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Monday 7 January 2013

One of my heroes..

Pat Buchanan says a revolution will happen if POTUS mucks with our right to bear arms. I agree with him. Go to Real Clear Politics.....

In search of quiet....and found within

I went and sat by Bay St. George. Much quieter and Ulysses' Sea forms my view.

But, St. Benedict notes that one must create a space of interior quiet to which one can go at any time. That has happened to me, after practice and grace. I can carry silence around in and with me. This is the only way to be in the Presence of God continually.

But, one must grow into this, and I pity the youth who do not have the way to try it. Pray for the Millennials.

God is in the Silence.

On eating out and noise........

Because of the call to blog, I have been forced into a huge cultural change. For months, I ate alone in the monastery, as part of my discernment process. Can you imagine eating in silence (and enjoying every minute of it) and then sitting in a wifi cafe with 140 people, heavy metal, and televisions all going at the same time?

The main problem with the pursuit of perfection in the world is NOISE.

Satan has created this atmosphere of constant noise. One must be silent in order to hear God. One must be able to reflect on each activity of the day and night.

St. Julian's where I am staying is life a rough Los Vegas. It is the party place of Malta. Every type of club one can imagine may be found here. I am a bit ill and had to walk to the chemists. I passed clubs with advertising too raw for this blog. The area reminds me of The Party in HGG.

A cocktail party – of a rather more airborne, long-lasting and aggressive nature than usual – hovering above an unnamed planet and with drunken revellers from all corners of the universe. These included up to the fourth-generation descendants of the original invited guests, visiting beings including Thor the Thunder God, Trillian and the playwright who had won a Rory award (in fact the Silver Bail), and – when they arrived on their mission to save all of creation from the Krikkit Robots – Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Slartibartfast. The unnamed world is described as having been ravaged by the party (cheese and wine raids, etc.) and so reduced to abject poverty; eventually, after the Krikkit Robots have been, it is strongly suggested that the party crashed into it--thanks Wiki..

This is not the genteel part of  Malta and "We are the crazy people" rule here. Now, every vacation island and every watering hole have unmentionable clubs. But, I am thinking of souls. Eternity is a very long time, to paraphrase a famous author. Walking through St. Julian's is life seeing the edges of hell opening up for customers. Like the Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe, the advertisements reveal the ever-changing need for novelty and excitement. By the way, for my seminarian friends, did you remember that Guildford is where Ford Prefect  claimed to be from, as opposed to Betelgeuse, his home. But, I digress.

I am concerned about the youth who have never known quiet.  I am concerned about parents who cannot see that the noise kills the soul and the ability to get in touch with the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity.

Remember God is heard in the soft breeze, not in the loud thunderstorm or earthquake.

He waits in the silence for us, this Great God of Love, who is the Ruler of Peace and Order. We know who the god of chaos is....

God, let me do and think only what gives You glory...

The Rule of St. Benedict, which I attempt to do in the world, and which is the work of a spiritual genius, guards against two of the greatest temptations to perfection. The first is the primal sin of pride, which makes one choose one's will over and over and over, despite guidance, hints from the Holy Spirit, inspirations and other calm means of direction. Benedict created an atmosphere of order to facilitate holiness. We need to do this in our lay homes. We absolutely must.

Sin is simply, disorder, disorder in the passions, the appetites, the will. We cannot see God when disordered. We cannot make excuses for disorder. We cannot keep putting off personal conversion and interior purification. Our days and our times have limitations.

Pride accounts for the attitude among so many Catholics that they can pick and choose what to believe among the teachings of the Catholic Church. Oddly, this attitude of pride is not merely found among the liberal leftists, but also among those who claim to be orthodox or traditional. Disobedience is not taught at all from the pulpit and even among priests who are more orthodox, there is a heat-resistant to speak the truth. A friend of mine in Malta has told me that in all of his adult life, he has never heard a sermon against contraception. And, yet, the birth-rate is high because of Islamic and African immigrants, not because of the Maltese population.

Pride leads to disobedience at all levels. "No bishop is going to dictate what I believe". Or, "The archbishop is liberal and therefore I do not have to follow his guidance." This is dangerous thinking. Of course, the fact that altar boys are instructed NOT to take Communion by the hand at the Archbishop's Masses, and the fact that no one kneels except me, when I can get up, is part of the problem. The laity do not trust the hierarchy so when a really substantive directive occurs, the clergy are ignored.

