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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

You have got to read and look at this shambles of a DNC

Biased BBC

The Beeb has lost all credibility. Michelle's speech last night was boring and lacked conviction. She looked like she was going to a dance rather than a political meeting. Her voice betrayed anger (why-she has nothing to be angry about-successful in her own right and a millionaire in her own right). The Beeb went on and on about how excellent a speaker she was. I use her first name as that is how she is addressed here.

Mrs. Romney's speech was genuine and clear. She, sadly, was not praised by the Beeb.

I cannot watch the BBC anymore. I get more objectivity from RT.

I have trouble with this. Does anyone else? Poll.

A reference to the Messiah in Judges is applied to Obama. Poll at side.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen on Love and Joy in Receiving Holy Communion

The basis of this plea for communion is Love, for Love by its very nature tends to unity. Love of citizens one for another begets the unity of the state. Love of man and woman begets the unity of two in one flesh. The love of God for man therefore calls for a unity based upon the Incarnation, namely, the unity of all men in the Body and Blood of Christ. In order, therefore, that God might seal His love for us, He gave us to Himself in Holy Communion, so that as He and His human nature taken from the womb of the Blessed Mother were one in the unity of His Person, so He and we taken from the womb of humanity might be one in the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ. Hence, we use the word "receive" when speaking of communion with our Lord in the Eucharist, for literally we do "receive" Divine Life, just as really and truly as a babe receives the life of its mother. All life is sustained by communion with a higher life. If the plants could speak they would say to the moisture and sunlight, "Unless you enter into communion with me, become possessed of my higher laws and powers, you shall not have life in you."
If the animals could speak, they would say to the plants: "Unless you enter into communion with me, you shall not have my higher life in you." We say to all lower creation: "Unless you enter into communion with me, you shall not share in my human life."
Why then should not our Lord say to us: "Unless you enter into communion with Me, you shall not have life in you"? The lower is transformed into the higher, plants into animals, animals into man, and man, in a more exalted way, becomes "divinized," if I may use that expression, through and through by the life of Christ. Communion then is first of all the receiving of Divine Life, a life to which we are no more entitled than marble is entitled to blooming. It is a pure gift of an all-merciful God who so loved us that He willed to be united with us, not in the bonds of flesh, but in the ineffable bonds of the Spirit where love knows no satiety, but only rapture and joy.

Gramsci and the Democratic Party: three

Gramsci noted how to bury religious and spiritual views of history and culture. He noted that language was key in the revolution. The more I read him, the more cynical he seems to me. He claims to have hope, but his hope is in a process. His hope is merely based on idealism. Does this sound like someone who is in power?

We are all conformists of some conformism or other, always man-in-the-mass or collective man. The question is this: of what historical type is the conformism, the mass humanity to which one belongs? When one’s conception of the world is not critical and coherent but disjointed and episodic, one belongs simultaneously to a multiplicity of mass human groups.

Note 1. With regard to the historical role played by the fatalistic conception of the philosophy of praxis one might perhaps prepare its funeral oration, emphasizing its usefulness for a certain period of history, but precisely for this reason underlining the need to bury it with all due honours. Its role could really be compared with that of the theory of predestination and grace for the beginnings of the modern world, a theory which found its culmination in classical German philosophy and in its conception of freedom as the consciousness of necessity. It has been a replacement in the popular consciousness for the cry of “tis God’s will’, although even on this primitive, elementary plane it was the beginnings of a more modern and fertile conception than that contained in the expression ‘tis God’s will’ or in the theory of grace. Is it possible that ‘formally’ a new conception can present itself in a guise other than the crude, unsophisticated version of the populace? And yet the historian, with the benefit of all necessary perspective, manages to establish and to understand the fact that the beginnings of a new world, rough and jagged though they always are, are better than the passing away of the world in its death-throes and the swan-song that it produces. [...]SPN, 323-43 (Q11§12), 1932

In other words, create a completely new philosophy ignoring, indeed, burying the old ones. Creative a political philosophy based on a new concept of history, which is a mad combination of political messianism and pragmatism.

Does this sound like something you have heard in the past few days?

