|Reflection 335: Forever Forgiving|
One of the hardest things to do in life is to pray for those who persecute you and to treat them with the utmost respect and compassion. But what benefit is there in hating them or lashing out at them? Doing this “harm” to them is far more damaging to your own soul than to theirs. Forgive, forgive, and forgive again. In fact, forgiving another is a form of God’s justice in that it reveals that another is in need of forgiveness and dispels the vicious power of their malice in your life. Forgive them, pray for them and entrust them to the Mercy of God. By doing this you will have great peace in your soul (See Diary #1628).
Is there anyone in life that you hate? Or anyone that you are at least tempted to have much anger toward? If so, reflect upon this person today and make the conscious choice to forgive them. Though your feelings may not immediately follow this choice, you will begin to find peace in this decision. Forgive them over and over as long as anger remains and the Lord will prune that vice from your life replacing it with His joy.
Lord, in Your great Mercy You have forgiven me for my sins. I am unworthy of such a gift but I thank You for it. Help me to show the same depth of mercy and compassion to others, especially those who have hurt me. I forgive them, dear Lord. I forgive them a thousand times and more. Jesus, I trust in You.
Dr. Carl R. Trueman has written a book of singular importance. Anyone with an interest in the recovery of Western culture should read it.
Anyone wondering if man is capable of reason need look no further than the self-evident fact that he desires to understand. Indeed, he is frustrated when understanding eludes him. In those moments, he experiences what philosophers call a “privation,” an inchoate sense that he lacks something that he ought to possess. This is what fuels his thirst for knowledge – his natural desire to uncover the truth of things. In a very real way, human history is a testament to man’s infinite appetite for answers to the questions that concern him.
The contemporary period is no different, even as reliance on human reason seems to be losing pride of place in both private and public discourse. Scholars and other intellectuals labor tirelessly to arrive at a coherent account of the complex of intersecting issues that characterizes our time. There have been countless efforts, mounted by thinkers of every persuasion, to get to the bottom of it all. Chesterton’s familiar “man on the street” makes his own contributions. But wherever it originates, when one comes across an explanation that makes sense, it is often accompanied by a palpable sense of relief, not unlike the touch of cool water on a sunburn or a soothing poultice applied to a wound.
This is what I experienced when the search for something with explanatory power led me to Professor Carl Trueman’s most recent book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. Indeed, as I read through his analysis, there was a feeling of finally having found the full story. Dr. Trueman is currently professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College in Pennsylvania where he joined the faculty in 2018, after teaching at Princeton and Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He is an impressive scholar with impressive credentials, the author or co-author of more than a dozen books.
This present volume is a thorough and coherent account of how, at the start of the second decade of the 21st century, we have arrived at the point where even the self-evident nature of things is being called into question – while those who would seek to hold tight to what is real are thrown, without a second thought, into the “basket of deplorables.”
Now Dr. Trueman is not a philosopher or a moral theologian. He is, in the first instance, a historian. He does not set out to provide an explanation of the metaphysical incoherence that characterizes prevailing accounts of the self. Neither is his intent to offer a moral critique of the situation on the ground. Though the impact of the sexual revolution is certainly central to his narrative, Trueman is interested in the historical factors that contributed to its rise and its subsequent influence on the culture. The sexual revolution is both a symptom and a cause of the social upheaval around us. The author’s central conviction is that this dramatic event cannot be fully understood until we grasp its historical context, which is marked by the “transformation in how society understands the nature of self-hood,” a process that began hundreds of years before the “swinging sixties.”
Reminding us that since “no individual historical phenomena is its own cause,” Dr. Trueman cautions those who look at the particulars of history refracted only through eternal truths and universal principles, whether metaphysical or moral. Even if such frameworks contain the truth, he declares, to employ them as a singular lens through which to understand our circumstance is to lose sight of the diagnostic power found in unraveling the actual human events that led us here. His analysis paints a detailed picture of those events, how they intersected with one another and lent force to each other, finally culminating in a conviction, unconsciously held now by all of us, that human happiness is found only if I am absolutely free to express my authentic self in whatever way I choose. The “origins of this book,” he tells us, “lie in my curiosity about how and why a particular statement has come to be regarded as coherent and meaningful: ‘I am a woman trapped in a man’s body.” He pursues the answer to this question through the methods of his own discipline. The book is a substantive and insightful account of how we got to the point where that statement has become a form of dogma, of how certain thinkers, writers, and events contributed to it, and of how something called “expressive individualism” took center stage in our understanding of what it means to be human.
