.  Who among you does this?

Shalom.

I took a relatively rare break form posting a Blog entry yesterday in order to spend some time with a dense and somewhat vexing article written by Carl Jung, M.D. entitled “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man.”  I shall visit this article in several up-coming posts over the next few weeks.  The article appears as a chapter in Jung’s book entitled Modern Man in Search of a Soul.

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The modern man (is) the man of the immediate present … fully conscious of one’s (immediate) existence … with a minimum of unconsciousness … He is … of necessity and at all times, for every step towards a fuller consciousness of the present (which) removes him from his original “participation mystique” with the mass of men – from submersion in the common consciousness (thus) … tearing himself loose from that all-embracing, pristine unconsciousness which claims the bulk of mankind almost entirely.

Carl G. Jung, M.D. in Modern Man in Search of a Soul.

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Jung is discussing “the loaner,” the vacuous celebrity of the contemporary highly secularized mass communication culture that is densely visual and digital in present day America.

He is describing as he says an “unhistorical” man and woman – those without any past – any wisdom, any sense of the long story of the human person, any contact with their unconscious and the essential spiritual essence of the human person and human existence.

He is describing what I call the Nada Man … nada being the Spanish word for “nothing.” 

Modern man is Barack Obama – a man who accomplished absolutely nothing before winning the Presidency, a man with no work history.  A man much like Joe Biden who never earned a private paycheck but sucked on the government tit all his life and who aspires to close out his life of nothingness by occupying the Oval Office into his near dotage.

Lest you think there are few of these nada men – there is Social/Communist Bernie Sanders who never earned a week’s pay until at 40 he was elected to public office in Vermont.  And there is any number of Members of Congress who secure law degrees from Harvard and do absolutely nothing with them … 

The Democrat assembly of presidential candidates is full of members of the nada class including a woman who “slept” her way into government jobs, a faux Indian Princess, a childish former city major with no evidence of having assumed an adult life with family, children and a private work history.

Frankly, political figures today resemble most the theatrical crowd – the fodder of tabloids lining the shelves of supermarket check-out counters.  And the TV news shows resemble collections of boorish numskulls assembled for bargain rate group therapy.

We have in Jung’s “modern man” – George Costanza in multiple forms and iterations but George all the way – a faux “marine biologist,” “Penske material,” a man in the front office of the New York Yankees who hides under his desk to avoid any and all responsibility.

Yes, modern man – the nada generation …  

You know you have a real problem when public figures from politics to media, from to entertainment to TV news and “the Press” look like characters in the Seinfeld Show – a show its creators tell us is about absolutely “nothing.”

If this ain’t rock bottom is sure is close.

Shalom.

Postscript – The dear little Leftist children at Sara Lawrence College have posted demands that include – free laundry detergent and fabric softener.  How frigging ridiculous is this!  Maybe we ought to consider expanding this infanticide thing to college students?  The news is becoming a Woody Allen comedy routine.  No wonder the Democrats want free college – they run their scam on the backs of people who riot for fabric softener.  I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y.

 

Faith and reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which it soars to the truth.

St. John Paul II, in Fides et Ratio: On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason

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Well there you have it!  This is precisely why a goodly number of the college “educated” class and the many who claim to be “intellectuals,” pundits, “social” activists, and the Leftwing ideologues along with the sparsely educated members of the legal and juridical community seem so “off track.”

Faith and Reason leads to Truth.  Reason alone leads to chaos and destruction – exactly where we find ourselves today.

Ever since “the Enlightenment” the battle between faith and reason has raged.  In an exclusionary secular culture (which our culture is) – faith is attacked, discounted, scoffed at and ignored … and we see everywhere the end product.

Need I recite once again?  Hostility and division.  Aborting children is only a mother’s “choice.”  Infanticide – just fine.  The legitimacy of “same sex marriages” was in the U.S. Constitution all these years but we only found it recently.  There are multiple genders and we get to name the growing number of such.  Families can function quite well without fathers.  We ought to destroy the American economy and our wealth in order to build a Green New Deal economy.  A nation needs no borders and we are to welcome anyone and everyone from anywhere.  All things will be Bernie Sanders “free.”

These things, and a legion of other such notions, are the product of reason without faith.

The Communists and the fascists have shown us how “well” that formula “works.”

