Archive for July 2015

RESPECT – THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

July 30, 2015

Respect Up

We’re comparing a world with the Ten Commandments and without the Ten Commandments.    What difference does it make?

Briefly,  bottom-lining it here tonight:    it seems that the foundation of the Second Commandment is Respect – a commonly available human attitude.   Universal.     And Respect itself involves making comparisons – between you and something else,  and then developing the right perspective.

res pers logs

“Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.”    

“…in vain.”     That would mean using the Name of God for inferior purposes.      God’s Name is reserved for the things of God alone.

Using the Name of God is an action that shows a person does not Respect God, and since God is infinite,  infinite respect is due Him and all things associated with Him — and conversely,  disrespecting God is not only an offense  (a sin),  it is an infinite offense.

As finite humans we don’t have “enough” of anything to make it up to God.    So we are warned.   Don’t.   Do.   It.

On a human level, we’re familiar with levels of respect due to various humans and their various levels of achievement.   A sweet, lovable, sincere four-year-old playing his violin in a Suzuki class gets a different kind of respect from what you would have towards a violin virtuoso in a major world famous symphony orchestra.

A little child creating a “very nice” house with his Lincoln Logs evokes a different level of respect than . . .

res pers city             . . . this.

Keep using your imagination.     The act of respecting involves making comparisons.    The  greater the distance between the two things being compared,  the greater the respect is owed by the lesser to the greater.

So what is God?     Who is God?    I don’t know;   not really much — but here is a helpful definition from Philosophy:

God is that than which no greater can be conceived.      Think of (conceive of)  all the greatest attributes that we know of — think of the greatest possible.    Think of a living being who has those attributes so purely and perfectly that it is greater than any other being has.    And since Existence is greater than non-Existence,  then this is not just an abstract  thinking exercise,  because if we can conceive of an imaginary Being who is the most perfect Being that we can think up,   then that imaginary figure would not be the real,  actual God,  because we could still conceive of going one better:  actual existence.

And there we approach an understanding of God.

Now make your comparison between you – who actually exists –  but imperfectly with God who has and is the source of all the perfect attributes,  to an infinite degree.     Again,  the greater the distance between the two things being compared,  the greater the respect is owed by the lesser to the greater.

There’s a funny saying we use sometimes in my classes:  “There is only one God — and you are not It !”       But we love and respect each other.

There are many levels of achievement, rank, and hierarchy among humans,  but none of us are like God, the Perfect being Who actually Exists, and is the Source of Being itself.   I AM.

Bar Cross in middle

So next time,  let’s  “IMAGINE”  a world without  the Second Commandment — without  Respect.

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“IMAGINE” ?

July 29, 2015

Before I go on to the next Commandment, and then imagining what it would be like without it,  I want to tell you where I got the word from.

“Imagine.”    A song by the Beatles,   those young men who in their interviews tell us, from time to time, how their lyrics were inspired by spirit guides,  channeling,  UFO experiences, drugs, and other occult sources.   The melodies too are strangely and eerily compelling.   Sure, I’ve banged out a few Beatles songs on my piano —  but nor for long.   As attractive as the melodies are,  eventually they get to  a kind of hypnotic  repetition, like you’re stuck in a meaningless loop going nowhere (musically speaking).   Or the lyrics with the melody eventually evoke a sad, wistful longing for a “good”  that one has long since rejected (“Yesterday”)  — and can never quite get back again.     Jude can’t quite ever make it better.

But they keep trying.

(I”Imagine”  that there are no Ten commandments)   —

What does this mean for society?   One thing it means is that we are “free” to sell dead baby body parts, even though it is a felony and breaks three separate laws — but we can do it if we tell ourselves it is for “medical research”  — and it’s a good way to make a living.

What does it mean for our culture?   It means that we cannot safely trust our neighbors to have the same moral compass, the same ethical code,  that we have each devised, on our own.

What does it mean for nations and their leaders?       Here are some people who were free to rise,  free to rise all the way to the top,  whatever way they could,  without restraint.     (Because rejecting God means rejecting his restraints upon us,  right?   We – and our Rulers – are free to get whatever we want, right?)

CHART killed by dictatorsA little blurry, maybe,   but each drop of blood is a million people killed by atheistic, socialist dictators.   National socialist,   Marxist socialist, or Democratic socialist.   It doesn’t matter what they call themselves,   these leaders believe that the State is the Ruler over the people . . . and the State is the source of rights that the people have.  The State gives  rights to some people   — and therefore can take away these rights.   Even the Right to Life.

Over a hundred million citizens killed by their own governments in the murderous, largely atheistic 20th Century.

I’m sure you’ve seen those statistics before.

The  song “Imagine”   influenced us to imagine that the world could be better without “religion.”   Those who distort the meaning of the word religion, and who do not understand history, and are predisposed to reject God and His moral foundations for us.  we are to   “imagine”  a utopia filled with people holding hands and walking through the green grass . . .

.. . .   because people are “basically good”  and if religion just let them alone,  they would be free.   Free to do whatever they wanted.  Free to get whatever they wanted.

There is a  famous poster of the Beatles saying “Imagine  No  Religion” should truthfully carry the faces of the men in the chart.

It’s about one century after  the Frenchman Bastiat that I wrote about in the last posting  had written his observations of how his — and European  society in general —  were trending.    Just one century later.   Imagine:  no God.  No religion.   No moral restraints to follow.    And you have Power!

And the word utopia means:  No Place

A world without the First Commandment  is a dangerous place for created beings.   In the End,  it is unworkable.

“IMAGINE” — NO FIRST COMMANDMENT

July 29, 2015

So, I’ve got another series going.   One unifying theme that reaches out into many areas of interest.    It’s the theme of the moral Commandments that humans live by — or reject and die by.

Underlying all this theme is this concept:   Human nature is the plan of human action.

Say that out loud today,  ten times!    Or until it makes sense.

The principles of right and just action arise from that human nature, and these principles are codified for us in the Ten Commandments.

But now,  today,    “IMAGINE”    the First Commandment were not true.    “I am the Lord thy God;  thou shalt have no other gods before me … ”      Imagine:    No God.

