Welcome Back after Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a delightful respite.

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Out of suffering has emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.  (Emphasis added.)

Kahlil Gibran

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Suffering is and has been a part of human existence since the very beginning of human existence.  Yes, we are vulnerable.  Long ago we might have learned that people actually betray one another.

Indeed, you may assume that those who hunker down in an effort to avoid suffering will impose suffering on others.  

Forget climate change.  Far more daily destruction comes at the hands of those who foolishly will to avoid suffering.

They are the ones who cannot absorb the experiences of life and the experience of other people or come to know themselves as they are and can be.  They are the family despots, the ones who exclude – keep secrets and demand total loyalty from others while giving little of themselves (having so little to give to begin).

The fear and avoidance of suffering has a faithlessness to it.

Strange isn’t it to fear suffering.  In this, one denies reality, life and the wisdom of Gibran words.

If you wish to listen to others who have something to say listen to the one who has suffered and grown because of it.  He or she gains wisdom, character and courage for they have accepted the divine gift of life as it is and have, consequently, gained peace and relationship with God.

Shalom.

 

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” … the greatest enemy of the Gospel is ideology.  Ideology is a man-made format of how the world ought to work, and Christians instead believe(d) in the revealing truth of Scripture.”  (Emphasis added.)

Charles Colson

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Human beings since the beginning of time have wanted to proclaim their own divinity.  We do this no less today than we always have.

Think about government and politics today.  We place confidence in government in a manner that thwarts our reliance on God and diminishes the growth and development of our faith.

When we vest trust and need in government and politics we undermine our faith in God, reduce the scope of our human, psychological and spiritual existence and our wisdom, certitude and contentment.

The limits of human institutions has been recorded in the New and Old Testament.  We are less able to perfect the world than we think.  Yes, our ego is not a path to omnipotence but rather often a display of our limitations and our need of God.

Our political party on the Left does just that: having no relationship with God and relying on the (dubious) “genius” of man and woman – it stubbornly sells what does NOT WORK, namely: man’s reliance on man to the exclusion of God.  Frankly the failures of the Left are visible in history and in the world – now and for years prior to today.

The trust in man, politics, ideology and government is a primary source of our many present problems and divisions.  Only a fool would continue to advocate further self-centered reliance on man and man alone.  It is time to humbly admit our estrangement from God and take responsibility for many follies that this behavior has produced.

Vesting confidence in government as we do is vesting confidence in man and woman and that is one of the primary ways this nation draws away from God and advances secular existence to the exclusion of our relationship with God and the contentment and stability that faith produces.

Shalom.

 

 

 

Forget the suffering you cause others.  Forget the suffering others caused you,  The waters run and run, springs sparkle and are done, you walk the earth you are forgetting.

Czeslaw Milosz, in Forget

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Age roots in the body.  We remain, at best, of sound mind with insight from the years and the experience they bring.  For the fortunate ones joy remains, so too sight, touch, taste, sensuality, humor, gumption and guts.  But our voice softens as humility and gratitude take form – the soft voice – evidence of reverence.  Nearing home at last.

How blessed we are to age with soul in tact and heart alive with love and kindness – and long past worry and uncertainty.

There is a calm sense in being an elder for we have the range of sight unknown to the young – no matter the status, title, education, office … One must run the course to know and see.  Those ones see deeper, are content with quiet, live well among the lengthening shadows for by faith they are the sons and daughters of twilight … darkness holds no fear for them.

The aging ones who have lived well have fought the necessary fights – having fallen, they have gotten up.  In this they come to a point of common suffering and its fruit: compassion.

There is quiet and peace within when the light begins to fade.  Winter prepares for sleep.

Shalom.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I will not have to live a day without you.”

Joan Powers, in Pooh’s Little Instruction Book

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This is love.  This is friendship.

When you gather today with others or sit alone in your private thoughts, give thanks for the ability to love without condition, and thanks that you are loved and have been loved, and for friendships – those extraordinary connections that come out of nowhere and last a lifetime and beyond.

Think about love and friendship.

My neighbor, not a wealthy man for sure, deep frys turkeys and chickens this day and delivers them to friends, neighbors, people he knows who might be alone or are impaired, or down on their luck.

Yes, we have much for which to be thankful – remember these and life does not seem so hard.  Remember these and discontent cannot take root in you, in community and in our Nation.  Think about it: what other Nation has this tradition of remembrance – a celebration of gratitude and the God to whom we offer this day of Thanks.

Shalom.

This Thanksgiving and Christmas Season, pledge to seek closeness with God.  Do so with a very simple act: listen privately to Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere.  Make it a frequent act. Use it as your seasonal meditation.  Its Truth will touch your heart and soul.  From it you will ask: How is it that I live as I do, fall so far short of what God has made me to be?

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The division of human beings into male and female engenders a perpetual search for one another, since only through the joining of bodies can a paradisal unity occur, bringing with it the sense of security and God’s presence.

Andrzej Franaszek, in Milosz

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Here Franaszek cites the sentiment of Czeslaw Milosz in his Unattainable Earth.

