You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Prosperity’ category.

Follow me and allow the dead to bury their own dead.

Matt 8:22

+ + +

Let the dead bury the dead.  This phrase has followed me for some time.

As you recall these are the words of Jesus to a man who he encouraged to follow him.  The man’s hesitance led him to say he first wanted to go home to his father and Jesus gave him the above rely.

What does this say?  Well it is an emphatic way of saying that those who are spiritually dead are to be left to their own dilemmas and those who are spiritually alive are invited to be with Jesus.

Frankly, this is no less valid today than it was when Jesus spoke these words.

I am sure that you have tried to help people along the way and probably done so often and attended to those in need over a lengthy period of time – only to see that the person in need never made much progress – but rather remained in the same situation in which they sat when you first began to walk with them, help them, encourage them.

Let the dead bury the dead.

Many among us simply refuse to live in the spirit.  They neglect their spiritual development.  Often the are stuck in a dependent state – many times on the public dole.  Indeed, sustaining “hand-outs” very frequently instills dependence that kills the spirit and results in a life being far, far less than it it could be.  This is very much the difference between socialism and the “nanny state” and a free society that offers help but expects those helped to become responsible for their own welfare and well-being.

In a spiritually healthy society – there are NO “handouts” – only “hand-ups.”

Better to give a person a hand-up than a hand out.  The former enlivens the spirit.  The latter kills the spirit.  The former develops adults and the latter sustains the immature.

Let the dead bury the dead.  You cannot push a car up a hill with a rope.

Shalom.

Advertisements

… there’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understoodAnd understanding someone else.

Brad Meltzer, The Inner Circle

+ + +

When you hear the word “intimacy” in our present culture you almost always think of it in a physical context – and hardly ever as Brad Meltzer refers to it.

This tells you something significant about our culture.

It tells you that in a material culture we are far more physical than interpersonal, cordial, communal, familial, or spiritual.

Just look at the drivel that emanates from the “entertainment” industry.  One denizen of that environ recently offered naked pictures of herself (ugh!) to “get out the vote” for Democrats.  Go figure?

Yes, we have destroyed, or badly injured, the idea of “intimacy” (and of sexuality) by our ignorance as to what intimacy is and what an absolutely critical, indispensable role it plays in human well-being, friendship, and cordial and communal relationships with others.

Frankly, there is no friendship without the intimacy Mr. Meltzer identifies it.  The health of a human being is dependent on intimacy.

We are social beings – meant to be known and to know others.  We are recipients of life and hence recipients by nature for life – bound to be received and to receive others.

Likewise we are a story people.  We live by narrative, learn by narrative, record narrative, gain wisdom and insight by narrative, worship through narrative.

Telling and receiving another’s story is sacred, and the bedrock of our psychological welfare and the psychological well-being of another.  That is the field of real intimacy.

Yes, we are contented and feel whole when another person hears our story and accepts it, receives it, carries it in their own unfolding life.

Today we are far from the intimacy Brad Meltzer identifies.

Our well-being and survival depends on moving toward the intimacy Mr. Meltzer identifies.  Short of that objective and disorder and discontent grows and grows, and brings with it homicides, suicides, adulteries, loneliness, corruptions, betrayals, hostilities, divisions, broken families and failed marriages, sexual predators, psychological illnesses, angers, addictions and depressions.

Get “intimacy” right or suffer the grave consequences.  We are made for one another – far more than merely what is material and physical.

Shalom.

Christianity, with it primary inculcation of love of God and love of neighbor, is not divisive.  Only those who teach hatred teach division.

American Catholic Bishops, November 1955

+ + +

A simple way to size up where we need to change is simply to focus on who among us causes division.

Are there not people and groups among us who intend to divide?  Do not some in politics and media practice dividing us – putting one against another?

For the Christian or the patriot is this not a scandal?  Do we not do the work of our adversaries when we are disputatious?  Who among us unites?

Never have I seen so many in this land, so apt to show hatred of the country and contempt for those who do not believe as they believe.

In this I think of John Courtney Murray in his We Hold These Truths in which in the 1960’s he said:

The fact today is not simply that we hold different views but that we have become different types of men, with different styles of interior life.

Today we separate from one another in ways that only could be seen in a prosperous society – yes, by sexual fetish and the desire for destruction of what we are privileged to have as a free society.  Imagine being divided in a land of freedom and plenty.  Life is so good that we must complain and divide.  How sad.  How silly.

In our deepest self we are divided at least in this way – Believers versus Secularists, Faithful from Faithless.  This was once not the case.

Once we said: “In God We Trust.”  Once Americans shared basic beliefs and pride in their country.  Not now.  We are spoiled, have too much and expect even more.  Morals have declined and selfishness and discontent has grown – causing adults to act like children – and even quite nasty and vulgar.

