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Sunday 11 January 2015

Traveling Again

I am just moving through and leaving soon. I hope to post from Ireland, where I intend to go very soon.

Pray for my travel arrangements. Thank you.

Raissa's Journal Perfection Series VIII Part XXXlX

Raissa could be called a suffering servant. It is obvious that she suffered for Jacques and for her own nation and her people.

She writes this on suffering-"Every acceptance of suffering (if it is proceeds, not from a brute passivity or from some philosophical pride, but from humility and courtesy) is alreay boun to charity, beholden to divine grace. The saints do more than accept suffering--they ask it of God for the love of God and the salvation of souls."

Those saints who unite themselves with Christ's Sacred Heart allow God to complete the suffering of Christ in their lives.

Raissas states this on perfection. "To be capable of receiving much from God, that is the whole of perfection."

This "much" includes suffering.

Raissa's Journal Perfection Series VIII Part XXXVIII

Years ago, I wrote a chapter in a dissertation on this subject of the connection between contemplation and the artistic intuition which leads to the creation of poetry.

Jacques Maritain has a note on this subject from Raissa's insights on the subject.

Here are some bullet points.

  • “...the end of contemplation is loving union with God in the silence bereft of concepts and words, whereas the end of poetic intuition is the work produced”
  • “but what is the end of poetic intuition can be superabundance (and normal superabundance, overflowing from the possession of the end or from the movement towards it) for contemplation.”

All people are called to contemplation in different ways, but this still is the normal way, outside of martyrdom to perfect union with Christ.

These times of crises are the times to ask God for the graces of contemplation and keen discernment.

Extremely Important Article "Our legislation is simply not geared to understand and cope with the fundamentalist mind.”

And here we find a very important point where you have to understand how a fanatic thinks. They break all the social norms and rules that we take for granted. Norms like respect, fairness, consideration and trustworthiness become secondary to the fight for that which the fanatic wants to achieve. The goal justifies the means. Untrustworthiness, falsehood, deceit and manipulation is fully acceptable when acting in the name of God. Even though the scripture says that one is not allowed to lie.
Understanding such standards is important when trying to understand a fanatic. And if you understand the fanatical mind, you will know why constructive dialogue is impossible. Obviously, a fanatic will show up and discuss with politicians, as we see in the media, but when the camera is turned off and everyone has gone home, they laugh into their beard and prepare the next fanatical deed. In the name of God, of course.
It is well known that psychopaths lie, manipulate, steal and kill for personal gain. The thrill of committing crimes is often also a key motivation. Most people can understand the psychopathic mind, and we have great experience in handling them in a democratic society. We have laws, courts and police to lock them up. But if you think that the Muslims in Grimhøjmoskeen (Danish mosque famous for sending jihadis to Syria) or the terrorists in Paris are “just” a bunch of psychopathic criminals, you make a serious mistake.
The psychology of a fanatic is often quite different, although their tendency to speak with two tongues, lie and distort the truth may look like the usual psychopathic jailbird.

And, interesting video as well....

Raissa's Journal Perfection Series VIII Part XXXVII

Raissa correctly tells us as we know from Thomas Aquinas that the soul is the form of the body. The contemplative life is hindered by the body, by fatigue, illness, disruption of life, grief and so on.

She writes, "The resurrected body of the elect, the glorified body will no longer in any way hinder the full contemplative activity of the soul."

What some people like Raissa, such as Teresa of Avila, and many others experience while on earth, though not in the fullness of the Beatific Vision, is what we can anticipate after death.

She also writes reminding us all that marriage is a sacrament, regardless of the lack of love, unhappy, or even a "marriage of convenience."

Already in 1946, problems regarding how clerics saw marriage were occurring in some places. A long time for heresies and hatred of the sacrament to fester....

Also, in 1946, Raissa warns against those who follow the path of spirituality out of curiosity and not out of love for the truth. I wrote about this sin of curiosity with regard to false seers.

I remind myself of this holy woman's insights, and the fact, that like her husband, she is a prophet for our  times.

to be continued....

Sad, Sad Ireland

A referendum on the issue is expected in May and a recent poll showed that nearly 70% of people in Ireland are in support of gay marriage. Enda Kenny, the country’s prime minister, has said he will canvas in support of the proposed new legislation.

Interesting Article

Interesting article, and for the record, I am not a John Allen fan.