That gives rise to this likely principle:   “If there is no God,  then everything is permissible.”

No rules.

Just —  as the neo-pagans say —  Do what ever you want,  just don’t hurt anybody.

After society quits acting like a bunch of 8 year olds let out for recess with no supervision,   then the adult considerations begin.   Unfortunately, if there is no God,  what the adults have created is confusion,  strife,   license, and the unhappy necessity of having to constantly deal with the consequences of unguided decisions and misguided actions.

Here is a quotation from a French economist of the 19th century, observing what happens as a society begins to reject God:
 “When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable

and despises what is honorable,

punishes virtue and rewards vice,

encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful,

applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult,

a nation turns its back on progress,

and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

The man who wrote these observations is Frederic Bastiat;  and he is a Revolutionary  (Liberal, socialist,  progressive, etc.) and is using a human intellect unaided by religion.   Still,  he was created with a human intellect and he can make good observations.    Just a little dose of the words coming from the news-entertainment media people will give plenty of examples of his observations.

Many feel that our society is “in a mess.”

“The problem is acceptance of our destructive behaviors as harmless when, in reality, they’re sins precisely because they’re destructive.”   

Let’s “IMAGINE”  there is no God who has given us boundaries that keep us safe and sane.   Destruction ensues;  and we can learn our lessons only after “great catastrophe.”       This is what Bastiat observed in his society long ago.

Don’t we hate it when our politicians act like they can do whatever they want?    Don’t we hate it when people commit felonies, break our laws, but are honored, pitied, aided,  held up as examples?   Don’t we hate it when things that are promoted and financed and encouraged turn out to be ultimately very harmful for us or for our society?   On and on it goes . . .   in a society that has rejected God.

Meep-Meep THE FIRST COMMANDMENT

July 28, 2015

Aw, geeeeee. . . . .
wiley cliff

Yesterday I wrote about the cartoon cat who shaved off his whiskers because he thought it would make him look sexy,  cool,  modern;  but all that happened is that he lost an important guide for daily navigation.

That’s as dumb as human beings cutting themselves off from the foundation of our knowledge of our Creator and of His Laws.

It’s  Wile  E. Coyote in the cartoon picture above.   Remember him?   (He was the chief villain in the Road Runner cartoon.)   The cliff that he relied upon to support him is cut off!

wile e in air

Yep.  Either direction,  he has nothing to stand on.

Without the Commandments of God to stand on,  we have no real principles or reasons or values or justifications for anything that we do.

No matter how clever we are; no matter how smart we think we are;  no matter how “complex and nuanced”  we make life out to be . . .

wile e clever
. . . or no matter how “quick and busy”  we are,   no matter how  “occupied”  we are, no matter how “distracted”   we keep ourselves . . .

wile e busy fast
. . . without guidance from God’s Commandments . . .

wile e splat

. . .  we’ll just go SPLAT in the end.

What’s that First Commandment?

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me;   thou shalt not  to worship  other gods by making graven images (statues) of them and bowing down to them.”

Put aside the One True God,  and other gods will automatically move in on you.

These gods can be our “cleverness,”  our “smartness,”  and all our sophisticated ideologies and agendas.  We worship such things by keeping our minds  occupied and distracted and busy according to the demands of our own personal agendas.

But if we put any other of these gods ahead of God-Most-High,  then we too go splat in the end — and the name for a human end-of-life splat . . .  is Hell. 

rr for meep meep

WHISKERS — AND WORDS

July 25, 2015

WHISKERS:

Whiskers

Enjoy the humor.

But. . . .

It’s in a cat’s Nature to have whiskers.   In metaphysics nature means   Form or the Idea .

Sure, you can go against Nature,  and you can justify your actions by mindlessly absorbing the random thoughts that drift into your head from the surrounding culture.   “It would make you look sexy to shave off your whiskers!     You’ll be special!”

The cat is a sensate creature;  that is,  he navigates his world through his five senses.  Like we do.   His whiskers play a big part in Touch.

But humans have a nature too, and in addition to the five senses,  we have an intellect which animals don’t have, and we have a will to determine how we’re going to use the products of our intellect.

There are certain things we can’t do without when we use our intellect and choose our actions.    Just like the cool cat in the cartoon,  if we discard certain guiding principles from human society,  then we too will bump around into things, not quite knowing what’s going wrong.

pyth

Seven or eight thousand years ago (just using the period of Written History) humans used their senses and applied their intellects to discover and codify Natural Law.    Laws, or principles, are applied to the physical world and to human behavior  and these principles give us the possibility of all the sciences.

Using these objective principles we can go far.   Even to the Moon.  Or Mars — and beyond!

WORDS

paradise    All ancient societies speak of a Golden Age, a  Paradise, followed by an abrupt Fall from Grace,  resulting in this present world of chaos,  confusion, danger, and darkened intellects.

Don’t doubt for a moment that  it’s the will and intention of the Good Creator to see us through, and to save those who are willing.

With “darkened intellects”  comes a need for Revelation,  which indeed comes to us in many ways.  Specific Divine Law, for example, infused into our general knowledge, and then finally given directly and specifically to Moses.   The Laws given to Moses were fulfilled and completed in Christ,  expanded and explained,  but not contradicted or changed.

mosesI’m thinking of a what a society would look like without the Ten Commandments . .  . .

In Catholic practice, Saturday is the day after the Crucifixion and we share the day with Mary in her sorrow,  her Son absent.   (Of course we get to have Sunday next!  But right now it’s Saturday for certain meditations.)

Here’s a little secret information:   Moses didn’t receive ten commandments from God-Most-high.    He received Words from God.   Words,  in phrases and sentences;  thirteen in all, if you count each one.

Moses received the Word of God;  and then centuries later the Word — the Logos — came down to earth to fulfill all the prophecies, all the commandments,  all that is necessary for the salvation of mankind.

Throw out the “Ten”  Commandments, you throw out Christ, the Son of God.

devil wins

What kind of world would that be?    I’ll be thinking of that in the following days here in the Spruce Tunnel.

