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Tuesday 23 July 2013

On Self-Denial And Perfection

My Daily Bread was a popular book in the 1950s and 1960s. My parents had it on their bookshelf. It is a book of meditations on the spiritual life written by Father Anthony J. Paone, SJ.  One of my readers sent me this section and asked for a clarification. I shall be a bit personal, as my own struggles seem to help some of you. My comments are in blue.

Zeal for Perfection


MY CHILD, do not be afraid of the daily battle for perfection. If you had even a passing
glimpse of the heavenly glory which I have prepared for you, you would joyfully embrace
any trial and all sufferings for My sake. But I want you to do so without seeing the eternal
reward. Strive for perfection with the best and purest motive. Do it because I deserve such
effort and loyalty.

So far, so good, as this is in keeping with the perfection series I wrote on this blog.

2. Look for opportunities to contradict yourself. This mortification will be your surest sign
of spiritual progress. Beware of self-deception. Suspect your motives even in the good
within you. Root out all foolish self-seeking by a constant self-contradiction.

OK, this is the hard part. Mortification means penance. Self-seeking is the lack of humility, which is pride. Self-contradiction is doing the opposite of what you want to do. I shall give some examples,

3. This supernatural self-contradiction will purify your love for Me. However, even in this
self-contradiction you must be ready at all times to obey your superiors. The higher you
aim in the way of perfection, so much the more do you need the guidance and counsel of
others. He who follows the will of superiors is more perfect than one who follows his own
will in these matters. Obedience is the surest proof of generosity with Me.

For example, in the monastery, it was easy for me to self-contradict, as the entire schedule was outside of my control and I only had to obey, with grace. But, in the world, we have many opposite pulls. We are not under obedience most of the time in the same way. However, we cannot speed if we feel like it in the car, and we cannot drink and drive, so we are obedient in some ways. We pay our taxes and do our familial duties. However, self-contradiction is much more than this.

Those Catholics who are not obedient are endangering their immortal souls. For example, if any Catholic uses contraception, or IVF, or does not give to the Church, or skips Mass on Holy Days of Obligation and so forth, these disobediences are huge obstacles to grace.

Let us continue...

4. Avoid false virtue. Never do anything which would prevent you from fulfilling your
daily obligations. Any form of self-discipline which makes you uncharitable or
inconsiderate of others is not from Me. Be eager to have your virtues tested by the
experiences of daily life. Do not fear misunderstandings, failures, humiliations, or
sufferings. Fear only to see your day go by without some sound spiritual progress.

For example, today was another hot day. I live next to a coffee shop and love iced coffee. But, right now, I cannot afford to buy an iced coffee. God has allowed me a chance to deny my desire for iced coffee in good grace, joyfully. He has imposed a self-contradiction upon me, as He knows I am too weak to do this myself. Being poor is a daily self-contradiction, as one cannot go where one wants to go, do what one want to do, eat what one wants to eat or drink what one wants to drink. One cannot buy the clothes one would like, or even get teeth fixed or new shoes, etc.

The denial of such can be willingly done and if so, this is willing self-contradiction-like nuns wearing black all the time or a habit, like those of us who are single not having sexual relations or even thinking about such, All these denials of self are self-contradictions. I have not had desserts for over a month, so yesterday I bought some cookies and candies. But, the more perfect thing would have been to deny myself those sweets, even though I thought I needed them.

But, there are spiritual ones as well. I wanted to be a nun. God did not want me to be a nun. He contradicted my own spiritual pride in wanting to do the hardest thing for Him. So, spiritually, I rejoice in the humbler, less immediately holy way to which He has called me.


If I desire true spiritual progress without self-deception, I must embrace this sure way of
self-contradiction. I can do it in two ways. Firstly, I can willingly embrace the unexpected
disappointments and unforeseen sufferings which come to me throughout the day, thanking
God for them. In these trials I can renew my self-offering to His divine Will. Secondly, I
can seek opportunities to contradict my natural preferences and desires, so that I may offer
my will more fully to God. In all this, however, I must always be prepared to obey the
corrections and counsels of my spiritual guide and of my legitimate superiors. Only then
can I be sure that my desire for perfection is complete.

A magazine refused an article of mine recently, and I was a bit sad. But, I quickly realized that this was a chance for humility and I thanked God for the rejection. When this is automatic, I shall know I am truly humble, which I am not.

Someone walked in front of me rudely today (happens daily) and I was a bit peeved. But, I quickly saw it as an opportunity for self-denial.  Now, if one is used to be perfect, such a rudeness becomes the cause for joy, as not only do I deserve rudeness for my sins, but who am I to expect preference?

One can seek such opportunities, such as offering to do something regularly which one does not like to do, or accepting things when asked which are contrary to one's desires, as long as these things are not sin.