But Dr. Trueman begins, not with past events, but with a masterful analysis of the current state of affairs. He recognizes that before we can analyze how we got here, we must first articulate where we actually are. And the first section of the work is an account of what the author refers to as the “Architecture of the Revolution,” a reference to the ideas of three “philosophers of the modern condition”: Phillip Reiff, Charles Taylor, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Taken together, their insights provide the underlying superstructure of the book.
In Reiff’s work, Trueman locates reference to the “triumph of the therapeutic,” arguably the overarching theme of our contemporary period. Reiff shows the historical progression of shifting accounts of the self from the political man of the Greeks, to the religious man of the medieval period, to homos economicus who took the stage in the modern period. Each of those formulations had their moment in history. But they have been superseded by the gradual emergence and triumph of “psychological man.” The pivot point in this development comes into view when we consider that those prior iterations each reflected an outward, communally ordered orientation, a recognition of something beyond the self to whom the self is responsible. But with the appearance of “psychological man,” man’s orientation turned inward, shifting his entire focus to his own happiness and personal satisfaction. The “good” became whatever makes me happy; it is entirely immanent. And the notion that the good is something that transcends the individual as he labors for the common good of all gradually faded from the scene.
Dr. Trueman next makes a very helpful connection, locating Charles Taylor’s notion of “expressive individualism” in the last stage of Reiff’s analysis. Here Taylor’s project finds its historical context. For the triumph of psychological man leads to the prevailing emphasis on the rights of the individual to freely express himself; personal authenticity, Taylor’s central theme, has become the primary goal of human life. This can only be realized in the “public performance of inward desires” and the world becomes a place for the individual to perform the self rather than conform the self to any account of the objective demands of moral living. The priority afforded to personal authenticity enters into the wider politics of the culture, what Taylor refers to as the “social imaginary,” becoming the basis for both identity and the social order. My psychological well-being now requires affirmation and recognition from those I encounter. And my demand for it has become a non-negotiable condition of interpersonal relationships, one that must be met willingly by others or it represents an unacceptable transgression of the rules that govern community life.
Finally, the author links Taylor’s notion of the “expressive individual” to the last element of the superstructure, Alasdair MacIntyre’s persuasive account of the ascendancy of “emotivism” in his signature work, After Virtue. There MacIntyre argues that self-evident truths have ceased to serve as the starting place of moral discourse in contemporary culture; first principles have been replaced by a purely subjective sense of personal preference, a feeling that brooks no disagreement. Debates on moral issues are seemingly interminable, says MacIntyre, because they begin from often incommensurable notions of the good. The assumption becomes that my moral convictions are normative, but yours are rooted in personal, emotional preference – even though I am vaguely aware that mine are too. And the language of morality, grounded for centuries in the natural law and the ordinary human inclination to pursue virtue, no longer has any currency. We have been left with no transcendent moral order that allows us to adjudicate moral disputes.
With great care and skill, Dr. Trueman has illuminated the connections between these three sets of insights and their relevance for his subsequent analysis. When the search for the transcendent no longer has meaning or value, we are led to the triumph of Reiff’s psychological man, whose priority has become his own subjective happiness. Taylor’s expressive individualism, a subjective feeling grounded in a purely personal sense of authenticity, has become the only criteria of the good and entered into the imagination of the broader society. MacIntyre’s emotivism requires us to accept each persons’ right to pursue their own “authentic” self, unencumbered by any meta-account of the good. My personal identity – and yours – is whatever I – or you – say it is, no matter how fluid, no matter how constructed. This view has become the coinage of the realm, the only way to secure a place at the table of public discourse. And there is no court of appeal.
Dr. Trueman then retraces the steps that brought Western culture to this pass. Turning now to the “Foundations of the Revolution,” he analyzes the contributions of several familiar thinkers, as well as some not often listed as the usual suspects. Unsurprisingly perhaps, he begins with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose work provides the starting place for modern notions of the self. Trueman identifies Rousseau’s autobiography, Confessions, as a key pivot point in the trajectory. Notable for its unprecedented preoccupation with the psychological, it marks a clear turn toward the inner life and toward the centrality of feeling as a guide to real freedom. We learn that Rousseau’s most famous statement, that “man is born free yet is everywhere in chains,” found at the start the treatise on The Social Contract, is anticipated in Rousseau’s earlier work, the First Discourse. There Rousseau argues that the arts and sciences, and culture, rather than deserving our adulation, are actually at the root of modern vices (such as hypocrisy and wickedness) since they require man to conform to rules that are unnatural to him. If man were left in the “state of nature,” rather than accepting to be governed by the social institutions that regulate him, he would be able to liberate his one true, natural self. The meaning of the good becomes a function of this wish to be free, placing sentiment at the heart of ethical discourse, and setting the stage for the primacy of personal preference – lending authority to MacIntyre’s account of emotivism.