EVA, THE ELEPHANT, AND EMPATHY

July 23, 2015

I wrote in the last post about Eva Mozes Kor,  the survivor of the Twin Experiments carried on in Auschwitz by Mengele and others.

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For many decades she has been on a mission to inform the worldwide public that the Holocaust (as it is presently defined)  really did happen;  and that Forgiveness, she discovered unexpectedly,  is not only possible, but it is the key to a healthy personal  life and a healthy, peaceful society.

Her organization is called CANDLES — an acronym for . . .   I’ll have to look that up again. *

Based on comments I’ve received,  I need to follow up on two issues with Forgiveness.

The first point that Eva drove home in the lecture I heard from her is that Forgiveness is not the same as “forgetting.”   Forgiveness does not mean you have to try to Forget.

B elephantWe are all probably familiar with the saying “an elephant never forgets.”    But, you know,  that doesn’t quite say what Eva Kor was saying.    Perhaps it’s true that an elephant has a long memory,  but this is a biological, instinctive ability that keeps the elephant safe.

The better saying would be:  “an elephant doesn’t forget.”      He just doesn’t,  and neither do we.

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Eva’s Work Thru the Decades

Unless there is some pathology in our brain,  most events stay in our memory somewhere,  but especially events with strong emotional effect on us stay most acutely in our memory —  and even with the ability to bring back all the emotions that we initially had.

And that became part of Eva’s lectures after she learned what effect Forgiveness had on her.   She didn’t forgive her former tormenter and torturer for the effect it would have on her,   but she experienced an unexpected and profound freedom after her simple, dutiful act of Forgiveness.

And then she found that her sincere and fruitful act of Forgiveness did not result in Forgetting!

However, underlying all this is:     What is Forgiveness itself?

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This quote from Eva printed in her brochure connects Forgiveness with the emotion of anger.   She seems to say that anger is the opposite of Forgiveness — and has the opposite results.

That’s a start.    Hold on to your anger,  and  it will be hard or impossible to forgive.  The two are incompatible.

Here is a definition of Forgiveness from a (secular)  psychologist:    “Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness a shift in thinking toward someone who has wronged you, such that your desire to harm that person has decreased and your desire to do him good (or to benefit your relationship) has increased.”

So,  let go of your anger,  and let go of your desire for revenge.

Letting go starts with Lessening.

And:  “When you forgive someone who has deeply hurt you, you let go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge, no matter how deserving of these things the wrongdoer may be.”

The person who wronged you is a “wrong-doer.”      And he deserves  . . .  something, if you believe in justice.   But let go of the need to see justice done — in most cases justice won’t be done!    So you feel resentful.   Let go of that too.

Remember: Letting go starts with lessening the feeling,   Lessening it some more.  Lessening it until you are just letting go.   That’s the process;   and in that process you are changing.

Perhaps you are becoming an elephant.    Noble animal.

Empathy

I’ve done a bit of reading to learn the definition of forgiveness, but it seems to be a very large word, and it’s probably not helpful to present a single-sentence definition that covers it all.    But here is a quote that describes what I  have taught others from time to time —

I was teaching an eighth grade class of farm kids once —   big, strong, muscular, assertive,  aggressive, tetosterone-filled farm boys.  And their favorite sport was bullying the smaller boys in the class at lunch time.    I felt like a very, very small person next to them, but I was their teacher.   Teaching, lecturing,  scolding, warning didn’t help.  

But the one single statement that I made that did seem to help was this:     (stop throwing punches)  because you never know what dragons your victim is already fighting.

Huh?  (They all said.)

When I explained that people act weak or mean or stupid  or incapable or aggressively overcapable or they feel they have to bully others — that is a sign that there is something in their private, internal lives that they are fighting, and it’s always with them.     I’ve written about these boys before.     They all  came from difficult home situations.   All the big boys understood what it was like to have to face the Dragons at home. (Nothing like seeing a hulking six-foot tall strong farm kid look like he’s about to start crying.)   

— Oh,  the quote:      “Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.”

So empathy is an element in making Forgiveness possible.  

So  – sorry –   I have no helpful definition of Forgiveness for you.    I think the definition of Forgiveness that will work for you is the one that you develop.      I’m doing that too;  it’s a process.

What  I have found helpful is reading what some people have said  about  Forgiveness.  I’ll share some with you, and I’ll put the best one first.    At first I thought it was silly and sentimental,  but then I liked the image — and then, I got it.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
― Mark Twain

Then:

 “Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat…..  —  William Paul Young

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”    ― Oscar Wilde

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”   — Nelson Mandela

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”    ― John F. Kennedy      (I don’t think this is as vengeful as it seems;   like the elephant who knows this world is a hurtful, dangerous place,  forgiving doesn’t mean keep on  making yourself be a target.   Know your enemies.  As St. Paul said:  “As far as possible live at peace with all men.”  As far as possible.)

And here is a English Christian gentleman:
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”    ― C.S. Lewis

Many more insightful quotes exist!     But that’s your work to do.  that’s part of your process.

*    “CANDLES” is an acronym for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.

EVA, THE ETERNAL WORD, AND A REJECTION

July 20, 2015

A long, but necessary posting today.   I’m glad I waited several weeks to tell you about this, because the experience was so rich with meaning I needed time to digest it all.

EVA

It started with an invitation from my neighbor to see this woman speak in our local area.  This is her brochure:

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That woman is Eva Mozes Kor, and she’s not only a Holocaust survivor,  she is a survivor of Dr. Mengeles’  Twin Experiments.  That is, she was an identical twin, and medical experiments were performed upon her and her twin “for the sake of humanity.”   learning how the body works “for the improvement of the Master Race . . . .”

I am not Jewish,  but I would have to hear her at our local Jewish Community.    So off I went, one evening, a lone Gentile in a modern, stylish temple:

I settled down into a seat way in the back.  Way, way in the back!

Apart from the fact that when I worship God,  the women wear head coverings,  but here it is the men who respectfully cover their heads —  apart from that little fact,  everything seemed “safe and normal.”   People are people.   My neighbor and his wife were there.

At last, Eva herself arrived and was given a seat up front, facing us.  Here is a closeup view  –

 She was ready to speak, and I had no idea what we all were in for.