Those people who live alone in loneliness and desire love meet this self-contradiction daily. There are so many like this-but the pain of being overlooked in love can be a chance for self-contradiction. I want to be loved by a human, but I am not, therefore, I accept God's Will is being made holy in this way. And, so on.

Our Lord's entire life was one of self-contradiction. He, as the epistle notes, humbled Himself to the state of a slave. Can you imagine God becoming Man for our sake? Such is the ultimate self-contradiction.


My God, my greatest Treasure, enlighten my mind to appreciate You more fully. Arouse
my generosity to offer You the unreserved love which You deserve. Strengthen my efforts
to give myself to You more fully throughout the day. Cast out of my heart all worry about
the past, all preoccupation with the present, and all fear of the future. Fix my mind so
completely on Your goodness that I may hunger only for one thing-to contradict myself for
love of You. You deserve the best that is in me. Let me give it without hesitation. Take my
love in whatever way You desire it, whether in sufferings of the body or trials of the mind.
I want only one thing-to give You all that I am and all that I have. Jesus is my Model of
this self-giving. He was born poor in the stable of Bethlehem, and died poor upon the cross
of Calvary. His poverty was due to His voluntary self-giving for my sake. I hope to imitate
Jesus in His self-giving. Amen

What Some Catholics Do Not Understand-The Reason for Persecution

"King Antiochus of God is revealed" a coin of the time of persecution
Now I urge those who read this book not to be depressed by such calamities, but to recognize that these punishments were designed not to destroy but to discipline our people 2 Maccabees 6

Many younger Catholics understand we are headed for real persecution. Those who do not can read my previous posts on the stages of such persecution. We are in the beginning of the last stage.

But, many Catholics think that persecution is for punishing the wicked. Not so. Look at the quotation above from Maccabees. Persecution is for the good of the Church. For our good, individually and collectively.

No one who is honest can deny that evils entered the Church in the past sixty years or so. People, including leaders, became complacent, and worse, seriously full of sin. The case of contraception is merely one part of the evil-even today. There are many priests, and even bishops in England, who do not teach that Humanae Vitae is an infallible document.

And, in America, some seminaries are still, in 2013, accepting homosexuals as future priests and have homosexuals on the staff.  Also, the laity do not correct one another and ignore sin, which is not only hypocritical, as not abiding by one's baptismal promises, but encouraging evil. Many Catholics are not obedient, and get involve in New Age practices and false private revelations, all which are disobedient actions and are sinful. Many Catholics are not orthodox. This is unfaithfulness. This is sin.

So, the Church must be purified. The lavendar mafia is only one aspect. The sins against children are only one aspect. The tacit agreement and support of abortion by Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians is only one aspect.

The blasphemies against God and the sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion as well as abuses in the Liturgy add to the list.

As seen in Maccabees, God is faithful and will not let His People go to hell. He wants the salvation of those in His Church as well as outside the Church.

Persecution is for us, folks. If you cannot see this, you are ignoring the evil which is in the Church. The Maccabees started with themselves, fasting, praying, fighting and witnessed great miracles.

We cannot expect miracles unless we pursue purity of heart. Pray, fast, reflect, think, act.

By request from a reader on St. Bridget of Sweden

Pray for Europe.

Today is the Feast of St. Bridget of Sweden, one of the patronesses of Europe. The other patrons of Europe are St. Benedict, St. Cyril and St. Methodius. We celebrated her day today at Mass. Her dates are 1303-1373. She was a queen who became a nun and a saint. I love her because she loved the Church so much. One of her daughter, Catherine, is a saint as well. Here is one quotation from St. Bridget for your meditation today from her Revelations from Christ:

The castle I spoke about previously is the Holy Church and the souls of Christians, which I built with my own blood and that of the saints. I cemented and joined it with my love and placed my friends and chosen men in it. The foundation is true faith, that is, to believe that I am a righteous and merciful judge.

Now, however, this foundation is undermined because all believe and preach that I am merciful, but almost no one preaches or believes me to be a righteous judge. They view me as an unjust judge! Unjust and unrighteous, indeed, would the judge be who, out of mercy, allowed the unrighteous to go unpunished, so that they could oppress the righteous even more! But I am a righteous and merciful judge; for I do not let even the least sin go unpunished, nor the least good go unrewarded. By the undermining of this wall’s foundation, there entered into the Holy Church people who sin without fear, who deny that I am a righteous judge, and who torment my friends as severely as those who are placed in the stocks. My friends have no joy or consolation given to them but, instead, every kind of mockery and torment are inflicted upon them as if they were possessed by the devil. When they tell the truth about me, they are rejected and accused of lying.

I shall be interested in WYD when...

There is a saying, perhaps apocryphal, which is attributed to St. John Bosco. He said that he thought that one out of four boys had a vocation to the priesthood.

He said boys, not men with late vocations.

Now, if there are really one million youth at WYD, as some sites are claiming, then let us say that 75% are single. Let us then do the maths that half of those are young men. This number would now be 375,000 young men. A quarter of those would be, therefore, 93,750 of the young men, according to Don Bosco,  who would have a calling to the priesthood.

