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And Mary said, “Behold the handmade of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.”

Lk 1:38

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If Christ’s life is a guide to us, one might ask what does his conception tell us?

That, of course, puts the focus on Mary and tells us something very significant about women and, consequently, about our need to have full regard for them which warrants our reverence of them.

Contrast, if you will, Mary with Eve.

Mary’s faithfulness breeds humble obedience.  Her love of God provides her consent to her call to holiness.  Compare this with Eve who disobeys God’s instruction in Eden.  One might think of the two as showing us the difference between acts resting in one’s ego (Eve) and conduct arising in one whose faith has led her to knowledge of her True Self (Mary).

Yes, faith lived in one, matures the person – allows the certainty, comfort and courage of one who knows himself or herself as God’s beloved child.  This: a good lesson for all  … especially for men to whom it ought to be a very important understanding that prompts and promotes our love and protection of women per se and of our mothers and sisters in particular.

In a way, Mary in her response also rehabilitates Eve – redeems her disobedience.

Mary’s importance to us – to men, and to men and women, is an extraordinary lesson that we often (in the secular culture so highly charged with sexuality and gender division and confusion) forget, ignore or deny.

One might say, quite fairly, that the feminists have done more damage than good in ignoring Mary – the most significant woman in human history.  Yes, many troubles flow from such willful ignorance.

One never profits when one’s focus is on mere earthly status at the expense of what is eternal (the ego at the expense of the True Self); for there is no value in mortality absence eternity.  We ignore Mary at great, great cost.  How foolish we are!

We must change our ways.

Shalom.

Another School Shooting – This time in Santa Fe, Texas.  Ten dead, others wounded.  A sole shooter.  A high school student – described by his classmates as quiet, shy, nice and the brunt of some ridicule – somewhat of a loner.

And so the same questions begin: guns or no guns, how to protect the students and teachers?

When will we ever begin to see the cause of these events?

Let’s face it – life in a highly secularized culture that exiles God from it has minimal intimacy  … little basis for caring about more than self – hence lots of grotesque narcissism – top to bottom.  And let’s also acknowledge that the Left (feminists included) breed antagonism and division – ditto those who (sadly) see all others as divided by race –  despite the huge efforts made in stamping out once “legal and institutional” racism.

Truth is the Left functions by dividing people one from another, group from group as if we are NOT all Americans, men or women, God’s children, afforded equality under the law  – or least until Ms. Hillary was excused from her misdeeds while Mr. Trump was set upon by those who wish to fashion for him a crime he did not commit.

And let’s not forget abortion and the level of callousness that these deaths establish, in the millions, since abortion was made (and shamefully so) “legal.”

A secular society hostile to faith as this one is – is society that does not articulate the value of life – but rather takes actions after actions to prove just the opposite – that life as we now live is not sacred, valuable, to be cherished and embraced.

The cause?  Those who proceed to institute policies and advocate foolishness without any regard for the existence of God.  Pathetic.

From Mary’s obedience to our treacherous rebellion!  A disgrace.

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A Reflection

The drama of the archetypal life of Christ describes in symbolic images the events of a conscious life – as well as in the life that transcends consciousness – of a man who has been transformed by his higher destiny.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Collected Letters (Volume 11)

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Who among you sees Christ in your life?  That is – associates Christ in your very existence?

Do you not know that Christ is the pre-existent Son of God in the manner that you are His pre-existent child?

Rest assured that Christ is our sacred archetype … that we are as Christ and are to live and be, and die as and with Christ – as He was, and is and will be forever as to each of us.

As an archetype, Christ leads us from ego to Self, True Self amid the divine drama of mortal life.

In life we choose: salvation and health or a godless life stuck in our ego – never knowing Christ or God or our own person in the full.

Our best choice: a life of meaning and purpose, contentment and tranquility, wisdom and happiness, or one of calamity and continual unhappiness and discord.

Yes, we each have eternal roots.  Our origin is in God, not in each of us one by one.

We are, as Christ, called to the direct experience of life in the full – conscious and unconscious, material and spiritual, mortal and eternal.

With Christ as our template we see Light brighter than the works of the son of darkness.

The life of Christ: your guide, your template, your Divine Gift – your very identity.

Shalom.

 

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given by God.

1 Cor 2:12

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The foundation of our health and human prosperity is in the Spirit.  Yet, the culture we live in promotes the mind as if our well-being resides in the head.

Nay, it resides in the heart and in the soul.

A full life relies on our spiritual development, not our intellectually development.  I say this as one who was a college degree, a law degree and two graduate degrees (one in international affairs – American foreign policy and economic policy, and the other in theology).

That said, I make this point: in my career and in my personal life – seeing with the eyes of a Believer made the greatest contribution to my personal and working life.

