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“What then will you give us, Lord?  What are you going to gift us?  “Peace I give you.  Peace I leave you,” says the Lord.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, in On the Song of Songs

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You may always know that crime is committed by those without peace.  Yes, the disturbed – sometimes the very prideful – those who think so very much about themselves.  The present-day F.B.I. adulterers of Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page – a classic example of Judas, so sure of their genius and purity that they (and their colleagues) could tip the scales of justice and defy the national electorate in their choice of President.

We don’t often mention Judas these days.  But we should.  Honor cometh to the peaceful.  The Lords gives us peace.  The miscreants lack peace and ergo lack honor.

This is, sadly, the state of the elites.  So much for “education” today at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, et al.  Ditto legal education at-large.  By the way, we saw evidence of this in the 1950’s when Patrician Secretary of State Dean Acheson could not fancy that one of his breed (Alger Hiss) was a Communist spy.

Mr. Trump saw the failures of the elites and this is precisely why those who claim “privilege” so vehemently attack him.  He commits the offense of exposing them as they are.

Our necessary corrective?  Restore our faith.  Make it that which governs us.

Lacking that, we will rot from the top echelons down.  Thus, history declines once great nations.

Shalom.

 

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Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than to think they represent ‘the people.’  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Paul Johnson

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Therein lies the identification of our present historic moment in time – and the foundational explanation of Donald Trump’s election as President.

In short, the elites reside “aloft” – above the common folk, the workers, the hourly wage and the part-timer, the displaced miner and factory worker, the retail clerk, the Walmart shopper, the truck driver, the firefighter and the police officer, the Sunday churchgoers, the folks who do the fighting and dying like their Daddy and Uncles did.

You see in the last five decades we have flourished economically but the “big money” went to the elites, the celebrities, the media types, tenured university professors at privileged colleges, and the political class and lobbyists, to the mavens of social networks and internet commerce, to expensive cities, ritzy suburbs and exclusive enclaves in Malibu, Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Naples, Chevy Chase, Potomac and Bethesda and such … but not to the common folks who do all the “heavy lifting” and die before they age.

Recently I heard a Yale Professor and Nobel Prize winner in economics tell an interviewer (without any hesitation) that President Trump had some nerve going to Davos for a gathering of the international elites to discuss world economics.  His justification for his comment was this: Mr. Trump is a “popularist,” a nationalist, one who favors national borders – the things at this self-selective collection of the super wealthy, world political figures, bankers, financiers, globalists, liberals and social activists simply reject and despise.

Well now, don’t they know better than those of us who live closer to the ground and deal (unlike them) with the battle of survival every single day – day after day, morning to night.

Imagine the ignorance these elites possess, the self-deception and pridefulness multiplied in this small hot-house of arrogant “we know better than you do” yahoos.  Whence we hear those not in attendance are a “basket of deplorables” – not good enough for elites but sufficient for cannon-fodder, wage slavery and permanent dependence.  Atrocious!

This is central to our troubles today.  The lesser among us are invisible and thus expendable.  You can’t miss what you can’t see.  They don’t see us.  We are chattel at best to these sequestered elites.

Today we have a divide that threatens our demise.

This is our historical moment.  Those who would lead must know who comprises the ones that might follow.

The Christian who might lead knows those who struggle the most, has come from them, lives with them, has acquired their suffering and fears and their strength and courage as well.  Elites who live “aloft” can offer nothing but error and division … and if unchecked the death of what we once have known and been.

Think about it.  Who among us shows you that they know who you are?

Shalom.

Postscript – We grant too much authority to people who have gone to college – especially to the once “elite” colleges.  There is no magic to getting a college degree.

It is life experience that teaches and distinguishes a person.  What have they done?  What trials have they faced?  How did they respond?  What did they learn?  How vast and varied is their experience?  Have they maintained healthy relationships over time?  What insights can they share?  Are they wise?  Patient?  Stable?  Invariable?  Do they inspire confidence?

 

God abandons only those who abandon themselves, and whoever has the courage shut up his sorrows within his own heart is stronger to fight against it than he who complains.  (Emphasis added.)

