Wednesday 13 June 2012
Will be a six post day. Why, oh why, would any woman be jealous of Monsieur Normal? It must be the attraction to power thing, to which so many women are not immune. The tweet that went viral yesterday is here. Ah, the French are so entertaining. For a man who lack convictions, except for socialism and his own career, I find these women amazing. But, then, I am only a little bit French and more Luxembourgian, and therefore, perhaps, less romantic, and not jealous, nor ever have been.
Politics and love do not mix. By the way, if you have not seen the interesting article on Hollande in the periodical, Standpoint, I suggest reading it in this month's edition, Issue 43. You may look back at my many anti-Hollande posts leading up and shortly after the election. France will regret losing Sarkowzy, I think and as I prophesied. Not rocket science...
Why I am not there...The Church has been given the mandate to tell the world how to live, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations." This Archbishop should be talking about the Church Militant and not pandering the world. The world, the flesh and the devil are the enemies of the Church. Unless the Archbishop's definition is different than mine, I think he sounds like any priest from the 1970s who cannot bear to face the reality of the suffering of the Church Militant. No more "happy-clappy" theology, please.
The Archbishop went on to state that: "The Gospel must be preached courageously even if it does not seem to find roots in people’s lives," he added. "Resignation and keeping things ticking over will never renew the Church. A divided squabbling Church will not attract young people but only alienate them. On the other hand, no one should fear the message of the Gospel."
His message is confusing. The Gospel being a fearful message is a weird phrase I have never heard before. Nor, do I know what he means by squabbling. Is he referring to a vision of a false ecumenism? Is he referring to the trads? I agree with him that we should never be resigned, but I am not into his type of rhetoric. There is only one thing which will truly renew the world at this time and that is The Traditional Mass. Without the spirituality of the TLM, the Church will not be renewed. Our Pope knows this.
Let me quote the Pope, briefly on the world:
"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires... The church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties.... We must become mature in this adult faith, we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith."
"A new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished-not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty - a new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption that deaden our souls and poison our relationships."
"A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God."
One of the greatest books in the world is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. Now, when I read a novel, I skip the learned introductions until I have finished the book, as I want to discover for myself the riches of the text without being given a map to do so.
What has struck me is that this is one of those novels which takes one completely away from the world in which we live to another world. Not many works of literature can do this. This transportation of the imagination lies in a masterpiece, such as Dante's Divine Comedy, Dickens' Little Dorrit, or E. M. Foster's Howard's End. Few book or poems can carry us into the mind of the maker, who creates for us a world of characters, events, and the majesty of language, even caught in translation. We are transported out of our grey world into a world of intensity and insight, colours and mystery, love, life, death.
The fact that the Count plays God and learns that he is a man who needs love and forgiveness, like all men and women, is one of the themes. That the Count is open to love after realizing the depths of his own sin and the horror of the evil in the world, is a theme of transcendent hope. In fact, the two last words in the novel are "wait" and "hope"-- the mark of the Christian in this world of darkness and uncertainty.
Another theme, and I have refused to read the scholarly introduction, is that suffering is redemptive. Of course, in 2012, most people no longer believe in this truth.
God allows suffering, although He does not necessary will it is His Love and Mercy. That some of us suffer more than others is a great mystery. The Book of Job holds that mystery. The Count of Monte Cristo does as well.
Suffering can be caused by many things, such as illness, poverty, or failure. But, the greatest suffering is not to have experienced love in this world. To live without experiencing human love is the greatest suffering.
Can there be a greater suffering than the lack of experiencing true love?
Christ allowed Himself to die at the hands of His Own People. He was betrayed to the enemy and endured the pain only a God, only the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity could suffer-that of all the terrible suffering which man inflicts on other men in this vale of tears.
For me, love is always a gift, even if unrequited. I would rather have experienced love, and not have it returned, than not to have loved at all. This takes courage. This is the Love of God on the Cross.
The Count learns what it is to sacrifice freely, willingly, for the sake of others. He is rewarded by a second chance to love and be loved. Would that we were all given a second chance in love and life.
I remember a great line from The Importance of Being Earnest. Miss Prism is speaking to Cecily about the three volume novel the governess-companion wrote. She states about the story that, "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means."
But, in Christianity, the good end happily and the bad unhappily, as the story of Redemption has created for once and for all, the happy ending. One can read Tolkien on this for more insight. But, we can see this ourselves in the Gospel and in the Teachings of the Church. We know that the only real Truth is the happy ending. Wait and hope.
The Count finds new love and he is able to return such love, after realizing he has gone too far in his revenge. He is generous and forgiving, finally, and finds generosity and forgiveness. This is a novel written in the Christian spirit of hope and love, waiting and finding.
I still have not read the scholarly introduction. I already know the philosophy of Dumas, being familiar with The Three Musketeers, which readers of my age grew up with on the shelves at home. Our fathers came from the age of heroes, and Dumas' generation was similar. Real heroism is found in sacrificial love. We have the best example in the world. He is our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.
As a post-script, it always astounds me how much writing these great men, like Dickens and Dumas, did in their short lives. Dumas was 68 when he died, after a career in journalism, drama, novels, and even children's books. One is in awe of such genius. For my part, this novel is one of my favorites. If, dear readers, you have not read it, do so.