Perhaps the most insightful surprise of the book comes next: the author turns his attention to an account of three giants of the Romantic period, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, and William Blake. They are important because there is a question that begs to be answered: However deeply felt by their author, how did Rousseau’s written words about the inner life, self-love, and sentiment become not only the common currency of society but unspoken ideas so deeply embedded in our psyches that we scarcely notice them? Here Trueman makes the case that Rousseau’s rudimentary account of expressive individualism might have remained at the surface of mere intellectual discourse if not for the artistic movement known as Romanticism. Shelley himself supplies the answer to the question when he declares that both the poet and poetry itself serve as the “midwife”; it is the spirt and passion of the artist that gives life to this new vision of man.
Trueman refers to these writers as the “Unacknowledged Legislators”; their works were like accelerant poured on a smoldering ember. Each in their own way, they forge a white-hot link between ideas and feeling, giving voice to the expressivism manifest in the poetry of the time. While Shelley envisioned more of a political transformation, Wordsworth argued that poetry connects the human being to that which makes them human. It is the experience of poetry that is important, he declared that poetry “is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” and that its aim is authenticity. In all three of these poets we hear Rousseau’s emphasis on feelings and instinct as the heart of moral action and authentic human freedom. And while Blake’s poetry and symbolism disclose an emphasis on the sexual as an aspect of human nature, both Shelley and Blake regard organized religion as an illegitimate restraint on the full expression of the authentic self. Their poetry corresponds to the tenor of the times and give voice to Rousseau’s psychological man, a thread that follows us from the Romantic period into the present.
Dr. Trueman turns now to the last element remaining in his reconstruction of the foundations of the revolution. In the final chapter of this section, entitled “The Emergence of the Plastic People,” the author takes up the destructive contributions of three of the most influential thinkers of the late 19th century, Nietzsche, Marx, and Darwin. He first outlines the impact of Nietzsche and Marx, specifically their attacks on metaphysics and the moral life, religion, and human nature. Then he turns to the work of Charles Darwin and the damage Darwin’s theories visited on our teleological understanding of man’s place in the universe. These developments loom large in the narrative we are following. Nietzsche has reduced freedom to the exercise of the will as power and painted a bleak picture of the nihilism that hollows out the meaning of man’s action in the world. Marx rejects any attempt to suggest an abstract or idealistic account of the human person, reducing him to a merely material participant in a historical imperative and injecting the political into the bloodstream of the culture. Darwin wraps it all in what appears to be a scientific framework. This chapter is a superb treatment of how each of these thinkers contributed to the disappearance of the old order and the rise of psychological man – who now becomes his own creator.
The Sexualization of the Revolution
Recall that we have been following the historical stages in the transformation in our understanding of the self. The first stage called for the self to be psychologized; this was accomplished through the contributions of Rousseau and the Romantics who followed him. The second stage calls for psychology to be sexualized. In a section entitled “The Sexualization of the Revolution,” we learn that this is the “signal achievement of Sigmund Freud.” Though mostly unmentioned until now, Dr. Trueman tells us that Freud plays what might be the pivotal role the questions we are pursuing. The father of psychoanalysis marks the turning point in the trajectory that leads to the sexual revolution.
Freud’s significance is found not in his psychological theories; they have been largely discredited. His legacy is defined by his theory of sexuality which “places the sex drive at the very core of who and what human beings are from infancy.” This claim serves as the starting place for his theory of religion and of civilization. For Freud, the essence of human happiness is found, not in some transcendent or divine being, but in sexual fulfillment. Human civilization is governed by the exigencies of sexual desire. Prior to Freud, sex hadbeen an activity. After Freud, it is definitive of who we are, both personally and as a culture. And, like Darwin, Freud’s contribution took on additional weight since he developed it within the “scientific idiom of psychoanalysis,” a feature that made his theories even more “plausible in a modern social imaginary in which science has intuitive authority.” These convictions, irrespective of Freud’s prominent place in the field of psychoanalysis, are now fundamental to our culture, informing virtually every dimension of human life. It is not hard to see how such a development has led to the sexualization of the expressive self, governed as it is by subjective preferences and sentiment, as it pursues its quest for absolute freedom. This quest now has a specific target: sexual fulfillment. And these developments set in motion the final step in the sexual revolution. Freud has achieved the sexualization of psychology, but the final stage is the politicization of sex. And here, at last, our contemporary condition comes clearly into view; the trail we have been following leads, finally, to the full story.
