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Saturday 28 June 2014

Blogging on Sunday

My posts may be "on" later tomorrow. See you later on Sunday.

Unfinished Business

I have looked at the theme of perfection for three years, as if I were examining a many-faceted prism, or jewel. One reads the great mystics and theologians, as well as the Doctors of the Church, noticing the multi-colored spectrums of the words of the saints.

I have shared charts and graphs, photos and paintings, words which seem to purify the imagination as one writes them.

I have quoted the great ones on memory, understanding, the will, the imagination, detachment, objectivity, reflection, meditation, contemplation and the various stages of beginners and proficients.

I have written about Love and shared many poems about love, as well as giving hints as to how to supernaturalizing the natural and naturalizing the supernatural.

As I leave Iowa, the place of my birth and my home until I was a young adult, a place to which I have returned several times, I now realize that I may never return here again. This awareness of time and memory, birth and death, growth and decay bring me to a place where I sit in the sun, near twilight, and wonder at the movements of God in my life.

Unlike most people’s lives, my life has been one of change, excitement, living in many strange and wonderful places, my soul and mind being formed by interesting and good people, with whom I have been blessed to meet.

My closest friends are scattered across America and Europe. They are not gathered in one place, nor sit and look at the sun from the same angle as I do this evening.

Some, at this moment, are swimming in the land of the Middle Sea. They may be on their way to Mass and the rosary.  Some are having tea or early dinner in the green valleys or near the white cliffs of England, or in the deep countryside of mist and flowers in Ireland. Some are rushing to Vespers in London and in Cobh.

Some are in the busy cities of London, or Dublin, or Sliema, busy running, swimming, working, praying. Some are in sleepy little villages along the southern coast of England, overlooking the Channel, to where some work and play in the Vendee.

Over all these people is the mantle of grace, the grace of commitment to being part of the remnant and the Church Militant. Over all these people is the mantle of Mary, Our Mother, who loves each one of us as her own. I have met so many members of the remnant and consider myself blessed, very blessed.

But, as I begin to pack and move, I am saddened at leaving behind unfinished business, Business which is the evangelization of some of who nearest and dearest to me and unfinished as I have to leave them yet again without seeing the conversions for which I pray daily.

So many of us have members in our families who have either left the Church or never have been Christian. Many readers ask me to pray for family members. I do, and for my own.

Did St. Paul have relatives? We hear nothing of his brothers, his sisters, his parents….

When he went out to the cities of the Empire, did he know people there first, or did he land as a stranger and have to make friends as he began communities?

I have a missionary heart, as I have shared on this blog before. My heart is with the people in Europe, who face a darkness which will cover the earth very soon.

They will feel the brunt of this first, but, perhaps, not the worst. America as a younger and more zealous nation will be harsher, more violent, more organized in persecution, playing with the darkness of evil power like an adolescent with a new, fast car, but without the skills to drive it.

My twilight days are coming upon me, but I desire to work in the dusk. The dim light does not hinder my zealous nature. My angels go before me preparing a way to new friends, new places.

Continue to pray for me, please, as I move out of this area of giant farms, stout-hearted, but too proud people, and too much ostentatious wealth as well as deep poverty. May God continue to bless the people of the Midwest, but may He give them new graces to open their eyes to what is around them, but what they are not seeing--the coming night of Western Civilization.

Being a Catholic

Being a Catholic is not like being anyone. It is a gift beyond compare. It is an gift of being offered life in the midst of death, clarity in confusion, and peace in strife.

I have been reading the Fifth Chapter of Isaiah. In this book, a list of the sins of the nation of Judah are listed in some detail. These sins are “selfish greed”, “ self-indulgence”, “cynical materialism”, “perversion of the standards of morality”, “intellectual pride and self-sufficiency”, “intemperance” and the “loss of integrity”.

Now, the Israelites did not have the great outpouring of sanctifying grace which came with the Atonement and Redemption of Christ’s Death on the Cross. They did, however, have the Law and the Prophets. God kept His part of the covenant agreement, but the Israelites in Judah did not.

How modern this book seems, when God calls down judgment on the people for leaving the Law and for despising the “word of the Holy One of Israel”. These threats of punishment were not mere warnings, but prophesies of things to come.

In Book Six, Isaiah sees the Glory of God. He is cleansed of his sin after making a confession, repenting of his own sins. The prophet is then sent out to share this purification with others. But, God warns him that the people will not listen. Yet, what follows in Book Seven is the beautiful promise of the Savior.

“Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel, of course, means “God with us.”  The deliverance of men and women from sin will be this Savior’s victory.

When one sits down and reads these three books, one is struck with the great mercy and love of God for His people. He not only calls then to repentance and show then one, the prophet Isaiah, who has been cleansed and is full of the Spirit of God, but promises complete and final freedom from sin.

Sin, repentance, confession, grace, purification, eternal life all shine forth in these books.

The Catholic Church teaches the efficacy of the sacraments, and these passages are echoes of promises which only find a voice, fulfillment, in the Catholic Church.

Who are you? Who Is Christ?

We need to be reminded of Who Christ really is. Too often, the words of Advent and Christmas come and go too quickly, in the midst of business, and we lose an opportunity for reflection. The passage in Isaiah Chapter Nine resounds again in our minds when we meditate on the beauty of this prophecy.

“For to us a son is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

This is not merely a passage for the glories of Heaven, but for the Kingdom of God on earth. Many people who have fallen into unbelief and cynicism say “Where is this Kingdom?”

It is here, it is near us. It is in us. It is only our own fears and our own sins which keep the beauty of these words from resonating across the earth.

Do you believe in Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity? Do you believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, True God and True Man?

If so, meditate on His Kingdom and ask yourselves how this can come about, now, here, in these times?

The Cost of Discipleship

Wealth is the problem. I have lived in the Midwest since November 11th or so and I have wondered how so many Americans can be asleep, blind, as to the signs of the times. I have wondered at the pursuit of nonsense, trivia, worthless things and worthless entertainment.

I have wondered at the too-busy lives which cause people to not reflect or pray. Noise and distractions keep people running about, going here and there, not stopping to look, to listen to what God is trying to say.

He is saying, “Stop, repent, become perfect.” Few care and fewer listen.

The problem is wealth. After living in Europe for three years, 2011, 2012, and 2013, I was shocked when I returned to see the mad pursuit of things which have no lasting value.

What is necessary is not longer even seen by the vast majority of Catholics.

I have referred to the movie, Lawrence of Arabia on this blog before and the poignant cry of the British soldier, yelling at Lawrence and asking, “Who are you? Who are you?”

Who are you? Are you an animal seeking pleasure of the senses only? Are you a materialist, forgetting that you have an immortal soul which will live forever either in happiness or in grief?

The signs of the times seem obvious to me. Most of my close friends have adult children living with them either because they are unemployed, underemployed, or paying back huge university debts.

Most of my son’s generation are not choosing marriage or children.

Older people spend their days seeking small pleasures not realizing that these supposedly innocent “perqs” strip the soul of purity and reduce the body to a mere machine.

The seeking of small pleasures is just as deadly as the seeking of big ones. Too many people think they have a right to daily deserts, daily entertainment, daily “down time” without praying, without meditating, without reading Scripture.

Do not pass up opportunities to become holy. Do not fall into habits of selfishness. Do not forget to fast, do penance, pray.

Without mortifications, no one can be holy.

Without seeing the signs of the times, one is heading for perdition and not for glory.

Simply put, most people here have too many things and too much food; they have too much wealth.

To be a Catholic means doing things on purpose which hurt. Wealth ruins that view with the darkness of deceit.

Do not miss the signs of the times or the chances to be who God created you to be.

A Sign of Contradiction or Conformity?

The West in Medieval times was open as never before or after. Christendom allowed for free travel, as the national boundaries, which came to demand passports or travel documents did not yet exist.

This community of cultures and proto-nations, of kingdoms, whose kings and queens acknowledged a King above them, flowed back and forth in confidence and in relationships.

All this changed after the Protestant Revolt, when national identity became stronger and caused new rules between nations, making borders more difficult to transverse and making the Catholic Church just one more “national interest” among many. The many revolutions undermined the supremacy of Christendom, and the Church became not only marginalized, but persecuted, in Germany, England, France, Italy, and other places.

For a brief moment of glory, the Church was given some freedoms under Napoleon, who thought he could control the hierarchy by restoring them, but again, nationhood trumped Christendom. But, Napoleon himself began the counting and ordering of peoples, with the census and the insistence on surnames. He demanded a “global order” in what he saw as disorder. Bismarck followed with similar ideas, and the purposeful stealing of power and influence of the Church continued.

The imprisonment of Pius IX and the taking away of the Vatican Papal States in the supposed reunification of Italy pushed the Church more and more into the sidelines, no longer the universal Church, but one of many, in the false ideals of both nationalism and relativism.

