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Missed posting yesterday.  Stood with a friend in a long anticipated hearing on a complicated and contested legal matter.  Matter “concluded” at long last.

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The theological virtues are above the nature of man, whereas intellectual and moral virtues belong to the nature of man … Therefore the theological virtues should be distinguished … The intellectual and moral virtues perfect the human intellect and appetite in proportion to human nature, but the theological virtues do so supernaturally.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in Theologiae

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If this be so, how can you neglect faith?  If your perfection requires your spiritual development, who would be foolish enough to listen to the endless number of people like Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, A.O.C., et al when they speak about anything whatsoever.

Yes, in the present time, there are not many people in politics, news, the celebrity class, academia, the “professions” or what have you who warrant our time or attention.

Let’s face it, we are NOT discreet listeners.  Indeed, we should be.

I often hear others say (in response to some injustice) “how can X or Y let this (the injustice) happen?”  It is, in all honesty, a childish reaction to the world around them and injustice in particular.  It is a question asked by one who does not know what Aquinas and others have talked about for ages … the primacy of faith and perceptions derived from faith are central to all inquiries and understanding of the world we inhabit and those people and events in it.

Mathematicians know this, scientists too.  Those few among us who still muster belief itself and match belief with their intellect and life experience know this as well.  They, as a consequence, do not need to ask of injustices done to innocents and others.

Indeed, the proof of the fundamental role of faith in one’s existence is this: even atheists ask the fundamental question like: “Why this injustice?”

Their question confirms the place of, and need for, faith.  Their question is a faith question.  Their question reflects the insight of Aquinas and many others we ignore and in this make fools of ourselves and anyone of the many who daily listen to the nonsensical “public figures” who do not possess the modest intellect or common sense sufficient to wonder much at all about what they see and what they say.

Alas, following Aquinas and other giants of intellectual, moral and spiritual maturity allows us to be who we are designed to be.

Smarten up, people.  What is eternal is above all that is not.  We consume what is not eternal and this is the central fault you see.

I know except that things perishing and transitory should be spurned and things certain and eternal should be sought.  (Emphasis added.)

St. Augustine, in Soliquia

Just can’t make this any plainer to you, Friends.

Shalom.

Postscript – The contested hearing yesterday was frankly pathetic.  The judge and lawyers were childish in their narrow range of thought and lack of depth of examination or understanding as to the events before them.  It was much like watching people playing “judge” and “lawyer.”  It would have been silly if not so pathetic.  We are sadly ill-bred and in this lies decline and injury to all.  First faith – insight and wisdom follows.

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

Mark 14: 32, 33, 34

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“Keep watch.”

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

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

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

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

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

Shalom.

1:05 a.m. – an early morning post … writing is like that … especially when you wonder about God and your relationship with Him … Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

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Holiness consist in simply doing God’s will, and being just what God wants you to be.

St. Therese de Lisieux

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The world today is a very troubling place.  I often feel overwhelmed by the division and hatred on display here.  For me, it is hard to comprehend why others choose to be so selfish, so lacking in patience and humility – so prone to anger and assertion, antagonism, hostility and discontent.

Yes, I ask myself: what is it to be holy in the world that surrounds me?  In the chaos, I ask – what can I do to live a holy life day in and day out?  How can I sustain a witness for Christ?  Find daily contentment?  Be in regular relationship with God?

How can I be holy amid the chaos and evil I see, I hear each day?

I believe St. Therese has supplied the answer.  We maintain holiness in the world we find today my doing God’s will … by being who God made us to be.

The irony follows.  It is NOT our job to change the slant of the axis of the world in order to be holy.  No, it is something far simpler that is requires of us, something more fundamental – more intimate, more personal and it is this: do God’s will and be who God made you to be.  It is this which provides the access to holiness in a chaotic and godless hour we now occupy.

Do His will and be who he made you to be.  This is the path to holiness today and always.

Shalom.

Writing at 3:11 a.m. – writing in silence and at night.  It is just like being … yes, it is being – just being … This is what is intended for us.

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Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind …

Anonymous

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Be. Just be.

Seems so simple, but so rare.

Imagine being cheated out of being, out of being you – God makes one-of-a-kind in each of us.  No carbon copies.  Why do we miss something so obvious?  Such a simple truth … so easily lost.

In the dark and silent night I am.  It reminds me of my time in monastic living … of the silence … of the holy nature of that silence which said without words – “you are, just be.”