Plainly speaking – the experiences of my life were more revealing and more instructive because of my spiritual life and its development.  I found greater understanding and greater peace – and yes, wisdom – because I cultivated my spiritual development, became more faithful, placed an importance on worship and directed my reading to those things that would help me grow in the Spirit.  In doing so, novels revealed truth to me, psychology and cultural criticism, philosophy, comparative mythology, and history opened for me.  Likewise biographies of those who traveled hard roads and experienced God were a great help, as were the words of Carl Jung, M.D., and Thomas Merton and Joseph Campbell, and St. Augustine, Thomas Keating and others, and, of course, Scripture.

What is my point?  Our culture would have us confine our self to the head, but the brain is a secondary organ and does not lead us exclusively to the greatest and most significant understandings.  The heart and soul are the key to a good and satisfying life.

It is the Spirit upon which we ultimately rely and the Spirit enlivens the heart and soul.

Attend to the Spirit, for we are of God – and God is pure Spirit.

Shalom.

Democrats – Another Democrat public official (the Attorney General of New York) resigned because of his history of physical abuse of women.  He adds to the list of Democrat money-raisers and politicians who have been exposed as women abusers yet claimed to be champions of women.  It would be nice if this was a surprise – but it is not.

 

If we want to be anything other than what God has made us to be, we are wasting our time.  It will not work.    The greatest accomplishment in life is to be what we are, which is God’s idea of what he wanted us to be when he brought us into being; and no ideas of ours will ever change it.  Accepting that gift is accepting God’s will for us, and in its acceptance lies the path to growth and happiness.

Thomas Keating, in The Heart of the World

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The above is a foundational truth.  It is what leads to a good and satisfying life.

If you have an “education” or a profession, a title, status, a job that yields a high income and you do not understand the above, you are likely to do more harm than good to yourself and others and be perpetually discontented, or problematic, or wrong, or unlikable or all four of these things and worse.

We have a whole lot of people in the public eye who have no clue what a good and happy existence is or how one might live a good and joyful life.

Look at the political world, the celebrity world, the news and media industry, the big names in technology and finance – mostly unpleasant, prideful and over-rated.

Be who we were made to be.  Do what you are made to do.  Be you – God’s humble son or daughter.  Peace, comfort and confidence follow.

Shalom.

 

The monk is a man who lives in seclusion, in solitude, in silence outside the noise and the confusion of a busy worldly existence.

Thomas Merton, in Contemplation in a World of Action

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A monk lives in response to existing culture.  His thinking is both critical and healthy.  He sees that a present culture does not promote his values, virtue or an integrated, well-formed life.

A monk seeks wholeness and a depth of spiritual existence that cultures usually ignore in their all-consuming demands and expectations.  A monk seeks to understand life and people.  He seeks psychological, emotional and social fitness.  His path is to Truth and to God.  Clarity, peace and wisdom come to him.

His days are composed of work and prayer, silence and listening – quiet, reading and worship.  He finds time to contemplate life at large, its meaning, its best use and ways of being.

The ways of a monk are the perfect counterpoint to the disintegration that is today’s secularized America.

Today we are rife with conflict, antagonism turned to hatred in many instances, division, hostility, abandonment of virtue and morality, to the intrusion of state and the destruction of critical institutions, the lost of a nation’s boundaries and heritage, and its common understandings.

Chaos displaces the order of common understanding and mutual respect.

Each day brings evidence of disorder and often brutality – conduct whereby those who might otherwise lead discredit themselves.

We are no longer unified and living as neighbors guided by good.  Too many force their views on others, advance their disorder on others as if our acquisition of their strife and sickness normalizes them – makes true what is false.

At a time like this – in a culture like this … think of those who go “off to the mountain as the fish to the sea.”

Maybe you can learn from the way of monks.  Can you not acquire their ways in forms that create healthy distance between you and what is destructive?

Your health, wholeness, peace and wisdom resides in the ways of the monk.  In your culture today comes disintegration, illness, hostility, confusion, amorality, untruth and self-destruction.  Your life need not be composed of these things.  

Shalom.

A Book of Interest – You might like a short book entitled Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life by Hugh Feiss, a priest in the Order of St. Benedict.  It is a fine resource for those who wish to make healthy adjustments in the face of rank disorder and destruction that is exclusive secular culture today.  Peace be with You. 

 

According Jean-Paul Sartre, man invents himself, he “designs” his own essence … However, I think the meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but detected.  (Emphasis added.)

Viktor E. Frankl, M.D., in Man’s Search for Meaning

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Design or detect?  There you have in the former existentialism and in the latter the long-standing proposition that we journey in life so as to come to know (as life and its experiences unfold) who we have been made to be.