She spoke of her lovely childhood in a small village in Romania.   She was an elementary school child when WWII and the German soldiers raged hundreds of miles away.

Except then the war came closer.   She and her family were just about the only Jewish family in her village, and eventually the German soldiers came to arrest them.   She described her ride in a cattle car,  standing up with about a hundred others for four days — until they arrived in Auschwitz.

She and her twin sister were placed in the Twin barracks where everyone knew that they were Dr. Mengeles’  special project.   It was there that she suffered severe hunger, thirst,  cold, illness — and the medical experiments.    The first part of her speech was spellbinding.  Over and over again,  we cannot believe that humans can inflict such cruelty on others.

She wrote a book about her experiences

SAMSUNGThat is Eva and her twin sister walking in front of the cameras on the day of their liberation.   One of the days of liberation.  It was a several week long process, with the eleven year olds completely on their own while the adults sorted out the confusion of which army owned the territory and what was to be done to the victim-survivors.

Inside the book she included photos –  Happier days:

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And not so happy days:

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The congregation was motionless and silent as we listened to her words.  The mood was heavy and solemn.

And then came the second part.   Eva spoke of many decades of life in the United States during which she gave many lectures, testifying to the reality of the concentration camps,  in a world which sometimes questioned whether it really happened.  She thought that was her mission — until one day she interviewed  a Dr. Munsch,  assistant to Dr. Mengele, and one whom she knew personally from Auschwitz.

The doctor was alive, but not living.  His life was a mess.   He was so full of guilt and remorse that he could not move from his apartment.     She interviewed him, got more information for her lectures,  and then wondered what token of thanks she could give him as she gave all her interviewees.

What could she give her torturer, would-be murderer,  this now elderly,  broken down,  psychologically  paralyzed guilt-ridden  shell of a man?

THE ETERNAL WORD

In my last post,  I made reference to Moses receiving the Law and the Commandments about Sacrifice at the top of Mt. Sinai.    That is,   God gave to Moses his Word.    The Word of God came down at Mt. Sinai.     It’s a Word Unchanged, Eternal.

Throughout the ages, the Jews have protected this Word – which can also be called the Torah:

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It is treated with  utmost respect and religious devotion.   They are charged with preserving the Word,  bearing witness to the Word,  retaining the knowledge of God, of His Word, and of the coming Messiah,  so that the World will know these things.

The Torah is not kept hidden,  but it taken out and read and processed for all to see and to venerate:

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They are not adoring the physical object that the man is reaching out to touch;  they are adoring the God from Whom that Word came.   His Eternal Word.

As you may or may not know,  The Torah, the Word, is carefully copied in “scrolls” and respectfully preserved with as much beauty as possible.

 Beautiful “temples” are built to house these Torahs.   Just like Christians,   we all build these holy spaces as beautiful as possible to honor God, falling far, far short of the beauty and glory of Heaven.

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Some Jews at the time of Christ realized that the Word came down as the Promised One,  the Anointed, the Christ.   They taught His Eternal Word ….

….  and here is where we return to Eva and her testimony.

A REJECTION

For several decades, Eva spent her adult life going around the world telling people of the reality of the horrors of the Holocaust —   until she was confronted with the necessity of giving a small thank you gift to Dr.Munsch.

Eventually she realized and accepted the fact — that the only meaningful gift she could give this old man was the one thing he  needed most but thought he could never have:  Forgiveness.

Eva struggled with the idea.   She struggled with the wording of her thank you note. But at last she felt she got it right.  She said the sending of that note to that doctor unexpectedly released such a burden in herself, a burden that she didn’t’ even know she was carrying around.

She learned that no one can heal and be whole without extending genuine forgiveness to the one (or ones)  who have hurt you, even hurt you deeply and unjustly.

This is her message now.   She had learned the Eternal Word from God doesn’t change:   The Great Commandment is Love.  Love God first.   Love yourself.  Love your neighbor.   “Live at peace with one another”  said a famous Jewish Pharisee a long time ago.  “As far as it is possible,  live in peace. . .”   (St. Paul,  Romans 12:8)

This is her message now, as I said,  but it has not been well received!    This is the explanation:

She speaks often to Jewish audiences.    They identify with the Holocaust survivors,of course.    This is the meaning of the phrase shouted out by young Israeli soldiers today:  “Never again!”    Never again will we be victims, as at Masada and as in the Holocaust.

But if you offer forgiveness,  you are giving up your victimhood;   if you forgive,  and you no longer cling to the effects of your victimization.    If you refuse to forgive, and you can keep the advantages of being a victim — psychological advantages,  moral advantages, and sometimes financial advantages.   People make way for you if you’ve been a victim.

These are not my words,  but Eva’s.   It’s her observation.  It’s her wisdom gained through terrible experiences,   prolonging the effects of those terrible experiences,  learning how to be free from those effects,   and watching sadly as many prefer to be enslaved by past injustice.

Her message to America is that she has observed this same process happening today, as whole groups of people,  races,  ethnicities, are being taught to find disadvantage and victimhood — and clamor for reparations and special privileges because of it.     Sometimes they have to go back more than a century to find someone of their kind who have been victimized — and then they live in that past,  live chained to the injustices of the past;  and even though it prevents them from living freely today,  this gives them Power Over others,

We all knew who she was referring to.     We’re all aware of the news-entertainment role in promoting certain agendas.  we are living in a time when the Progressive-Revoutionaries MUST  promote racial and ethnic divides, in order to step in and offer us their solution.   Americans are not like that.    We must resist.  We must live at peace with each other.   Forgive and get on with our lives.

But here we are:  EVA, THE ETERNAL WORD, AND A REJECTION.         Eva testifies to her experiences that we must accept really, actually happened.   The Jews and the Christians can testify to God and His Word.      And the rejection of the Word of God — which is both Law and Christ –  leads to perpetual victimization and a life of enslavement.

Deo gratias.   And thanks to you, Eva, for your message.

I shall visit her  C.A.N.D.L.E.S.  museum in Terre Haute, Indiana,  some day this summer.

Sundays ARE Different

July 20, 2015

“Remember the sabbath day,  to keep it Holy.”
There is such a thing as a “holy place”  where God meets man and man meets God.    