This blog could be called "have lap-top will travel", or, "woman with computer". Here are two women in the 1950s with an early IBM computer. Love the dresses and the shoes!
I have noticed something in my travels. There are locations where people are consistently happier or consistently unhappier than people in other areas. I have been wondering about this phenomenon. Do happy people congregate in one area and grumpy people in another? Maybe unreal expectations create grumpiness.
I have also noticed the sad disappearance among youth of culture and manners. Two young women yesterday, one from America and one from another country were rude to me, simply because they have not learned manners or a gentle manner of being. Their mothers were responsible for passing on such virtues. What happened? A lack of Christian training is at root. Yes, children, even girls, must be brought up wanting to be feminine and wanting to see their femaleness in light of Christianity.
I have not seen a young woman between 17 and 25 who looks like a female in over three months,except for the Japanese tourists, who is every country I have been to in the past year, dress and act like women. This generation in England and Ireland dresses in the ugliest fashions. I wrote about this early on the blog. Why be ugly when one can be beautiful? Odd, as youth is the time of beauty, to choose "ugly". Where is the spirituality of the Christian woman?
I have come to three conclusions on these musings and I would invite comments.
First, many young people never go to places where they must or should dress up. The lack of concerts, art exhibits, even church gatherings which not longer demand dress have diminished. Now, in a certain class, and in certain families, such as the one in which I grew up, dressing up for certain occasions was the rule. We had formal dances, proms, teas, concerts, art openings, dinners, weddings, baptisms, even funerals at which certain dress was the order of the day.
I am amazed.
Now, I have also seen that the women who dress down are not happy. Sorry, but this is true, and the older women, even older than myself, who have shown me such unhappiness that I cannot imagine why they live in the places they do, mostly very up-market, dress like Mao fanatics.
I just do not understand. We women have a grace from God which is part of our female person- hood. I am a female, and I am proud of the fact that I am a daughter of God the Father. My confidence is in God, not my clothes, but as part of the heritage of the Incarnation, I try and do my best to be female and be feminine in this world of androgyny. Catholic women have a duty to do so.
Unhappiness creates a style of dressing which reveals the deep sadness of a soul. Grumpiness can be a bad habit.
My second point is this. Unhappiness spreads. Negativity spreads. There are certain places in England and Ireland I would not live in for a million pounds. In these areas, and I shall not name towns or cities, materialism is god. The tawdry is in and people seem very discontent. How sad. Negativity is a mind-set. One can choose to be positive or negative. One may be born melancholy and perhaps the gene pool collects such melancholics into one town or city. But, the Christian is not allowed to wallow in existential angst or uncertainty or sadness. In fact, sadness can be a choice of sinning, like cynicism. I choose not to live with negative people unless my little light can bring some joy into a situation. We choose our environments, our nurture as well as our nature. We choose to be happy or unhappy, despite circumstances.
Is not love always the answer?
A Catholic woman should bring beauty into her world. This does not have to be expensive, as it is an attitude, not an expensive wardrobe. For some reason, young women do not bring beauty into a room or a house or a college. Why? We have lost the art of the feminine. We must re-discover, as Catholic women, beauty in ourselves and others, bringing that beauty wherever we go. I believe it is a "Christian thing". Beauty brings light into a room, peace into a family, and respect into a relationship. It springs from the soul. Beauty is connected, believe it or not, to modesty. Modesty is also an attitude, of respect for one's self and others. I found this quotation, which perhaps is connected with happiness as well:
chastity, or purity of
manners. In this
results from purity of
mind, or from
the fear of
modesty is the
sweetest charm of
female excellence, the
richest gem in the
diadem of their
If one ever wanted to use popular media in order to teach a class on modernist and not so modern heresies, one would only have to read and comment on the letters to the editor in The Tablet to the pupils. I have seen, just this week, Pelagianism, relativism, eirenism, Semipelagianism, and, of course, immanentism. Ah, The Tablet provides so much entertainment.
On a more serious level, as the laity has not had decent catechesis for years and is too ideological to read the CCC, the editorials push heresies like drug dealers on the edge of the school play-ground. For example, in one editorial this past week, one editor was harping on the lack of change in the synodal structures of the Catholic Church, wanting a church which resembles that of the Anglicans. What? Why?
The Anglican church will implode this summer with the likely vote for women bishops, thus finally showing to the world that the Anglicans are simply not Catholic. We welcome all the Anglo-Catholics who have seen or will see the light-that the Anglican church is not the one they really believe in.
That the editors feel that the structure of democratic voting is a good thing astounds me. The article hearkened back to ARCIC on church structure, (which I read long ago), a commission now surpassed by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the Ordinariate.
I love the liberal phrase, "the management of the Church" as if the structure of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church can be reduced to committees and democracy.
Until the liberals leave off whining about not being heard in Rome, as they rapidly lose ground to the real Church Militant, I guess we shall have to put up with drivel. But, then, we do not have to read drivel. I do, simply to warn those who might be open enough to realize heresy abounds in England's so-called elite rag. It is a dying animal, however, and will become extinct.O
I want to quote from Pope Benedict's book, Feast of Faith, on love, which is a quotation that would have fit into my long series on love.
"...love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives."
"Yes, there is such a thing as love, therefore there is hope."
"...love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives."
"Yes, there is such a thing as love, therefore there is hope."