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“Evil is not being; it is a hole in being, a lack.”

Yves M. Congar, in God, Man and the Universe.

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A human being is made good.  One’s evil is a hole in one’s being, something or things missing.  Illustratively, the inability to deal with deprivation, loss, injustice, one’s life circumstances, the absence of those of strength and courage who choose the right road no matter the struggles and the up-hill climb that life has required.

Evil is apt, it follows, to appear in those who walk away from God … or deem themselves God, smarter and better than others, “justified.”

Likewise evil can flourish when one’s believes that others have conspired to disadvantage them and assume this injustice warrants retribution, anger, hostility, getting-even.

Good is the one who does not elect evil with a false “justification,” or any rationale.

Is there any doubt that evil coverts us from being to non-being?

Those who are good cannot be baited, nor can they convince themselves that they are justified in evil actions by the evil deeds of others.

That said, is it not the case that a good culture does not warranty divisions among us that are based on the hypothesis that this group or that has done us evil?

Think about evil and good in the context of today’s news and our politics – and all the hostility and division created by “identity politics” and the “special pleadings” of those who reject and divide.

Shalom.

“No sooner are the lips still than the soul awakes, and sets forth on its labors.”

Maurice Maeterlinck, in The Treasure of the Humble

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Ever think of the value of silence?  Most do not.  Most get swept up in the chatter.

Look around.  Ear “plugs.”  Get my drift?  People “on empty” – without a clue – need noise.  Noise, in many ways, takes the place for a sort of ignorant bewilderment that this culture brings with its endless chatter – most of which is useless nonsense – and traps many in the clamor of the moment or of the day.

Silence is many things.  It is the gateway to peace.  The road to introspection and thought.  The precondition to independence, the interior journey, contact with the eternal, a way to rise above without departing our earthly time and assignment. It fosters independence.  In this independence – it is liberating and maturing.

Think about it.  What is to be said for those who must be heard?  The politicians?  The celebrities?  The daily news criers?  The TV talking heads? The protestors?  The advocates?  The Left?  The special pleaders for this or that fetish – including the climate fanatics?  One thing for sure. They might warrant our attention if they learned how first be quiet.

Yes, have you noticed how a young child babbles cute but nonsensical sounds. Well, we have adults who do this babbling endlessly and they are, without the ability to be silent, lacing the air with a similar nonsense as the small child. The only difference between the two?  The child has not gone to Harvard or some such place and been smitten by some Left wing “cause” which they pursue to the complete annoyance of all who are with ear-shot of their voice.

In a chattering culture, nonsense is best ignored by turning to silence where the heart can listen and the soul can rise – and wisdom can be found.

SILENCE PLEASE!

Shalom.

Postscript – I have a hard time thinking that Billionaire Little Michael Bloomberg will not be the Democrat nominee for President.  Why?  Well Democrats love two things: money and power … and they fear that Bernie the Bolshevik is too committed to the Communist side of the ledger and that should he get the nomination and lose and lose big, they will be a political party that will be shrunk to a dwarf size entity … a dimension that deprives the Dems of both power and money.

Ladies and Gentlemen – facing serious work is NOT what Democrat politicians want to do – that is precisely why they like being elected to the Congress, the state houses, to Governor or President … yep, for them it beats working … and you get stinking rich in the process.  I bet they side with former Republican/former Independent Little Mikey B-berg.

“Truth is the beginning of every good thing … he who would be blessed and happy should be the first a partaker of truth …”

Plato, in Laws

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Plato some 360 years before Christ.  360 years!  How long does it take for man and woman to learn?  Apparently more than 2360 years!

How many among us simply let life, and life examined, teach what truth is? How many are familiar with the the human journey and its lessons about truth and what is good and what a good life is?

Apparently, few in Leftist politics, few among the self-satisfied, well-fed “elites” whose short cut to title runs through privilege, venerable universities, access to capital and the accumulation of more.

Notice I do NOT suggest that the route of elites runs through suffering, or sacrifice, or hardships, or a life of courage and combat and one of principles and moral conduct.

If you want to know truth and reap its contentment and wisdom – live what you have been given, be humble, err on the side of quiet and contemplation and embrace faith and ageless mystical reality.

Look at those who wish to hold the spotlight.  They are self-proclaimers – full of nonsense and themselves.  Do you think Marxists have the answer? Political hacks do?  Those who maintain a confused life of quarter-truths or outright untruths?  No truth runs through small men who think money translates into leadership and wisdom.  Or through those tired officer holders who have done nothing but become rich through the magic of public office?

People, truth is found with life – with living it, mucking through the problems and the injustices and not losing your soul and thereby fortifying belief and your faith.

