Friday, August 17, 2018

THE URGENT NEED FOR A THIRD VATICAN COUNCIL

                                 
The Second Vatican Council, called by St. Jean xxii as a pastoral council of renewal has had, in the decades since, enormous unintended consequences: in liturgical life, the poverty of new church designs, the abandonment by many religious orders of the charism of their founders/foundresses, religious habits, common life, lack of vocations, aging of their members.
Yet the newer orders are vibrant, adhere to common life, religious habit and have lots of vocations.
The decimation of thousands of parishes and many dioceses, primarily because of the seemingly unending scandal of priestly sins of abuse against the innocent, is exacerbated by people leaving in droves because they are not being fed from the pulpit as they hunger for.
St. John Paul ii, tried to call religious back to wearing their habits, being faithful to the original charism of their founders and was, in one egregious example, for doing so, publicly chastised by a nun, in front of television cameras, while on a pastoral visit to the United States.
Around the streets of the city in which I live Muslim men in traditional garb and the long dress veiled women are visible.
Priests, religious men and women are not visible because the women, wearing make-up and jewelry, the priests wearing business suits or casual attire are indistinguishable from the secular world.
So-called Catholic schools in many countries have been secularized and the teachers ignore the wishes of the parents, in violation of the Charter of Rights of the Family and ignore the bishops and priests as well.
The Third Vatican Council should hold sessions on each of the above and other issues or in the famous phrase of Pope Francis asserting the Church should be a field hospital soon there will be no one to staff it and, like as not, the field hospital itself will look like any tent put in place by the UN or the Red Cross.
If we love the Church, if we love humanity, if we want the Church to be visible, we should become active participants in a renewal of the Church, a restoration of holiness, starting in our own lives, families, parishes, dioceses, religious orders.
That is the first and necessary step towards restoration/renewal of the holiness of the Church and truly building the field hospital the human family desperately needs.
We will only take the journey, restore a holy and visible Church, if we constantly ask the Holy Trinity for the needed grace and Mary, Mother of the Church, to take us by the hand and lead us.
© 2018 Fr. Arthur Joseph



Thursday, July 19, 2018

DO YOU HEAR?


                                                               



The rights of the person, even though they are expressed as rights of the individual, have a fundamental social dimension which finds an innate and vital expression in the family….[ From the Preamble of the Charter of Rights of the Family: promulgated by the Holy See, October 22, 1983]

The Soviets did it, the Nazis did it, the Maoists did it, now the left leaning governments do it.

The it?

Overriding the rights of the family by usurping the inalienable rights of parents when it comes to the education of their children: Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to educate them; hence they must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. [op. cit. # 5]

In arrogant denial of the reality happening in various countries at the national or provincial/state level, through the election of right or centre right governments, the leftist parties/press/pundits etc. have been in a petulant, at times viciously angry, frankly whiney-infantile stance ever since things started to shift, most dramatically with the presidential election in the United States.

The left is all for ‘the people’ so long as ‘the people’ go along with the left’s social engineering and remain silently complacent.

Dare ‘the people’, the ‘basket of deplorables and irredeemables’ as Hilary Clinton named them, while Obama called them ‘clingers’, whereas in truth they are, those not listened to men and women, the backbone of democracy, hard working families, people who only seek to be heard, yet dare they speak, the left pounces, demeaning the very people they claim to be for.

This is the great lie of the left, that they listen to and care for ordinary citizens: the left is not for ordinary people, it is for their own leftist determination of how the people should transform themselves into automatons of extreme socialist notions of human life on earth.

Recently, in Canada, byelections have had the electorate at the federal and provincial level resoundingly boot the left out. In the province of Ontario kick them all out all together, and elect a conservative majority government who recently culled the left’s sex education program, which, without parental consent taught children, starting in kindergarten, about sexual orientation, transgender options, copulation and more.

The left and the teacher’s unions across Canada are apoplectic because they know better than parents which age is most appropriate for all that to be foisted on underdeveloped brains and emotions. Really?