The sexual revolution may have seemed like a sudden, mysterious surge in the promiscuous exploits of the young in the mid-1960’s. But it was never only about sex. In this last stage, Marx and Freud have become collaborators, hidden from the view of the uninitiated. Here Dr. Trueman provides a stunning account of the marriage of Marx and Freud found in the work of Wilhelm Reich, whose manifesto The Sexual Revolution was first published in 1936. Indeed, Dr. Reich, an accomplished psychoanalyst in the Freudian school, was the first to use the term “sexual revolution.” Reich followed Freud in arguing that the key to human happiness was sexual gratification. But his commitment to Marxism led him to derive the only “logical” conclusion: If that is so, it can only mean that the way to create a happy society was to establish conditions that maximize the possibility of sexual gratification. Reich went even further, declaring that “sociopolitical reform without sexual liberation is impossible: freedom and sexual health are the same thing.”
Though most of the college students and others who fell under the spell of his work may never have heard his name, Reich’s thinking had enormous influence on a whole generation of young people. Their lives and our culture were forever altered by the events his work put in motion. We were duped into thinking it was just an innocent (and now seemingly endless) “summer of love.” Trueman includes the back story on how Marxism had already come to infiltrate the academy, the media, the arts. The intentional transformation of our cultural institutions was already in movement. The intellectuals who occupied the academy and taught in our universities led the way. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Without question, Dr. Carl Trueman has written a book of singular importance. Anyone with an interest in the recovery of Western culture should read it. This work reveals that we are in the grip of a shared cultural amnesia that has reached fearsome proportions. We need to wake up, yes, but not in the way commonly spoken of at present. We need to face the reality that we are fighting the tyranny, not of people, but of a deadly concoction of ideas. And one cannot fight an enemy one does not know. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self points the way out of our current situation. Because it shows that superficial answers or pat explanations are not enough – that the only way forward is to engage in the hard work of coming to understand. Dr. Trueman has shown us that it is the power of the word, of the logos, that will give us the strength to set things right yet again.
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution
by Carl R. Trueman
Hardcover, 424 pages
Related at CWR:
• “Understanding and surviving a culture dominated by expressive individualism” (Nov 15, 2020): An interview with Carl R. Trueman, by Carl E. Olson.
• “The Return of the Madman: Nietzsche, Nihilism, and the Death of God, circa 2020″ (Aug 10, 2020) by Deborah Savage, Ph.D.
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About Deborah Savage, PhD 2 ArticlesDeborah Savage, Ph.D. is a member of the faculty at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota where she teaches philosophy and theology and also serves as Director of the Masters in Pastoral Ministry Program. She is the co-founder and director of the Siena Symposium for Women, Family, and Culture, a think tank organized at the University to respond to St. John Paul II’s call for a new and explicitly Christian feminism
The modern world is a walking lie. But it’s not a bold-faced lie. It’s a shame-faced lie.
In 1908, two of G.K. Chesterton’s most famous books were published, almost back-to-back. The first was the novel The Man Who Was Thursday, about a group of anarchists who are actively trying to undermine everything normal thing in civilization, driven by a philosophy that hates property, hates marriage, and hates life itself. What makes the book such a great read is that every character is someone else in disguise, and the suspense and tension and mystery build as each one of them is unexpectedly unmasked.
A few months later came another book about revelation, that is, revealing the truth. It was Orthodoxy. In this classic of apologetics, Chesterton tries to explain how he had found the truth and how he knew it was the truth. But his challenge in making his case is that, in former times, the standard approach to defending the faith was to begin with the fact of sin, which Chesterton describes as the only Christian doctrine that can be proved. However, in the modern world, where we deny everything, we even deny sin. So we can’t talk about sin.
Chesterton takes a different tact: if we can’t talk about sin, let’s talk about sanity. Let’s show that every modern philosophy is in insane or leads to insanity, and that the only sane one is Christianity.
That would seem to be a good approach still.
But maybe not in 2020, which is the year that the world went insane. And even worse than the obvious insanity is the strange and stubborn and even deliberate hesitancy to admit that the world is insane. That would mean having to face it, maybe even doing something about it. Instead we are simply putting up with it. We can’t call evil things evil anymore, and now we can’t call insane things insane.