You want leaders?  Look for the humble person who seeks no fanfare.  Look for the scrapper – one who has faced artificial barriers, obstacles, setbacks and quietly prevailed.  Those who show a legitimate interest in others who have an intimate and very private relationship with the Divine.

The journey to truth is through life – as it presents – barriers, rejections and all.

Are you a partaker of truth?

Shalom.

“ (he) … has an overachiever’s eye for examining the human condition and drawing forth its deepest truths … he understands love – or at the very least, people who experience it.”

Julia Scott, in “The Panic Button” Notre Dame Magazine (Autumn 2019)

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An overachiever’s eye.  Examining the human condition. Drawing forth its deepest truths.  Understanding love.  Understanding those who experience love.

Ms. Scott is writing about successful author and Notre Dame graduate Nicholas Sparks, but is she not writing about the task and opportunity that befalls each of us?

Are we not called into being to know love and its experience?  To know, in the course of a life lived fully, the deepest truths?

Is that not the essence of our birth and life?  Our suffering?  Our challenges?  Our innate humor?  Our particular setbacks?  The creation of man and woman?  Christ in particular?  A heart beat?  Breath itself?

Is it not the case that we share the experience of being human in a point in time and the circumstances we share or are particular to us?  An illness?  A loss?  Mistakes?  The hand of fate, such as it appears with obvious gifts or those buried in what seem like the worst of circumstances?  Or grace, itself – that inexplicable grant of good fortune, of sight and feel, inclination, beckoning us hither or yon?

In this I share a prominent element of my journey.  I understand life and people less because of an “overachiever’s eye” but rather because calamity began at birth and was hard to ignore so fundamentally life-altering was it.

Yes, life presented calamity … surmounted by the mysterious gift of grace – that which lays plain trouble and opportunity and calls you deeper into life itself.

As for me?  It is fair to say I have spent all of my life looking at calamity and the fickle way humor invades as a counter-balancing weight.

In a life of continual challenges and losses, and poverty, and amid extraordinary friendships and some marvelous family members – I saw life as it was: tough, gritty, dangerous, hard, utterly humorous, yet not for the faint of heart or those seeking easy street or the triumph of perfection.  In this life of crashes and laughter, I saw faith’s role.  I saw, too, that life was combat both internal and external.

Yes, combat that was, if addressed, destined to bring one closer to God and reveal in us the core of our identity and longing – spiritual insight, understanding and the sacred identity that gives you no reason to worry, or fear, or fret – no room for doubt and the capacity and will to live by chance fortified by a faith and its Invincible Author.

In a life fully lived one cannot assume a command posture for life happens to us – we do not happen to life.  Taking the proper posture in this manner gives you the eye and heart for life’s deepest truths … The rest is all cake.

No matter the turbulent seas, one sails unperturbed.  Does not Christ awake to chastise the disciples who are in the grip of fear when the seas and winds they encounter assault their meager craft?

Have no fear or apprehension.  Accept what comes.  Work with it. Let it teach and grow you.  That has been “the plan” all along.

Shalom.

Postscript – Seems like 1100 plus people at the U.S. Department of Justice have indicated that they desire the resignation of the Attorney General.  1100.  That sounds about the right number of people to begin to reduce the size of the Department.

“… doctrines and precepts … The meaning is God himself, the ultimate Reality, not an idea conceived but as a reality experienced.”  (Emphasis added.)

Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion

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Listening to the news of the day or watching the endless acts of the confused and craven, the self-proclaiming and self-important – one cannot but conclude: these people have no personal experience of God and are, as a consequence, the people one should be least likely to listen to about anything.

Makes me wonder why we listen to people so readily as we do – those with newspaper columns, TV shows, celebrity status, a Ph.D., are in public or political life, merely present as a lawyer or a judge, etc.

Think about this: to whom do you really listen?  Are they wise?  Do they offer you insights that seem true and seem to make sense to you that you have not seen, imaged or thought about?  Do these people reflect any spiritual sense?  Are they reserved, calm and quiet in voice and nature? Are they sincere?  Humble? Relaxed and understated, ironic, reassuring, humorous, light-hearted and wise? In essence, do they seem to have contemplated God?  Come to believe that there is a God and they are not God?  Or are they the “talking heads” in media and academia and politics or billionaire technology gurus who merely spout off and offer a vast variety of ideas designed in godlike fashion to make your life heavenly, pain free, wonderful and without inconvenience?

Your best bet in life is to experience God and listen to those who convince you that they, too, may have experienced God.

In today’s culture, we are far from having such people present themselves to us in an authentic way that suggests to us: this person IS worth listening to …

Shalom.