Yet, the ideologically indoctrinated faithless cabal marches on despite the evidence to the contrary.  Imagine the stupidity one must possess to look at human history and the form and footprint of Western and Eastern civilizations and conclude that faith, the life of the spirit played no positive part in forming these civilizations.

Really quite astonishing to imagine this … and even more destructive to believe this.

Shalom.

The Seduction of Unreason is a wide-ranging yet subtle consideration of the intellectual’s abiding fascination with absolutism, and as such it is a perceptive, compelling and invaluable document.  His (Author Richard Wolin’s) indignation at the folly and perversity of so many major European thinkers is wholly justified and peculiarly invigorating.  (Emphasis added.)

John Banville, in The Irish Times

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This is unusual.  For the first time in eight years of writing this blog, I begin with a quote from a book review … a review of Richard Wolin’s The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism.

Why would I do this?  There are several reasons.  First, we live in times in which the Left calls the Right fascist and the Right calls the Left fascists … and no public commentators seem to have any insight reflective of Wolin’s keen observations that history shows us that intellectuals in the West over the last century or so have flirted with fascism.

Secondly, in contemporary America very few have come to the justifiable conclusion that it is the post-modern American leftists who, across a very broad range, have manifest an alarming fascist orientation.  (We saw an example of this just yesterday when Members of the House of Representatives could not resolve that a Member of that body displayed a rather plain hatred of Jews.  And we see routinely on college campuses how the exercise of responsible speech is under assault.)

What Wolin (a Professor on Intellectual History) is telling us is that modern liberals show contempt for the values held dear by classical liberals who favored protection of individual freedoms and limited governmental power.

We see, for example, just this year the Democrats dismantle, in the Kavanaugh Hearings, the presumption of “innocence” until proven guilty.  Likewise we see the implicit tones of fascism in identity politics which divides us and beckon displays of hatred.

We see attacks on freedoms in the U.S. Constitution and preposterous notions like the Green New Deal which is destined to destroy wealth, explode our nation’s debt, and abandon our uniquely free market economy.  And we see more of Wolin’s observations confirmed in the careless morphing abortions into infanticide, and the astonishing corruption in the federal justice system with its selective prosecutions and politically motivated inquiries.

So why bring this up?  Wolin is a student of intellectual history – of the ideas that govern us and challenge us … and at present we see a multitude of destructive ideas and “causes” advanced by the Democrat Left and virtually no informed analysis of the nature or consequences of what is being proposed or pursued.  This is NOT a good sign.

Applying Wolin’s critique to today would be helpful.  Alas we have few so well read or informed.

Shalom.

Postscript – The Congresswoman who stirred Congress up with her anti-Jewish comments is Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. Ms Omar is a Muslim native of Somalia.  Members of Ms. Omar’s extended family held positions in the former Somali government that blended Marxism with Islam.  She and her family members fled that country and ended up gaining admission to the United States.  Ms. Omar brings a blend of Marxism and her Muslim faith to her politics.  It is little wonder that she is anti-Israel, hostile to Jews and a Leftist.  This is the Democrat Party of the Left today.

 

… narcissistic orientation is one in which experiences as real only that which exists within oneself while the phenomena of the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are only experienced from a viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one.  The opposite pole of narcissism is objectivity … the faculty to see other people and things as they are … to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one’s desires and wants.

Erich Fromm, in The Art of Loving

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Narcissism.  We know it as selfishness and it is quite abundant.  Human beings are quite selfish.  We find it in families, professional associations, the entertainment industry, the media and other lines of work that have a public face.  It runs rampant in politics, in professional associations like Bar Associations and among the coveted and esteemed associations like the judiciary and the tenured faculty.

Selfishness is the root cause of corruption.  In selfishness others are mere objects or obstacles to one’s exclusive satisfactions.  Many people are imprisoned in this narcissism and they make others miserable.  There is no love or friendship with the narcissistic lot.  To them others are objects to be used or destroyed.

What is one to do?  For a calm and pleasant life – be very selective with whom you mix and mingle.  Maintain an objective point of view.  Be realistic.  See the world and others as they are not as you wish them to be.

Yes, there are good people who genuinely care about living a humble and kind life and thus treat others with the upmost dignity and concern.  Those people ought to be your circle of friends.  The others are to be kept at arm’s length or avoided altogether.  Narcissists, you see, are quite destructive to self and others.