There is no culture that prospers without faith, nor a person who does so over time without faith.

Without faith, we depend upon our selfishness.  That makes for division but not community.

In a world that is aggressive, division brings greater risk of defeat.

Is our survival not dependent on our unity?  Of course it is.  Sacrifice for the common good and preservation of Nation and freedom is necessary.

One people under God.  Indivisible.

Shalom.

The wisest woman builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Prov 14:1

+ + +

Thinking about the coverage and commentary of last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I am struck by how uninformed and uneducated are the Committee members, their colleagues in the Congress, and members of the media.

Some of us read and think – they seem to do neither.

What do I mean?  Faced with the predictable rage of Gender Feminists no one in the above-named bodies has knowledge of feminism – its history and evolution and the distinction between Equality Feminism and Gender Feminism, nor recognizes the divide between female feminist scholars as to the two feminist cohorts.

People in these bodies do not see, as scholars do, that those pursuing equality are lawful reformists and those on the Gender side seek revolution – an overturning of propositions fundamental to Western Civilization, long-accepted historical norms governing interaction between men and women, our institutions (including family), history, the legal system, federalist form of representative government as well as peaceful co-existence, prosperity, civil discourse, peace and tranquility.

Nor could most (if not all) in the Congress connect Gender Feminism with the founding declaration of the (Marxist) radical S.D.S.’s Port Huron Statement (1968), nor see in Gender Feminism their dedication to the proposition that the source of all evil are men, by which radical women replace “the establishment,” so hated by S.D.S., with the “patriarchy” as the target now to be destroyed.

Who in our esteemed institutions recognizes the Gender Feminists repudiate science as a source of male oppression, and dismiss nature in kind.  Who sees the destructive results of this view?  Who stands in opposition to it?  Who explains its destructive behavior?

Faced with revolutionary nihilists – those in Congress and the media see only women – but have no critique as to what precisely these outraged women represent …

… folly with their own hands tears down the house …  Yep.  That’s what we got.

Alas, this got me thinking: who in the Congress has a Ph.D. in philosophy, psychology, theology, American history, intellectual history or literature?  That is – who has done the work to properly attend to our affairs in this day and Age when revolutionaries are enraged and hateful destructive Marxist predicates govern their actions and complaints?

The answer: only one person in Congress has done any rigorous work likely to provide an understanding as to what is right before us.  That person?  Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska (Harvard and Oxford training and a Yale Ph.D. in American history).

Sasse did a most interesting dissertation on the rise or the secular Left and its counter-balance, the religious Right, in the last part of the 20th century.

Sasse correctly sees the tension as between Unbelievers and Believers that was fueled by Courts and culture – each of which has moved from faith to opposition to it in the last 60 years.

Indeed, Sasse’s dissertation helps one see that the elites (not just Gender Feminists) are at odds with the “bottom-up” supporters of Donald Trump and seek (in a rather pathological manner) both his demise and the silence and compliance of his voters by demonizing them.

In that contribution alone – we can understand a great deal and realize … folly leads to houses being destroyed.  That’s right where we are, sports fans.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christianity (is) not … a matter of getting … ideas straight but rather of getting (one’s) life straight.

Robert Barron, in The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path

+ + +

Ultimately people want to live well, have peace, experience love, be free of troubles, worries, sickness and injustice, be able to laugh, enjoy friendship, and realize the value of their own good work.

Life is about “getting life straight.”  And that is a faith matter.

Yet, in the course of my lifetime, I have seen interest in faith (particularly Christianity) decline and, in the void that is created, I have seen people seek meaning in ideology and satisfaction the prosperity that has come to us mid-last century in a free market economy with peace at hand.

However as to ideology, I am most troubled.

Ideology is a body of ideas reflecting the “perceived” needs of an individual, group, class or culture.  Needs, mind you, of this mortal existence.

Unlike faith, it is earth-bound and reflects the desires of a class of individuals.  Its goal is not the realization of a full life but rather it is smaller than that – it seeks only the self-authored, contemporary desires of a group – often pursued with force so to impose a narrow and self-interested view of life on all others.  Apropos, politics, propaganda and public tantrums are three of their favorite coercive tools.

Ideologues, you see, care only that their views (which comfort them) be forced on others – never time-tested and never challenged.  Totally accepted as totalitarians demand.

Imagine living with someone who, exposed to an idea, assumes (because they like the idea and feel empowered by it) to make of that idea their world view and the “thing” that  governs their world as they experience it – as if this idea is the prism through which all experiences are, and must be, filtered.

I guarantee that living with such a person is close to living in North Korea or a re-education gulag.  This is where we are today as to ideology – in its public and private hues and noises.