A Tree and a House of Hearts


Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. 

Many years ago, my son and I could not be together in the same place for Christmas one year. We did not have our usual magnificent Christmas Tree. By the beginning of January, we were ensconced in a new home and happily getting on with life. But, I missed the tree. So, I set one up later, around January 6th. I started with creating some new ornaments, which I did every year.

We had an Eastern Christmas, that is, a bit late. And, for several years, almost 35, I had many strange and wonderful heart ornaments from all over the world. Everyone knew I was "Mrs. Christmas" and decorated profusely, as this is one of my favourite times of the year. I had many ornaments from Germany and Czechoslovakia. My favourites were those my mother had made as potpourries, and my second favourites were created by an artist in Iowa, made out of wood and wire, with different designs on each.

My mother ended up making many of her hearts full of lavender and other herbs, as my friends could not get enough of them. These are all over Western Alberta and Saskatoon, and I hope on trees at Christmas.

Every year until 2010, I made many new ornaments by hand. I have made bread-dough ornaments, metal ornaments, cardboard ornaments, ornaments from material, and many other kinds using things from nature. Every year, our tree was slightly different. My last tree with my small family had about 400 ornaments on it. They now hang on other trees. My last tree with myself was pink, yes a pink tree with gold ornaments. I went retro for one year. Again, many of the ornaments were hearts. Many were made by me. I finally gave away my glue guns in 2011 to a young family. But, the memories of joy will stay with me always.

Before I left America, I made a tree for my parents with lights and ornaments all on the inside of a cone, wire gold tree, so that it would easy for them to put it away, as they are older.

The heart adjusts.

The symbol of the heart has been with poets and artists since the days of the Bible. In the psalms, we hear David singing of his heart. In Roman times, the heart was also considered the place of love and life. Those who are married wear the wedding ring on the finger which supposedly is connected to the heart by an artery. I think this myth is as old as the Romans.

In our Catholic tradition, we have many devotions to the Sacred  Heart. But, Mother Marie Adele Garnier, foundress of the Tyburn Benedictines, was given a great grace of insight into the Heart of Jesus. In her spirituality, given to her by Christ in mystical experiences, she saw that the Heart of Jesus was the Eucharist. Through the Eucharistic Adoration, she called her nuns to see the Heart of Christ in the community. She was called to be one of those special souls espoused to Christ in a Mystical Marriage. For her, daily Communion was a renewal of her "marriage vows" through the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.

Now, this type of union is far above me, but lately, one of my friends who is a priest, repeated that all men and women were called to this intimacy in and through Christ. This is also the belief, as I have shown here on this blog, of Garrigou-Lagrange. This is a mystery.

We are all called to union. How? There is only one way.

For those of us who have loved a human being with our hearts and souls, we can understand a tiny bit of what this union must be like. To love without expectation is real love and is creates an interior fire which cannot be contained.

For Mother Marie Adele Garnier, at the Eucharist, in Adoration, her heart of fire was given fuel from the union of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

I ask all my readers to ask God to show you where it is He wants you to be loved and to love. He has a special place for us to receive and to give.

When I decorated the tree and house in hearts at Christmas, I was reminding us all that the Heart of Christmas is the Incarnation. That vulnerable Baby in the Manger would fill our hearts with joy, if we would only be open to Him.

For many years, I created centrepieces for Christmas, starting in early October and making other things, such as wreaths, door handle decorations, and ornaments. Cranberries, red tree dogwood, red roses, and hearts made my signature look. I also made children's decorations, such as gingerbread men and toy centrepieces. My making was part of who I am. Our creativity is part of being made in the Image and Likeness of God. Making made me joyful and pleased my friends and customers. My son and I decorated an entire Church hall one year for a parish Christmas dinner. We made everything ourselves. God blessed us and other through us. This was all done out of love.

We shared in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Others brought food and drink. Some greeted and served. This is the Body of Christ and He is the Heart. But, we are called into that Heart of Jesus. That year was one of the happiest experiences of a real community in a parish we have ever experienced. It was in Alaska, where the hearts of people are as big as the state.