And so it is fitting that we are all being told to wear masks. We are trying to cover up the truth about ourselves. The modern world is a walking lie. But it’s not a bold-faced lie. It’s a shame-faced lie.
Masks. Chesterton is amazingly prophetic about masks:
“In a world where everything is ridiculous, nothing can be ridiculed. You cannot unmask a mask.” (Illustrated London News, July 10, 1927)
“A mob does not wear a mask.” (The Illustrated Review, Oct. 1923)
“In what religious age was a man allowed to thunder from the pulpit with a mask on his face?”(Illustrated London News, July 25, 1908)
And I recently stumbled across an uncollected essay by Chesterton (re-stumbled, actually, since I had read it before) called “The Materialist in the Mask,” (New Witness, June 30, 1922)
“Hmm…” I thought to myself, “Sounds like GKC is going to say something prophetic once again. And about masks!”
I was right. But it was nothing what I expected.
In this essay he begins by writing about anti-clericalism, which may be motivated by an objection to priests having too much power, but is more widely simply an objection to the priesthood. “A priesthood is a powerful thing and a man is entitled to think it too powerful.” But Chesterton has more sympathy with old-fashioned anti-clericals who were willing to be known as atheists, than with a certain sort of new anti-clericals who would be referred to as secularists, though they would never call themselves that.
People don’t want to be called secularists. They may prefer to be grouped with “non-sectarians,” but really they don’t want to be called that either. They want to be known as something positive and potent and positioned above and apart from the practitioners of religion. They want to be known only by the recognizable and respectful title of, say, governor or mayor or magistrate. Or judge. Or journalist. Or doctor. Or scientist. Or health official. They profess only to pursue some secular aim in a productive and constructive manner, and if their decisions affect religion in a negative way, it is merely by accident. Nothing intentional. Nothing personal.
Chesterton says, “There are some people of whom this is true, and they are worthy of all respect.” But for the most part and for most people, the so-called “secular” pose is only a pose. It is a pretense. It is a mask.
Most secularists really have a “destructive enthusiasm” for the Church, and Chesterton says he doesn’t blame them. What?! He doesn’t blame them?! Why not?
“If Christianity is a lie, it is certainly a great thundering lie. No man is to be blamed for denouncing what he thinks a thundering lie.”
Okay, good point. If people hate Christianity, we can’t blame them for attacking it. But can we blame them for … anything?
Yes. “No man is to be blamed for denouncing what he thinks a thundering lie, but a man is to be blamed for telling small and sniveling lies in defense of his own denunciation.”
Ah. This indeed is what the battleground looks like. We are fighting against “the small and sniveling lies” that are being told to justify the attacks on the Church. Here is a call to stand up for the truth, and tell the truth about the lies against us. We don’t have to apologize for what we believe, and for believing it wholeheartedly. And we have to point out that those who oppose us – or who would restrict our worship, close our churches, interfere with our religious education – are wearing a mask, a mask of impartiality.
“A man who professes a creed,” says Chesterton, “confesses a partiality for the creed; when he loves it he is necessarily partial. But when he hates it he generally professes to be impartial. He pretends that the thing he hates is obstructing his way to other things; such as education or hygiene or science or social reform.” But he cares more about the obstacle than the object. He cares more about his hatred for the Church than for objective truth. “No man is less likely to forget the religious question than the irreligious man.”
A month after he wrote those words, G.K. Chesterton was received into the Catholic Church.
About Dale Ahlquist 43 ArticlesDale Ahlquist is president of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, creator and host of the EWTN series “G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense,” and publisher of Gilbert Magazine. He is the author and editor of several books on Chesterton, including The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton.
By Pete Socks on Nov 30, 2020 01:00 am
Off the Shelf 200 – Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
I’m celebrating episode 200 in a BIG way with a very special guest this week. Bishop Joseph Strickland and I take a look at the state of our nation and the church and how each of us can contribute to fixing both. You don’t want to miss this episode. Get your copy of Bishop Strickland’s book Light and Leaven: The Challenge of the Laity in the Twenty-First Century here.
From Catholic Answers
Bishop Joseph Strickland is one of the Church’s boldest and most courageous leaders. His outspoken support of orthodox faith and morals, the sanctity of unborn life, and reforming Catholic institutions have made him a hero even to Catholics outside his little East Texas diocese.