Convince a potential ideologue a hammer is a “hat” and that person will spend the rest of life trying to fit that hammer to their head and expect you to do the same.  Yes, they will abandon all reason in favor of foolishness.  Me?  I’ll take faith – you can keep the hammer.

Shalom.

 

 

Socialism … cannot not be brought into harmony with … the Catholic Church … the reason being that it conceives human society in a way utterly alien to Christian truth.

Pope Pius XI, in Quadragesimo  Anno

+ + +

With today’s loose talk about socialism, it is wise to ask those who speak in its favor several questions, to wit:

  • What are the consequences (under socialism) to the life of the human person and his and her experience of what it is to be human?
  • What effect does socialism have on the spiritual life of a person?
  • How can the centralization of power in the socialist state keep from crushing the autonomy and sacred nature of the human person?
  • How can socialism fail to concentrate power in the hands of a small and privileged ruling elite while turning all others into mere slaves of socialist policy?
  • How is socialism consistent with the sacred nature of being itself?
  • Why does socialism discredit religion and exile God when it gains power?

Strange as it may seem, Thomas Merton helps orient us to these questions in a chapter entitled “The Inward Solitude” in his book No Man is an Island.

In that chapter he writes of the sanctity of each human being and reminds us as individuals and, by implication, as a society that we are to respect in others their autonomy, their privacy, their loneliness and solitude for there each person is unique and there each comes to know God and themselves – made just as they are by The Divine Creator.

While Merton is talking about one’s spiritual life and psychological well-being, his words are the essence of individual liberty, independence, privacy and sanctity which are all threatened by the centralized socialist state that always and everywhere is at odds with faith, religion, God and economic freedom for the secular, socialist state courts no rival – neither the free and sacred person, economic freedom, nor God.

The socialist state is godless and seeks to separate the person from the Divine.  Aside from socialism’s historically established economic and social failures – it alters the essence of the experience of human life such that it imprisons the Spirit of each who yearns for fullness and for meaning, for God, peace, community and prosperity.

Think about it.  Those who promote socialism are UNABLE to justify its conduct and the barren end it produces.  This is what Pope Pius XI is saying.

To comprehend socialism in practice – look at socialist Venezuela today with its starvation, poverty, state corruption and heavy hand.

Venezuela: a once prospering and wealthy democratic state turned to ruin.  Voter beware.

Shalom.

the essential issue is no longer between Catholicism, on the one side, and Protestantism, on the other, but between Christianity and Chaos Civilization – and by this I mean … the whole moral and artistic organization of Europe – has not in itself the power of survival.  It came into being through Christianity, and without it has no significance or power to command allegiance … It is no longer possible … to accept the benefits of civilization and at the same time deny the supernatural basis on which it rests.  (Emphasis added.)

Evelyn Waugh, in Joseph Pearce’s Literary Converts

… the common tradition of Christianity … has made Europe what it is … It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have … been rooted.  It is against a background of Christianity that all our thoughts have significance.  (Emphasis added.)

T. S. Eliot, in Notes on the Definition of Culture

+ + +

Waugh and Eliot and others have seen, and so stated, that it is upon the essential nature of Christianity which Europe and Western Civilization (America, included) rests.

Yet, none of our politicians, nor press mavens, nor media types, nor judges or lawyers, nor corporate heads, nor intellectuals in “the academy,” and surely not the lightweights that talk loosely of “democratic socialism,” seem to have the faintest idea that this might just be so.

Such ignorance has found its place in those who have recently occupied the Oval Office.  Sad as it is, the worthy and amply recorded views of Waugh, Eliot and others appear lost to the hierarchy at the Vatican in a number of ways including in responding to predatory clerics.  What a terrible irony to see the venerable seat of Christianity do such harm to Christendom.

The truth of the matter, this blindness explains Brexit and the dangers of flooding Europe with those who are rivals to Christian belief and are all the more unlikely to integrate into European culture and nations in a period of radical Muslim resurgence.

Closer to home, this is why “open borders” is most destructive.  Why loose talk of socialism is destructive.  Why one can reasonably be concerned as to the consequences of the “sexual revolution” which has been so damaging to individuals, and the institutions of family and marriage.  Why racial division is so costly, and why Left wing fascism that we see in the streets must be addressed by law enforcement, politicians, state – local and federal government – and why we must have the will to investigate and subject to prosecution those have been implicated in scandalous misuse of national security documents, and those who have schemed to “cook up” evidence to defeat the 2016 Republican candidate for President and drive him from office. 

From top to bottom we have in the present moment grave problems facing us.  Problems that pose a danger to the fundamental ideas that formed America and have given us decades of domestic peace, freedom and equal treatment under the law, prosperity, unity and community.

We, the average citizens of this great nation, must step up and speak up – lest we lose a nation, a civilization and a way of life.

Shalom.