Tax season makes for a late blog this day.

”Communism … is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and, if once adopted, would utterly destroy the rights, property, and possessions of all men, and even society itself.”  (Emphasis added.)

Pope Pius IX, in Qui Pluribus (1846)

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This is the challenge we face in this nation at this time.  Liberalism, having prepared the road, has been displaced by communism.  Yes, Democrats have moved the Hard Left to communism.

Those who advocate it know little of its history and deny the punishing costs it imposes on those, like Cambodia and Venezuela and Russia and North Korea, that adopt it.

To yield to the communism of the present Democrat Party is to destroy our freedom, dismantle the free market economy that has allowed so many of modest means to prosper and secure wealth and well being for their sons and daughters and their sons and daughters for many generations.

To yield to communism is to erase the wisdom of our founders, dismiss religion altogether, and give rise to a small cabal of the most privileged who will rule in a totalitarian manner all others who reside here.

Few who support the communism of today’s Democrats know anything about communism as it can be known by what it has done to so many.  Who among its supports can tell you that Lenin was a recluse and knew nothing about economics and hence defaulted to the economic activities of Germany … or that he had no close confidants – and worked a total of one week as a lawyer before quitting work altogether?  Or that he ran a police state and saw to it that his rivals in any form found themselves in prison or extinguished?

Who among its present American advocates knows what Stalin did to the Ukraine and the starvation that followed?  Who can describe the banishment of religion in the Soviet Union and the long grinding poverty that it imposed on its people?

We face a very serious decision and there are many among us that do not know our history and this nation’s value … nor the drastic end to which a society can quickly come when communism is given the reigns of power.

We live in a most serious time.

Shalom.

“To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.”

Teresa of Avila

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How right is this 16th century nun.  How often we ignore the truth of what she says.

I grew up on the “wrong side of the tracks” with people who never let their geography define then – but boy-oh-boy did they let that geography bolster them!

What do I mean?  We held ourselves to a higher standard.  Meaning?  We dismissed what others said except to prove them dead wrong.  We were competitive, never feared a battle.  Rejected those who thought less of us and set about to prove then wrong.  We believed in who we were and defied others to prove otherwise.

The athletic arena was our combat zone and we succeeded often. Organized crime was also our venue – and we were to be reckoned with in that enterprise.  Fighting was common place and while you never had to win a fight – you always had to show up on time.  Courage was the implicit atmosphere of every breath we took.

We saw the world for what it was.  We saw the emptiness of many in authority – and we relegated them to the position they earned – one of contempt.

Courage in the real world requires open eyes and no pre-conditioned bias. No ideology can tell you who is true and who is not.  Attention: Bernie the Bagel – there are no short cuts – the corruption of the affluent you condemn is present in your wife and her bank loan antics.  There is no charm in excusing yourself.

The pure are few and none so good need condemn so ardently those who are not.  Actions speak louder than words of condemnation … and courage is a well-lived life of humility and undaunted, quiet courage, no hiding, no pretending, no turning back.

Travel on, Dear Friend.  Obstacles are opportunities.

Shalom.

“Holiness is the best of all good. Happy is the man who is holy …”

Vendidad, Zend-Aresta

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When you look about today, when you listen to others, to public discourse – do you encounter holiness?  I suspect not often.

Think about that.  The words above were recorded 700 years before Christ. Yet, we seem to honor them and their meaning in the absence.

If you wonder why we have the problems we do, think about the words above and ask of yourself first and foremost: Do I seek holiness?  Or do I neglect it?

Yes, in our present state of being it is essential that each one of us seek to be holy for without that we cannot be good.

Shalom.

Postscript – In drawing close to God silence diminishes all chatter and makes vanish all worries.  In holiness there is peace – a peace that emanates from deep within and radiates out – without so much as a word spoken.  Who needs medication when holiness is waiting for us?

“What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but will be heard in posterity.”

Jean Paul Richter, in Levna

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Father.  The word is housed in a child’s heart.  It shapes.  And that child, so it is said, shares in his being and his father’s words with others – from childhood to age … enter posterity.  One life leading to another and to others – young and old alike.

But what happens if you have no father?  Now that is an interesting question.

I offer you one response to that question.

I had no father.  My father deserted the family when I was an infant.

A recent story I read opened up this issue for me.  It made me realize that without a father, in rough circumstances – from a very early age: I was my own father!

Yes, I had a terrific mother who, herself, helped her mother raise four younger siblings – all brothers … She understood men and I was the benefactor of that knowledge.  She saw her role as making it certain that she shepherded me to adulthood as a man able to handle what life inevitably presents to each of us.

