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… left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entropy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them.

N. T. Wright, in Surprised by Hope

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For a person of faith it is never the case that can do nothing when matters are getting worse.

Why would I say that?  I say this because if one is a Christian one has a mission and that mission is the mission of Christ … to live in a manner that announces, witnesses the Good News of the reign of God.  And that Good News is that God is present and faithful … that God remains present in all times and circumstances.

In this, we can always have hope and certainty that God and Good prevail … and we always have the task of witnessing that reality … and all the more so when evil is present and on the rise.  And today we see this evil so present in culture and the godlessness of ideology in politics today, and in the errant conduct of many prey on others and promote decline of person and society.

For a Christian – doing nothing in the face of evil and self-destruction is NEVER acceptable.  We are a people of hope … of public witness, and courage.  Act we can and act we must.

Shalom.

 

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Coming Out of a Snow Storm … Renewing the Blog

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I don’t think of conversion as being once and for all and that’s that.  I think once the process has begun and continues that you are continually turning inward toward God and away from your own egocentricity and that you have to see this selfish side of yourself in order to turn away from it.  I measure God by everything I am not.  I begin with that.  (Emphasis added.)

Flannery O’Connor

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Call.  Conversion.  Covenant.

This is the essence of a relationship with God.

Our longing for God is God’s call to us.  Implicit in this call is our response.

When you yearn for God you are posting for your answer a “response.”  That is, your yearning for God implies a need for you to stay “Yes, God – I desire you, that you be in my life each and every day.”  Yes, your yearning presents a radical trust and subsequent affirmation that you wish to bring God into your life and that you trust God completely – so completely that no other thing surpasses God in your life.

A call hastens a conversion.  In this your life is changed fundamentally and forever.

In this conversation you enter a covenant.  A covenant is NOT a contract (an agreement that can be broken, altered, amended, reinterpreted).

No, a covenant is a faith relationship in which each party assumes the responsibility to be faithful to it and the other party to it.  Yes, God offers unending love and relationship with you, and you offer the same to God.  God chooses you and you choose God – all doubt, all confusion ends – in time temptation has no appeal – good seeks its presence in your life and life has new, sacred and eternal meaning.  In this you have a purpose and certainty in the face of what is yet to come and to know.

In parting, think about thiswhy everywhere does the political Left, the socialist, the Communist, the totalitarian always attack religion and God?

The answer is simple.  In a covenant with God your loyalty is to The Divine, not the state and those who wish to control every aspect of your life.  There is after all a reason why freedom of religion precedes freedom of speech in our Constitution.  The reason?  Our Founders valued God more than state … Do you?  That is the very question we face as a nation today in the United States – all referendums are referendums on God and your relationship with God, the protection of your right to free access to your faith, to God.

Make no mistake, the policies pursued by the Left in the United States are intended to destroy your relationship with God.

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.

Listening to the musical legacy of Abbess St. Hildegard von Bigen, 12th Century mystic, writer, diplomat and counselor to Bishops, Kings and Popes.  Beautiful.

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Spiritual development is the birthright of every man and woman … the world as a whole tends to neglect and forget the knowledge of how to pursue and live a spiritual life. (Emphasis added.)

Thomas Keating, in The Heart of the World

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Can there be wisdom and leadership without a spiritual component to one’s life?  No.

We are more than intellect.  We are spiritual beings.  Denying this, we are left less intelligent, less human and less healthy – flat and without insight necessary to make wise decisions on complex matters – or any matter.

Contemplation is the way to spiritual development for a contemplative life and life itself is a spiritual experience.

Contemplation leads to the full experience of the human experience.  In mass culture or any culture, contemplation requires that one lift himself or herself above the fray of mundane existence which so often captures us moment to moment, hour to hour, day after day – year after year.

Yes, attending to the demands of the world keeps the Christian from the mystery of Christ and the timeless message of the Gospel, and from knowing our self.

There is no full development of the human person without contemplation, no self-examination either – and hence no fullness of being, of human being.

In contemplation, the self is examined and understanding follows, and one is no longer trapped by the errors, follies, divisions, temptations and corruptions of the mundane world and the voices of its most vocal members.

Indeed, does contemplation not require the voiceless silence of solitude!  Yes, in contemplation there is a silent respite from all that interrupts our healthy, full development and greatest state of being.

In contemplation, God is real and immanent and those who are disoriented are no longer free to be housed within us.  Free – free at last.  Thank God Almighty “free at last.”

Shalom.

Aristotle didn’t equate happiness with wealth, pleasure or fame.  For him, happiness was an internal state of contentment that we acquire only by living life in the best possible way.