When I start seeing those types of numbers of priestly vocations coming out of WYD, I shall be more interested.

I repeat, in 2010, there were almost seven billion people in the world and about 119,000 major seminarians. I am not interested in youth events, but religious activity which is long lasting and real. I do know a few priests who told me they discovered a vocation at a WYD. They are John Paul II priests, as it were.

The numbers above are inflated, based on the claims of a million in Rio today. But, the ratios remain. At a minimum, every WYD, we should be getting inspirations for 30,000 priests. That would be a conservative figure.

The same calculations could be done for the vocation to marriage. Catholic marriages are shrinking in both Europe and the US. Again, if youth are truly coming back to Christ and the Church, this should be seen in a movement of energy and commitment in the parishes. Youth events are useless unless we see real fruit. I hope and pray for results, not hype.

On Liturgical Discipline Lost

In every NO I attend in Ireland, about 25% of the congregation say some of the words of the Mass which are the words of the priests only. This includes the words of Consecration.

I am baffled by this. Unless dementia onset comes earlier to some in Ireland and people honestly do not know what they are doing, I can only believe that somewhere along the line this has been encouraged and not stopped by good priests/

I hardly know what to do. I have witnessed this in many congregations in several different towns, so it is not just a "Dublin thing". But, to hear a woman kneeling next to me, or a man in front of me saying bits that the priest is only supposed to say is distracting. There are too many Catholics doing this for me to correct them.

How did this happen

Can it please end?

I hope it is not some latent heresy such as these people thinking that they are some type of priesthood.


Also, I am glad to say that the Carmelites at Whitefriars are now saying the correct form of the NO, which some were not doing in December, when I visited last.

However, as at Clarendon Street today, I was surrounded by Irish men and women who will not say the new parts correctly. Come on-it has been over a year since the changes came in.

Sigh, for liturgical correctness in the NO, we need direction and discipline. I did talk to one priest about it and he told me that he had told the parish not to do this, but some do not listen. Sigh....the tyranny of the laity.

Grace Is Not Fairy Dust--Ranting on Magical Thinking Again

Grace is not fairy dust. Grace is the life of God given to us in several ways. There are also many posts on grace. One can use the search bar or the labels or the tags. Sacramentals. Here is merely the section on sacramentals in the CCC:

1667 "Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy."173
The characteristics of sacramentals
1668 Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man. In accordance with bishops' pastoral decisions, they can also respond to the needs, culture, and special history of the Christian people of a particular region or time. They always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign, such as the laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, or the sprinkling of holy water (which recalls Baptism).
1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a "blessing," and to bless.174 Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).175
1670 Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church's prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. "For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God."176

1677 Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare men to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.
1678 Among the sacramentals blessings occupy an important place. They include both praise of God for his works and gifts, and the Church's intercession for men that they may be able to use God's gifts according to the spirit of the Gospel.
1679 In addition to the liturgy, Christian life is nourished by various forms of popular piety, rooted in the different cultures. While carefully clarifying them in the light of faith, the Church fosters the forms of popular piety that express an evangelical instinct and a human wisdom and that enrich Christian life.

Sacramentals are for the Faithful. If you are talking with a person to convert them and praying for them and the time is right to pass on a medal or rosary, fine. But, it is your prayers and your efforts, through the grace of God which converts. The Holy Spirit converts, not a thing. 

I have written on the danger of magical thinking. This type of thinking is not the same as having faith and praying for people, situations or things.

Magical thinking is irrational, whereas intercessory prayer is not. Magical thinking believes that an item or a prayer must be attached to a particular object, or that a person must do particular things to get answers. Also, magical thinking denies suffering and working.

Working means work. So many women in Ireland have told me that God will take care of the abortion issue. No, we have to do such work. The laity, the Church Militant if you prefer that great title, provide the hands and eyes, and ears and feet of God in the world.

There will be no deus ex machina.

And, I am sorry, but medals and holy water do not take the place of hard political work.

Prayer and fasting, yes. Throwing holy water on people will not convert them. This is a misuse of sacramentals, as is the idea that one can bury a medal in the ground and convert the people in that house. Sorry, that is a misuse of sacramentals and is superstitious thinking.

Sorry about the rant, but magical thinking ends in nothing happening and reveals a childish, not childlike, mindset.

Here are some other posts on the dangers of magical thinking. Work and pray, but do not indulge in magical thinking. It is not God's Way.