George Sand, in La Petite Fadette

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Yesterday I spent much of the day alone.  That gave me time in all the quiet to think about the joy of seeing my son, his wife and my grandchildren and gave me mind to think about loved ones and friends who have passed away.  My mother has now been gone 21 years.  I have no siblings.  My uncles and their wives are now gone almost as long as my mother.  My wife Sylvia will have been gone 40 years this year.

I have spent a great deal of time without people who I loved and who loved me.  I have in absolute truth borne the weight of these years alone without complaint.  Honestly I have done so courageously – as Sand says I have “shut up the sorrows within (my) heart.”

Against this backdrop I call tell you I never liked complainers.  I was born to modest means and soon enough loved ones (grandparents with whom my mother and I lived) died.  Yes, each by the time I was just out of the sixth grade.  In short order my mother and I were in public housing and poverty took up residence in our reality.  Complaining was out of the question.  Complaining does no good.  It accomplishes nothing.  Doing is what problems and hardships demand.  Doing makes us stronger, wiser, more cunning, more empowered, more defiant, more confident, more independent.

That said, we live in a nation of complainers.  I am so sick of hearing about racism.  So sick hearing about income transfers, diversity, the plight of the dependent class, women who feel slighted, poor immigrants, etc.  Nothing gets better without parking your sorrows by the roadside and getting after life.  Wrong side of the tracks?  Show those who might demean you that you can outwork them, are stronger, more determined, bolder, more focused, unbeatable.

In the course of my life I have (despite a learning disability and poverty) graduated from college and law school, earned advanced degrees at Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame, practiced (serving poor clients, mostly), entered religious life, become an Army officer, purchased a home, a car and a small business for my mother, cared for a wife with cancer, raised a son who now has his Ph.D. and a nice wife, two lovely children and a good job where he is valued.  Mind you I am no genius.  I work. I had no time for complaining – I was a doer. 

We tolerate too much whining.  Too much complaining.  The best we can do for people who complain is this – tell them to be quiet and “get after it.”  Better we challenge others to show all the doubters wrong than waste time complaining or listening to their complaints over and again.

As legendary football coach and sidewalk philosopher Lou Holtz says: “Don’t tell people about your problems.  Twenty percent don’t want to hear about them – and the remaining 80 percent are glad you have them.”

Shalom.

The NEW Democrat Party.  Former Army enlisted clerk and transvestite Bradley Manning who was convicted for the illegal release of thousands of classified security documents and sentenced to 35 years in prison (before being pardoned by President Obama for no particular reason) has announced he/she is running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland against a seated Democrat Senator who has spent (as Democrats do) a lifetime on the public tit.  The New Guard is replacing the Old Guard.  (Same tit, by the way.) How charming.

This is exactly where the Democrat Party has been driving the bus.  George Orwell must be tickled pink – yes, isn’t that the color perfect.  The pinkos have more than one screw loose.

… your dissatisfaction with the Church seems to come from an incomplete understanding of sin … you seem actually to demand … that the Church put the kingdom of heaven on earth right here now, that the Holy Spirit be translated at once into all flesh … you are leaving out the radical human pride that causes death …

Flannery O’Connor, in a December 9, 1958 Letter

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One distinguishing fact about the Left and others who seek omnipotence in government is this: they put unjustified confidence in the human being and man-made institutions and efforts.  Yes, they are disoriented.

They, like the letter writer O’Connor is responding to, somehow think that an ideology (however distorted or errantly applied) will give us heaven on earth.

Have these people been watching the movie I’ve seen for seven decades?  Have they not watched Seinfeld or met Woody Allen?  It seems clear that they have not grasped the essence of the Judeo-Christian narrative or the sweep of recorded human history.

Just today, I awoke to the “can’t make it up” mea-culpa of an rotund, aging leftwing Hollywood mogul (who loves his mother, perhaps a little too much) and has been (for years) asking would-be starlets to watch him take a shower.

He, of the “pro-feminist” persuasion, puts in plain view this: we inflate the expectation of the human person and in this intoxication quickly conjure up insane propositions as if all that occurs in moviemaking paves the way to earthly nirvana.

No, it does not.  We are not to be exalted, but to be humbled.  We do more damage than we think, create greater division, exhibit more insanity, destroy more good things than we ever imagine.  Hence my son’s favored expression: don’t just do something, stand there.