The former is prevalent in modern secular culture where God is dismissed as the author of each human life and the human being is left with the endless and taxing burden of “making himself.”

The tiring project of creating yourself fuels celebrity, image, fabrication, transgenderism, Feminism and assists Marxism, the nihilism of Leftist fascism with its black masks and black wardrobe, etc.

Existentialism is fabrication.  It is inauthentic, fake, phony, make-believe.  It is trends, fashion, stylized hair cuts, plastic surgery, breast augmentation, acquisition of just the latest things.

Life in the present age gives us this choice: spend all your time and energy “creating” yourself or simply being alert to who you are and, as life’s experiences present themselves to you and growth in-depth and understanding as to who you have been made to be and hence – why you are here.

My suggestion: go for the “who” and “why.”  It is a much easier road and far more enjoyable.

You can live in fabrication, or live in fullness.  The former provides anxiety and uncertainty and the latter ease, pleasant resignation and comfort in all encounters.

Your choice.  One leads to intimacy and meaning, the other leads to atomization, pretense and loneliness.

This very situation confronts us every day – in multiple venues – but especially in news and entertainment.  That being the case – I ignore most of what contemporary secular culture offers.  I prefer ease and comfort to abject foolishness, disorientation and sickness.  The best things you do are often the things you do not do.

Shalom.

Good Friday, March 30, 2018

… there is … an unseen order of things …

M. Scott Peck, M.D. in Further Along the Road Less Traveled

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Psychiatrist Scott Peck is making the point that life is more than a material experience.  Rather he is saying: just as we have an unconscious aspect of our existence, we also have a spiritual aspect to our humanness.  I add, for those who doubt this – do we not have an emotional aspect of our human life?  Are these not unseen and part of the order to human existence in its totality?

The point to be made is this: existence is more than material and the full human in the unconscious, the spiritual, the emotional, and social nature of being a human lives within the unseen order that engulfs mortal life.

On Good Friday, is this not evident?  It surely should be.

If Dr. Peck is correct (and I would say he is) – imagine what life would be like if we denied any prospect that life was more than mortal and material.  Would that not be a life whereby each of us who followed that predicate would be far less content than we would otherwise be able to be?  Would not such a state of being bring anxiety, uncertainty – discontent, unhappiness, significant personal burdens and produce a far less sense of ease and comfort than one might (by design) be able to know?  Would not one manifest in their incompleteness – disorder … the absence of peace derived from the knowledge of the existence of an unseen order itself?

The great American psychologist William James wrote in his classic The Varieties of Religious Experience that religion is best understood to be “the attempt to be in harmony with an unseen order of things.”

I would add if such a reconciliation is not essential to human persons – there would be no range of distinctive religious expressions and religions themselves manifest over centuries and in such varied cultures and in the wide range of historic levels of human development.

It follows that to deny life is more than what is seen, more than what is material – is somewhat foolish and at odds with human history.  Indeed, to deny an unseen order bends against the sum of human history.

Good Friday, 2018 – Do you sense that there is an unseen order of things?  There is health and stability in recognizing this very reality.

Shalom.

Listening to Others – Listening to others on television is mostly a lost cause.  Why?  Television is not a medium which pursues the essential questions of the day in any depth, nor is it remotely likely that those who appear to talk about a substantive question know much about the subject matter.  Rather, those who address an issue largely have a bias they convey while it is clear that they have spent little time fully examining the issue they attempt to address.  In most instances you are better off passing on these conversations, lest you be either misinformed or angered.

Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018

Relationship to the Self is at once relationship to our fellow man, and no one can be related to the ladder until he is related to himself.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Collected Works XVI

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Honest self-examination is critical to one’s growth and development, to wisdom, healthy social relations, contentment, autonomy, loving and being loved, confidence, humility and a rich and deep understanding of faith and God.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is constantly having to respond to those who ask who he is, and especially to the Jewish authorities who questioned him in an aggressive way.

Jesus responded always in the same self-revelatory way.  He told all who he was.  There is a stunning lesson to be made in his responses and it is this: know who you are … and as a Christian recognize that you are a child of God.  In this one thing is psychological and spiritual health.  Absent this: sickness, confusion, heartache, unnecessary suffering, division, hostility, depression, addiction and self-destruction.

The choice is presented.

Shalom.

… we must grow up.  We can only go forward through the desert of life, making our way painfully over parched and barren ground into increasingly deeper levels of consciousness.

M. Scott Peck, M.D., in Further Along the Road Less Traveled

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Dr. Peck, an esteemed psychiatrist, makes this point at the beginning of his book on life’s journey and he makes it in reference to the Genesis story of Adam and Eve and their partaking of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

His foundational point (a common notion as to Adam and Eve’s action taken against God’s instruction) is that the action they took marked the beginning of consciousness Adam and Eve (and humans at-large).