This Cathedral in Toledo, Spain  is an architectural representation of a holy place.

There is a Holy Place Toledo cathedral

You should be able to see seven steps up to the altar in the middle there at the back wall.    The steps represent the upward steps that Moses took to meet God, when God came down to the mountain to teach the Law and the Sacrifice.

At the top of the steps,is an altar,  and  there is the holy  meeting place between God and man, and something supernatural happens.

Something supernatural is going on here

The Son of God comes.  And because the Son of God   is   Eternal God,  then we, in our time,  can enter into that One Act of Sacrifice that made peace between God and man.

So we see that Offering, elevated upward towards Heaven  —

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Heaven is where our Creator is.  Although it is always and ever our duty as creatures to worship and adore our Creator,  in our  spiritually darkened world this beautiful, solemn ceremony (of worship and adoration) has powerful enemies.

Locally, we cannot worship like this in our own cathedral.   Shadows are rising.

Instead,  we must enter that door and go downwards into the dark basement-like place.

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The representation of an angel affirms to our minds that Heaven watches down on us.  Our ceremony is beautiful and holy even though our surroundings aren’t!
Our spiritually darkened world is going to get very much worse very soon.

Crossraguel Abbey  Ayrshre Scotland

But, see.     The Son of God eternally offers Himself to God in the Elevation.  That beautiful, solemn ceremony will still go on.

It may not be in a beautiful cathedral like the one in Toledo.  It may not even take place in a basement.    It might have to be in some ruins, like above.    Or catacombs, for a while.

But those who want to can still adore and worship their Creator by participating in that one Sacrifice offered up to Him.  Wherever this takes place,  the beautiful solemn Mass of all Ages,  wherever,  it will be a Holy Place.

Until Judgment comes and Creation is supernaturally restored, and those who have adored their Creator will be safe forever.

Malachi 1:11 –   For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.

BEE GONE !

July 14, 2015

The last day I was able to use my back deck was June 26.    And then the yellow jackets moved in.     Three cans of wasp spray later, I admitted defeat.   Called a very good national pest control company —  and they treated it like an emergency!

Within hours of getting my call,  the man showed up —

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Discreet, I hoped.  Don’t want the neighbors thinking I have cooties in the house.

Very nice man;  local man;  everyday, common neighborly man.     He works for a national company — oh, I’ll name it:  he works for  the Rose Pest Control company….I think is their name.    ( I’ve been accidentally saying Rose Law firm ever since, but that’s just because politics is in the air.   You know — the one who has committed felonies and has ignored three subpoenas and is still not in handcuffs.)

Here’s my pest problem:

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The nice man from Rose got right to work —

 He had some powdered poison —

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And he used a spray with a long delivery tube that got way back in where the wasp nests probably was.

Poor man was sneezing and coughing for a while.    He worked for way longer than the time he estimated.    I was glad for that because he was doing a thorough job.

You wait.  you get bored — almost — and then you let your imagination kick in.   After a while, it seemed like I was being visited by curious spacemen.

Spacesuits  wherever I looked.   Light sabers?

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Around the corner, across the deck –

Even way down there —

The man told me many  interesting things about these bees, their life cycle,  their food,  the role of the queen,  but I actually learned another good lesson — or I saw a good lesson in action.  The man had lost everything about fifteen years ago —  wife,  custody of his children,  bank account,  even his house.    (Divorce, American style.)

He had to start from nothing.   In desperation he got a job with the Rose company, a very low level filling-the tanks, cleaning up after the technicians kind of job.    And then they let him go out on a few pest control jobs.  And then he learned about what he was doing and began to enjoy the work.

He considered it a challenge to learn all he could about the various pests, and he came to appreciate nature,  and keeping things under control,  and he learned that this is a worthwhile,  much-appreciated occupation.   He stuck with it and is earning a decent living for himself right now.

I’m  college educated.   It means nothing towards the dignity and worth of an individual..  It just gave me a needed license to do what I wanted to do (teach)  but for most necessary and very much needed jobs no college education is required.   Where would we be without our auto mechanics our plumbers,  our electricians,  our HVAC men,   our asphalt experts — all those jobs which are vital for everyday living,  too numerous to mention them all.

I treat these people with utmost respect because they are essential to our society.     And, whenever I can,  I counsel young people to stay away from colleges and universities, if possible,  and train for a useful profession that they can become good at.

That’s what I thought of when this good man returned the use of my back deck to me!

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He’s  leaving.

I forgot about the screen.

A HAPPY CHESS PLAYER

July 14, 2015

Take a good look:

Happy Chess PlayerActually there are quite a few “happy chess players” in the news today,  but I’ll just give you this one.   You don’t need to see the happy victory parties,  dancing, singing,  shouting,  mocking,  triumphant crowds today,  celebrating victory over the Great Satan.

(You do know that Persia — Iran — is credited with developing  the game of chess, right?)

Well,  the sides were unevenly matched.   That’s all I’ll comment on America’s  Chamberlain Moment  — and I don’t mean Wilt!

The captain of our chess team:

O No worries

They say our personality is pretty much set by our late teens, early adulthood.    Without the supernatural grace of God at work in you,  all you have when you grow older is — more experience.

I don’t suppose the Winning Side had the same upbringing as. . . .

AQUINAS VINDICATED — IN SOUTH AMERICA!

July 10, 2015

A weekend meditation.

The last two posts have been fun and beautiful:  friendship, music, and flowers.      I suppose this posting could come under a positive and happy  category too.     It is about the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas  (et al.)  being vindicated during the pope’s trip in South America.   It’s always positive and encouraging when you realize that Catholic philosophy is true philosophy and it “works” in real life.

aristotle

The “et al.”  phrase begins with Aristotle of Ancient Greece who distilled the studies of Natural Law into understandable, workable principles.     Just one of his many sound declarations is that man’s intellect is informed by his senses.  That is, our five senses by which we experience the real world around us.   (Taste, touch, sight….etc)

Put into modern terms,  if our intellect is the software,  then our five senses provide the data which the software starts working on.   I think that would be a close analogy.