Pride leads to excuses for sin. Sin is sin. Families deny sin in their offspring or accept worldly lifestyles rather than face the real problem of disobedience. The second sin which is ruining the Catholic mind-set or Catholic way of objectively following the wisdom of the Church is selfishness. I, me, we, are all prone to putting our needs and desires first. The nuns at Tyburn in Ireland grow some of their food, but they are reliant on donations of food. They eat worse than Americans on food-stamps by far. Most of us would not choose to live in poverty, but the days of generosity from the laity is disappearing fast. Convents and monasteries are criticized by the laity for charging a smaller fee for three meals and a night than all the bed and breakfasts, but the charge would not cover hot water, electricity, food, and so on. The selfishness of the laity create a false image in the mind of retreatants that a retreat should be like going to a four-star hotel. And, the money coming in is sparse. A good man in Malta told me that he and his family gives food to the enclosed nuns. One family cannot take care of the lifestyle. Yet, daily, as I need to blog in public, I see massive amounts of jewellery on the new barbarians, the most expensive of clothes and hair-dos which cost four times that of American beauticians.

 Selfishness creates one of the causes of the lack of vocations. The fantastic people who are my hosts have a son in the seminary. But, such Catholic families are more and more rare. The family business and the family name is more important than a parent encouraging the call from God. Pray for parents to be less selfish and more generous with their children. Again, at Tyburn, the new novices are from Nigeria, not Ireland and not England. Here, the convents of good nuns still in habit and obedient to Rome have few, very few, vocations.

Pride and selfishness. God will not ignore our sins. For our own good, He chastises us. The rain will rain on the just and the unjust, but the deluge is coming.  There is one reason why St. John the Baptist was beheaded. He spoke the hard truth and Herod and his wife did not want to hear it.

Do not close yourselves to truth, even in your families. Do not make excuses for sin.

The Second Coming  and our particular judgement are encounters of the Judge, not the Divine Mercy. That time of mercy is now.

Some people have written to me that such luxury items as jewellery, vacations, or unnecessary things. Ask yourselves this question before buying: "Will this thing give glory to God?" Do and think only what gives God glory.

I am reminded of the scene from The Road, where the Dad and the Boy walk over precious jewels, no longer meaningful in the fact of complete ruin of a civilization. They need the basics. An old can of Coke is more important than pearls and diamonds.

Do not lie to yourself. One of the worst lies I ever heard was from a woman I knew who spent thousands on her house interior decorations because it gave God glory. How?  Why?

God knows our hearts. We cannot fool Him. He will not be mocked.

Decide to let everything you do be for the glory of God alone. Do not glorify yourself, God will take care of that.

Lilith--for Sarah Six

14th Century Eve

Among the ancient mythologies of the West, and the Middle East is the story of Lilith. Apparently, she is associated with Adam's first wife, in mythology, created from the dirt and not from his ribs.  I shall come back to this point in a minute.

Lilith has been seen in art and literature as a woman of the earth, a demon, a woman who enchants men by sex along and not by the spirit or the intellect.

She is not seen as man's equal and this is the important point. She is seen as something other, a foreign person, and not part of Adam's own person.

Lilith is not Ishtar. She is not to be seen as a god, but a personification of the lower regions which appeal to a man's sexual appetites and physical instincts.

In the Vulgate, the word lamia is used, a demon who eats, or at least destroys her children. Lamia, mentioned in Horace, Keats, and Pope, also regrets the destruction of her children and can only look into her own evil, empty, tortured soul. Lamia is a sex and death creature and so is Lilith.

Now, why I am writing about this is for three reasons. Firstly, some women are Liliths. These are the women who humiliate men, but ironically, are in turn, humiliating by men, as they are or become, only sex objects.

Realizing that the religions  outside of Judaism, in the ancient Near East worshipped fertility and used sex in religious ceremonies, the connection between such Dionysian actions and a certain type of faith is as old as fallen man.

Lilith represents two aspects of the worst in women: power to seduce and the opposite side of the coin, the impossibility of being an equal mate to a man. Lilith either becomes the dark woman who has power over her men, or she becomes, after time, the plaything and simple sex object of those men.