In Light and Leaven he offers a forthright perspective on the state of the Church and the world today and calls on the lay faithful to meet its challenges unflinchingly. We must not shrink from the culture, he says, but be a light to it; we must not retreat from the world but leaven it with grace and truth.
In his direct and conversational manner, Bishop Strickland touches on a wide range of topics, including Church renewal in a time of scandal, the central importance of the Eucharist, how to build strong marriages, the need for prayer and silence in a noisy and distracted age, and the battle between good and evil in which all Christians are engaged. He will inspire and edify you with his wise insights, pastoral common sense, and evident love for souls.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has served as the bishop of Tyler, Texas since 2012. Ordained in 1985, he was assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Tyler, Texas and served a parochial vicar until 1989. He was named the first vocation director for the diocese in 1987.
Strickland completed his canonical studies with a Licentiate in Canon Law in 1994 and was assigned as rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler. He was appointed judicial vicar for the Diocese of Tyler in 1995 and named a prelate of honor with the title Monsignor by Hos Holiness Pope John Paul II in February 1996.
On September 29, 2012, it was announced that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had chosen Fr. Strickland as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Tyler.
Where to Find
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Read my complete archives at www.catholicbookblogger.com
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|Choices We Make|
By Carol Monaco
on Nov 30, 2020 01:00 am
Freedom is God’s gift to each of us so that by our own accord we might seek out our Lord and attain our “full and blessed perfection” [CCC 1730]. While God respects our free will, do we respect the will of God? We are where we are in life due to the choices we make. “By free will one shapes one’s own life” [CCC 1731].What are the choices we make in shaping our lives? Do we freely choose to follow the will of God? Remember, our Lord invites us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness [Matthew 6:33]. Doing so gives us a moral compass to direct the choices we make in our daily living. Otherwise, if our decisions are based solely on our own needs and wants in this earthly life, we risk losing sight of our eternal life in Heaven.
Setting our sights on eternity is difficult particularly when the here and now weigh heavily upon us. The pandemic, the presidential election, and the feeling of chaos in the world certainly try our souls. Maybe we have reached the point of choosing to give up our faith in God and hope for humanity. That temptation has crossed my path in recent days.
Our Moral Compass
What good is a moral compass when many choose not to use it? What is the point of following the rules? So many choose to bypass the rules to suit their own purposes, regardless of the consequences for themselves and society as a whole. “As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning” [CCC 1732].Witnessing the abandonment of morals and ethics to pursue self-interests is all the more reason to hold on tight to God’s compass for direction. We see the toll that secularism and moral relativism takes on our society. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, good and evil—with the ends supposedly justifying the means—confuses our way in life.
Choosing to follow God’s will protects us in this world from becoming completely lost and vulnerable. “The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” [Luke 3:5–6]. How else can we make our way through the chaos? Our Lord’s protection here protects us for eternity, keeping us out of the abyss of depravity.
Keep Moving Forward
True, life can hit us very hard at times and those blows can beat us down. If we choose to move forward with God, despite the hard blows, we will not fail. Our heart will not harden and our soul will remain a loving dwelling place for our Lord. What’s more, God’s inspiration restores our faith and hope which we can share throughout our life’s journey.
Remember, with our moral compass, God gives each of us talents to do with as we choose. Let us prayerfully choose to use our talents and the time we have on this earth to draw closer to God and to draw others closer to Him as well. God always loves us; may we choose to reach our full and blessed perfection by loving God in return. Amen!
The post Choices We Make appeared first on Catholic Stand.