In that, I saw better – angles appeared, as did shadows, and light, shades of colors, open spaces, contours, nature’s contrasts.  I heard better, too.  I heard the sacred silence and the chirping of small birds, the wind and the vast emptiness of silence which is its own music.

In silence you are.  You feel you.  Know the quiet action within you – the movement of your heart and the sacred touch of your fingers, your hand.

If I were to give you one solid thing I have come to know at 73 it would be this: “you are, just be.”  In this you would be you and life would quiet down.

In the end and fullness of time you are meant to be, to be who you are in that simple act of being.  Then, it will come to you: you are as a monk is – you are … yes, you are.  And He is near always and endlessly.  This is the simple Truth of life: you are and He is.

3:32 a.m., Sunday Morning, 3 March 2019.  The wind does not whisper its name tonight and it is dark and still.  I am.  He is.  You are.

Shalom.

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

Nicholas Berdyaev, in Dreams and Reality

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Who among us thinks counter-intuitively?   You?

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

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

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

Shalom.

 

 

… man stands constantly between good and evil … and must therefore find the right path between them.

Pope John Paul II, in The Way to Christ

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Finding the right path.  Yes.  But how is that done?

First, remember that Christ lived in the midst of good and evil.  So house Christ in your interior – accommodate Christ within you.  Remember that the Gospels are “the divine revelation referring to human things” – to being human in a world of good and evil and doing so in a manner that retains the best of our nature and healthy and honorable desires.  Hence, be familiar with the Gospels stories and the lesson they contain, the strength they impart to us.

Secondly, heed your conscience.  Act on it.  Let it be your aid and guide.  Let it occupy a “vigorous and resolute” place in your daily life.  When you sense that something is wrong pay attention to that.  A conscience holds in check our urge to do what is not good, or to remain silent when what is not good is proposed or acted out about us.

Christ, the Gospels and our Conscience are to be relied on if the right path is to be realized.  I add as a personal matter – taking care to keep one’s distance from the teeming hoards also is an advantageous tactic.  It is funny but in isolation and quiet – good seems so much clearer and God’s presence so much closer.

Shalom.

Today we celebrate The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle

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A person cannot be beyond good and evil … Only God is beyond, or rather, above good and evil, whereas each person finds himself constantly between good and evil.

St. John Paul II, in The Way to Christ

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These are words spoken by Pope John Paul II in a retreat he held for young people before the Second Vatican Council and when he was the auxiliary Bishop of Cracow.

Who today among our public figures places us suspended in mortal existence between good and evil?  Who among those public figures from politics to entertainment, from academia to think tank ever even refers to this fundamental reality?

Answer?  Virtually no one.

What a vital lost that is.  The history of man lost to the minds and hearts and speech of those who pretend to lead today.

Think about this.  Do you not see the evidence of the cost of this loss in so many events and circumstances from addictions to abortion, from violence to betrayal?

Heed the words of St. John Paul IL to his young audience then – “A realistic view of humanity … lies precisely in the fact that man stands constantly between good and evil and must therefore try to find the right path between them.”

We are in this nation and in the West in desperate need to return to reality – a reality that is the human story told since the beginning of time.

Shalom.

 

Post for January 25 will be published later this afternoon.

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… breeding revolutions is a very old form of warfare …

once verbal hatred has screwed up to … pitch, blood was bound to flow …

Paul Johnson, in Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties

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The talk about socialism as an alternative to the government and economy we have has called me back to historian Paul Johnson’s Modern Times – and particularly to Lenin and the Russian Revolution.  Why?

Well those who talk of socialism and advocate it impress me as knowing nothing about Lenin or socialism.  Indeed, they seem incurious as to history and history’s record as to socialist revolutions.  To make matters worse those who cover the news seem equally uninformed and, as a consequence, entertain conversation about socialism as if all is hunky-dory vis-a-vis socialism.  

In this context I reviewed Johnson’s excellent account of Lenin and the disaster that his socialist economics were to Russia and its people.

I offer, as a result, some simple Johnson’s descriptions of Lenin with the thought that you might get a glimpse of what awaits in the form of those who proclaim socialism’s benefit here in a free representative democracy with a prosperous capitalist economy.

By looking at Lenin perhaps you can imagine what disaster awaits life under socialism here.