Seeking Perfection in The 6th Century

Thanks to Wiki for the Exeter Book First Page of the Poem

The Wanderer

Often the solitary one
finds grace for himself
the mercy of the Lord,
Although he, sorry-hearted,
must for a long time
move by hand
along the waterways,
(along) the ice-cold sea,
tread the paths of exile.
Events always go as they must!
So spoke the wanderer,
mindful of hardships,
of fierce slaughters
and the downfall of kinsmen:
Often (or always) I had alone
to speak of my trouble
each morning before dawn.
There is none now living
to whom I dare
clearly speak
of my innermost thoughts.
I know it truly,
that it is in men
a noble custom,
that one should keep secure
his spirit-chest (mind),
guard his treasure-chamber (thoughts),
think as he wishes.
The weary spirit cannot
withstand fate (the turn of events),
nor does a rough or sorrowful mind
do any good (perform anything helpful).
Thus those eager for glory
often keep secure
dreary thoughts
in their breast;
So I,
often wretched and sorrowful,
bereft of my homeland,
far from noble kinsmen,
have had to bind in fetters
my inmost thoughts,
Since long years ago
I hid my lord
in the darkness of the earth,
and I, wretched, from there
travelled most sorrowfully
over the frozen waves,
sought, sad at the lack of a hall,
a giver of treasure,
where I, far or near,
might find
one in the meadhall who
knew my people,
or wished to console
the friendless one, me,
entertain (me) with delights.
He who has tried it knows
how cruel is
sorrow as a companion
to the one who has few
beloved friends:
the path of exile (wræclast) holds him,
not at all twisted gold,
a frozen spirit,
not the bounty of the earth.
He remembers hall-warriors
and the giving of treasure
How in youth his lord (gold-friend)
accustomed him
to the feasting.
All the joy has died!
And so he knows it, he who must
forgo for a long time
the counsels
of his beloved lord:
Then sorrow and sleep
both together
often tie up
the wretched solitary one.
He thinks in his mind
that he embraces and kisses
his lord,
and on his (the lord's) knees lays
his hands and his head,
Just as, at times (hwilum), before,
in days gone by,
he enjoyed the gift-seat (throne).
Then the friendless man
wakes up again,
He sees before him
fallow waves
Sea birds bathe,
preening their feathers,
Frost and snow fall,
mixed with hail.
Then are the heavier
the wounds of the heart,
grievous (sare) with longing for (æfter) the lord.
Sorrow is renewed
when the mind (mod) surveys
the memory of kinsmen;
He greets them joyfully,
eagerly scans
the companions of men;
they always swim away.
The spirits of seafarers
never bring back there much
in the way of known speech.
Care is renewed
for the one who must send
very often
over the binding of the waves
a weary heart.
Indeed I cannot think
why my spirit
does not darken
when I ponder on the whole
life of men
throughout the world,
How they suddenly
left the floor (hall),
the proud thanes.
So this middle-earth,
a bit each day,
droops and decays -
Therefore man (wer)
cannot call himself wise, before he has
a share of years in the world.
A wise man must be patient,
He must never be too impulsive
nor too hasty of speech,
nor too weak a warrior
nor too reckless,
nor too fearful, nor too cheerful,
nor too greedy for goods,
nor ever too eager for boasts,
before he sees clearly.
A man must wait
when he speaks oaths,
until the proud-hearted one
sees clearly
whither the intent of his heart
will turn.
A wise hero must realize
how terrible it will be,
when all the wealth of this world
lies waste,
as now in various places
throughout this middle-earth
walls stand,
blown by the wind,
covered with frost,
storm-swept the buildings.
The halls decay,
their lords lie
deprived of joy,
the whole troop has fallen,
the proud ones, by the wall.
War took off some,
carried them on their way,
one, the bird took off
across the deep sea,
the gray wolf
shared one with death,
the dreary-faced
man buried
in a grave.
And so He destroyed this city,
He, the Creator of Men,
until deprived of the noise
of the citizens,
the ancient work of giants
stood empty.
He who thought wisely
on this foundation,
and pondered deeply
on this dark life,
wise in spirit,
remembered often from afar
many conflicts,
and spoke these words:
Where is the horse gone? Where the rider?
Where the giver of treasure?
Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup!
Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away,
dark under the cover of night,
as if it had never been!
Now there stands in the trace
of the beloved troop
a wall, wondrously high,
wound round with serpents.
The warriors taken off
by the glory of spears,
the weapons greedy for slaughter,
the famous fate (turn of events),
and storms beat
these rocky cliffs,
falling frost
fetters the earth,
the harbinger of winter;
Then dark comes,
nightshadows deepen,
from the north there comes
a rough hailstorm
in malice against men.
All is troublesome
in this earthly kingdom,
the turn of events changes
the world under the heavens.
Here money is fleeting,
here friend is fleeting,
here man is fleeting,
here kinsman is fleeting,
all the foundation of this world
turns to waste!
So spake the wise man in his mind,
where he sat apart in counsel.
Good is he who keeps his faith,
And a warrior must never speak
his grief of his breast too quickly,
unless he already knows the remedy -
a hero must act with courage.
It is better for the one that seeks mercy,
consolation from the father in the heavens,
where, for us, all permanence rests.
written about 597 or as late as 1000 AD

A repeat for pondering

I wrote this last year and despite the signs of the times, this movement, will die in an age of barbarism. Even the revolutionaries got it wrong. Excuse the formatting, there are google problems this side of the Pond...