She is conqueror and yet conquered by the very passions which she yields as a weapon.

Here is the crunch. Men like the Lilith types. They are the babes, those women who become mere extensions of men, who are not PERSONS, but merely trophy wives or spiritless females used and using men.

The dumb blond who is smart enough to marry the millionaire falls into the is category, and as long as she is NOT A REAL mate, she is safe. There are some religions who want women to only be Lilith--use your imagination here.

Also Lilith is a symbol of the woman who aborts for her own gain....yet, she laments.

In some of the stories, Lilith makes men impotent if she always has the upper hand, but too often, she plays into the socially accepted playmate, not spiritual soul mate. She can make a man strong and then bring him down. Or she can start off strong herself, but become captive of the very games she plays for power and glory.

Such is a Lilith. Men choose them, as they are enslaved by passion and then enslave in turn, buying love, stopping contradiction and discussion.

In some of the stories, Lilith is like Satan, a demon of light who is really darkness. She becomes a vampire in the western myths, and even a witch.

Second point: Lilith is not Eve. In the ancient myths (none of this is Revelation), and in true Revelation, Eve is made from the side of Adam. She is his equal in status and in dignity. She is his "soul mate", sharing the spiritual life of Adam and helping him attain salvation, if a good mate.

Of course, Eve failed, and led Adam astray. But, deception is an intellectual sin and a sin of pride.

Eve had an incredible intellect. She was not a dumb brunette. She was Adam's equal. She and he work together for good, for God. She uses her brain and is not merely a sexual object, not merely a body which feeds the passion of the man, and in turn, feeds her own.

Eve is maternal. Lilith is not. Eve gives life, and indeed, her name indicates her role. Lilith takes life, including her own, as she lives in misery for all her power.

Third point, using these mythological and real ladies, one has to deal with the psychological realities of Life and Death in the use of power and the abuse of power.

Here is where the artist comes in. A woman who is an artist needs to make a decision on how to use her power. She can use it for good or for evil.

If she is a narcissist, she will use it merely for her own pleasure and position. If she is pure of heart, she will be like the New Eve, Mary, the servant of God, the bride, the Ever-Virgin.

To be a Lilith is easy. One can either yield power or purposefully allow one's self to be manipulated for status, power, money, comfort.  But, Lilith will break and into a million pieces, like the ice-maiden that she seems to be.

To be the New Eve, like Mary our Mother and Queen is very hard. Of course, this metamorphosis entails loving God, loving the Trinity, living the sacramental grace which is called sanctifying.

For the woman who paints, or sculpts or acts, a decision to use power or give it up on purpose can be great temptations. Such self-abuse leads to death of creativity. Lilith can only eat her own children and then lament their absence.

Eve is the First Mother and Mary is the New Eve, without sin, our guide.

Myths can reveal universal truths about ourselves. They can also lead us to the real truth, the Scriptures, Revelation, and the Teaching of the Catholic Church.

Myths are attempts to find truths not yet revealed. Revelation finishes the myths with a deft brush, but we can use these for our benefit. The artist needs to be objective about her art. She needs to break away from being a Lilith, and if she is not, if she is pure of heart and follows the New Eve, the woman artist must expect hatred from the Liliths, who see, but can only mourn their lack of spirituality and offspring.

Eventually, Lilith is sterile and always thrown away by the very men she has made to worship her, as she worshipped her own body and her own power. Idolatry works both ways. But, in the end, only the New Eve, who gave us Life and Love Himself, in the Person of Her Son, through the Father and with the Holy Spirit, only Mary can bring us to freedom and life.

Artists, beware the temptation to be a Lilith. And, if you are not, be strong against those who are...Liliths.

Sadly, the Lilith paradigm is very popular at this time in art. She is a cunning creature, but remember, she lack the soul, the creativity of Eve and especially of the New Eve, Mary.

By the way, not to be too pedestrian, I think a perfect depiction of a Lilith was in Dynasty, the long-running soap on television in the eighties. Take your pick, as many Liliths graced that series, but the main one, was, of course, Alexis. She even causes a miscarriage of her rival, Krystle. Such is the destruction of the Lilith. But, as one can see in this series, Alexis is her own worst enemy.

Choose. be continued....