Furthermore, as the left stresses: clearly parents who objected to that program are……well name your phobia because they listed them all.

The oppressive regimes listed above knew, as does the radical left know, if you want to reengineer society you need control of the children, at the tenderest age possible, so you can implant in them the mindset you want.

The arrogance of the left is such that even when the people, the voters, elect a majority government the left froths at the mouth that the new government does not have the consent of the people!

Most human beings, of any faith or nor faith at all, are not on the extreme left or right of religion or politics.

Most could best be described as centre left or centre right, simply wanting to practice their faith, raise their family, be neighbourly to everyone.

Victor Hugo’s book, Les Misérables –  about the struggle of the ‘deplorables, irredeemables, clingers’ of his day – shown powerfully in the films and musical derived from his masterwork, is, for the left, this telling of ground down, oppressed people interpreted not as the voice of the people in any objective sense, but as only the people rejecting the oppression of the right and thus clamouring for the agenda of the left.

In truth, if studied carefully, the teaching is clear: let any oppressor grind down people by any means, economic, social engineering, political extremism, etc., and the people, one way or another, hopefully only by the ballot box and not violence, will rebel.

….the family, a natural society, exists prior to the State or any other community, and possesses inherent rights which are inalienable;….. Parents have the right to ensure that their children are not compelled to attend classes which are not in agreement with their own moral and religious convictions. In particular, sex education is a basic right of the parents and must always be carried out under their close supervision, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them….Every family has the right to live freely its own domestic religious life under the guidance of the parents, as well as the right to profess publicly and to propagate the faith, to take part in public worship and in freely chosen programs of religious instruction, without suffering discrimination…..The family has the right to exercise its social and political function in the construction of society……Families have the right to form associations with other families and institutions, in order to fulfill the family's role suitably and effectively, as well as to protect the rights, foster the good and represent the interests of the family. On the economic, social, juridical and cultural levels, the rightful role of families and family associations must be recognized in the planning and development of programs which touch on family life. [op.cit.: preamble D; article 5 C; article 7; article 8].

The current national and international profound wounds and divisions, the growing angers and resentments within nations and among nations is at a point of spinning out of control in ways which have the potential to become too horrific to imagine.

The Catholic Church in Canada and the US continues to hemorrhage its people to the Evangelicals because our bishops and priests, many of them left-leaning themselves, are apparently tone deaf as well.

Unless, like St. John Paul who gifted us with the Charter of Rights of the Family, and like Pope Francis, bishops and priests become courageous and steadfastly, boldly, yes even to martyrdom within the culture of death, make defense of, support of the family, our primary evangelization and pastoral care service, then, by the end of this 21st century, the Church in Western Europe and North America will be a very, very tiny reality indeed, no longer having the capacity to be a field hospital, it may well be only a tiny wayfarer’s tent.

Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again…..[ Do Hear The People Sing? From the Les Misérables musical]






© 2018-Fr. Arthur Joseph






Tuesday, June 19, 2018

THE CAGED CHILDREN WAIL


                                                    
Unlike in the aftermath of the Second World War when the displaced peoples of Europe where cared for by the victorious Allies through various programs, such as the Marshal plan and programs by NGOs, which helped people either re-establish themselves in the home country, return to their country of origin, or be accepted as new citizens in Allied Nations, we have these past many, many years failed to efficiently, compassionately address the millions of displaced people, displaced by oppressive violence, civil wars, famine, lack of work with which to earn a living and thereby raise a family.


Mostly from African and Middle Eastern countries, Europe is inundated; mostly from Central America, but increasingly from South America as well as the Caribbean, the United States is facing a tsunami of people, desperate, frightened people, not unlike Europe; Canada, triggered by a frankly ill-conceived statement by the Prime Minister, is experiencing – like the US and Europe but so far on a dramatically smaller scale – a river of the desperate illegally crossing the border.