When you think about it, do you not see the value of quiet, solitude, a small group of good friends, the value of a monastic disposition, life in God’s great space and beauty, the place of Christ in the life of a Christian?

Be realistic.  See what is.  Avoid unreal expectations or self-deception.  Things are what they tell you they are.  Acknowledging reality is the cornerstone of a life of peace, friendship, meaning, contentment, happiness, relative ease and love.  We live in a fallen world among many who are centered on self and self only.  Consider yourself so advised.

Shalom.

The existence of evil is not so much an obstacle to faith in God as a proof of God’s existence, a challenge to turn towards that in which love triumphs over hatred, union over division, and eternal life over death.  (Emphasis added.)

Nicholas Berdyaev, in Dreams and Reality

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Who among us thinks counter-intuitively?   You?

In a mass secularized culture, if you are not careful your thinking and life experience will be altered in a fundamental way that will strip you of what you and those before you knew and by which you were shaped and well-informed.

Yes, in a short time – secularization has altered the human experience as we once knew it … and we are the worse for this.  Life itself has lost its sacred nature, its joy and meaning.  Such turns make it easier to divide us and see innocent, defenseless babies as the object of our violence and destructive of them.

Who among us can see this as good, justifiable?  Have we not seen such action in the extermination camps of the 1930’s and 1940’s?

Shalom.

 

 

Recommend Highly – Historian Victor Davis Hanson has written a MUST READ essay entitled “Autopsy of a Dead Coup” which explains and identifies those in politics, the Washington bureaucracy and “consulting,” law, intelligence apparatus, media and celebrity who violated the law in an attempt to dislodge a properly elected President while ignoring the legal transgressions of his former opponent and her aids.

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Aristotle … believes that when we feel anger in the right amount, at the right time and toward the right people, it is virtuous.  Without it we wouldn’t stand up for ourselves or for important principles.  Failing to feel anger when we are wronged is a vice … (Emphasis added.)

Edith Hall, in “Aristotle’s Pursuit of Happiness,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec 2-3, 2019

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I have for years now felt disgust for those who, having been wronged, do nothing about it.

Alas, Aristotle tells me why I fell that way.  In failing to stand up for yourself, you license another to pursue an evil path and in doing so you forfeit your dignity and the dignity of others who might well be the next victim of injustice or evil.  Yes, doing nothing you advance corruption of the culture and the victimization of others.

Failing to stand up for yourself is cowardice.  Nothing makes a man look worse that a failure to defend himself from those who abuse him or others, especially those who are vulnerable.  How I wish I did not see this conduct in men … but such a man says to us in his inaction this: those who will not defend themselves will never defend you.

He who will not act on righteous anger does endorses corruption and rewards evil.  How dare these people impose the fruits of their failure on others!

A chain is never stronger than its weakest link.  “Weak links” hurt us all.

Shalom.

Joseph Campbell reacquaints Christians with the aura of meanings that hover about the religious incidents and stories of the New Testament.  As in treating Jewish history, it is in this aura – that is, in the connotations that by their nature blossom out of metaphors – that the deepest significance of the stories of Jesus’ life and work are to be found.

Many elements of the Bible seem lifeless and unbelievable because they have been regarded as historical facts instead of metaphorical representations of spiritual reality.

Robert Kennedy, Ph.D. in the Introduction to Thou Art That

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Census and almanacs, polls and quantification, ideologies and mere personal opinion or advocacy of one’s fetishes and fancies dominate dialogue today – that is, dialogue from radio, to the television, the internet, the college classroom, graduate schooling, to news print and newspaper editorial boards and political discourse (such as it is).

The point as to the above?  We know little and routinely misinform. Gibberish and nonsense pervades and too often prevails.  Chaos and decline follows – at enormous costs.

The problem is simply this – we understand nothing of depth in our ancient stories and the record of human history.  Hence, we live poorly, in a shallow way – in ignorance and without meaning.  Yet, we proceed unchecked, without pause as if all is well and what is said is true.  Yes, we drive with ears plugged and eyes closed.  Disaster tumbles out effortlessly – the byproduct is toxic … deadly.

Absent spiritual development – we are doomed to fail … and the absence of spiritual growth at high levels of authority produce greater problems than can be imagined.

Shalom.

 

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