Johnson identified Lenin thus:

  • obsessed with politics
  • a-social, loner, without friends, lacking in humanity, reclusive
  • possessing a hatred of religion, thought people’s hunger/suffering as serving “a progressive function”
  • intolerant and self-righteous
  • a political organizer and totalitarian
  • knew nothing about economics, industry, commerce, farming, banking or finance – never visited a farm or factory
  • never held a job – tired of practicing law after a few weeks and quit working
  • had no relationship with the common man
  • no interest in how wealth was created
  • treated those who disagreed with him savagely
  • thought his ideas, understanding, knowledge superior to all others
  • attacked the morals of his opponents
  • governed as a despot
  • an activist who favored violent solutions
  • one opposed to parliaments – preferred a small cadre of revolutionary elites
  • hated the capitalists class and sought to destroyed them
  • gained power by force – like most depots not by a popular revolution but a putsch (coup)
  • controlled the press and used it for political purposes
  • closed religious schools and seized banks, factories, Church property
  • used political thugs to intimidate.

Beware of those who preach socialism.  It has its own history and it is neither pleasant nor peaceful and not democratic.

When you hear its advocates, compare what they say with what they have done (if anything) and if you notice they have little real world or working experience and share (or know) little about socialism and its history – watch out.  The point?  If they say nothing of the history of socialism and have little knowledge or work in private industry – stop listening lest you find yourself heading down the road Venezuela is now painfully on.

Shalom.

 

 

Post for Today, January 15th, 2019 is Delayed … Snow removal and stacking fire wood – walking on ten inches of snow with a glorious sun and blue sky above.

Today’s Post Late Afternoon

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The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.

Carl Jung, M.D.

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Your contentment comes from being who you are.  That is a process of discovery.  A matter of inquiry and honest self-examination … of knowing what a man is or what a woman is, of knowing that you are mortal and wondering what, if anything, comes after mortality …

Those who know who they are and were made to me – need not play-act a personality, nor long to be someone they are not.

Finding out who you truly are is a matter of living what comes your way for you discover yourself when all matter of things (good and bad) are looked at squarely and lived through with confidence and expectation that after all is said and done trials illuminate who we are.

Shalom.

Lately I have been focusing on two things – (1) how a person might renew his or her access to faith in secularized culture and (2) the value of an active faith to both the individual person and a healthy culture.

The post today is offered in the advance of each of these objectives.

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Faith is the soul’s consciousness of its Divine relationship and exalted destiny.

G. S. Meriam, in A Living Faith

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We live in a secularized culture where faith no longer occupies the traditional, influential and informative place it once did.  However what might be your understanding and reaction to this if you were convinced that religious narratives and the messages they bring contain insights, lessons and truths that speak uniquely to our healthy and contented psychological existence?

I tell you a story.  Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud spent considerable time together in 1909 in Worcester, Massachusetts, discussing and analyzing one another’s dreams.  In the course of that time, Jung detailed a dream he had in which he was on the top floor of a most magnificent house full of beautiful paintings and furnishings and that in the dream he went to explore the lower levels of the house – which (to his surprise) was dark and filled with old furnishings – medieval actually.  Exploring further, Jung accessed the basement which was a cave cut out from rocks, with broken pottery and bones scattered about and two very old and disintegrating human skulls on the floor. 

Jung concluded that the house was an image of the psyche (in total) and the top floor represented the conscious personality – and lower floors gave access to the first level of the unconscious (he called it the personal unconscious) and the basement was the collective unconscious that we all have and share as humans.

As to the collective unconscious he discovered the primitive man within himself – that is, the part of our human past that we all house within us and share with one another – knowingly and unknowingly.  The two skulls represented our human ancestry, our common psychic heritage which we carry within our collective unconscious throughout time.  (I refer to these skulls in the context of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden story in Jewish and Christian narrative.)

Jung concluded from this dream that there are fundamental realities that we all share in the common experience of being humans.  Further, he identified these common understandings are archetypes – common ingredients of a whole human and determinant of one’s well-being and a culture’s health and well-being.  These archetypes sit within our collective unconscious and privide a sense or “feel” for what is true and right.

What if Jung is correct?  And what if religious narrative is, and has been, man’s way of making the truths of those archetypes present to us so that we may gain wisdom and stability, and flourish as a consequence?  And what if our discarding of faith and the archetypes within the faith narrative are discarded at the risk of our decline and extinction?

Think for a moment.  Random homicides.  Divisions.  Child sacrifice excused as a legally protected “choice,” same-sex “marriage,” drug addiction and death, fragmented families, fatherless children.  Are these NOT evidence of archetypes missed?  Sickness?  Self-destruction?  Are they (along with Jung’s thoughts) not cause for faith to regain its place in our culture, lest we self-destruct?

Shalom.

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