We can be restored to purity through God's Love for us. We should not be afraid, but it can be scary. Even Mother Marie Adele had misgivings. Pray to her for miracles, and if you receive any, let the nuns at Tyburn know.

By the way, these are not photos of my ornaments, although some are similar. I do not have those photos on my computer here. God made the clouds and wonderful heart leaves. Look around you for hearts. These are everywhere to remind us of God's Love for us and our love for Him.

In the midst of all the political turmoil and difficulties of this week, I wanted to return to the heart of all things. Be holy, be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. Christ said that and the way to the Father is through Christ. Open your heart and pray I can open mine to the wonders of Love, Who is a Person.

Gramsci and the Democratic Party: two

Here are some points from Gramsci on how to teach the proletariat to change so that the old ways of religion and culture, including natural law, as thrown out. My comments are in bold, large, not italic. Listen to what is being said at the DNC and compare.

1. Never to tire of repeating its own arguments (though offering literary variation of form): repetition is the best didactic means for working on the popular mentality.

Keep saying the same thing. Keep up racism talk and speeches of division. Keep up saying change and hope. Blur distinctions and deny or ignore natural law philosophy.

2. To work incessantly to raise the intellectual level of ever-growing strata of the populace, in other words, to give a personality to the amorphous mass element. This means working to produce elites of intellectuals of a new type which arise directly out of the masses, but remain in contact with them to become, as it were, the whalebone in the corset.
This second necessity, if satisfied, is what really modifies the ‘ideological panorama’ of the age. But these elites cannot be formed or developed without a hierarchy of authority and intellectual competence growing up within them. The culmination of this process can be a great individual philosopher. But he must be capable of re-living concretely the demands of the massive ideological community and of understanding that this cannot have the flexibility of movement proper to an individual brain, and must succeed in giving formal elaboration to the collective doctrine in the most relevant fashion, and the one most suited to the modes of thought of a collective thinker.

Keep talking about government, not the people. Keep the focus on group, not the individual. Do not speak of individual or religious rights, but civil rights, as if these are the same.

It is evident that this kind of mass construction cannot just happen ‘arbitrarily’, around any ideology, simply because of the formally constructive will of a personality or a group which puts it forward solely on the basis of its own fanatical philosophical or religious convictions. Mass adhesion or non-adhesion to an ideology is the real critical test of the rationality and historicity of modes of thinking. Any arbitrary constructions are pretty rapidly eliminated by historical competition, even if sometimes, through a combination of immediately favourable circumstances, they manage to enjoy popularity of a kind; whereas constructions which respond to the demands of a complex organic period of history always impose themselves and prevail in the end, even though they may pass through several intermediary phases during which they manage to affirm themselves only in more or less bizarre and heterogeneous combinations.SPN, 323-43 (Q11§12), 1932

Push revisionist history, revisionist law, revisionist relativism as morality and these will be accepted.

Gramsci and the Democratic Party: one

At last, it is very clear to more than us philosophical types, that the Marxist agenda has taken over the Democratic Party. Faith in politics and intellectual democracy has taken the place of Faith in God and religion.

Read Gramsci here and look at the boldface parts.