Raissa's Journal Perfection Series VIII Part XXXIV

It is not a coincidence that my reading of Raissa's Journal, with selections written in France at the outbreak of WWII should occur this week.

The anxiety and terror of two women, Raissa and her sister, Vera, both Jewish converts to Catholicism, bubbled up at the beginning of war in 1939. Vera was given by God several consoling messages regarding the fact that they would be safe and that Paris would not burn.

Seeing the Seine for the first time in my life allowed me a glimpse of the love the Parisians have for their city. I hope to go back and have time for the usual touristy things, which I did not in my travels during the past few days.

Vera's words from God encouraged all of those who lived in the house, but sadly, the three, Vera, Jacques and Raissa were to go to Toronto, into exile, for safety.

Raissa knew that the war was a direct result of man's sins. That God gave men and women free will and that some used it against Christ and His Reign on Earth could not be denied.

I understand what it feels like, the intense suffering of having to leave one's home and go into exile. Raissa lost Meudon, where she had been given the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, where she felt safe and able to carry on her deep prayer. Jacques notes in the Journal that at some point, God denies the person called to contemplation, the place where this is easily done.

I understand this perfectly. Jacques writes this, “She was flung into the hazards of the swirling waters of the world and found herself henchforth having to contend, and in particularly hostile circumstances, with the relentless energy of things which make man dispersed. She had to wrench by sheer force from the malevolent hours whatever time she could, however scrappy, for that contemplative prayer without which it impossible for her to live.”

The huge difference between Raissa and myself, flung into increasingly hostile places, is that she was already in the Illuminative and then Unitive States. Because of her high level of contemplation, Raissa kept this mode of being constantly, underneath all that she did and endured.

This, my Dear Readers, is what to which God is calling all of us in order to be able to endure what is coming.

Raissa writes this: “My own life, my very imperfect life, has reached that maturity of soul which is acquired only at the price of extra-ordinary misfortune, personal or otherwise; that age at which nothing is let of childhood or of happiness of living. My life comes to this climax much less because of the trials that I myself have endured, than because of the misfortune which has fallen upon all humanity. For justice wears mourning, the afflicted are not—cannot--be consoled, the persecuted are not succoured, because God's truth is not spoken, and suddenly the world has become to little, so narrowed for the spirit , by the monotony of that lie which rules it and which almost alone make itself heard.”

This is from another book I have, We Have Been Friends Together.

Is this not the call of all today who are in the remnant?

For many years, I have, like Raissa, been without a dwelling of my own, without my own things, and in exile. Raissa calls this “the divine bitterness of living and dying.” As soon as the Gestapo entered Paris, they began looking for Jacques, now safely in America for however long the occupation would last. Raissa suffered terribly not only from this exile, but from the worry of her loved friends in Poland and other places. She also suffered from those enemies of Jacques, who were in the Vatican undermining his important work of neo-Thomism.

Sadly, a bit later than this time, their great friend Henri Bergson died without baptism. This was his desire in wanting to identify with the Jews being persecuted under the Nazis. Raissa was finally, in December of 1940, given the knowledge that Jesus was her only place of peace in the world, and from this knowledge, she came into some peace.

For those who have never been forced to give up their homes, and all the things they love, this message must seem unreal. However, we are on the edge of those times again, and I am merely the lighthouse, showing others what is to come in the darkness.

We are on the edge of that darkness.

Raissa's Journal Continued Perfection Series VIII Part XXXIII

The fact that 100,000 Jews have left Paris in the past year, out of 400,000, and many more are seriously considering leaving, reveals the fact that the French government cannot protect its own citizens, many of whom have had families here for over 400 years.

Raissa at the end of 1945, discovered the loss of many of her friends in the Holocaust. She wrote this:

"....speaking of the six million of whom so little is said, we counted very close friends among them: three of the Jacobs--the old mother, his daughter Babet, his son Manu....And Fondane and his sister and the elder brother of our friends Jean an Suzanne Marx...And, as you know, when one can put a name to a few of those who died in Auschwitz, in Belsen, or in Dachau and call up a face among the, the vast sorrow one feels for all the other victims itself assumes a face which haunts you with unspeakable horror and compassion. In spite of all this, God preserves in our souls a weight and stability of peace which I cannot understand; it is thus, no doubt, and much more powerfully still, that he preserved the souls of martyrs against despair." pp. 303-304.

We shall face this again and again as Catholics. Are you getting ready?

On Failure....

