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The truth is, not Jesus as historically known, but Jesus as spiritually arisen within men …

Albert Schweitzer, in The Quest of the Historical Jesus

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Christ within us – within each of us who process Christ.  Ah, but do you see this in our acts – knowing full well that acts are more than words?

Indeed, one might ask of self and others who profess Christ: Do the words match the deeds?

To say one acts and yet, acts in a manner that does not fit the words of professed belief – does not hold with professing Christ.

Listen carefully for the voice of those whose words are borne out by acts.  Their words flow in earnest.  They are not mere mortals but ones who have suffered and in that have met Christ in His suffering and knows that suffering grows faith.

Ironically, our longing for comforts and wealth in life buffer the sufferings and difficulties that are meant to serve our growth in faith, our closeness to God.

Too often people wrap themselves in comforts or wear the Church as a raincoat; but, in a raincoat can one ever knows the rain.  In life, rain falls so flowers may grow.

Christ is to be felt within.  Let the rain fall – comforts are over-rated.  Words must match deeds.

Christ: spiritually arisen with each of us who profess the Messiah.

Shalom.

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The origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality.

Cicero, The Laws

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Corruption of a very serious nature in the F.B.I and the Justice Department, apparently intended to discredit a Presidential candidate, seems to have involved individuals in the intelligence community, perhaps the White House, the press, news media and academia, and members of the Washington political consulting and legal community.

Yet, there seems no vigorous effort to root out those who may have acted unlawfully.

The unfathomable failure to hold Hillary Clinton and others accountable for breaches of national security or investigate the questionable conduct of the Mr. and Mrs. Clinton as to their Foundation and extraordinarily lucrative payments for presentations made to those who could potentially have business before one or another of Washington’s governmental agencies or Departments is astonishing – really, really troublesome.

It appears there is no interest in kicking over those rocks no matter the suspicion that is quite reasonably present.

Sexual predators in the Catholic clergy and cover-up in the Church’s hierarchy and virtually no one pays a price – least of all the Bishops and Cardinals in the “chain of command” within the Church.

One concludes from the absence of justice that all involved are far, far from divine law, morality and God.

Time to knock some people of their pedestals, it seems.  Absent that, we let the corrupt corrupt usNo, thanks!  Why would anyone stand for that?

Those in power have failed us.  Show them the door.

Holiness toward God and justice toward men usually go together.

Philo, in Abraham

Shalom.

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

Lao-tzu

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The older I get, the more I settle into quiet and keep things as simple as possible.

I have no taste for crowds, fast roadways, complicated gadgets, air travel and such.  My diet is simple and ample.  Time with friends and family matter so very much.

The quiet seems right.  It leads to peace and prayer and conversation with God – a rendering of spontaneous gratitude for all I have been given, for the love I have received and the experiences large and small – the memories of people, places and events.

Now I see how grandchildren carry hope for tomorrow and bring that hope to me.  I see in them hope alive in their days, and their joys and pleasures, and a love so readily shared – so openly proclaimed by these little people.  Wonderful, so wonderful.  For me, they are proof of God’s existence and signposts for who we are meant to be, and how we are meant to live.

In the quiet and the solitude I am acutely aware of the confusion and pain that others create out of pride and their own disordered thinking.  Full of energy and themselves they make matters worse by insisting on changing things “for the better.”  They are not quiet people.  They seem to prefer the crowded clown car of the circus – yet, they always fight one another to be the driver.

In quiet I know both joy and sadness, I hear my breath and feel strongly the experiences that gave me depth and comfort, improved my vision, produced understanding – led me to faith and to God.

Now the voices of those I love are symphonies for me.  The memories of those I loved who have died are my favorite movies.  The memories of yesterdays my treasured photos.

Now I do not need much and in my days little tasks bring appreciation and satisfaction – sweeping the floor, folding the laundry, keeping the grounds clean … I notice the pleasure of such things – the cool afternoon breeze off the mountains and the changing landscape as the sun moves west and fades slowly into tomorrow.

Proper quiet gives the fullness of being.

Shalom.

… a cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise … the fundamental questions which pervade human life: Who am I?  Where have I come from and where am I going?  Why is there evil?  What is there after this life?

Saint John Paul II, in On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason

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We are more alike than we are different, yet we let charlatans galore promote things like “identity politics” which divides us from one another and from God.  Shameful, isn’t it.

Yes, Saint John Paul II has identified the four essential questions that lead to one’s full human development – our stability, maturity, wisdom, compassion and the ability to care for self and others.

Yes, these questions help us know who we are and, in that, present the Divine to us, open us to our spiritual identity.  In these questions we become what we are designed to be: both human beings and spiritual beings. 

As Saint John Paul II reminds us these are the questions addressed in sacred writings through the ages – in the sacred texts of Israel, in the Veda and the Avesta, in the work of Confucius and Lao-Tze, “in the preaching of Tirthankara and Buddha” … “in the poetry of Homer and the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles” and the works of Plato and Aristotle.

These questions lead us to meaning and truth.

Make no mistake those who demand your attention, who seek to govern, lead, entertain, amuse, teach, preach, propose public policy and especially advocate fundamental public change ought to be given no quarter unless they display they are fully grown and schooled in the wisdom that is derived from these vital questions.

For too long we have granted empty-headed children posing as adults the privilege of being heard.  Our culture’s decline is evidence of doing so.  No more!

Be discreet.  Expect those who would lead to have grown spiritually, to be humble and wise – facile and clear with words that convey something of their person, their heart and their soul – and be possessed of good humor, sensible insight and frankness – yet encouraging and optimistic despite the challenges of the day.