Yes, there you have it – a refutation of the Liberal in six easy words: don’t just do something, stand there.

If sanity is to root in present American culture – humans will cool their heels, and their expectations will subside in inverse proportion to their growth in humility, kindness, friendship, faith and self-effacing humor.

Today’s bumper-crop of disordered behavior and sickness ought to teach that much of what those with demonstrated maladies advocate is precisely adverse to our welfare and prosperity.  If you see them wearing a raincoat, leave your umbrella home.

Shalom.

 

 

If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things work out.

Randy Pausch, in The Last Lecture

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I’ve never been a fan of whiners so the well-healed NFL football players, coaches and owners who put their social complaints on the captured audience of ticket-holders and television viewers have lost my interest and respect.  Shame on them.  Nothing admirable about them – nothing.

Just watched Patriots Day about the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Excellent movie.  More than that a terrific story about tough-minded, loving men, women and children who rallied together as one to see that those who killed innocent people were apprehended and punished.  It is a story about courage, toughness, achievement, honor, resolve, determination, individual strength, shared mission, sacrifice, community, love.

I grew up in Boston in a very testy public housing complex.  I know these people.  Many have been my friends for 64 years and more.  They are my family.  They would sacrifice for me and I for them.  Several recently faced tragic medical situations, I kept in touch: encouraging and caring.  I prayed for them and, as is always the case in tragic situations, I drew closer to God and became more thankful for all that we are generously given – especially for friends, neighbors, the capacity to care for others – and love God and others more than self.

Today, I see the legions of complainers in American culture today and am sickened by this – disgusted with them.  I knew a far different life.  I knew the life of taking what you get and moving forward, proving the obstacles non-existent, defying others who thought less of me by being more a person than they were.  I was not a genius but I was a hard worker, determined, tough, a realist who saw the near-empty glass and said: “Damn, I’ll fill the thing and more like it.”

I knew the bigotry that befalls the guy from the “wrong side of the tracks.”  The thoughts others affix to the poor neighbor and its residents.  This was my badge of courage – a badge shared by others in my same situation.  I saw life being raised with one parents and not much money.  I lived that life.  Became the first in my family to go to college.  First to graduate from college, go to law school, become part of a profession.

I became an Army officer.  Went on to graduate school at Johns Hopkins, worked in the U.S. Congress on foreign policy matters, had a successful law practice helping the poor, the sick, the under-represented.  People wrote articles about my work, about me.  I walked my wife through a devastating illness that took her life at age 29.  I left law in my late 50’s to earn a graduate degree in theology at Notre Dame, became a Catholic convert and vowed religious Catholic Brother.  I raised a successful son with his own Ph.D.  By the grace of God, he is a better man than I am – talented, smart, a terrific son, father and husband.  Ya, I was busy … I had no time to whine nor taste for it.  Like those around me, I saw bigotry and said “Screw you, I’ll show you who I am and what I can do.”  Their bigotry was motivation to me.  I didn’t sit on my fanny or make a political statement: I lived and defied those who discounted me and my friends.

At the end of the movie Patriots Day the men and women who participated in the hunt for the hate-filled brothers who killed and maimed children and adults spoke of visiting those wounded and without limbs and made this point: none were bitter – but rather they were optimistic, courageous – ready to strive, to live and prosper.  Yes, working class people I know are – not whiners … they are Boston Tough. 

Damn it, we ought to learn from them.

Shalom.

 

There are people alive today who may live to see the effective death of Christianity within our civilization.

Hostile secular nihilism has won the day in our nation’s government, and the culture has turned powerfully against traditional Christians.

American Christians are going to have to come to terms with the brute fact that we live in a culture … in which our beliefs make increasingly little sense (to others).

Rod Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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Dreher’s short, readable book will tell you better than others I have read (and I have read many) what we live today in a culture that is changing/eroding at a rapid and disconcerting clip.  Yes, a book to be read not once but several times – and referred to often.

For parents and grandparents who desire that their children and grandchildren be safe, stable and sane amid the hellish chaos of our disintegrating culture – this is a “must read.”

As the quotes above suggest, we are moving away from religious narrative and the underpinnings of America as it was created by our Founders.  This puts us adrift, at sea without a point of reference … without a necessary backdrop that affords a context in which to endure hardship, evil, death, betrayal, loss, disappointment, etc. – of a mortal life.

Frankly, it is simply impossible to live without an overriding wisdom narrative – and, yet we are abandoning our narrative in the face of pressure and hostility from the godless ones (hostile secular nihilists) up and down the social and political ladder.  Such is the way of pridefulness and ignorance.

The loss of a wisdom narrative leaves each to drift without guidance.  The loss places an impossible burden on the individual to create meaning out of their meager experience.

How foolish to think you can write your own narrative while you live it day by day.  Such behavior ignores the treasured records of human existence passed on for centuries.

The costs of this abandonment for the individual and the culture pile up: suicides, homicides, drug addiction, depression, insanity, aborted children, obesity, alcoholism, broken families, lost love, dependency, racial conflict, disorientation, lethargy, despair, confusion, the absence of hope – confidence and faith, of courage and optimism – intimacy, warmth, peace, laughter – human existence, itself.

As Dreher points out Christians are at a crossroad – Christ or no Christ.

So what is it?  Soul or self?  Death and despair without God, or life with God.

Shalom.

 

“Come let us build us a city, and a tower with it to in the sky, to make a name for ourselves.”

Gen 11:4

This Tower of Babel story is quite an interesting story for its utility and application throughout the ages.

If you recall Babylonian people wanted to build a tower with its top to the sky.  In essence this is a story used to show the pridefulness of people – how they could not come to defer to the dominion of God … their Superior.

How often do people act having “made a name” for themselves or seek to make a name for themselves?  It is quite a frequent event … now and throughout human history.

Think about it, the Babylonians were technically advanced … yet, they did not pursue this tribute to themselves with any sense of God, any reverence for God. They exalted themselves – mankind, their genius.

Pride always derails the prideful. Humility, on the contrary, insures success and contentment.

Shalom.

Our unwillingness to see our own faults and its projections of them on others is the source of most quarrels, and the strongest guarantee that injustice, animosity, and persecution will not easily die out.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Depth Psychology and Self-Knowledge

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A man is married to a woman who has two disordered parents who have neglected their own self-examination like it is fatal and in doing so proceeded, as is too often the case, to wrap themselves in a shell of rigid childish subversion of their faith.  The married woman, it does not surprise, is far from maturity and self-understanding.

Lost to her true self, the maturity and insight that is only secured by knowledge of self, the married woman is lost to others, insecure, controlling, passive aggressive, unable even to accomplish standard household tasks.

Without her redress the marriage and her parenting inflict disorder on her spouse and her children.  This is what Jung is talking about in the above passage.

Unwillingness to see our faults projects disaster, sickness and disorder on others. Make no mistake such people spread disaster and destruction to others – especially their children and those with whom intimate contact is due. Our silence in these matters sows the seeds of evil and unhappiness from generation to generation.

We are made in the imperfect image of God.  But having a faith narrative which tells us this should licence us, with confidence and courage, to come to know our life circumstances and ourselves – warts and beauty marks included.  Alas, too often faith is thin even in church-goers, and illness persists.

What Jung speaks of exists in groups – and is quite lethal, even more destructive there.

I give an example.  The Republicans wish to alter the Obamacare national health fiasco. They see the plan, not the Democrats who created it as the problem.

In sharp contrast, the Democrats oppose the alteration of their coveted shrine to the dubious “genius” of government and themselves and, without waiting for a review of the Republican proposals, they demonize those who wish to alter their prideful and extraordinarily flawed law and its policy.

In the Democrats, and particularly in Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, we have the unwillingness to see their own flaws and the subsequent projection of animosity and personal persecution on others.

Democrats are (and have been for a great long time as is consistent with the political Left) the Party of character assassination and personal attack.

Their identity?  The “devil with the truth” and what might makes sense, is cost effective, withstands independent analysis and evaluation, preserves economic freedom and America’s unique government and Constitutional legacy, does not impose by force a flawed law or policy on citizens and vital institutions, is ignorantly partisan, governs not for all citizens but only for their base donors and supporters.

The Democrats are the married woman in the first illustration.