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Ultimate Failure of Transformational Marxists

Some of you have wondered when I was going to write my anti-Gramsci articles here. Well, here is the first of many. I wrote on this before many years ago and now it is time to dig in and get dirty on this blog. Here is where some of my information is from, but not all, as some is my own construct over the years. Also, there is another link below for summaries.There are many sites on Gramsci if one wants a bibliography, I can send one on request. But, the letters are key. Just remember that the key to understanding all of this is that the ideology is based on materialism, that there is no spiritual world. The old Marxism is not exactly the same as Gramsci's ideas, except in the denial of the spiritual and the emphasis on pragmatism, but that denial of a spiritual hierarchy is key. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, "Communism is based on a materialistic and humanistic view of life and history. According to Communist theory, matter, not mind or spirit, speaks the last word in the universe. Such a philosophy is avowedly secularistic and atheistic. Under it, God is merely a figment of the imagination, religion is a product of fear and ignorance, and the church is an invention of the rulers to control the masses. Moreover, Communism, like humanism, thrives on the grand illusion that man, unaided by any divine power, can save himself and usher in a new society--"

Gramsci wrote that "the mode of being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in eloquence … but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organiser, "permanent persuader" and not just a simple orator…"  See above. Here is where the Chomskyites and Alinskyites come in. with grass roots political and social activism. But, there is more...The intellectuals were not merely to be in academia, or politics, but everywherechanging the philosophical roots of the culture from within. Again, the emphasis is on pragmatism and what works in the relationships between people and groups of people,such as labor unions. However, what actually binds people together to want to do things together is a less than satisfactory explanation, being basically the historical context of "subjectivism", lacking any hierarchical ideology and denying any universals. In other words, humans create their own reality which changes constantly in history and context. This is a variation of the heresy of immanentism, which states that there is no God outside of man, and leads to the complete denial of God. Of course, if all meaning and history are created by humans, there is no God or plan outside the temporary. Historicism is a combination of immanentism and false progressivism or evolutionism, all condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical against Modernism (Star-Trek theories). Simplified here and here.

Gramsci also wrote of what he called the "long march through culture", although some scholars claim it was another person who said that, which was his idea of infiltrating the media, the Church, journalism, schools, universities, the judiciary and so on. In the posting below on Levin a day ago, one can see how this has happened in government and political theory.  Georg Lukacs, Gramsci's follower, was the one who came up with the idea of sex education as undermining Christianity in the culture. One can see that in Ireland today, with the push to end Catholicism in schools. This has already happened in England. These ideas have been part of the elite of education in America, in Great Britain and now, in Ireland since the 1950s. By placing anti-Christian curricula in the schools such as anti-abstinence and pro-homosexuality, the Christian, and specifically, the Catholic religion would be destroyed in the culture. Now, this is mainstream. In addition, Latin and Greek were to be removed from the curricula, so that the continuity of Catholic and Western culture would be destroyed. All this has happened. It happened a long time ago when my brothers were in high school, and now they are in their early fifties. They did not get Classical Education. Some of these references are here.

I had Classical Education, including Latin, and world history, as well as Church history, logic, ethics, civics, Plato, Aristole, etc.  I was in the last generation to get the pre-Gramsci education, which was based on the Jesuits and on the Catholic-based Western Civilization. The destruction is now all but complete. All this was done in the name of "democracy" and the destruction of elitism. Anyone who decries elitism is a Gramscian at heart. In the early 2000s, I had a little business as a curriculum consultant, helping schools either move back to Classical Education or created new schools in this mode. Many people did this at the college level, like the founders of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, or Wyoming Catholic, or Thomas More College. It works. Young people learn how to think and how to preserve the beauty of Western Civilization. They discern the Marxist fallacy of class warfare in the present milieu and the nihilism of Post-Modernism. 

A drop in the ocean, I am afraid, are these efforts, as the powers that be are outlawing independence in education and outlawing home schooling. Look at developments this week in Sweden. The term "social engineering" has come to mean many things, but in academia and in politics, it means the appropriation of Gramsci and Lukacs' ideals of infiltration and destruction, of the emphasis on the pragmatic and not the person. In the construction of a new society based on relationships, this destruction of frameworks of relationship seems counter-productive. But, for Gramsci, humans are capable of inter-relating without religion or even metaphysics of any kind. I always wonder when reading this why people would bother to work for such a society.

Why? Because these men hate the Church and Western Civ, they set out to destroy both, knowing what Belloc so succinctly wrote that  "The Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith."  Thanks to Gramsci and others, like Kant, we barely have the Faith and we barely have Europe....Gramscians deny that he intended to destroy culture, but I cannot see that his explanations and plans mean anything but that as a consequence of human activity to set up a society without Faith or the culture based on that Faith. Herein lies a paradox in Gramsci.

When I met my first true follower of Gramsci he said to me. "One cannot be a scholar and a Catholic." The implication was that only those who had thrown off the tyranny of the teaching of the Church, of Aquinas, Bonaventure, Augustine, even Maritain or Gilson, could one think. Not so, as Gramsci himself needed the past to resconstruct or rather desconstruct Western society. He relied on the writings of some of the "great books", the same he seemed to decry. The Gramscian error lies in the fact that the Marxist has just accepted another ideology in place of the teachings of the Catholic Church, and one more illogical and self-serving than that of the Church. Gramsci's emphasis on intellectuals and activists leading society away from the Church and Western Civilization just replaces one ideal system for his own. The error lies in the denial of the basic premises of natural law philosophy and the desire of the human will for freedom from social engineering. Over and over, he writes about historicism, mentioned above, the idea that humans get their identity from societal relationships and not from nature. In this sense, Gramsci is the arch-relativist, the grave error of the American educational systems today. He is a relativist also in so far as he does not believe in the absolute materialism of the Marxist, but a created, practical materialism. This pragmatism may be where one sees Gramsci being influenced by Machiavelli, the ultimate pragmatist. However, even with relativism or utilitarianism,  a backlash comes eventually and the backlash is barbarism. The only idea that has historically changed the barbarian is Christianity.

The reason why barbarism is the ultimate failure of Gramsci's desire for atheistic communism is that the lowest common denominator of a human mode of being emerges from the death of the West.  Communism and historicism fall to the armies of complete selfish, narcissistic individuals who only think of themselves and not the common good. Ergo, the Russian mafia. There is no longer a common good. There is no state to adore. This is complete Post-modernist deconstructionism and nihilism. In the post-society, the only remaining ideals are the death-wish and the desire for power. Interestingly enough, Gramsci was against worship of the state and believed that the proletariat could rule without such an organization. He thought that a regulated society could rule itself-this is the false ideal of utopianism, see post below on Levin's book. Order does not spring out of mere pragmatism. In fact, I would state that relativism and atheistic anarchy comes out of utilitarianism. Here is the difference between Michelle and POTUS. She is a true Alinksy activist and he is a narcissist. However, they both fall into the Gramsci camp of relativism.

Sadly, all of the idealism of the Gramscian falls to the neo-barbarians desires for personal, physical satisfaction and the death-wish. What Gramsci and his followers fail to take into consideration is raw evil, or Evil, if one can be so primitive as to believe, as I do , that Evil is a Person, who is pure spirit. The idealism of the Marxist or neo-Marxist cannot stand up against the greed and hatred of the world, the flesh and the devil. It doesn't matter in the long run, as the Marxist, as well as Evil, desires the destruction of the West and the Catholic Church. Marxism undoes itself by unleashing deeper powers, such as one understands in the dabbling of the occult. There is always something under the atheism and narcissism. But, those who deny the spiritual world. those who are complete materialists, overlook this important concept. In that spiritual world is found naked power. In the praxis of history and human activity, as described by Gramsci, there is no accounting for this evil. However, evil exists. It states, "Non serviam" I will not serve. Jeremiah 2:20--"Of old time thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve. For on every high hill, and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself."

That is what the neo-barbarians understand. Naked power does not need an ideology in order to succeed. Power just wants power. However, the good news is that such power undoes itself. It self-destructs over and over again. That is the nature of evil-it cannot create, it can only destroy. But, destroy, it does.


In case you did not notice, the perfection series is continuing...have fun reading and pondering.

Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 DR

Window at Tyburn. London

Reason and Perfection-The Never-Ending Series

I think I realized that the perfection series will never end. Of course.

Today, I am looking again at St. Catherine of Siena. Christ tells her that her Reason must be enlightened on this journey to perfection.

As my regular readers know, the importance of reason in Faith is a theme on this blog. Let me show you Catherine's discussion with Christ on this point. My comments are in blue.

How the light of reason is necessary to every soul that wishes to serve God in truth; and first of the light of reason in general.
Then the Eternal God, delighting in the thirst and hunger of that soul, and in the purity of her heart, and the desire with which she longed to serve Him, turned the eye of His benignity and mercy upon her, saying—“Oh, best-beloved, dearest and sweetest daughter, my spouse! rise out of yourself, and open the eye of your intellect to see Me, the Infinite Goodness, and the ineffable love which I have towards you and My other servants. And open the ear of the desire which you feel towards Me, and remember, that if you do not see, you can not hear, that is to say, that the soul that does not see into My Truth with the eye of her intellect, cannot hear or know My Truth, wherefore in order that you may the better know it, rise above the feelings of your senses.