That said, I realize I was given freedom to me a man from a very early age.

I was tutored to accept the world and its challenges as they presented themselves to me.   I was allowed to face life no matter the hurdle or slights or injustices – to apply myself to the world and succeed – to move confidently, to answer my heart’s call and employ my given talents.  I was allowed to grow, given the confidence that I could know what a man was and how a man lived. In this I had access to my soul and the God who gave me existence, a particular life course and the capacity to engage the journey, stand tall and often alone in a strength that fit the circumstances and the events.

Fatherless, I was allowed to become a man.  In this I had a sharp ear and eye – I learned from the hardships, obstacles, poverty and tough surroundings.  I had free range to experience the challenges and push ahead, explore, come to realize life (as a result) at a depth that others missed – know what a lived life looked like. In this, joy abounded, friends came easy – living as I did produced wisdom and allowed me to withstand great losses.

Fatherless and free – I learned things no book can teach.  I became an agent of my own identity.  I could easily say “no” to authority and chart new ways of solving the next problem.  I was insightful when others my age and older were not.  I understood people and human development. I saw the corruption and dishonesty and I knew my life was one of combat and friends who were soon enough and to this day: my brothers – my family.

Fatherless, I knew up from down.  I had confidence.  While social and at ease with people, I never needed to be a joiner, a conformist.  I developed lots of friends and enjoyed many experiences – from religious life, to the military, from poverty to modest affluence, from dock work to lawyering – trial and appellate work, life as a foreign policy staffer in the U.S. Congress – a degree in theology latter in life.

Fatherless, I became a husband and a father.  I buried a young bride who died of cancer at 29.  I moved through and from so many things – suffering included.  You see without a father you learn strength, independence, friendship, loyalty, honesty, candor, compassion and how to help others and how to move forward.  In time, you find you have learned much … wisdom and self-knowledge emerges, faith grows … you see God in the world when others cannot and hence default to things of this world – money, material existence, power, status, title, the gimmick that is the untruth of ideology, or sexuality, or intoxication, or addictions.

Inspite being fatherless – I flourished and learned to love – love deeply.  In this I realize – I was blessed, I had skills, a strong disposition, a wise and wonderful Mother … and through the grace of God – I was destined to be the father to my son and grandpa to grandchildren precisely as Richter identifies in the above quote.  Yes, In this life I realize – I was my own father.

I trusted this journey was governed by the grace of God … and in my implicit trust of The Heavenly Father who is there for one and all.

Shalom.

No Post Yesterday – Been Busy Helping a Few Neighbors

”The Laws are written in the hearts of men which ingenuity itself effaces not.”

St. Augustine, in Confessions

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You want to know why American culture appears to have changed radically, for the worse?  Wonder why you are estranged from the Democrat Party of your father and mother, grandfather and grandmother?  Wonder why you don’t bother with contemporary “entertainment?”  Wonder why it is that you pay no attention to the New York Times, television news … why you have no interest in Hollywood celebrities?  Wonder why relationships between men and women are tedious at best and exhausting and obtuse at worse?  Wonder why you have NO esteem for once cherished, elite colleges and universities and their vaunted professors?

Natural Law.

Yep, that is the answer.

In the last five to six decades we have used “reason” to justify all sorts of departures from nature, from natural law.  Talk about arrogance!  Talk about idiocy!  We have acted like we are God.  This, of course, is the task of imbeciles – badly mistaken, lost souls who have succeeded in planting seeds of foolishness that are and have been destined to be fundamentally destructive of our peace, tranquility, intelligence, community, fellowship, harmony, mutual respect, traditional institutions, widely accepted mores, relationships between men and women, mental health, national identity and pride, family structure, spiritual development, psychological well being, wisdom, love and faith itself.

St. Augustine knew things we have known but discarded.  Indeed, we see before our very eyes those who challenge us to sustain their course of self-destruction, hostility and unhappiness.

Time to return to what we once knew.  In this, you cannot rely on our educational establishment, the political Left, and can only very selectively on public figures.

Shalom.

Postscript – China.  Not our friend. Think about this: the 34 year old Chinese medical doctor who identified the virus we face today and spoke about it was arrested (so that he might to silenced).The Chinese have corralled those who may be infected and placed them in detention centers – not for treatment … and probably to fend for themselves, perhaps to expire. The Chinese are posed to be our adversaries.  We had best know this and act accordingly.

As for the young medical doctor?  He died and left a wife with one child and another one yet to be born of his pregnant wife.

Totalitarian states flourish were natural law and nature are forgotten, neglected or silenced.

 

 

 

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