Think about the Truth of the matter: men and women are made to seek one another so their union in Paradise may once again be known.  Yes, in marriage between a man and a woman we become whole, and God’s presence can be known, felt, ingested and we are fulfilled.

Now think about the gross escapades of Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Harvey Weinstein, Senator Franken, Charlie Rose, Anthony Weiner, and so many others.  The deeds of these people are godless, sick, evil, sacrilegious, unloving, dehumanizing, abnormal, unhealthy, without honor – disgusting and injurious to all.  But think too how they have been cultivated by the “Sexual Revolution” of the late 1960’s and excused by the Progressives, the Left, academics, the media, Hollywood, the entertainment industry, Feminists, Marxists, and those who wish to destroy America and “change” fundamentally who we have been and who God made us to be.

However don’t stop there for there is more fruit from this Poison Tree of this Marxist-inspired sexual liberation.  The fruit?  Abortion – the killing of unborn children, adultery, pornography, child sexual abuse, female predatory teachers, international sex trade, broken marriage, the fallacy of same-sex marriage, AIDS, “no fault” divorce, families without fathers, teenage pregnancy, dead-beat Dads, single mothers, the fiction of “villages raising children,” the growth of dependent women consigned to a life on the government dole, the political division between men and women fostered by the Democrat Left and “identity politics.”

We have in the last 50 years driven God and faith from culture and surely the public square and deconstructed a healthy society by destroying its vital human institutions and placing belief in God, and faith itself under a veil of suspicion. 

Do not make the mistake of seeing today’s tawdry episodes as unrelated to a wave of godless Leftist destruction.  No, what we see is the evidence of their years of inter-personal, spiritual and social destruction.

The bill for the Bacchanal has become do.  We know who bears responsibility.  We no longer need to listen to these errant voices anymore.  Their social engineering has failed miserably.

Man and woman: sacred beings.  Their union: a sacred vehicle.  Abandon this and one pays this price: self-destruction – individually, as to family, community, a political system and a Nation.

For sane people – hard facts demand fundamental change – a restoration of dignity, honor, truth and relationship with God.  Step up – reclaim what is your Divine identity and reclaim your life and land.  Happiness and prosperity await.

Shalom.

Socialist Drivel – The next time you hear some professor, politician, college student or professor, or a member of the media or a Hollywood celebrity talk about the benefits of socialism – just remember the “Sexual Revolution” and walk away.

The eye of the nihilist is unfaithful to his memories: it allows them to drop or to lose their leaves … And what he does not do for himself, he does not do for the whole past of mankind.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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The last several days I have been off my stride in posting a daily blog.  How can this be?

I was visiting Notre Dame – a place of faith where friends meet and memories are preserved; and in the preservation, the person and the past are, like Christ, alive and eternal.

This trip held time for friends and conversations of substance – human contact, embrace, careful listening, honest discourse, laughter, fellowship, remembrance and renewal.

Notre Dame is a place where daily life and faith meet – and faith absorbs its visitors.

There strangers greet each other as familiar neighbors – smiles and warm exchanges are the coin of the realm.

Standing in the very back of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus for the last Mass on Sunday past, I looked out on a church with every seat taken and many happily standing for worship – made all the more absorbed in faith by the beauty of the majestic structure, the stained glass made by French Nuns a century ago, the choir voices, the exquisite ritual of the ageless Mass – the privilege of Communion.  Many as One.

Standing there – seeing so many people focused on the reality of their faith – on Christ their Redeemer, Mary their Mother, God their Father, I was deeply moved by the truth and beauty, and hope and certainty that my eyes took in.

In faith there are no nihilists and memories are never forgotten nor misplaced.

It is faith alone that keeps us One.

This, Dear Friends, is for you.  Take heed, lost no more.  Live in faith – certainty and contentment follow – no storm or doubt may claim us then.

Shalom.

 

… it is all pretense … the truer man inside himself is the silent man.

Czeslaw Milosz

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This from a letter the aging Czeslaw wrote to a friend.

I fully understand this.  As I age I feel an inner desire for quiet, for peace.  It is much as if I must sit with God without a need to speak  – sitting in a presence that requires no explanation or utterance.  Yes, this is a product of a life lived with its motion, anxiety, effort, triumphs and defeats – its endless speech and it many miscues and human artifacts, its manmade structures that never fulfill – no matter the pomp and circumstance.

In aging one feels that the food of this world is both too much and not near enough.  My suspicion is that well before the end, pretense seems comical – a hideous misconception.

Pretense confirms neither emperor nor slave can be made new by clothes, title, office.

Pretense has no buoyancy – it attends the opposite.  It makes comedy of what is sacred.  It falls way short.  Farce is not faith.  Presence is not reality.  It is never even good acting.

Czeslaw recalls the morning after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and he received a call from a reporter from the New York Times who asked about his hobbies only to respond “Poets don’t have hobbies, they have obsessions” to which the reporter said, “Come on, he must have a hobby.”

