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  Happy St. Patrick’s Day

[2:09 a.m., Sunday, March 17, 2019]

Today’s Blog is dedicated to my Irish brothers – Buddy Mahar, Jerry Shannon, John Downey, Mike O’Brien, Marty Donovan, Mike Ryan, Fr. Jim Beattie, John Connelly, Georgie Shannon, John Flynn, Johnny Corbert, Danny Crowley, Fr. Mark Hughes, Br. Tom Shaughnessy, the Roddy Brothers, Tommie Mahoney,  John Boyle, Br. Malachy Borderick, Henry Murray, Jackie Alywood … 

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It was … reliance on home and family … dependence on faith and friendship, that gave Irish Catholics the unyielding determination to support lost causes and leaders long after all hope had been lost, all efforts failed, and all others had abandoned the struggle.

Thomas H. O’Connor, in The Boston Irish

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My lineage is from Scotland.  I grew up with the Boston Irish – and am as thankful for that good fortune as I am for any number of blessings I have enjoyed amid the tumult along the way.

In approaching my recent birthday in the month of December, I seemed to be involuntarily fixed on a simple thought: Why had I found it so easy to be combative – standing with those who were in difficult straits and not apt to be heard by the powers that be … why did I so easily fight for strangers who needed my support and counsel?

I wondered: was this something God desired or was I out of step with His intentions for me?  Had I followed Him or let myself and this combative nature lead me out of some inclination that I might better have left unattended?

As fate of the Divine would have it, I was (by chance) reading Tom O’Connor’s book on the Irish Boston and the author helped me realize that (as he reports) the Boston Irish were among the most steadfast of all the Irish who immigrated around the world.  Bingo!

If God had wanted me to be less than combative and independent, a risk-taker in public matters and the law – He would not have placed me among my peers, my beloved, loyal, funny, independent, faith-filled, tough, witty Irish pals nor would He have led me to Irish pals throughout my life.  Consequently, I now rest contented … I am, in my advocacy and general nature, who God intended me to be.  I am one of them.

As many childhood friends tell be “Bobby, you never changed.”  God and my Irish friends anchored me in who I was … such is grace so made present.

… the Irish did not break.  Against all odds, in the face of irrefutable logic, contrary to the rules of law and the dictates of society, the Irish would refuse to accept any measure or policy that felt conflicted with their faith, their values, or their ideals. (Emphasis added.)

I gratefully share my life and Catholic faith with these dear brothers and so many who like them manifest the courage and love that the pursuit of good so requires.

God bless the Irish!

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

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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.

When the adults of a great nation feel long-term pessimism, it only makes matters worse when those in authority take actions that reveal detachment from those concerns … it makes citizens feel powerless.

Peggy Noonan, in The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2010

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I have encountered a good number of people who ask me about Mr. Trump’s popularity, our political state today and the upcoming election for President. Those who ask seek an understanding as to where we are as a country, what this all means to us and to their hopes, their children and the future.

Granted there is no easy answer and the origins of our problems are multiple and spread most immediately and directly over the last six decades here and in the Europe.  Yes, we have succumbed to thinking, and policies that flow therefrom, that undoes what made us successful and secure.

That said, the central point of Ms. Noonan’s words is vital to understanding our political state today and it is this: there is a large and sizable divide between the average worker of modest means and the average person of faith and our elected officials, government, media and educational and entertainment elites.

These groups quite obviously do not act as through they even notice this serious and explosive divide.  On the contrary those with Leftist tilts actually exploit the divide.

It is this divide that explains Donald Trump’s (limited) popularity and the presence of the Tea Party movement.

Keep in mind that a nation so divided does not stand strong and secure. Likewise we have in this election cycle an opportunity to call forth a leader who sees this problem and is aimed and skillful enough to close (not expand or exacerbate) this divide.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Abraham Lincoln

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Shalom.

Tomorrow: Candidates and the Divide

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