St. Thomas Aquinas affirmed this fact and gave us beautiful understandings of the way Natural Law and Divine Revelation work together in harmony for an even greater understanding of us and of our universe.   After all,  Natural Law is simply all the principles of interaction that were laid down at Creation.     The two sciences, philosophy and theology, with all their subcategories are n perfect harmony.

And what’s more,  they provide the foundation for a stable and productive civilization — which lasted until the 18th and into the 19th century, when some philosophers castrated the Philosophy which produced their world.   (I don’t have a photograph[h of that!)

With a little help from the Evil One, the philosophers who  discarded philosophy corrupted the philosophy departments of many universities and then these corrupt philosophies, now separated from principles of reason  then rejected  the idea that we can know anything outside of our own minds . . .   and thus gave rise to the most murderous and most insane century of all,  the 20th century.

Reason-less philosophies give us the Will-To-Power and Might-Makes-Right —  and  puts All Power into the hands of the State,  whoever wields governmental authority in a nation — and developing now,  a one world governance with All-Power and jurisdiction over Everything and Everyone.    No Ruler is subjected to a Higher Authority than himself.  No equality there.

Quite a Brave New World!

This urge to  Power-Over-All  also gave rise to the various Revolutionary political movements:   Liberalism of the French Revolution kind, (Left-Right politics),   communism of Marx and Engels,  Fabianism,  Progressivism,  National Socialism,   Soviet Socialism,  and other local political “parties.”

Which brings us to South America, where the secular and religious Ruling class of each country are thorough Revolutionaries,  which obtain and retain their Power through Revolutions.      Revolutions brought about by bloody civil warfare.

I  No War Poster

Aquinas in South America?   Well, yes.   Everywhere.      The intellect not only receives”data” from our five senses,  but then it proceeds to “think” in images.     The human intellect works with images.

Images such as this recent photo:

Pope receives hammerA gift,  from the Marxist Ruler of Bolivia to a Liberation Theology trained Religious Ruler.     The Hammer-and-Sickle/cross.

Ever notice how Leftist Rulers need to silence their critics with vicious ad hominem attacks and threats?     So — I make no criticism.  It is what it is.    The pope handed the presumably heavy gift back with some unintelligible words, understandable only by agenda-driven and hopeful commenters.

pope around neckGift handed back,  the medallions on the pope’s chest is revealed   a smaller replica of a Hammer-and-Sickle/cross design.

All the discussion about this scene,  all the explanations,  the shock,  the denials, all the words these images have engendered are a vindication of the permanent  correctness of classic,  Catholic, thinking:     Aristotle and Aquinas say our minds do their work with images.  Our minds work to discover the Truth of the matter.

We live in  an objective and real world and Truth can be discovered.    What is Truth?

I’ve written it here before:   Truth is the adequation of the human mind with external (objective) reality.

Be careful when you think about current events!   Ideologies and agendas must  ignore objective reality.

Don’t go insane on us!

A “HILARIOUS” PARTY GAME

July 10, 2015

I mean to use those quotation marks around “hilarious.”     “Hilarious”  depends totally on your point of view in this Party Game.

It occurred to me that maybe some of you like to have your friends over in the summertime, maybe for a little conversation and drinks,  maybe for a little party,  maybe for a big party . . . .    So here’s a game which is sure to produce a lot of laughter — darn it.

It goes like this:  

(No fair practicing ahead of time):

When you have two or four or lots of people together, give everyone a piece of paper and a pen (or pencil without an eraser)    Hubbie and I hosted a party one time of about 16;   eight or so couples, if I remember correctly.     Eight of Hubbie’s high school buddies, with their wives,  and with lots of food and drink.    Eight of Hubble’s high school troglodyte buddies,  who were quick to notice the superior abilities of themselves over their wives  “in some things.”   

So the mood was just right for this mixed group of friends.

The instructions are to draw on that paper, with that pen,  a bicycle.

Just one bicycle.

Most of the guys said,   “Ohhhh.    Okay.    Here.”

bikes for big boys

All the women took the challenge seriously  and worked hard with their pens, silent,  concentrating . . .  drawing to the sound of    “Aren’t you done yet?”     “Hey, this isn’t art class!”     “Let’s go have a drink while the women finish.”      (“Women” not being entirely complimentary at that point.

Yes.  Well, when we women announced that we were done,  the men reassembled around us, and then we all had to show our “bicycles” to each other.      Mine was a pretty neat-looking drawing.   I don’t have great drawing ability,   but this looked like a pretty good bicycle.

(I was cleaning out some old boxes of papers today and came across a couple of actual drawings from that day.  I claim neither of these.  I think.)

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At the first the guys were saying,  “Hey, you drew your bike when we were kids!”        “I had a bike like that one time….”       “I just drew the one I want to buy some day.”  

And then the guys noticed our bikes:    “Hey, what’s that supposed to be?”   (chuckle, chuckle)     “Hey come here — Look what my wife drew!”    (laughter)     “No, come here look at this one!”    (big laughter)    “Ha ha ha ha ha — how’s that supposed to work?”     (big group male laughter)      ” Hey, haven’t you ever rode a bike before?”       ( Hysterical.   Uncontrollable.   Laughter.)

Yeah,  mine was ridiculed too.   Those guys were on a roll.   They could hardly get any words out;  they were . . . snorting incoherently.

Perplexed,  I asked Hubbie what was wrong with my drawing.     That attracted a small group of guys.   Other wives were asking the same question.

Armed with pens and pencils, the guys descended on our drawings . . . 

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              . . . . and proceeded to give us “instructions”  about where the lines should have gone.   This picture shows some incomprehensible diagrams that are supposed to help us understand where we went wrong.   

It was a really funny game,  depending on your perspective.

I’ll have to say, “we women”  joined in the laughter too when our obvious inability to draw a working bicycle became apparent even to us.   I’ve tried this in smaller groups,  different kinds of get-togethers, and the result is always the same.  The majority of the guys — all of them, I’d say —  could draw a perfect bicycle.    The majority of the women couldn’t.

bike pinkAhhhh….  if only I could practice enough . . .  .darn it.