Czeslaw finally said as to hobby ” … translating the Old Testament into Polish” and then he notes “deadly silence … receiver put down.”

Pretense can be most deadly, de-humanizing, reductive.  It kills conversation, presence, intimacy, what is real and true.

On the eve of death itself – quiet conquers all that is pretense.  I fell it as one feels the late autumn cold fortells the impending snow and the coming of a frozen ground.

Shalom.

 

The object of contemplation is the whole of human reality, which, subjected to perpetual necessities of love and death, is not subjected, however, to the right of perpetual recurrence.

Czeslaw Milosz

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I wonder why people listen to me.  Perhaps it is because I think about the world, human experience in our shared point in time and cumulative history.

That is to say I have made a habit of taking experience in, wondering about what I see, felt, observed and what others encountered and how life speaks to them.

Yes, I spend time in contemplation – hence time with history, incident, my heart and soul, the individual and the aggregate, religious narrative, psychology, story, good writers, others, being alone, in the quiet, listening, in my faith, with my Self, in prayer, consciously with God.

In all of this I think: what do I see?  What is happening?  What registers on the faces, in the actions and in the hearts of others?  What gives authentic joy – makes one blissful … and brings us to sorrow?  What evidence is there of love and its absence?  Contentment and dis-ease?  Stability and disorder?  Tenderness and hostility?  Truth and its opposite?

I have been like this all my life – since a small child … because life presented incidents that questioned my existence, as loved ones died early – and far too often.

Contemplation gave some depth and range – immersed me in life’s events and living itself.  Yes, gave me immersion and perspective that regularly produced laughter and tears, grew understanding and the ability to diminish fear and shrink death to something manageable.

In thinking about life my voice had words that others received.  People actually listened to me and often laughed a legitimate laughter of joy at something I said – as the product of my experience and contemplation.

I was once a child, then young – full of strength enough to collide with life and history’s moments.  In age my heart has grown, laughter multiplied, friends became plentiful, gratitude ever present, love lives inside and leaps between me and others.

In a contemplative life there is neither regret nor blackened heart, eternity is real and close at hand.  Oddly, people listen – receive me and my words.

Shalom.

Whacked-Out.  Want to see how lost we are?  Look at the boorish behavior of the political elites and entertainment “celebrities,” and female teachers engaging sexually with their under-aged students.

Is this not evidence enough that the “sexual revolution” has worn itself out?

No more pampering of the boorish louts and misguided under-developed – children still when well past thirty.  Enough of them and their childish disposition, action and ideas.  They only succeed in making life more chaotic.

Back to normative behavior, people!

… any satire on the world which degrades life is immoral.

Czeslaw Milosz

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Is it not a strong statement to say that our faith requires that we affirm life because being itself is sacred.

Imagine if the one thing we did always and everyday was to treat life as a sanctity – imagine how that one simple commitment consistently applied would alter favorably our life and the lives of all others.

Denying life in our attitude, in our word and deed undermines our value.  Yet we seem to deny life, degrade what is sacred at the same time we wonder how it is that life is so unpleasant, so difficult, so contentious,

What do you do to degrade life?  What discourse do you tolerate which degrades that sanctity of life – of that which is sacred and closer to God than all else in God’s Creation?

Be not so carefree in undermining the value of life, its holiness and it sanctity.

Shalom.

All efforts based on parliamentary control and free-market economic mechanisms proved useless in quelling the growing polarization in opinion and stance.  Different propositions were put forward, ranging from anarchism to autocratic rule, and for many young people each seemed preferable to the rotten democracy they lived under.

Andrzej Franaszek, in Milosz

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These words describe the deteriorating political climate in Poland in the 1930’s and to some extent the political climate in Europe at the same time.

They so remind me of the extraordinary state of affairs and discontent in the U.S. today.  Partisanship reigns.  One Party houses the extreme Left.  Liberalism embraces nihilism and its echoes ring in the public square, mass media and the courts of law.  Anarchists, while small in number, dressed in black slash and burn.  Foundations fund the voices of Black racism.  We live in uneasy times.

Circumstances have changed.  The once stable America is less a source of certainty than it has been and the world becomes more dangerous.

We tilt Left and morals have been mothballed.  Trusted government institutions have lost their glow.  Public corruption tarnishes democracy.  Religious belief itself is in thin supply.  Education is below the waterline.  It is a troubled time.

History tells us that in such times the best young men mature more quickly … and across the land the wise turn back to faith.  Yes, extreme moments snap us into what is fundamental, personal, sure, uplifting, good and eternal – humanizing, strong, kind, heroic – the only option in dark days.

Beneath the flawless manners of a worldly gentleman he hid his compassion for all that is living.  Some people perhaps could sense it, but it was certainly known, in ways mysterious to us, to the small birds that would perch on his head and hands when he stopped in a park alley.

Czeslaw Milosz, in Goodness

Lord, bring us to our senses – to morality, honesty, kindness, compassion – Make us One.

Shalom.

 

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