There is less prayer and more sin than ever before. Thus it is we who have given great power to the forces of evil. THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS NO LONGER ARE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE BEAUTIFUL LIES OF THE MASS MEDIA AND THE TRUTH WHICH TRULY SETS US FREE (Jn 8:32) now and for all eternity! For most people today, the truth comes from the highly controlled TV instead of from God Who is the Truth (Jn 14:6). After centuries of struggle and wars to acquire some freedom in Italy, the Italians, with the help of very misleading manipulations of the mass media, voted for dictatorship on September 20, 2020; Italy is no longer a democracy! NOW AMERICANS WILL LOSE THE FREEDOMS THAT HAVE BEEN BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY THE MANY SACRIFICES AND BLOOD of many Americans of the past! Putin, well updated about the massive electoral fraud, refuses to recognize Biden as the PRESUMED president elect. Putin also indicated recently that if Biden is accepted as president, the atomic bombs of Russia are ready because Russia is not a friend of Masonry and the NW0! Our Lady of Fatima indicated that just as God used other nations to bring back unfaithful Israel in the Old Testament, so too God will use Russia to bring back many to God by way of a great chastisement. The proud leaders of the NW0 believe they can easily defeat Russia!?!After years of patient work, when this new world dictatorship will be ready and out in the open (which I believe will be in April 2021 and will last 1290 days (Dan 12:11; Mt 24:15)), it will be far worse than any dictatorship in the history of the world! Two approved apparitions in Brazil (Edson Glauber and Anguera) indicate that it will become much worse after the death of Pope Benedict XVI. The very numerous followers and puppets of Satan today, even though they did not create themselves by themselves, THEY DO NOT SEEK TO DISCOVER WHO CREATED THEM SO AS TO THANKGOD AND LOVE GOD. They live like animals with no responsibility for their actions and thus they do not believe that their choices will have eternal consequences now and for all eternity. The Truth and reality are from the Creator, not from the creatures. Even if one does not believe that hell exists, one cannot commit suicide in hell! Life is short! Let us pray and live our prayer so as to get to heaven for eternity with the one third of humanity today which will be saved in this period after the purification by fire (Zech 13:7-9) in this purification of the world and of the Church (CCC 675-677)!God has chosen “the HANDMAID of the Lord” (Lk 1:38), Mary, His Immaculate Mother, to crush the PROUD head of the ancient serpent and his followers (Gen 3:15), and to be the General with “twelve stars” in this cosmic battle against the “great red dragon” (Rev 12:1-3)! Our Lady continually tells us to consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and LIVE this consecration of obedience and total trust in our heavenly Mother. “This is the moment for all to take refuge in me, because I am the Ark of the New Covenant. At the time of Noah, immediately before the flood, those whom the Lord had destined to survive his terrible chastisement entered into the ark. In these your times, I am inviting all my beloved children to enter into the Ark of the New Covenant which I have built in MY IMMACULATE HEART for you, that they may be assisted by me to carry the bloody burden of the great trial, which precedes the coming of the day of the Lord.”(“To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”; http://our-lady-priests.blogspot.it/; July 30, 1986; March 15, 1993).If you might like to use the Consecration formula to the Immaculate Heart of Mary used in the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP), visit: http://our-lady-priests.blogspot.it/2015/10/our-lady-priests-appendix.html.SAINT PADRE PIO said: “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the HOLY MASS.” This saint also said: “The ROSARY is the weapon for these times”! A good confession (a Sacrament) is more powerful than an exorcism (a sacramental)!“THE REAL REASON MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS FALSELY PUSHING NARRATIVE THAT BIDEN IS ‘PRESIDENT ELECT’”Media rushing the transition of ‘President’ Biden is phase II of a massive coup attemptNov 11, 2020https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/the-real-reason-mainstream-media-is-falsely-pushing-narrative-that-biden-is-president-electFather Joseph Dwighthttps://josephdwight.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/joseph-dwight-index/Father Joseph Dwight Don Jo (Joseph) Dwight – – – – – – – If you would like to see the other web sites and articles of Rev. Joseph Dwight, go to any of my …JOSEPHDWIGHT.WORDPRESS.COMJoseph Dwight IndexFather Joseph Dwight Don Jo (Joseph) Dwight – – – – – – – If you would like to see the other web sites and articles of Rev. Joseph Dwight, go to any of my …Father Joseph Dwight Don Jo (Joseph) Dwight – – – – – – – If you would like to see the other web sites and articles of Rev. Joseph Dwight, go to any of my …
“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud,” President Trump added.
President Trump added that he alleged voter fraud and inability of states like New York to recount their ballots was an international disgrace.
“This should never take place in this country. We’re like a third world country,” the President continued. “We have machines that nobody knows what the hell they’re looking at.”
President Trump argued that there was no way Joe Biden could win 15 million more votes than Barack Obama despite not being to draw more than a handful of people to campaign events.
“This is not a candidate that could get 80 million votes. This is just not a candidate,” the President concluded. “This is not a candidate that beat Barack Hussein Obama with the black voter, okay?”
President Trump’s claims deserve a thorough investigation and the people deserve real answers about the mechanics of the 2020 election.
But like the President told his supporters, time is running out.
Renewed Right will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.