Notice that Catherine describes much of the same movement of the soul as does John of the Cross. The purification of the senses is a must on the road to perfection, and if you recall that wonderful chart earlier this year on this subject, the Dark Night of the Soul involves the purification of the senses as well as that of the spirit. Reason is of the soul, or mind, and as St Bernard believed, I considered Reason as part of the soul,. purposefully capitalize Reason to highlight it as the gift which separates us from unthinking creatures.

Religion is reasonable and the Catholic Faith is based on Revelation and Reason.

“And I, who take delight in your request, will satisfy your demand. Not that you can increase My delight, for I am the cause of you and of your increase; not those of Mine. Yet the very pleasure that I take in the work of My own hands causes Me delight.”
Then that soul obeyed and rose out of herself, in order to learn the true solution of her difficulty. And the Eternal God said to her, “In order that you may the better understand what I shall say to you, I shall revert to the beginning of your request concerning the three lights which issue from Me, the True Light. The first is a general light dwelling in those who live in ordinary charity. (I shall repeat to you here many things concerning these lights, which I have already told you, in spite of My having done so, in order that your creeping intelligence may better understand that which you wish to know.) The other two lights dwell in those who, having abandoned the world, desire perfection. Besides this I will explain to you your request, telling you in great detail that which I have already pointed out to you in general. You know, as I have told you, that, without the light, no one can walk in the truth, that is, without the light of reason, which light of reason you draw from Me the True Light, by means of the eye of your intellect and the light of faith which I have given you in holy baptism, though you may have lost it by your own defects. For, in baptism, and through the mediation of the Blood of My only-begotten Son, you have received the form of faith; which faith you exercise in virtue by the light of reason, which gives you life and causes you to walk in the path of truth, and, by its means, to arrive at Me, the True Light, for, without it, you would plunge into darkness.

In modern times, this confusion between the terms head and heart, which I find ridiculous, has gained popularity with the Charismatics, Pentecostals and Evangelicals. Some Catholics have told me I am too reasonable about the Faith, a comment I find reveals a deep anti-intellectualism concerning the Faith.

Christ is telling Catherine here that He enlightens the mind, stirring up the graces received in baptism. Now, it is interesting that Christ joins the virtue of charity to Reason. When one is living in sin, one becomes more and more stupid about spiritual matters, as one loses discernment. As Christ states here, faith is exercised, that is used, in the light of reason. Christ joins the virtue of charity with Reason, showing us that He, the Way, the Truth and the Life may be known through love and Reason. 

The True Light, Who is Christ, illumines our souls and purges both the senses and soul.

To be continued....

A reminder from Garrigou-Lagrange for new readers

We are a month past mid-summer and moving towards Autumn. This movement of time happens whether we want it to do so or not.  Use your time well.

Those of you who have been following this blog know that I have over 400 posts on perfection, and the Doctors of the Church on perfection. Use the tags or labels at the side.

For new readers, I am sharing part of the introduction of the great Garrigou-Lagrange found here. 