MUSIC IN THE GARDEN — SUMMER 2015

July 7, 2015

A gift of Flowers:

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They come from the liberality of a friend who rejoices in the beauty of her garden,  and from which she generously shares her flowers, her musical talent, and her hospitality,  at regular intervals.

We have begun this summer to make (somewhat) beautiful music together.

I wrote a while ago about this new activity for me;   I’ve taken up the recorder at the prompting of my friend, a fine instrument for the sounds of  Renaissance and Baroque music      Earlier this summer,  one day,   she surprised me by saying we’d be playing outdoors.   I drove to her home in the country, and while I was parking the car I heard her say she’d be “on the bench.”

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I got out of my car and it took me a while to locate “the bench,”  but there it was, a little distance away, surrounded by a lovely garden arranged in the “English” way;  that is,   non-symmetrical,  non-plotted,  and rather untamed at first glance.

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Closer in,  I could see there were happy, colorful bunches of flowers of this and that kind,  with happy bees,  happy dragonflies,  happy all sorts of buzzing creatures going in and out of the various blossoms.

She told me to sit on the bench with her awhile, before we started the “really stressful”  activity of making music together — and perhaps she perceived in me my inheritance from my own Grandmother — a need for speed.   A need to get right to it, hurry up, and be doing it, whatever  it  was….    (What gave her a clue?  Maybe because the first half dozen times I tried to find her country home, I drove right past —  I raced right past —  and even though I knew better,  I just couldn’t slow down enough to insert my car into her driveway in time.    I was in a hurry.   I came to our music session tense and purposeful. )

One can’t be speedy and purposeful in a beautiful English garden.

We sat and talked quietly together on the bench.  At first I was filled with admiration and many questions about her garden, which extends all around her property,  not only in the “English” arrangement.

But then the quietness descended on us,  the peace and quietness that fills a person when Nature speaks, always insisting on having center stage.    I did slow down;   I did feel at rest now.   I was ready for our music.

 There,  just beyond the flowers,  was a gazebo,  sheltered by the tall trees.

This is where we make our music.   And last week there were three of us.

recorders threeSoprano, tenor, and alto — a full voice for the beautiful chords of the music that  was produced during the pinnacle of Western culture.  We three did well.  We could almost hear what the music was supposed to sound like!    I could almost see the people who appreciated this music.

minuet

Two hours of music pass by in an instant.

Then there is Tea, of various kinds,  with mint leaves from the garden.   And there are English tea biscuits,  or lemon bars,  or scones.    Light and lovely.

The notes of our music have penetrated every cell of my body, calming, soothing, ordering my  self.    Each color, each petal of the flowers  have done their work,  lifting my spirit upward in some ineffable gratitude.    The quiet conversation of friendship has encouraged  and strengthened me.

I go home with it all.   Some of the experience is “vased” __

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— vased, so I can see and remember.      But most of the experience stays inside of me.

I’ll slow down now.   I will slow down and practice hard —  so I can do this again, next time.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA AVUM

July 5, 2015

“SIC TRANSIT”   —  (So passes….)       I wrote about my baby cardinals nesting on my front porch light (“Henpecked”),  from their hatching to their sudden going away;    going on to a presumably happy adult cardinal life.

Bluebird  I’ve been watching another nesting family just ten feet outside my front door, in a birdhouse in a small tree.    I’m fairly sure this was an Eastern Bluebird.  The blue wings were s shimmering blue,  very pretty in the sunlight.   Her eyes, seen through binoculars, were larger than expected and quite vigilant.   She was busy and attentive and faithful to her eggs and then to her hungry babies.

By the end of a few weeks I was really rooting for these little ones.

During these weeks we had Midsummer, the celebration of the Summer Solstice,  when the sun ceases to “move” northward and begins its southward “journey” away from us in the Northern hemisphere, a movement which will eventually bring the longest, darkest days.

My Scandinavian heritage makes me very aware of this time of year.

Bonfire

Bonfires were lit (for various reasons,  depending upon myths and legends)   My Grandma’s Finnish word for this is kokko, with the K’s sounding more like a hard g sound.      I remember this time of year as a time of fun outdoors in the dark,  with roasting potatoes, hot dogs, and marshmallows in the little family fires dotted all around the main bonfire.

By the time I was young,  the bonfire had drifted later to coincide with the Fourth of July —  but the meaning was the same.:  The Year Is Dying!     From now on the days will become shorter, with respect to the amount of daylight.   I don’t believe in evil spirits, witches or dragons  (well, maybe dragons;  who knows?) that rule this darker half of the year,  but the darker things of life must be accounted to.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDUM

That’s the common Roman phrase.   No matter how much we achieve in this life, the glory of the world will  “pass away”  with our own passing.  Our lives, like each year,   reaches a glorious climax with warmth and sun,  but then turns the corner at the Solstice and approaches its own deep darkness of winter’s death.

Sir Walter Scott once wrote:

               And come he slow, or come he fast,

               It is but Death who comes at last.

No, that doesn’t have to be gloomy!   It doesn’t even have to be scary.   It is the way of all things.  We all have a cycle.

My thought is:   There is a world beyond, so live now in the company of those who live in which  “world”  you would want to live in forever.         (As you can see,  I am no Sir Walter Scott with a poetic tongue.)

Let me try it again:   If you want to live forever with the God of Peace and Love and Beauty and Safety,  then live with Him here,  now.      If you don’t care about Him now,   then you certainly won’t live with Him then.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA AVUM

Avum:  the birds.   I came home one day to notice more debris on the bricks in front of my porch, and thought   “I’ll have to sweep those bricks again soon!”

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But there was something “colorful”  about that debris —

Upon closer inspection:

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Small blue feathers were scattered all over.   Too soon for molting.   This is a sign of tragedy.    Death to the little birds before they even had a chance to finish their little lives.

So soon their little lives “passed.”

In their place,  an empty hole —

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That was their home.   For such a little while I watched that birdhouse swing with activity when Mama came home to feed the babies and when the babies got big enough to make it swing by themselves.

It feels “empty”  around here.      Empty-Gone.

