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Monday 2 April 2012

A Dangerous Development in France--the Rise of Communism

The Communist Left is gaining power in the run-up to the French elections and it is a dangerous thing. In the Independent today, this article and the news on the television here in the Vendee, carried the bad news on the anti-American, anti-capitalist Melenchon is gaining ground.

The second factor upsetting all calculations is the surge of support for Mr M̩lenchon's high-energy, anti-EU, anti-American, anti-big finance campaign. Mr M̩lenchon, an ex-Trotskyist and ex-Socialist, has swept up most of the support that normally scatters in the first round over candidates of the "further left". His call for a people's revolution, overturning existing financial and political institutions, has united Рunexpectedly Рsome Greens, the remaining Communists, various Trotskyists, and the anti-globalist "alternative" left.

I am concerned this will happen all over Europe. The seeds have been there waiting for the correct conditions. This period reminds me of the time before the revolution in Russia.

Blooms opening today in Japan

Today, the blossoms are blooming in Japan. Here are some Kyoto photos.

The Demands of Love--Perfection Series continued

Continuing on the theme of perfection and middle-age, I come to the writings of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. She writes, "God gives Himself wholly to the soul which gives itself wholly to Him."

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen wrote a book in 1940 about the stages of the interior life. I used some of his insights in the title yesterday, the metaphysics of love.  In his chapter entitled, The Demands of Love, the good father points out that the person who continually seeks God, will be met by Him in Love. We need the Love of God in order to love Love. A good prayer is "God give me Your Love so that I can love You." As Father Gabriel and St. John of the Cross note, this union of love is infused, but the soul can prepare itself for such a meeting of Love. The real beginning of growth is St. John's idea of nothing, NADA. We must become detached from all things, people, the past, the future, living in the now and waiting for God to meet us, as we cooperate in a purification of the senses. The empty soul is a free soul.

And only in that soul is there room for God. The NADA, the nothing, leads to the All, the TODO. How many times have we loved someone and wanted desperately to give all, to be all for this person we love. We want to be our best, to grow in love, to make the other all he or she can be as well--we wish the best always for the beloved. And, like God, we want that beloved to reach a perfection of his or her self so that he or she can be happy with God for all eternity.

So, too, God wants all the best for us and for us to be happy with Him now and in eternity. To empty ourselves is like carving out a hole in our heart for God to come in and take over. NADA-TODO.

What does it mean to give our all for God? It simply means, Father Gabriel tells us, that complete conformity to the Will of God begins this giving of our all. This is the easy and the hard part. We, as Father writes, "divest" ourselves of all that is not God.

"God, take my heart and give me Your Heart. Break all my attachments to things, people, my history, my future. Be all to me."

The Doctor of the Church and Father Gabriel want the soul to do this without delay, quickly, with generosity. Generosity means that the soul allows God to strip one of all the detachments. This is partly the "active work of the soul", that is "to let one's self be despoiled." This can be painful or joyful, or even both.

Make a resolution this week, Holy Week, to follow the way of perfection, to start being generous with God.

The Metaphysics of Love--Perfection Series continued

Reading St. John of the Cross again, at a older age, makes me realize that the world today conspires to separate the middle-aged from their true vocation in life. At a certain stage, I would say between 55-60, to begin with an arbitrary set of five years, the older person's life changes from being concerned with the outward life, such as making money, buying a house, getting married, raising a family, taking care of parents, etc. to a slower paced yet infinitely important time of life. This is the time for the development of the interior life. Without this time, a person does not reach the perfection necessary to avoid purgatory, nor does that person come into the union with God, which is possible for all.

In my mini-series on perfection, Garrigou-Lagrange repeats that all Catholics are called to this higher call of oneness with God. This call, as I have described on this blog before now, is for the many, not the few.

In the time of middle-age, the pursuit of the active, exterior life should melt away into an inner energy of the building of the interior life. Now,in this day and age of financial unrest, many middle-aged people, including myself, find that we must keep working longer than we thought, as pensions have been cut, or have disappeared entirely. The restless pursuit of the necessary, food, lodging and so on, must continue later than the baby-boomers planned. This is a serious threat to our interior growth, so important for learning and obtaining love.

The society is against us, with the false, siren call of early retirement or incessant travelling. In fact, a financial crisis may help some people my age simply stay at home, and read, pray or wow, even study their Faith.

The restlessness of youth must be supplanted by a time of reflection and withdrawal from the world. If this does not happen, the Catholic cannot grow.

Being involved in parish duties is fine, but unless there is the awareness that the interior life is like a plant which needs tending on a daily basis, the spiritual life will wither and die in the spiritual life, there is no status quo--only going forward or going back.

My advice is to simplify. Husbands and wives in the empty nest, help each other pray and meditate. If one must work, the other must help that one to time and energy for this interior life. This must be considered a priority.

The metaphysics of love demands that we are purified by active and passive transformation. We can cooperate with God in the active purification, by giving time and energy to prayer and study. As I have said before here, we need to cooperate with grace, and God only comes to those who ask Him to come. The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is given to all Catholics in the sacraments of the Church. But, the Holy Spirit will not work against our will. Actively, we seek God. Then, passively, we receive His gifts, His Love. But, this takes focus, the focus of the interior life.

to be continued.....