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

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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

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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.

 

 

Then they set out along the black top in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.

Cormac McCarthy, in The Road

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McCarthy writes of a father and his most beloved son who walk under the grayest of skies in a burned out and broken America.  It is both a compelling book and extraordinary movie.  In both I am struck by the love of the father for the son and the son for the father, and by the grayness of the sky amid the ruin.  The latter reminds me of the verbal and video landscape of the present days where hostility is thick as fog and division seems the only objective of the public voices we hear and where each day brings stories of death, cruelty, hatred and the commentaries of the C- and D+ scribes and talking heads whose range of thought is a tad lower than that of a carnival barker.

In a most extraordinary land darkness has descended.  What was once one is now fragmented into many bruised parts .

He could not construct for the child’s pleasure the world he’d lost without constructing the loss as well and he thought perhaps the child had known this better than he.  He tried to remember the dream but could not.  All that was left was the feeling of it … he could not enkindle in the heart of the child what was his own ashes.

This father like me had lived a dream – a dream in better times.  I was conceived when the Second World War was near its triumphant end.  My childhood was spent on a street of veterans and their families – remarkable men and women whose childhood commenced in the Great Depression and turned then to World War – its millions dead, others murdered in Stalin’s gulag.

How does one speak of what we had and lost?  How does one make that the known experience of an adult son?  Give him the optimism purpose and meaning I, poor as we were, knew so well?

How do my grandson or my granddaughter gain what had been, but now is so damaged?  How can my ashes live to sign their forehead?

The Road.  Where this father and son had the dark shadow and penetrating cold of a dying orb – they at least had silence.  We have the unstoppable voices and words of those whose lips bring darkness and cold.  They are now our dismal cover.

“You have to carry the fire … It’s inside you.  It always was there.  I can see it.”

So says the father to the son.  So say I to you, this day.

Shalom.

News as Soap Opera – This is where we are in a superficial mass communication, digitized social media culture.  We interview people with no achievement or proclaim and, in doing so, cannot distinguish people of substance from people who have no particular accomplishment.  We are more soap opera than not.  We can no longer tell the difference between depth and shallow, or what is substantive and what is not.  A real astonishing decline.

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

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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) psychological state of affairs had … changed.  For them (George Orwell and Czeslaw Milosz), the state threatened to become not only militarily and politically triumphant, but psychologically so: the custodial Superego for millions, their Id effectively enthralled, their Egos an instrument, pure and simple, of the state’s bureaucratic manipulation. (Emphasis added.)

Robert Coles, M.D., in A Secular Mind

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The state or political party coming to control a person’s thoughts and psychological disposition … Yes, the state control of its people – their ability to control the thinking of its citizens can literally alter the fundamental experience of being a human being.

In the mid, late last century that is what Orwell and Milosz and other prominent intellectuals and writers saw as a major change in the West, in democracies, in culture and universities.   They saw this as a real threat.

In our present mass communication society of Left-controlled social media giants and once-venerable newspapers, this is precisely where we are.

Indeed, the politics of identity and Marxist ideology has changed how we look at ourself, others and the nation.  They have divided us, made us hostile and violent as to those the Left deems their foes … and, indeed, hostile to the ideas upon which our Representative Democracy, Federal system and concept of liberty enshrined in our Constitution was founded.

The more the state grows and media is titled Left – the more Orwell and Milosz’s fears are confirmed.

That is where we are now.  You see it. I see it.  Language is no longer evidence of freedom but subject to state punishment, social exclusion and the like …

As to Orwell, he concluded in his novel 1984 that language, the reading we choose, what we are taught to learn from our “education” has everything to do with the rise of Fascism and Communism and the state’s encroachment on (our) private life.

To make this current – think of the language “rules” surrounding sexual identification and pronouns used to supplant male and female, etc.

Make no mistake the Leftist and the Leftist state is intent on changing who you are, what you think, how you feel, your existence and experience of life.  Most noticeably their view has no God or worship in its agenda.  Beware.  We have met the enemy inside the gates of the castle.

Shalom.

Politically “Correct” –  “Politically correct” by whose standard?  If you do not speak what is on your mind, you have forfeited your freedom.  Free speech allows you to have your views and express them but it does NOT guarantee that others must listen to you.  If only the Left realized that !!!

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife.  He … said, “What did Moses command you?”  They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”  Jesus said … “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this commandment.  But from the beginning of creation, God made male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall no longer be two, but one flesh.”

Mk 10: 2-8

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Divorces have become common.  In the terms of the above words from Jesus – they are evidence of “hardness of heart.”

How casually we divorce!  If one wanted to see a concrete sign of our faithlessness one need only think of the divorces we have seen, the motivations of the moving party and the injuries they so easily inflict on children and the spouse who is being divorced.

Hardness of heart.  What a dreadful identification for a person to hold.

I know a man whose wife filed for divorce without any assertion of cause represented by the man’s behavior.  Her reason for divorce: their child was off to college and she felt “their work was done.”  Of course, it might be noted that her two closest girlfriends maintained adulterous relationships with wealthy men who they eventually married.  Behind the scene, of course, was this – the woman wanted to find a man with money.  She, in due time, married a wealthy man – no thought about the effects on her child or her former spouse.  I suppose that qualifies for a hardened heart.

Let’s be brutally honest – as a culture we are closer to hardness of heart than to God.  And, yet we wring our hands and wonder: what is wrong with this country?

Yes, we are what is wrong – we blow-up families, crave material things, pledge words that are easily broken.  Yep, we excuse all sorts of dreadful behavior.  Shame on us!

Shalom.

 

 

 

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