Edith Hall in “Aristotle’s Pursuit of Happiness” in The Wall Street Journal (Feb 2/3 2019)

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Happiness is an inside job.  It is evidenced by our good feeling, our aim at what is “well” and “good.”  Hence contentment, tranquility, peace of mind and heart.

In his early life (as Dr. Hall notes) Aristotle saw the unhappiness of the elites, their malevolence and turmoil.  He saw (much as one might see now) how the “high and mighty” are miserable, living in and creating chaos for themselves and others.

For Aristotle the road to happiness was an honest understanding of who you were – that is, self-knowledge/knowledge of self.  He sought to know the ethos of the human person – the way to virtue and virtuous living – not wealth or possessions, or fame or title or power – but rather heart and soul and good health.

Aristotle would have each of us know our best and worse behavior and strive to maximize the best – to improve where we need to grow for the better.

In such a life is, as he determined, “moral self-sufficiency” … a good life, a stable existence – contentment, maturity, wisdom and compassion.  Men and women such as this are and always will be critical to the leadership of others – for they model the best within each of us that is frequently honored in its absence.

As for me, we tolerate too easily those who are not near well-developed and in that condition sow division and unhappiness and act in error and ignorance.

Seek happiness.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

Aristotle

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Throwing money at institutional “education” has set us back in that last five or six decades.  Yes, education of the mind and not the heart presents us with not whole people but slivers of indoctrination – in our case … with small-mined ideologues, life un-examined.

The heart.  The heart.  The heart.  We are more than a brain – which is but a secondary organ.  People survive brain injuries, no one survives without a heart.

Wonder why you see the sights and hear the sounds you hear in contemporary media and culture?  We have poured dubious ideas into college students but little to reveal what Aristotle knew 300 years before Christ.

Great damage is done by those who have not done the work of understanding who they are and what the purpose of a lived life is.  When we neglect the mystery and truths about mortal life, when we ignore what has been complied on this subject in the last 2500 years and in many cultures all along that time line – we are far less “educated” than we reckon.

Such is the cause of the nonsense we see daily … of the foolishness and hostility of those who vie to lead this nation, influence others, advocate all manner of mischief.

Best you see where we are and how we have missed the mark very substantially.  And better yet – best we are to listen critically and discount all those whose sing-song rhetoric does not witness in the speaker wisdom of a life fully lived and the humility and calm that such experience generates.

Shalom.

 

“How is it possible that suffering that is neither my own nor of my concern should immediately affect me as though it were my own, and with such force that it moves me to action?”

Arthur Schopenhauer, in On the Foundations of Morality

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This is precisely the kind of question that is not asked by individuals in America today.  It is precisely the sort of question in which we are of a very desperate need.

Its absence is the product of our failed education system – especially university education and makes its absence in a secular culture that denies God in favor of “trivial pursuits.”

Yes, what we concentrate on does not seek the feel and understanding of the mystery that this implicit in this question and others of its ilk.

I give you one such distraction that is our preoccupation.  It is “equality.”

Who images any one person is in every measure the equal of another in very detail?  No one who is thinking.  Yet, we chase in all sorts of “social justice” pursuits “equality.”  Likewise such a notion allows us to divide in hostility one from another.  Such estrangement does great damage – separating us woman from man, and by race, religion and income.

Yet over all these separations and distractions – one stops to help another who suffers.  One risks one’s life for another. We do this because we are who God made us to be in the doing of such things.

In contrast, the political climate separates us and with God in exile we grow further apart and weaker as people and as a nation.

My constant frustration is this: I see hardly anyone in public life who lives as if they ever ponder as Schopenhauer’s inquiry so clearly does.

We ought to be ashamed and less a pack of complainers and more individuals with interest in the defining questions of life that make us far better people and a stronger and more faithful nation.

Shalom.

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

Lao-tzu

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In politics and in the visual-image culture we have – gaining the approval of others is a common and prominent goal.

When you think about it – this is an invitation to deception … it inevitably has one mask who they are and what they think.  In this, discourse is false – a charade … words are abused, images shaped and the individual contorted.

In politics, as in advertising, we are purposely deceived.  Campaigns for political office are quite the same as ad campaigns for hair coloring, soap, a snappy new auto, etc. – all nonsense.

Tragically the sleepy guardians of truth – the news media – has long ago abandoned ship.  They, too, reflect and protect the phony image of their choice.

Deep down inside the approval-people are shallow.

This would all be fine if the consequences were only that of a farcical French comedy but alas we live in a dangerous world where others aspire our death and destruction and where real, finite material measures like national debt and national security exist.

So now we come to reports of Cuban troops and secret police in Venezuela in violation of international law – along with Russian, Chinese, Turkish and terrorist presence, and the decade long neglect of our military (particularly during Mr. Obama’s occupation of the Oval Office) and the inexcusable billions of dollars give-away to Iran authored by Misters Obama and Kerry.

The point?  Conforming one’s life to approval makes you a prisoner to what is untrue, false and hence destructive and befuddled.  In contrast, a person who is confident and competent is one who seeks not the approval of others but their trust and respect.

Since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan fewer and fewer public figures have earned our trust and respect.  Approval never trumps candor and competence and is but an opaque screen designed to deceive for personal gain.

Shalom.

 

A sane person in an insane society must appear insane.

Kurt Vonnegut, in Welcome to the Monkey House

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An insightful and very good and funny guy I grew up with in Boston called to today and amid the multitude of laughs he asked me: “What can we do to rid ourselves of the insanity in Washington?”

The last time we talked he asked me what I thought of term limits?  I responded I was for them and he asked what about two terms in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate?  My answer, “No I’m thinking more like 36 hours and then you’re out.”

After a hearty laugh he asked – “Why 36 hours?”  I responded “Clown Car Rule.”  “What?” he asked.  “Ya, you’ve been to the circus and seen the small clown car with a dozen clowns who climb out.”  “Ya,” my pal says.  I explain, “They never let those twelve drive the car coast to coast.  The Congress is a clown car.  Few hours and you’re out – can’t cause much trouble that way.”

Now I add this: Members of Congress ought to be issued large rubber feet, red bulbous noses and seltzer spray bottles.  Yep, look at these people – one guy wears his glasses in the tip of his nose and thinks this is normal, another guy has a grotesque hair-plug job, another has a brother who is an Orthodox Jew living and Israel and he is surprised that his family of origin is Jewish!  Good gosh!  Then you got a phalanx of angry women who make ‘war” on men – all men.  Now there are religious bigots piping up.  And you got the “free everything” people … absurd, ridiculous … and the Socialists who have never held a job in the private economy!  Loons – the insane thinking the sane are insane.

So today my pal asks – “How do we fix this Washington mess?”  My response?  “You can’t.  The culture is sick – you replace one screwball and there is another … an endless supply … Tell you what, we’d be better off if we closed universities for a decade – we might then begin to see people return to a somewhat even keel … maybe … after all, life is counter-intuitive – less ‘education’ smarter people.”

That’s what Washington looks like these days.  Lotta’ whack-jobs running loose.

Shalom.

… Jung’s system … functions as a religious path … fragmentation and wholeness are the pairs of opposites at the center of the religious quest.  (Emphasis added.)

Curtis D. Smith, Ph.D., in Jung’s Quest for Wholeness

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I am a religious guy.  Faith is, and always has been, important to me.  I studied theology at the University of Notre Dame after years of law practice.  I lived as a vowed religious for close to ten years.  I am, one might say, someone interested in religion, one who believes that religion plays a vital part in the life and well-being of a human person.

That said, but for one very helpful and insightful person I met in my vowed religious life (Br. Tom Moser, C.S.C), I see no one who makes the point that our psychological health and contentment (along with our spiritual development and happiness) is dependent on our journey to wholeness as Carl Jung, M.D. so brilliantly describes.  

I can only imagine what society would be like if more people were whole and contented, and understood themselves and others more fully.  I can imagine in such a state – greater calm, wiser individuals and institutions, more humane behavior, less division, hostility and chaos – more fellowship and unity that breached all these artificial divides created by others so they might “reign” and enjoy an elevated status, power, health, fame and adoration.

Think for a moment about the disorder you see around you and the antagonism that flourishes in the public square.  Is it not utterly unnecessary?  When you have fully developed men and women – my assertion is that it is indeed unnecessary.

I pray that we will take on the task and sacred duty to grow in fullness.  Yes, a whole person is happier than one who is fragmented (broken) and divided within and as manifest in their outward conduct and troublesome disposition.

Shalom.

Talk About Fragmented – According to news reports a California politico is apparently confirming that he had and extramarital affair with Democrat U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.  Ms. Harris has not denied this report.  Do we need more immorality, greater destruction of the family and marriage?  Have we not had quite enough of this in public life?

Abortion Pays – Planned Parenthood had a profit of over $200,000,000 last year (according to news reports).  And we subsidize this tax exempt organization!  This is the Left turning life upside down.  Is this the best we can do?

It is reported that Governor Cuomo, Democrat of New York signed a bill making it lawful to abort a child up to the day of the child’s birth.  Scruples?  I guess not.

 

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