Humans have always known that our lives are short and we are all just passing through.     When the elderly Patriarch Jacob met the great Pharaoh of Joseph’s time,   the Pharaoh asked him:  “How old are you?!” 

Jacob replied:  “The days of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years . . .”   (Genesis 47:9)     Pilgrimage through life.  Sojourning.   Traveling.   Passing through life.

SIC TRANSIT

We’re all    “transiting.”      There is much to enjoy here, birdwatching and bonfires,   but we enjoy such things as we pass by, watching “out the window”  as the vehicle of Time carries us on to the next world — a happy place for those who serve the King who is waiting for us.

DANTE OBSERVES THE POPE

July 2, 2015

(With harmless love and concern):

I’m going to assume  most people, at least nearly everyone under the age of 45, have not read any of Dante’s Comedy trilogy.  (I was there, as a public school teacher, when the de-education of American students began.   It was an astonishing achievement:  the dumbing down of a well-educated nation while at the same time making them think they were the “smartest generation”  that ever lived! )

The Marxist-Socialist-Modernist revolution began, so small at first, before the French Revolution in the 18th century.   Revolution was in the air!  The 19th century was one of nearly constant success for this Revolution,  political, philosophical, and religious.  Anything that came before must be pulled down and anything that was “new”   must be put in its place.*

The 20th century has seen the almost worldwide success of this Revolution-Against-All-Things.   It’s not been slow, because from Satan’s perspective,  time is not an issue.   But it took a little time to boil those human frogs.

Marxists Understand Each Other:

2 Marxists understanding each otherNo one is born a marxist revolutionary;  they are trained (and de-educated)  to be that way.

And they are in complete accord with each other, having the same goals.

2 marxists side by side

Now to Dante and the pope, et al.

Dante, an Italian writer, wrote a trilogy called The Divine Comedy.**    In the part called the Inferno  (Hell), Dante describes in livid detail the various sins and the exact, appropriate, everlasting punishment for each sin.  (“Not appropriate for children under 13” – to read!)

The very bottom, most intense horrible punishment is given to the Usurers and to the Sodomites.     Their place, for all eternity, is in the lowest circle of Hell with the most hideous torments.   (By the way, it is not God who torments them . . . .)

Now, Christians and Jews have long been taught  that at the End of the World,  wickedness and evil will “greatly increase.”    Modernists (revolutionaries)   call this “Progress”  and are taught to welcome it.

The pope, marxist trained and certainly “progressive” in his thinking,  has issued a letter to all bishops (an encyclical called Laudato si’ )  proclaiming that the world needs to pull together under a One World Governance supported by and facilitated by a  One World Economic system — led by the world’s most dictatorial Usurers, of course,  the various World Banks.  These are our International Global Banks which can control and punish the world with their weapon of (unaffordable) Lending and  Usury.

(We see this today in several third-world nations which are faced with the choice to change their sovereign internal laws, especially regarding the Family, the protection of children, and the  practice of sexual immorality of various kinds — or else receive no needed money for development and/or pay ruinous fines to the World Banks.)

The popes in recent times seem to have been unable to uphold Catholic teaching concerning the most basic unit of every society:    the Family.   Man.  Woman.  Possibly children.   Possibly other blood relatives.    The popes have sat back and watched the Catholic seminaries fill with sodomites, some “secret,”  some aggressive,  with an agenda to change the Church’s teachings on Marriage, the Family, and all the other teachings as well.

Along the way,  these types of grown men have not been able to restrain their sexual “inclinations” for pubescent male children and have given rise to the pederasty scandal of the last fifty or sixty years –  when Church teaching was hijacked from within — and greatly relaxed.

I’m speaking present-day magnitude here, not  scattered and occasional incidents of various degrees throughout the last millennium.

Nevertheless, on these larger two issues people must be de-educated :

1.   Global World Governance is the only way to assure “peace and order in this world.”

2.   Global economic dominance is the only way to assure “equal distribution of wealth.”     And you’re guilty guilty  guilty if you don’t contribute . . .

All it takes is a little self-education, a little disconnection from Group-Think, and Eyes Wide Open and Unafraid in order to see that:

1.    Growing World Governance leads to World Dominance,  World Dictatorship  (it must, or it wouldn’t work) and two things stand in it way and must be destroyed:   the sovereignty of nations and the basic unit of every nation, the Family.

2.     By experience and by design our money that they demand from us never gets to those in need but enriches those elite economic leaders beyond our wildest imaginations.   By experience we know this.

You must elevate, Sir Pope and Sir Barack-Hussein person,  any group who will help break down the Family and any law that dissolves national sovereignty,  any anti-Family group,  any trade agreement that is anti-sovereign national laws. . . .

(What do you think they were doing while they were directing our attention to various sensational local crimes and prison breaks in these past few months?)     Public media is the greatest tool of de-education.

Keep your eye on the person they put into the office of our presidency who says he has “lots to do”  before he leaves.  Keep your eye on the pope’s Synod on the “Family”   in the Fall of 2015.

Dante,  observe this pope and the marxist matrix of his friends.

Let us keep our eyes on Dante Alighieri and the general outline of the human drama and the consequences of two great human sins:  Dominance over others and Perversion of God’s creative power as reflected by the Family.

bar simnple graded gray lines

Notes:

*   the “smartest generation”  that ever lived! ”    Thus promoting an attitude of arrogance and rule rather than one of humility and service.    And “to rule”  may merely mean that you think you are on the winning, “ruling,” side.

Please do look up and read the Communist Manifesto or the Humanist Manifesto.

**   The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso … 

In poetic form with vivid details it presents the entire drama of the human race:  Our Fall from the Creator’s original intentions; sin and its consequences (Hell);  grace and its consequences.

There is nothing “funny” in this trilogy but It’s called a comedy because in spite of the general human rejection of the Creator  (that would be God the Father),  yet He has provided a pathway back to Him.     For those who would.

We speak in love to those who call us their enemies.    We must speak out in love and caring and concern to those  who wish to Dominate Over all those who disagree — and most importantly, to all those who do not know God or do not which to serve Him, unto their own everlasting salvation.   They will die, some day.   We all will.  Perhaps we’ll all meet Dante, himself.