Raissa noted the death of Charles du Bos. She quoted him as stating, “The mark of a great life is failure.

When I first read this, as a younger person, I skimmed over this mysterious line. But, now, I understand, at least is part, what this means.

First of all, one must understand that success in the world is not the same as living a great life. One knows “great” people who did not have success in this life. The list proves to be endless: all the martyrs, such as SS. Edmund Campion, or Philip Howard, or Margaret Clitherow; those who were simple in the eyes of the world who never obtained “success”, such as Joseph Cupertino, Gemma Galgani or Pier Georgio Frassati and so on.

It is one thing to say that saints did not have success, but another thing to note that they experienced failure.

Failure is absolutely not tolerated by modern society. If someone fails at a career, or financially, or even in relationships, that person evokes either disdain or pity, but not admiration.

So, what did Charles du Bos mean by failure?

One can only surmise, but here is my take on this mysterious sentence.

One must fail in one's self, one's pride, one's own confidence in order to find the love of God. One cannot be “successful” in the eyes of God. One is merely a creature prone to sin and doomed to die.

In fact, the lives of the saints reveal failure consistently.

For example, St. Bernadette died from a long and painful disease, tuberculosis of the bone, and yet, the Blessed Virgin showed her the location for the sacred spring which has healed so many generations of faithful Catholics. Bernadette may be see as a failure, one not healed through one's own given charism.

Or, take the case of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who resisted the Nazis and ended up in prison, in a concentration camp, being put to death for sacrificing his life for another. In the eyes of the State and many people, his death would be considered the end of a life of failure.

Or, take dear and glorious St. Joseph, hardly recognized even in the Gospels, yet chosen to be the Foster-Father of Christ, the Son of God. Joseph, a humble and lowly carpenter, living in poverty all his life, may easily be seen as a failure in the eyes of the world.

To be a failure could mean that one allowed God to strip one of all pretensions and false views, to destroy the ego, and make room for God in one's soul.

Some people fail in their careers, some in the eyes of their families, and yet, these same people carry the light of God into the world.

To have a “great” life may be a subjective ideal, but one cannot deny that those saints whom the Church venerates form a groups of considerable failures.


The French do demonstrations better than any national group--all over France today more pro-freedom marches are due.

I hope others than Hollande refer to the Antisemitism. 700,000 demonstrated yesterday, and more will today.

Excellent Article

and interesting one

Helping Europe Find Europe

One of the hard lessons of the past few days here in France is that Europe must rediscover her spirituality, her true religion, the Catholic Faith. He wrote that famous sentence, "Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe."
Many people have disagreed with this statement, but not I, as I taught Belloc and most of his books for years. 
 The point of this statement is that the Church created not merely the culture of Europe, but the civilization of Europe and Europe protected the Church until the Protestant Revolt, which destroyed both the unity of the Faith and Christendom.
One cannot be see that the identity of Europe may be beyond recognition. Can we help Europe be Europe, by spreading the Gospel, or it is too late?
Many people I have spoken with in the past few days believe it is too late to save Europe, that the preoccupation with materialism and consumerism, secularism and cynicism, has created generations of those who no longer understand the religious yearnings of men and women.
Many people still deny that a "religion" is behind the recent murders. Some deny that religion can be a positive force in creating civilization.
Europe is at a crossroads. One cannot have witnessed all the carnage of the past few days and not admit that this is so.
It is sad that the EU no longer wants missionaries, either from Africa or from America. The draconian immigration laws of some nations allow in terrorists, while denying the need for Catholic missionaries, lay, clerical, religious.
One more Belloc quotation seems timely today:
The story must not be neglected by any modern, who may think in error that the East has finally fallen before the West, that Islam is now enslaved—to our political and economic power at any rate if not to our philosophy. It is not so. Islam essentially survives, and Islam would not have survived had the Crusade made good its hold upon the essential point of Damascus. Islam survives. Its religion is intact; therefore its material strength may return. Our religion is in peril, and who can be confident in the continued skill, let alone the continued obedience, of those who make and work our machines? ... There is with us a complete chaos in religious doctrine.... We worship ourselves, we worship the nation; or we worship (some few of us) a particular economic arrangement believed to be the satisfaction of social justice.... Islam has not suffered this spiritual decline; and in the contrast between [our religious chaos and Islam's] religious certitudes still strong throughout the Mohammedan world lies our peril. Hilaire Belloc, The Crusades, 1937