In making this point, Dr. Peck is highlighting that once man hastens off on his own actions he is decidedly self-conscious and in a sense separated from the perfect union with His Creator, creation itself and other people.

Hence the above quote makes this sensible observation: man must grow in health and stability and do so on a barren, challenging terrain in search of understanding himself, others, and the Divine.

We might say – once we assert our own autonomy, we then must come to a greater consciousness to know our wholeness as human beings.  In short, to be healthy and full: grow we must.  Without this growth – no peace, no union with others – rather: discontent and loneliness.

I leave you with a challenging question: when you look around do you see those who grow or do you see those who resist growth?  And then there is this question: of those who grow and those who resist growth, who looks the happier?  More content?  Wiser?  

I suggest to you that the ongoing challenge for human beings to grow and this is a challenge honored often in the breach.

To this I add an observation: growth is painful and people avoid pain.  Addictions, ideologies, suicides, adulteries, acts of betrayal and such give us evidence of people avoiding growth.  On this point others have noted that evil is presented by those who intentionally reject growth and are so fervent in doing is that they care not at all who they might be hurt in the process of their errant existence.  I am sure we have all been injured by these people.

Grow.

Shalom.

North Korea, Nukes and Elites – North Korea seeks our President’s attention to talk about denuclearization,  Why?  One reason – the hash embargos against North Korea have put that nation on the verge of having no money, no fuel and no food.  Another reason, President Trump made it clear that North Korea provocations would be met with decisive force.  What is the difference between Trump and his people and the elites some of whom have occupied the White House and positions in foreign affairs?  It is this: balls.

Growing up in privilege is no match for growing up on the wrong side of the tracks.  That is the difference between hand-to-hand combat as a child and the cushy prep school life followed by Yale or Harvard, Princeton, etc.  The former breeds leaders and the latter breeds know-it-alls and “snowflakes.”

It is for God to grant His grace.  Your task is to accept that grace and guard it.  (Emphasis added.)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in Catechetical Orations

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A friend of mine wrote to me this week and asked that I might be available to talk to her.  Her mate had passed away after a long illness.  The passing was about three months ago.  She knew I have experienced a number of such losses of loved one in my lifetime.

In responding that I, of course, would be available for her call.  I thought immediately of grace and its gift to us – a gift that we often overlook and that is so, so powerful in facing life’s losses and its extraordinary hardships.

Knowing the grace that has been bestowed on you (in my experience) is best identified my thinking about the parts of your life to which you have been drawn over time.  Or the recurring events in your life.

Are you one you cares for the injured?  Or the less fortunate?  The lost or abandoned?

Are you one who defends the innocent?  Stands up to the aggressor?  Whose foundation is kindness?  Or courage?  Whose skills are in seeing behind the veil?  Understanding human behavior and explaining it to others?

Are you one who sees the missing parts of others and how conduct and language tells you of another’s fears, limitations, or the constraints that have been imposed on them?

These, to me, tell of the grace that you have been given.

In times of hardships the grace is your strength.  Grace blossoms in difficult times.

I give an illustration.  If you suffer the death of another so deeply that you feel utterly lost and deeply saddened, does it not say that you loved deeply and gave all of your heart and soul to another?  I believe the answer is, “yes.”  That is a grace – to love so deeply.

Think about it.  Loving deeply is a capacity you have been given.  It is natural to you.  It is what you do.  It is you.

That grace exceeds all that has been lost, and anything you might be able to muster-up under your own power.  That grace is given by God and brings you closer to God – in this you are made more whole and come to know that all that befalls a human in this mortal existence only speaks of what is eternal and Eternity itself.

There is nothing that can exceed God’s grace.  There is triumph in all that appears as defeat – when one believes.

Shalom.

State of the Union and the Democrats.  It is revealing to watch the Democrats at the State of the Union.  They are not happy unless they are unhappy.  Members of the Black Caucus sat on their hands when President Trump noted that Black unemployment is the lowest it has been since the records were firsts established.  One thinks that the Black Members of Congress are more comfortable when their constituents are less well-off.  One supposes then the Black Members of Congress will have little to do but continue to complain and ferment racial divide.

The Democrats are in-large no different.  They specialize in exploiting division so they too showed no indication that they intend to cooperate in a bipartisan way with anything the President proposed.

They seem to have worked themselves into a Leftist cul-de-sac of racial, gender, ethnic and ideological division that has frozen them in their division and bias.

Nations are weakened in this manner – and our adversaries know it.  We had best snap out of this and doing so means rejecting the Leftist Party of Discontent and Division.

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