They spread chaos and disorder because they are stubbornly unwilling to look critically at themselves – finding it far easier to attack others than discharge their duty to know critically who they are and act as mature adults with sufficient self-knowledge to possess humility while causing no harm to others and our precious and unique nation.

They are without a doubt the people and Party of tantrums and destruction.  They make, it follows, poor mates and foster disordered offspring from generation to generation.

Footnote – Let’s be honest – the hideous torture of a mentally impaired White teenager in Chicago by two eighteen year old Black boys and two Black young women (one 24 and a mother) has everything to do with the dismantling of the Black family by the Democrat Left and their policies at the federal level.  This destruction has been going on for decades and now we have fatherless (often amoral) children and behavior like this.  Very sad.  It must change.

Shalom.

“I’m the guy who does his job.  You must be the other guy.”

Sergeant Dignam, in The Departed

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I don’t know if its being from Boston or what, but this and other lines from The Departed, a movie about the Winter Hill Gang and the cops and characters that inhabited “by faire City” and my particular patch in Somerville, just ring so true. They convey a Boston attitude – a unique thing.

Dignam is, in the movie, that police officer who gives you this: sometimes there is not much distance between the hunted and the hunter.  And this, too: life is competitive – do your job.

Here Dignam is responding to a fellow officer who failed to deploy his surveillance apparatus properly so that all aspects of a criminal transaction could be recorded. But the thing that I like about Dignam’s words are: they are real, there is no fluff to them, they are straight at you.  His words tell you that life is life – live it, get it done, wring all the breath out of it – no slacking.  Truth is: living demands all you have – no days off.

Most people, by the way, take off as many days as they can.  Some specialize in taking an entire life off – politics has a bunch of those guys in it.

Want to have some fun?  Take this quote and carry it by day and night and I bet you a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts that you’ll find yourself uttering these words to yourself as you encounter the guy driving the car in front or you, when you meet your kid’s teacher or the school principal, read about some judge’s idiotic decision in a criminal or child custody case, listen to Nancy Pelosi or other air bubbles in politics or the “news” media, or talk on the cell to the person in “customer service,” or listen to another Obama (smartest man in the history of the human race) unsolicited lecture, etc.

We live in a sea with a lot more froth and less ocean than there once was.

“I’m the guy who does his job.  You must be the other guy.”

It is a divine gift to have a life – live it.

Shalom.

She observed that the more education they got, the less they could do.  Their father had gone to a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and he could do anything.

Flannery O’Connor, in Everything That Rises Must Converge

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Politicians, Popes and public commentators would be wise to be better read.  We suffer gravely that they are not.

Take race for example.

Flannery O’Connor tells a story of a widow mother and her young college-educated son. They are Southerners and White.  She, raised in the segregated South, and he coming of age in the Civil Rights era.  A mother and son – separated by time and experience.

In the story, Julian and his mother are on city bus. He registers a silent contempt for his mother who harbors views of the world rooted in her segregated past.

Without any act on the mother’s part, Julian feels an “evil urge to break her spirit” – to humiliate her, punish her, embarrass her, hurt her.

A college “educated” liberal fellow – he feels superior, better … and bitter.  Yes, his experience has reduced him, more then her experience has reduced her.

In a subtle way he has the opportunity to belittle her, and he does.  In his righteousness he seizes an opportunity to laugh scornfully at her – yes, his sense of justice licenses him to hurt her.  

The product of his education?  Pride, arrogance, narrowness, hostility, anger, hatred, revenge, division, destruction, disregard for others.

All this education and love is lost.  Yes, ignorance takes root and hatred prospers.  Gone is wisdom and the simple ageless truth that love comes before justice.  

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder, Mr. Sharpton, Rev. Wright and their allies are as Julian.  That which does not rise does not converge.   

Without love – laws, regulations, policies, law suits, legal decisions, demonstrations, “political correctness” cannot prevail.  This a lesson the Left resists relentlessly.  Education, you see. 

Best to spend more time in soul-searching, in prayer and in one’s faith, than expect harmony to come from public lectures, actions or advocacy.

Kindness and consideration of the other is the first and indispensable step. Human problems are solved in the heart, far less so than in the head.

Faith anyone?  Be careful what you casually discard.

Shalom.     

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