That the mechanicist conception has been a religion of the subaltern is shown by an analysis of the development of the Christian religion. Over a certain period of history in certain specific historical conditions religion has been and continues to be a ‘necessity’, a necessary form taken by the will of the popular masses and a specific way of rationalizing the world and real life, which provided the general framework for real practical activity. This quotation from an article in La Civilta Cattolica ('Individualismo pagano e individualismo cristiano': issue of 5 March 1932) seems to me to express very well this function of Christianity:
Faith in a secure future, in the immortality of the soul destined to beatitude, in the certainty of arriving at eternal joy, was the force behind the labour for intense inner perfection and spiritual elevation. True Christian individualism found here the impulse that led it to victory. All the strength of the Christian was gathered around this noble end. Free from the flux of speculation which weakens the soul with doubt, and illuminated by immortal principles, man felt his hopes reborn; sure that a superior force was supporting him in the struggle against Evil, he did violence to himself and conquered the world.
But here again it is naive Christianity that is being referred to: not Jesuitized Christianity, which has become a pure narcotic for the popular masses.
The position of Calvinism, however, with its iron conception of predestination and grace, which produces a vast expansion of the spirit of initiative (or becomes the form of this movement) is even more revealing and significant. (On this question see: Max Weber, L'etica protestante e lo spirito del capitalismo; published in Nuovi Studi, volume for 1931 et seq. and Groethuysen’s book on the religious origins of the bourgeoisie in France [Origines de l'espirit bourgeois en France, Vol. 1. L'Eglise et la bourgeoisie, Paris, 1927].)
What are the influential factors in the process of diffusion (which is also one of a substitution of the old conception, and, very often, of combining old and new), how do they act, and to what extent? Is it the rational form in which the new conception is expounded and presented? Or is it the authority (in so far as this is recognized and appreciated, if only generically) of the expositor and the thinkers and experts whom the expositor calls in in his support? Or the fact of belonging to the same organization as the man who upholds the new conception (assuming, that is, that one has entered the organization for other reasons than that of already sharing the new conception)?
In reality these elements will vary according to social groups and the cultural level of the groups in question. But the enquiry has a particular interest in relation to the popular masses, who are slower to change their conceptions, or who never change them in the sense of accepting them in their ‘pure’ form, but always and only as a more or less heterogeneous and bizarre combination. The rational and logically coherent form, the exhaustive reasoning which neglects no argument, positive or negative, of any significance, has a certain importance, but is far from being decisive. It can be decisive, but in a secondary way, when the person in question is already in a state of intellectual crisis, wavering between the old and the new, when he has lost his faith in the old and has not yet come down in favour of the new, etc.
One could say this about the authority of thinkers and experts: it is very important among the people, but the fact remains that every conception has its thinkers and experts to put forward, and authority does not belong to one side; further, with every thinker it is possible to make distinctions, to cast doubt on whether he really said such and such a thing, etc.
One can conclude that the process of diffusion of new conceptions takes place for political (that is, in the last analysis, social) reasons; but that the formal element, that of logical coherence, the element of authority and the organizational elements have a very important function in this process immediately after the general orientation has been reached, whether by single individuals or groups of a certain size. From this we must conclude, however, that in the masses as such, philosophy can only be experienced as a faith.
Imagine the intellectual position of the man of the people: he has formed his own opinions, convictions, criteria of discrimination, standards of conduct. Anyone with a superior intellectual formation with a point of view opposed to his can put forward arguments better than he and really tear him to pieces logically and so on. But should the man of the people change his opinions just because of this? Just because he cannot impose himself in a bout of argument? In that case he might find himself having to change every day, or every time he meets an ideological adversary who is his intellectual superior. On what elements, therefore, can his philosophy be founded? and in particular his philosophy in the form which has the greatest importance for his standards of conduct?
The most important element is undoubtedly one whose character is determined not by reason but by faith. But faith in whom, or in what? In particular in the social group to which he belongs, in so far as in a diffuse way it thinks as he does. The man of the people thinks that so many like-thinking people can’t be wrong, not so radically, as the man he is arguing against would like him to believe; he thinks that, while he himself, admittedly, is not able to uphold and develop his arguments as well as the opponent, in his group there is someone who could do this and could certainly argue better than the particular man he has against him; and he remembers, indeed, hearing expounded, discursively, coherently, in a way that left him convinced, the reasons behind his faith. He has no concrete memory of the reasons and could not repeat them, but he knows that reasons exist, because he has heard them expounded, and was convinced by them. The fact of having once suddenly seen the light and been convinced is the permanent reason for his reasons persisting, even if the arguments in its favour cannot be readily produced.

Three interesting articles to read over lunch...

Recognize the lunch?

More from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen on the Mass..

When we assist at the Mass we are not just individuals of the earth or solitary units, but living parts of a great spiritual order in which the Infinite penetrates and enfolds the finite, the Eternal breaks into the temporal, and the Spiritual clothes itself in the garments of materiality. Nothing more solemn exists on the face of God's earth than the awe-inspiring moment of Consecration; for the Mass is not a prayer, nor a hymn, nor something said – it is a Divine Act with which we come in contact at a given moment of time.