By the 20th Century, the Church no longer had power in the public square in international affairs, being again sabotaged by the League of Nations and, finally, the United Nations.

By the 21st Century, the Church had lost all power in many European nations and has been confined to the status of immigrant groupings, not being seen as a world power, despite the media attention of the popes.

The Church will be more and more marginalized concerning international affairs, and is already no longer a power in the EU, having many of Her rights and privileges taken away.

The reason that the Church is now marginalized and facing persecution in most countries, including the United States, is that those who are the shepherds, for the most part, cannot see the rot of Church power in the world, nor do they care. They have no vision of a Church which is not “national”, such as in America, where so many bishops and priests still hold on to the heresy of “Americanism” and hate so-called Vatican control.

There are too many Catholics, including bishops, who do not understand that for the Church to be free, She must have respect as an institution and be above the increasingly immoral and tyrannical laws of the lands. She must be totally independent.

I could give specifics as to how the Church has lost power in the past thirty years. I know some of these from experience and from serious discussions with priests who are willing to discuss how governments are tying the hands of movements of seminarians or priests, or even families of both.The world has changed that quickly, in just over a generation, so that the type of respect given the moral position of the Church has vanished.

No longer do national leaders have to consider the Church. No longer do nations feel they need to provide Ambassadors to the Vatican. No longer do leaders listen to the statements of the popes.

No longer can a bishop exert influence in the secular society in his diocese.

We shall all suffer because of this huge change, but some will suffer more than others.

Cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, seminaries, schools which have not capitulated already to state curricula, monasteries of monks, convents of nuns.will be the first to feel the brunt of this marginalization and persecution.

Then, the faithful remnant will feel the pressure and persecution.

I give it less than two years for major changes to the freedom of movement of Catholics in the West, especially the ordained. I give it less than two years for the laity to be impacted by a schism, which will separate the Church instituted by Christ and those national churches, no longer loyal to Rome but pseudo-Catholic like the Anglicans in Great Britain.

The freedom to come and go which the early missionaries enjoyed to convert Europe and then the New World will not be seen again, vanishing in the near future.

In the past, a civilized world did not need passports, or visas, or rules for immigration. These rules are all about control, controlling those who go out, and controlling those who come in. And, which organization sends the most people here and there? Big businesses? No, the Catholic Church.

Ironically, those who want more stringent rules cannot see that they are preparing the way for a world government, which will totally control the movement of free peoples. Nations are keeping out the poor, but also those who are “different”, who seem to be “nonconformists”.

Someone who was trying to hurt me with words today and told me I never fit in, I was also a nonconformist and pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable. This conversation arose because someone in my hometown remembered that I dated a black man in 1969, a Jew in 1979, and (horrors) married an Englishman.

“You were always different”, this person noted, but I was just being myself.

By many standards, I never fit into the mold of what it means to be “American”, but that is because early on, I thought (and still do think), like a Catholic, belonging to the universal Church, not a national Church. Even as a very young person, when asked who I was, I would not answer first, “an American”, but “a Catholic”.

Some of us think and act like “citizens of the world”. We have this perspective because we are Benedictine, Carmelite, Franciscan, the Church Militant. Such a citizen is free from the prejudices and false security of being just a citizen of a nation which may or may not be “under God”.

There is only one institution which is truly “under God” and that is the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.  First and foremost, I am a Catholic.

I am moving out of Iowa next week, a word which means, “the beautiful land”. A friend of mine wondered how it got so liberal, so leftist. She also wondered how Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, parts of the Dakotas (remember, the first and only complete Marxist city council was in a Dakota town), became so leftist. 

The answer is simple. These areas were primarily settled by Protestants, who believed in the American Dream first and foremost. There religion because “Americanism” and conformity. Sola fide, sola Scriptura means one can believe anything, even heresy. This type of attitude of provincial religious and political liberalism rubbed off on the Catholics, so that, by the time I was growing up, most the Catholics voted left in this area, and most practiced birth control, and supported “women’s rights”. I know Catholics who will vote for Hillary. They have no idea of her connections to the international, global groups who want to destroy Catholicism or, at least emaciate the Church. They do not seem to care. Globalism is more important than Christendom.

But, that blindness is only one example of the problem. The real problem is the lack of witness to the Gospel of Christ as preserved in the Catholic Church.

If the laity were signs of contradiction in the world a hundred years ago, they are no longer so.

They are signs of conformity.

The remnant is small, indeed.