This global influx of desperate people – men, women, children, has no disciplined order to it, thus the thousands who drown in the Mediterranean, the women and children trafficked by the evil men who sell vulnerable human beings, the small but no less dangerous numbers of criminals and terrorists who mingle with the desperate and then disappear within our countries, not to surface until they rob, rape, do an act of terror – is unending.

Even the most charitable of citizens in the countries inundated by this flood of desperate people are feeling the strain and demanding governments get some control over things, while on the one extreme the disingenuous liberal mindset wants a world without borders – which will be a world without any rule of law or common sense – and on the other extreme the rightist mindset wants everyone deemed not to be like us, sent packing.

President Trump, both in a tweet and a recent speech is adamant he does not want his country “infected” by illegal immigrants.

This reveals a not uncommon attitude which fails to see frightened, desperate, of perhaps a skin colour, language, religion not like us, as human beings, as children of God, just as we are.

Do not oppress and act ungodly toward the resident alien, the orphan or the widow. [Jer. 22:3] Do not rob the poor because they are poor, nor crush the needy at the gate…[Prv.22;22] Father of the fatherless, defender of widows—God in his holy abode, God gives a home to the forsaken…[Ps.68:6,7] The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal; Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds…[Sir.35:21]

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” [Mt.25:34ff]

It is from the above words of God we must, as Christians, using the power of love’s creative, compassionate imagination, work individually, as communities, as voice for the voiceless to push the body politic and world leaders to seriously address, at their source, the wars, unemployment, famine, epidemics, violent oppression of people which forces thousands upon thousands of our brothers and sisters to risk everything to flee to countries they deem safe, welcoming.

We cannot ignore the thousands of bodies floating in the Mediterranean, be deaf to the wailing of the more than 2,000 children being held in cages, separated from their parents who are caged elsewhere in the United States – protecting our borders, seeking to prevent illegal immigration should not be at the cost of traumatizing little children.

When the AIDS epidemic seemed unstoppable scientists around the world worked tirelessly to find Patient Zero, in a word where did it start; when Ebola was ravaging African nations, the same thing was done: find the source and work backward from the source to find a cure.

We need to follow the trail of bodies from our borders back to where this massive movement of populations unfolds, find the triggers, address the triggers – for like after WWII when the clear majority of those displaced by the war just wanted to return to their homeland, so would most of the current displaced peoples return to their homeland if the causes of their leaving could be addressed and eliminated.

In his 2017 Christmas homily Pope Francis teaches us: …..Mary and Joseph found themselves forced to set out. They had to leave their people, their home and their land, and to undertake a journey in order to be registered in the census. This was no comfortable or easy journey for a young couple about to have a child: they had to leave their land. At heart, they were full of hope and expectation because of the child about to be born; yet their steps were weighed down by the uncertainties and dangers that attend those who have to leave their home behind……So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones. In many cases this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.

Towards the end of the film The Day After Tomorrow, after in the film the entire northern hemisphere has been plunged into a new ice age and the survivors, who have lost everything except their lives, flee south: the character of the President says: “The fact that my first address to you comes from a consulate on foreign soil…is a testament to our changed reality. Not only Americans…but people all around the globe are now guests in the nations…we once called the Third World. In our time of need, they have taken us in and sheltered us.”

If we keep rejecting our brothers and sisters today, fleeing towards the north, how shall we be received should the day come when we must flee south?

Monday, June 11, 2018

MOST ALONE TIME


                                                          

Last week the media repeatedly re-told the stories of two recent suicides by celebrities, mostly stating that “she died, he died”, when the tragic fact is she killed herself, he killed himself.

The moment immediately prior to the act itself must be the most alone time for any human being. It is the moment when the mind is filled with poisoned thinking and lies, the emotions are in profound darkness and hopelessness, and in that aloneness the yearning to be freed from the pain disables rational thought and the weakened will chooses to stop the pain, without the person having any prior experience of the finality of their action, for death is a one of.

Once the act is done it is final.

Time we avoid the almost banal word: suicide and name it truthfully: self-murder.

There was a time, before the development of modern psychiatry, when it was assumed self-murder was a purely free-will act.

The openness of the Church to what can be learned over the ages from greater understanding of human emotions, impact of trauma upon a person’s ability to endure physical and emotional pain, put an end to the erroneous understanding of self-murder always being a purely free-will act.

That said in our day the issue has become complicated by, in Canada for example, the legalization of doctor assisted self-murder.

Truly we are deep in the cold darkness of the culture of death.

Often there is intense social pressure, lack of a vibrant social life, in the lives of individuals who act alone to self-murder, while often familial pressure, upon the infirm and the elderly forces them to chose assisted self-murder.

The Church teaches: Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for His honour and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of……[Catechism of the Catholic Church #2280]

At the same time the Church takes compassionate note of the fact that: Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. the Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives. [see op. cit. paras: 2282,83]

St. John Paul II reminds us: To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called "assisted suicide" means to cooperate in, and at times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested. In a remarkably relevant passage Saint Augustine writes that "it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he requests it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live". …. euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing "perversion" of mercy. True "compassion" leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. [cf. The Gospel of Life, Ch. III, para. 66]

No government can morally legislate any laws which contravene Divine Law, therefore such laws require Christians, indeed everyone who acknowledges or at least knows of Divine Law, to disobey such ersatz laws.

When it comes to human beings, as acting persons we have free will.

 Killing ourselves is the ultimate abuse of the freedom gifted to us.

 If the decision has already been made it is well nigh impossible to prevent because such of our brothers and sisters who have made the decision tend to be extremely capable of keeping their choice hidden until family and friends are left with the profound pain of not having prevented death.

The violation of charity which is constitutive of self-murder is made visible in the survivors, family and friends, blaming themselves for something NOT their fault.

The command of Jesus to love one another as we love ourselves should compel us to act if we notice someone we love, family, co-worker, neighbour, suddenly, for example, giving away personal treasured items, speaking ways not part of their normal discourse, revealing they are depressed, overly anxious, lacking hope, posting hints on social media.

Our loving, compassionate action may well prevent another tragedy.

Charity is the total self-gift to other remembering: “If I give a little, it costs a lot. Give a lot, it costs a little. Give everything, it costs nothing at all.” {word of Melkite Archbishop Joseph Raya [1916-2005]}

A major contributing factor to self-murder, or assisted self-murder, is as a society we have forgotten the difference between pain and suffering.

So much so that in 1984, seeking to remind us of the difference, St. John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter: Salvifici Doloris [On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering]: …..interior maturity and spiritual greatness in suffering are certainly the result of a particular conversion and cooperation with the grace of the Crucified Redeemer. It is he himself who acts at the heart of human sufferings through his Spirit of truth, through the consoling Spirit. It is he who transforms, in a certain sense, the very substance of the spiritual life, indicating for the person who suffers a place close to himself. …… Suffering is, in itself, an experience of evil. But Christ has made suffering the firmest basis of the definitive good, namely the good of eternal salvation. By his suffering on the Cross, Christ reached the very roots of evil, of sin and death…… ….slowly but effectively, Christ leads into this world, into this Kingdom of the Father, suffering man, in a certain sense through the very heart of his suffering. For suffering cannot be transformed and changed by a grace from outside, but from within. And Christ through his own salvific suffering is very much present in every human suffering and can act from within that suffering by the powers of his Spirit of truth, his consoling Spirit. [op. cit. Ch. VI, para: 26]

Pain is treatable, both physical and emotional pain, while the suffering aspect of pain is a gift to embraced, in and with Christ.

Let us not however forget that it is an act of authentic self-love to avail ourselves of any moral means to ease pain.

People who self-murder do not opt per se for death as much as they opt for an end to the pain.

…..although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. [2 Cor. 4:16-18]

Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who are in the most alone moment that they will hear Jesus knocking at the door of their being [cf.Rev.3:20], open to Him, allow Him to fill them with His light and love.










Thursday, May 31, 2018

GIFT AND MYSTERY


                                                           

Originating in the heart of the Trinity,

Mystery of being chosen for

Gift of breath of life.

Mystery of being – in image and likeness of God,

Gift of life as person and mystery-gift of faith,

Illumination of Baptism, Confirmation – first

Gifts of sacred chrism.

Gift of innumerable occasions for Sacrament

Of Reconciliation – mystery of Divine Mercy.

Gift of First and innumerable Holy Communions,

Mystery of Oneness with Jesus.

Years of dark atheism and travels,

Mystery of encounter at Her shrine,

With Our Lady of Guadalupe

Gift of being brought by Her back to

Grace-mystery of faith.

Standing with head against the heart

Of Our Lady of Combermere,

Gift of Her asking Her Son to choose.

Mysteries of studies, gift of formation,

Suddenness of the day when asked if

Present, if prepared, answering the Bishop,

As heart pounds: “I am!”

Gift of ascent to ordination by bishop and

The people,

Gift of self through vow of obedience to

The Trinity, the Church, through the Bishop

Become thus Priest-Servant of every human being.

Gift of Holy Spirit’s fire in the silence

Of laying on of hands,

Vesting with stole and chasuble,

Mystery of anointing with Sacred Chrism,

Gifts of Bread and Wine given,

Stepping up to altar with bishop,

Fellow Ordinands assembled priests,

Now of the sacred-mystery of priestly

Brotherhood.

Three decades hence – gift of memory,

Gift and mystery of daily being.

Gift of mystery of as yet a mere

Beginner priest.

© Fr. Arthur Joseph

May 31, 2018

33rd anniversary of the Gift and Mystery


Friday, May 18, 2018

I HAVE BECOME A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND


                                          

When I was mandated to enter the hermitical life, my spiritual director told me, by checking the news channels of various countries, to stay aware of everything impacting our brothers and sisters throughout the world, amid the culture of darkness and death, to treasure every human being in my heart, offering each Holy Mass, everything I am and do as intercession for everyone, with love.

As I write, millions are anticipating a joyous event, the marriage of Prince Harry and Megan, while yet again there is grieving in the Unites States in the aftermath of yet another school shooting.

This is the intense paradox of human beings – our capacity to love, to commit to one another, to life, and our capacity for hate, hate that morphs into violence.

In his book KING LEOPOLD’S GHOST, Adam Hochshild makes a seminal statement:  ….the world we live in – its divisions and conflicts, its widening gap between rich and poor, its seemingly inexplicable outbursts of violence – is shaped far less by what we celebrate and mythologize than by the painful events we try to forget. [ from: Ch. 19- The Great Forgetting, 1999 ed.]

In 1826 James Fenimore Cooper published his THE LAST OF THE MOCHICANS.

What is fascinating about this novel is it shows how the European powers, in their conquest of the Americas, took advantage of the pre-existing hatreds, wars, cruelty, slavery existing among the Indigenous peoples by, for example the French and British, who used these pre-disposed enemies of each other, such as the Iroquois and the Huron, to further their attempts to dominate the fur trade, gain more territory.

Cooper, long before Hochshild, shows a fundamental sin among human beings: hatred morphing into violent attempts, sometimes successful, to dominate those deemed ‘not like us’.

Nowadays individuals, groups, even governments expend inordinate amounts of energy in the blaming of others for all woes, even engaging in revisionist history to assert their insatiable demands for re-dress, going so far as to override natural law, which is Divine Law, itself inscribed in every human heart, when it comes, for example, to the sacredness of human life from the womb to the tomb, the sanctity of Holy Marriage, the objective God created reality of us as human persons who, in His image and likeness are indeed, male and female.

In stark contrast to this hate filled, blaming, death dealing, divisive, cognitively dissonant century, is Jesus.

Jesus who teaches us how, by His words and example, to de-poison our hearts, to escape the painful bondage of memories we cling to with anger, bitterness, blaming, for in refusing to forgive, in refusing to allow the open wounds to be healed by choosing not to be a perpetual victim never able to be satisfied with any form of re-dress, be it through the justice system, financial compensation, having society change to adjust to us, in a word only imitating our merciful and forgiving Jesus can we be restored to the sanity with which we were born, only through authentic forgiveness and loving those who have hurt us can we finally become mature, free, whole, indeed holy, persons: Mt. 18: 21-25; 6:95; Lk. 23-24.

Every race, religion, nation, tribe, clan, family, individual on earth, because satan and sin exist, has been/is sinned against or has/does sin.

This is the stark reality of having free will, a gift so precious God does not take it away from anyone, no matter how that person may abuse freedom to hurt, damage, dominate other[s].

Satan wants victims to be perpetually so.

Christ wants victims to be healed and set free, but that means exercising free will to accept the offered healing.

When as an individual person, or as a member of a group of persons sinned against, we refuse to forgive those who have/or the one who has sinned against us, we remain prisoners, perpetual victims and the victimizer retains their power – a share of satan’s power – over us.

Thus, refusal to love, to do good to those who persecute, to forgive our enemies, means allowing poison to become such a part of us our minds, hearts, bodies, souls are perpetually infected.

We can become enmeshed in a culture of victimhood, become insatiable with a relentless demand for a redress than can never cleanse us of the poison or free us from the dank and lonely prison we refuse to leave, even when, as He did for Lazarus, Jesus flings open the door, calls us forth, orders we be unbound.

St. Matthew chapter 5 is the template for becoming unbound, unvictimed, freed, is the template also for authentic Christian living.

It is within this, frankly insane 21st century, I have become a stranger – which I take as a blessing – living amid a human family, in a country, I no longer recognize, understand less and less.

Somehow it as if we have become bit players in the Scottish play!

From: The Tragedy of Macbeth: Act 4-Scene 1: William Shakespeare: Second Witch: By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, Whoever knocks! Enter MACBETH: How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! What is't you do? ALL:  A deed without a name. MACBETH:  I conjure you, by that which you profess, Howe'er you come to know it, answer me: Though you untie the winds and let them fight Against the churches; though the yesty waves Confound and swallow navigation up; Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down; Though castles topple on their warders' heads; Though palaces and pyramids do slope Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure Of nature's germens tumble all together, Even till destruction sicken; answer me To what I ask you.

Macbeth himself embodies the hubris and narcissism so prevalent in our contemporary society.

By using this character and his story Shakespeare has given us a study of the psychology of, indeed the philosophy of evil we would do well to study, that we might defend against evil with all the tools given us by the Holy Spirit.   

The ancient Greeks with their panoply of gods, associated stories, their philosophies, had a fair grasp of the human condition.

Our modern word Hubris derives from the Greek concept of extreme overconfidence in oneself, including behaviour which challenges the gods.

Narcissus, the son of a river god and a nymph, was in bondage to pride to such an extent he disdained others, even those who loved him, so the gods dispatched one of their own, Nemesis, to deal with him. She lured him to a deep pool of water where, seeing his own reflection, he was transfixed. Unable to turn his gaze away from himself, he lost his will to live and died.

In Western countries it is the hubris and anti-god pride of baptized men and women in government, the supreme courts, universities, etc., who, having discovered they are smarter than God, have set in motion the relativism, and all the culture of death flowing therefrom, as a tsunami of darkness engulfing human beings.

Blindly carrying on their agenda, with apparently no idea they are so embedded in cognitive dissonance it escapes them they are being persistently seduced by the god Nemesis, a.k.a., satan.

“The devil is a great liar. Don’t talk to him or even get close. He tries to seduce and like a chained rabid dog, if you caress him, he bites…….He has this ability; this ability to seduce. This is why it is so difficult to understand that he is a loser, because he presents himself with great power, promises you many things, brings you gifts – beautiful, well wrapped – -‘Oh, how nice!’ – but you do not know what’s inside – ‘But, the card outside is beautiful.’ The package seduces us without letting us see what’s inside. He can present his proposals to our vanity, to our curiosity…..“  [excerpts from a homily of Pope Francis, May 8.18]

We need to see evil for what it truly is: the disingenuousness of those who rail about climate change and keeping fossils fuels in the ground – all the while unwilling to forego the diesel trucks that bring their organic food to market; past the mentality which ignores the stark reality no matter how many laws and temper tantrums to the contrary, no two people of the same gender can ever have a true marriage, and it matters not a wit the extent of liturgical babble, no woman can be ordained in persona Christi, because what is lacking in the first example is common sense and honesty and in the latter two examples, are the essentials for the Holy Spirit to make sacrament real: proper matter and proper form.

And to another He said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But He answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” [Lk.9:59-60]

It is a struggle as I write this to avoid the pitfall of listing and detailing all the various elements of contemporary life in my own country and throughout the world which have led to the awareness I am indeed – and frankly blessedly so – a stranger in a strange land.

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about Him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” [Lk. 2:33-35]

Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus. [Acts. 12:17]

As far back as 1979, writing under his given name of Karol Wojtyla, in his book SIGN OF CONTRADITCION, St. John Paul teaches that whoever is:….strong with the strength given him by faith does not easily allow himself to be thrust into the anonymity of the collective….

Jesus comforts, strengthens, mandates, reassures us in our vocation to be signs of contradiction in imitation of Himself.

We should not fear what they may to do us, anymore than St. Maxmilian Kolbe or St. Benedicta of the Cross, both martyred in the past century by the Nazis.

Jesus assures us He has come to bring fire upon the earth, the fire of love, of metanoia, of life [cf. Lk.12:49], that by the power of the Holy Spirit and the sacrament of Baptism we are indeed, amid the culture of darkness and death: light! [cf.Mt.5:14].

Become strangers in this strange land of the 21st century we need not fear being lost, for we only need keep our eyes fixed upon, our hearts attentive to He who is our way, our truth, our life. [cf. Jn.14:16]

Already in the 3rd century men and women had gone deep into the deserts, away from the chaos, to pray, fast, intercede for the human family.

Among the greatest of these: Abba Anthony, known as the friend of God.

Aware the future – for these holy men and women of the desert kept informed about the outside world – was likely going to be even more chaotic, some of the monks came to Abba Anthony before he died and asked his vision of the future: “The day will come when they will come to us and tell us we must be crazy because we are not like them!”

As a stranger in this strange land of Canada, this strange land of Western democracies I note: the day has come.
























Saturday, March 31, 2018

RESURRECTION PLACES


                                                        


In the rubble of Eastern Ghotua, in hearts of the terrified,

HE IS RISEN!

In silent cloisters, deep in monastic hearts,

HE IS RISEN!

Where my brothers and sisters sleep in alleys,

Hearts wounded with illness, addiction, yearning

Simply to be called by name,

HE IS RISEN!

As watered is poured upon the heads of catechumens,

Baptismal fire alighting hearts,

HE IS RISEN!

In wearied hearts in labours camps, angry hearts in prisons,

Broken hearts in solitary, ever slowing hearts in hospices,

Caring hearts in hospitals, hearts of the sick, the lonely,

Elderly hearts, adult hearts, youthful hearts, children’s hearts,

HE IS RISEN!

Not knowing of Him hearts, rejecting Him hearts,

Hearts which brim, overflowing and pressed down with

Love, for Him, for others,

HE IS RISEN!

Cold hearts, angry hearts, hating hearts, violent hearts,

Hungry hearts, thirsty hearts,

In all,

HE IS RISEN!