We propose in this book to synthesize two other works, Christian Perfection and Contemplation, and L'amour de Dieu et la croix de Jesus. In those two works we studied, in the light of the principles of St. Thomas, the main problems of the spiritual life and in particular one which has been stated more explicitly in recent years, namely: Is the infused contemplation of the mysteries of faith and the union with God which results therefrom an intrinsically extraordinary grace, or is it, on the contrary, in the normal way of sanctity?
We purpose here to consider these questions again in a simpler and loftier manner, with the perspective needed the better to see the subordination of all the elements of the interior life in relation to union with God. With this end in view, we shall consider first of all the foundations of the interior life, then the elimination of obstacles, the progress of the soul purified and illuminated by the light of the Holy Ghost, the docility which it ought to have toward Him, and finally the union with God which the soul attains by this docility, by the spirit of prayer, and by the cross borne with patience, gratitude, and love.
By way of introduction, we shall briefly recall what constitutes the one thing necessary for every Christian, and we shall also recall how urgently this question is being raised at the present time.
As everyone can easily understand, the interior life is an elevated form of intimate conversation which everyone has with himself as soon as he is alone, even in the tumult of a great city. From the moment he ceases to converse with his fellow men, man converses interiorly with himself about what preoccupies him most. This conversation varies greatly according to the different ages of life; that of an old man is not that of a youth. It also varies greatly according as a man is good or bad.
As soon as a man seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary (1) consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.
The interior life thus conceived is something far more profound and more necessary in us than intellectual life or the cultivation of the sciences, than artistic or literary life, than social or political life. Unfortunately, some great scholars, mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers have no interior life, so to speak, but devote themselves to the study of their science as if God did not exist. In their mo­ments of solitude they have no intimate conversation with Him. Their life appears to be in certain respects the search for the true and the good in a more or less definite and restricted domain, but it is so tainted with self-love and intellectual pride that we may legitimately question whether it will bear fruit for eternity. Many artists, literary men, and statesmen never rise above this level of purely human activity which is, in short, quite exterior. Do the depths of their souls live by God? It would seem not.
This shows that the interior life, or the life of the soul with God, well deserves to be called the one thing necessary, since by it we tend to our last end and assure our salvation. This last must not be too widely separated from progressive sanctification, for it is the very way of salvation.
There are those who seem to think that it is sufficient to be saved and that it is not necessary to be a saint. It is clearly not necessary to be a saint who performs miracles and whose sanctity is officially recognized by the Church. To be saved, we must take the way of salvation, which is identical with that of sanctity. There will be only saints in heaven, whether they enter there immediately after death or after purification in purgatory. No one enters heaven unless he has that sanctity which consists in perfect purity of soul. Every sin though it should be venial, must be effaced, and the punishment due to sin must be borne or remitted, in order that a soul may enjoy forever the vision of God, see Him as He sees Himself, and love Him as He loves Himself. Should a soul enter heaven before the total remission of its sins, it could not remain there and it would cast itself into purgatory to be purified.
The interior life of a just man who tends toward God and who already lives by Him is indeed the one thing necessary. To be a saint, neither intellectual culture nor great exterior activity is a requisite; it suffices that we live profoundly by God. This truth is evident in the saints of the early Church; several of those saints were poor people, even slaves. It is evident also in St. Francis, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, in the Cure of Ars, and many others. They all had a deep understanding of these words of our Savior: "For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (2) If people sacrifice so many things to save the life of the body, which must ultimately die, what should we not sacrifice to save the life of our soul, which is to last forever? Ought not man to love his soul more than his body? "Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?" our Lord adds. (3) "One thing is necessary," He tells us.(4) To save our soul, one thing alone is necessary: to hear the word of God and to live by it. Therein lies the best part, which will not be taken away from a faithful soul even though it should lose everything else.
What we have just said is true at all times; but the question of the interior life is being more sharply raised today than in several periods less troubled than ours. The explanation of this interest lies in the fact that many men have separated themselves from God and tried to organize intellectual and social life without Him. The great problems that have always preoccupied humanity have taken on a new and sometimes tragic aspect. To wish to get along without God, first Cause and last End, leads to an abyss; not only to nothingness, but also to physical and moral wretchedness that is worse than noth­ingness. Likewise, great problems grow exasperatingly serious, and man must finally perceive that all these problems ultimately lead to the fundamental religious problem; in other words, he will finally have to declare himself entirely for God or against Him. This is in its essence the problem of the interior life. Christ Himself says: "He that is not with Me is against Me." (5)
The great modern scientific and social tendencies, in the midst of the conflicts that arise among them and in spite of the opposition of those who represent them, converge in this way, whether one wills it or not, toward the fundamental question of the intimate rela­tions of man with God. This point is reached' after many deviations. When man will no longer fulfill his great religious duties toward God who created him and who is his last End, he makes a religion for himself since he absolutely cannot get along without religion. To replace the superior ideal which he has abandoned, man may, for example, place his religion in science or in the cult of social justice or in some human ideal, which finally he considers in a religious manner and even in a mystical manner. Thus he turns away from supreme reality, and there arises a vast number of problems that will be solved only if he returns to the fundamental problem of the intimate relations of the soul with God.
It has often been remarked that today science pretends to be a religion. Likewise socialism and communism claim to be a code of ethics and present themselves under the guise of a feverish cult of justice, thereby trying to captivate hearts and minds. As a matter of fact, the modern scholar seems to have a scrupulous devotion to the scientific method. He cultivates it to such a degree that he often seems to prefer the method of research to the truth. If he bestowed equally serious care on his interior life, he would quickly reach sanctity. Often, however, this religion of science is directed toward the apotheosis of man rather than toward the love of God. As much must be said of social activity, particularly under the form it assumes in socialism and communism. It is inspired by a mysticism which purposes a transfiguration of man, while at times it denies in the most absolute manner the rights of God.
This is simply a reiteration of the statement that the religious problem of the relations of man with God is at the basis of every great problem. We must declare ourselves for or against Him; indifference is no longer possible, as our times show in a striking manner. The present world-wide economic crisis demonstrates what men can do when they seek to get along without God.
Without God, the seriousness of life gets out of focus. If religion is no longer a grave matter but something to smile at, then the serious element in life must be sought elsewhere. Some place it, or pretend to place it, in science or in social activity; they devote the selves religiously to the search for scientific truth or to the establishment of justice between classes or peoples. After a while they are forced to perceive that they have ended in fearful disorder and that the relations between individuals and nations become more and more difficult, if not impossible. As St. Augustine and St. Thomas (6) have said, it is evident that the same material goods, as opposed to those of the spirit, cannot at one and the same time belong integrally to several persons. The same house, the same land, cannot simultaneously belong wholly to several men, nor the same territory to several nations. As a result, interests conflict when man feverishly makes these lesser goods his last end.