Postscript for Lay Catholics – It seems we have an obligation to protect Christianity, to sustain a vigorous public and private adherence to our faith, and ensure that our spiritual heritage is protected and preserved.  Without it, we are likely to expire as a culture and civilization.  Time to join hands with our kin in Europe and other countries with whom we share faith.  Does God not expect this of us?

 

A gracious woman attains honors, and ruthless men attain riches.  The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.  The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

Prov 11:16-18

+ + +

HonorMercyRighteousness.  Does this describe you?  Describe those you meet?  Those you admire?  Those you listen to?  Those who have public authority?  Those who wish to lead you?  Those who claim to serve justice?  Those who comment on public affairs?  Those who preach and baptize?

If not, why not?

There is no time in my life that I have seen what I now see: namely, the absence of virtue and the virtuous.  It is as if we have stopped teaching men to be gentlemen and women to be ladies.  More to the point we seem like we emulate Sodom and Gomorrah.  And, it seems that ruthlessness, cruelty and the acquisition of extraordinary wealth and power no matter the cost to our character are just fine by us.

Make no mistake – the human heart longs for what is good, and just, and true and merciful and not what is bad and unjust, false and merciless.

We had best restore the best in us – or bye, bye birdie.

It all starts with you – and it starts now, today!

Shalom.

 

 

I often wonder what the world would be like today if some of our modern religions taught that self-knowledge … was the paramount goal of the spiritual path.

Randy Davida

 + + +

I might frame what Mr. Davila (the Publisher of The Mastery of Self: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom) said a little differently.

I might say that we would all be far better served if we realized that religious narratives address our human development and well-being – that they speak to our full growth – psychologically, socially, emotionally, inter-personally, intellectually and spiritually.

As to our spiritual growth think of psyche (Greek for soul); and I suggest you do too.

Our spiritual growth is growth of our psyche – the deepest form of self.  Religious narratives present a dimension of observation, insight and understanding that enriches us at the very core of our being – in the soul/psyche.

Frankly, far too many people in our culture (and particularly among those who wish to govern us) neglect their full growth and development and present evidence of this daily.

They are as to full human development – lost souls – confined to error, ego, ideology, desire for status, wealth and attention … and, regrettably prone to poor, and even destructive, ideas and policies.  In a word – we are poorly served and poorly led by those who (forsaking religion and religious narrative) have little wisdom and not much of use to offer us.

My “take-away” from Mr. Davila’s words is this – we neglect religion, do not see its narrative as useful and informative in a very fundamental way, and turn our back on the ageless wisdom of our faith and, hence, we face a multitude who seek to lead us without knowing who they are and who we are.

Living without the self-knowledge contained in religious narratives is destined to produce error, ignorance and egotists prone to foolishness and serious mistake.

Each of us would be wise to take only the pulse of those in public life as a way to monitor the state of chaos, calamity and confusion present today – while focusing on our individual acquisition of the wisdom and insight present in religious narrative.  Absent that – the unknowing are led by the unknowing.

Shalom.

Postscript – As some of you know I am trained – in law, government and politics, international relations and American foreign policy, and theology.  I have long been interested in the relationship between faith and secular culture.  After a great deal of reading, thought and experience, one has to conclude that neglecting our religious heritage is a very unwise thing to do – for religious narratives deal entirely in the human person and his or her peace and prosperity – personal, communal, familial, psychological , intellectual and spiritual.  Neglecting religion produces poor results.

The important lesson that the family taught was the existence of the only unbreakable bond … between human beings.

The decomposition of this is surely America’s most urgent social problem.

Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind

+ + +

Imagine what might happen if people began to examine public policy at the national and state level from this perspective: what does this policy do to promote intact families?

Asking that one question, I suspect, would raise real doubts about our public policies.  Indeed, I bet if that became a threshold question – the negative effects of policy on family would lead to abandonment of a very significant number of government activities that have produced harm rather than good.

It seems to be we do little to fortify the family.  Take divorce for example – most states entertain “no fault” divorce.  Want a divorce?  No problem.  Divide a child from his father?  No problem.

Think about the present subsidy going to single, unmarried women with children who continue to have more children with other men.  How does this help anyone?  The children?  The women?  The men who fathered these children?  A community?  A city?  A state?  A nation?  The family?

Ironically, divorce lawyers seem untainted by what they do … I’ve not met one that wonders what effect divorce has on this society.

Those who advanced the “sexual revolution” rarely seem to be asked what effect they have had on family, on children, women and men?  On intimacy?  On human dignity and maturity, responsibility, virtue, honor, loyalty, fidelity?

In sum, I guess I am somewhat astonished that we never seem to examine what we do in vital areas and the public course we set even though we see injury and disarray among American families – so fundamental to our health, peace and prosperity.

Shalom.

 

Welcome Message

Categories

Log In

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: