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Without a life of the spirit our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory.  The life of the spirit, by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest possible reality – not as we imagine it, but as it really is.

Thomas Merton, in No Man is an Island

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I am sure if you look about you see as many do that people have become difficult, coarse and quite narcissistic – self-centered.  Likewise you see, like others, hostility and incoherence – just look at the news and the unimaginable crimes – a woman kills her infant child and hides the body, a mass shooting of innocents by a troubled young man.

There are, alarmingly, many signs of disorder – individuals whose behavior and utterances indicate they are “lost,” disoriented, without sensible purpose or direction.  Just look at addictions and the vast spread of drug use – broken families, illegitimate births, killing unborn children in the womb, violent crime.

These things do not arise all by themselves.  They are a manifestation of a life without any spiritual context, that is a life of illusion, life without substance – or meaning … and aimless, a life that is destructive of self and others.

In such circumstances reality, sanity, health, stability, relationships, contentment, and nation are lost to us.

You look and see the problems growing and see in others behavior that gives you caution, concern and seeks that you keep your distance and be on guard?  All of this is attributed to but one thing: No God.

All of course is made worse by the ignorance of those in media who are as lost as anyone, and by politicians on the Left who manifest some of the same traits and many ideas that are void of wisdom – but do us harm, and further chaos.  The Left discounts God and the essential nature of spiritual life and all that it propounds — –  their work and words are simply the product of their self-deception and their narcissism.

God identifies the order of things.  Deny this and life and nations disintegrate rather rapidly.  Better return to the beginning.

Shalom.

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… it came to pass … that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world would be taxed …

Lk 2:1

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This census, of course, required each person in the Roman Empire to assemble in their ancestral village or town … and this was a prelude to Jesus birth in Bethlehem as Joseph and Mary journeyed from their home in Galilee in accord with Caesar’s directive.

How many note the significance of Jesus being born at a time when the entire Roman population was assembled as a whole?  My point being that the birth of Jesus has characteristics to it that proclaim something quite special in this birth.  Illustratively, the birth of Jesus heralded the assembly of all.

Yet, there is more.  Jesus birth in a manger among farm animals makes the statement that the child’s presence exceeds mortal reality – but rather speaks to all creatures and creation.  Yes, Christ is for and of the whole of this world and the next.

Indeed, shepherds and kings come to his place of birth.  Is this not a proclamation that in Christ the humble and exalted are but one in the same?

Yes, the circumstances of this birth speak to us of its universal and eternal importance – but do we think of this in our own time?  Is this a point of reference for us?  Does this magnificent birth inspire us?  Motivate us?  Lead us in our daily existence?  I dare say: “it does not.”

Does not the star that led others to Bethlehem speak to the cosmic significance of this holy birth?  Does it not say that each birth is God’s intention?  Yet, who are we now?  Do we see these things?  Are we comforted and governed by them?

Shalom.

 

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.

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.

 

The body is not … for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body … whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one with him.

1 Cor 6: 13, 17

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Look around you.  Who appears to understand and honor the above?  How do people present themselves in public?  Do they look clean?  Well-groomed?  Are they sloppy?  Are the men’s pants falling off?  Are the women dressed to expose their body?

Don’t you suppose that if God intended us to be all inked up with tattoos – He might well have made us that way?

Do we use our bodies as a sign of self-promotion?  If so, that says “my body is for me, and not for God because I an NOT for God.”

One thing I always say to others is this: people self-report … tell you who they are by their appearance, their conduct, their words.

If you wish endless confusion and chaos in your life – disregard the plain signals others send and get involved with them.  You will find confusion and chaos aplenty.

Most people miss some of the simplest warning signs.  Doing so is a fundamental error that can easily be avoided.

Our body is not for immorality but for the Lord.  Pretty simple, clear and direct.

Shalom.

I urge you … that there be no divisions among you but that you be united in the same mind and same purpose … Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? … The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

1 Cor: 10, 20, 25

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What St. Paul said so many centuries ago speaks to us today.

We seem to have the habit of nudging God from the picture.  Claiming belief, we fashion results as the author of what is good.

Humans are prone to produce division – often in the name of what is “good” or (worse yet) of our professed faith.

Wither ideology and all sorts of odd ideas like “social justice” – a cover for individual responsiblity and evidence of our pride and sinfulness.

Too many of our ideas, and the manufacture of ideology, dodge God and His instructions.  Divided from God we divide ourselves from one another.  Discord, estrangement and hostility flourish.

We make what is direct obscure.

We change the names of magnificent things like pregnancy – infanticide becomes “choice,” Holy Matrimony is befitted with fiction to excuse disordered behavior, gender is redefined and multiplied.  Absurdity abounds.

Corinth was “full of devotees of various pagan cults and marked by a measure of moral depravity.”  We are Corinth.  It best NOT be so.

Less government would be an improvement.  Less reliance on government – less political division and more individual responsibility … more space for faith and for God, and for humility and gratitude.

Shalom.

The Iran “Deal” – If Mr. Kerry wanted to see the Iran Deal made a permanent (while idiotic) achievement he’d best have encouraged Mr. Obama to make it a Treaty and get Senate approval for it.  But that would have required work.  However that didn’t seem to be Mr. Kerry or Mr. Obama’s inclination.

You live in a deranged age – more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.  (Emphasis added.)

Walker Percy, in Lost in the Cosmos: the Last Self-help Book

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You’d be hard-pressed to quarrel with Percy’s words from his 1983 novel.  Matters have only gotten worse from then to now.

Third-grade girls “choose” their gender.  Borderless borders.  “Safe spaces” for “snowflakes.”  James Comey’s incoherent discourse; or, an ongoing criminal “investigation” of the President by “prosecutors” (his partisan opponents) who have failed to establish (as law requires) any evidentiary indication that a “crime” may have been committed.  (Imagine yourself being investigated for murder of your neighbor who is still alive and living next door to you!  That’s where we are.)

Deranged?  Yup.  Words like “choice” and “investigation” have no resemblance to what they meant a mere 25 years ago.  More to the point, gender and the law “ain’t what they used to be” largely because people “ain’t what they used to be.”  Forget honesty in general – or at the F.B.I. headquarters or the upper echelons of the Justice Department.

Make no mistake we have the so-called “elites” to blame for what we see.  And know this – they have created as wide a divide between the common folks (the “deplorables”) and the privileged class who think and act as if they possess an exclusive right to make this once great nation unrecognizable while establishing comprehensive control over the lives and views of the American population.

Today’s daily parade of Percy’s “deranged” made me think of a classic book in religious writing (Adolphe Tanqueray’s The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology) and in particular what Tanqueray said about the human being.

In identifying the privileges conferred on Adam and, by implication, each of  us, Fr. Tanqueray said:

“By nature man is the servant of God, His property. – In His infinite goodness God willed to incorporate us into His family.  He made man His heir-apparent when He reserved for him a place in His kingdom.  For this bounty man will never be able to thank God adequately.

In order that this adoption might not remain a mere formality, He gave him a share in His divine life.  This communication of God’s life to man is, indeed, a created quality but none the less real.  It enables man here on earth to enjoy the light of faith (a light far greater than that of reason), and in heaven, to possess God by the Beatific Vision and with a love corresponding to the clearness of that vision.”

I think our experience tells us that there is an direct relationship between godlessness and deranged conduct and ideas.  Given the behavior of the privileged class – it seems like we’d best put our trust in God and discharge those at the “top of the ladder” who appear to show they are not competent, stable human beings worthy of our esteem.

Shalom.  

Humility is an attitude of honesty toward all reality.  It is not self-deprecation … but the truth.  It is the conviction of being created out of nothing and of being gratuitously redeemed.

Thomas Keating, in The Heart of the World

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Think for a moment what life might be like if each of us lived with this basic Keating proposition: we are created out of nothing and are gratuitously redeemed?

Remember Keating is talking about humility.

Were we to follow his guidance, would we not be more civil to one another?  Less anxious?  More sedate?  More settled?  Far better equipped to keep a balanced disposition – not too up, not too down?  Steady?  Content?

Seems simple doesn’t it.  However, in our culture such stability and contentment is not common.  Rather, we stress material success, are anxious and quite analytical – not much for interior existence.  And, of course, we have spent a great deal of time dismissing God and undermining religion.

Keating’s view would have us simply being for the sake of God.  … for the sake of God and NOT our self.  In Keating’s words one moves from thinking about God – to experiencing God and it is in the experience of God that humility roots in us.

Shalom.

Humility in Real Time.  In today’s America, I see what happens when lawyers and judges lack humility – do not live for the sake of God.  The consequences can do great damage to the rule of law, to liberty, the Constitution and civil society.

In practical terms without humility – prosecutors unlawfully withhold evidence that might prove a defendant’s innocence, they keep critical facts from a Judge when seeking search warrants, use fabricated allegations to commence investigations – even of an American President, seek to uncover crimes without sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed, and partisan lawyers “game” the immigration system to further the invasion of foreign citizens into this country while cities, counties and states (with the assistance of lawyers) usurp the role of the federal government by ignoring federal laws they simply do not like.

Yes, without humility – without being for God’s sake – a nation and freedom can be easily and quickly lost.

 

 

 

… I’ve brought a big bat, I’m ready you see.

Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.

Dr. Seuss

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I often encounter people who have legitimate concerns about those who make it their business to drive a hard Left agenda.  In some instances the concerned party wonders out loud what can be done to forestall these arrogant people and their destructive ideas.

I offer this: SPEAK up – confront them, be prepared to tell them why they are wrong and what damage and division they cause.  Put them down each and every time they act like they know best and push their views on you.

You see, you can’t let people with little to offer but large egos and bad ideas think they are entitled to force their views and plans on the rest of us, or this great country at the expense of our religious beliefs, morality, interests, intelligence, personal dignity and autonomy.

Yes, tell them to “button it up.” Recommend they take a long walk of a short pier.

We are far too cordial and too nice and civil with people and groups who attempt to impose their ideas on us.

A little of Dr. Seuss might do you well.  Give it a try.  Stand tall and make it clear that you will not be a compliant target of views which are injurious, wrong or destructive.  Case in point, President Trump didn’t get the North Korean’s attention by acting like the apologizing Mr. Obama.

“Tolerance” is not evidenced by silent compliance.  There is no freedom in being bullied into a position by a vocal minority.  Civility abandoned is best cured when it becomes clear that one’s dignity and freedom will not be thwarted in the course of public discourse.  Isn’t that the point of Dr. Seuss’ clever words?

Shalom.

How to hold to the moral and religious values in the face of all sorts of challenges …  What happens to people, emotionally and spiritually when they compromise certain important principles – start down the road to rationalization and self-justifications?  (Emphasis added.)

William Carlos Williams, M.D.

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These are a words of novelist and medical doctor commenting on his writing.  Like others (Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, John Cheever, etc.) Williams saw their work as novelist to be presenting the reader with questions as to their moral and spiritual development in the midst of life’s slippery slopes that fragment and damage the essence of full, healthy and honorable human development and existence.

Our culture today evokes the challenges Williams saw.  Compromises are abundant in an exclusionary secular culture that diminishes faith and prefers God be exiled.

Nothing good comes of diminished faith and life with God in exile.  And that is where we are at this time in America.

While you may be sensitive to the godless challenges posed by radical humanists – the question is posed: what do you do to sustain your healthy and full growth as a human being?  What do you do to maintain a mature emotional and spiritual state while others around you have abandoned their better instincts for selfish and injurious objectives and disposition?  How do you sink your self into quiet contemplation?  Come to the vital questions that authors like Williams and Percy and O’Connor present?

Lest you think you can rely on academics, the media, or the entertainment industry to offer this opportunity to you, I give you these words of analytical psychiatrist Robert Coles who notes: “I have seen plenty of arrogance and selfishness in … “humanistic” professions – snobbishness or self-importance and meanness or hardness of spirit in doctors … clergy … educators … the … arts…”  And he added that “Years … of education … have not prevented many … from becoming dogmatic, smug, and fiercely antagonistic to those who happen to disagree …”

Let’s face it.  You have the sacred call to grow to fullness and no one but you can see that this happens.  If your culture lacks the moral and spiritual content and character you desire – then it’s on you to attend to its failure, to correct the situation.  On you!

Shalom.

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