Rush Limbaugh explained the one simple reason Donald Trump will win the election In “Donald Trump”https://lockerdome.com/lad/10029624239528550?pubid=ld-9266-3238&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Frenewedright.com&rid=&width=678
- The Supreme Court hit Democrats with a defeat that left them red with rage
- The voter fraud lawsuit Donald Trump was waiting for finally hit the courts
- Joe Biden just spit in the face of every gun owner in America with a move that will infuriate you
- Border Patrol just revealed the most terrifying part of a Biden presidency
- Father Jeffrey F. KirbyNov 29, 2020 SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR
The sequence of lighting the candles on an Advent wreath is to light the first purple candle on the first Sunday of Advent, which is Dec. 1 this year. Then move clockwise and light a second purple candle for the second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 8. On the third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 15, also known as Gaudete Sunday, the pink candle is lit. The last purple candle is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 22. (Credit: Ann M. Augherton/Arlington Herald via CNS.)
This Sunday, Christian believers begin the penitential season of Advent. The four-Sunday season is a time of preparation and purification, as the Church anticipates the annual celebration of the Lord’s Birth at Bethlehem over two thousand years ago.
The season is also a time to recall that the Lord Jesus will return, and that all believers must be ready for his Second Coming. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote: “While our hearts look forward to the annual celebration of Christ’s Birth, the Church’s Liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord who will come in the splendor of glory.”
In light of these two divine visitations, one historical and one eschatological, believers can rightly ask themselves how such a diverse reality can be rightly observed.
How can believers both recall a historical event, while also prepare for a future event, in which time and space as we know them will end? Is there a middle ground or a still point between the two?
From the time of the Upper Room, the Lord Jesus has provided the answer. In the Eucharist, the Lord remains with his people. As he told his initial followers: “I will not leave you orphans.” The first disciples experienced this eucharistic presence. In particular, the two disciples on the way to Emmaus saw and encountered the Risen Lord in the Breaking of the Bread.
The expression, “Breaking of the Bread,” is one of the earliest terms for what we now call the Eucharist or the Mass. One other early title for the Eucharist was “the Parousia.” In theology today, the term is a reference to the Second Coming. But again in the early Church, it was a title for the Eucharist since the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist was seen as intimately connected – inseparable – from his presence at the Second Coming.https://22b54455c5e1cbfa8a7bedf028a30759.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html#xpc=sf-gdn-exp-8&p=https%3A//cruxnow.com
And so, in the Eucharist, we see the crucible and intersection between the continuation of the Lord’s First Coming, and the immediate preparation for his Second Coming. Once this connection is made, various prayers of the Catholic Mass stand out.
In particular, the embolism prayer (which follows right after the Lord’s Prayer in the Communion Rite) strikes the heart of the attentive worshipper. The history of the prayer illustrates these lessons, and so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the prayer started as an early Advent prayer in the Christian liturgy.
The prayer was so beautiful and demonstrative of the purpose of receiving Holy Communion, that it eventually stayed in the Mass as a permanent part of worship, and not only a prayer for the Advent season.
In the newest translation the Catholic Mass, the prayer reads: Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The prayer speaks for itself where it currently is in the liturgy. It asks the continued presence of the Lord in keeping us safe, while also expressing the hope of the Lord’s return. As such, we can see how this prayer is both fitting for the Communion Rite of the liturgy, as well as expressive of the Advent season.
In recognizing the liturgy as a sort of middle ground between the Lord’s First Coming and his Second Coming, we see grasp more fully the purpose of worship. It teaches us gratitude and expectation, as well as a sacred waiting for the Lord, on his terms.
In this way, good and attentive worship is an especially important part of Advent. While other devotions and traditions can be done, none of them can surpass a renewed concentration and diligence on the sacred liturgy.
Even the simple awareness that the Mass stands between time and eternity, and that both can be spiritually felt in the sacred liturgy, is an Advent exercise in acknowledging the presence, power, and providence of God.
While many believers might take the liturgy for granted, its beauty, mystery, mosaic-like history, and its abundant graces are a year-long gift, as well as a particular Advent gift, to every Christian believer and person of open heart.
There can be no greater Advent preparation, therefore, than a deeper love and appreciation for the Breaking of the Bread, the Parousia, the Eucharist, the beautiful and amazing Catholic Mass.
Follow Father Jeffrey Kirby on Twitter: @fatherkirby
In this May 3, 2020, file photo, the setting sun shines on the Supreme Court building in Washington. As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide, the Supreme Court late Wednesday, Nov. 25, temporarily barred New York from enforcing certain attendance limits at houses of worship in areas designated as hard hit by the virus. The court’s action won’t have any immediate impact since the two groups that sued as a result of the restrictions, the Catholic church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues, are no longer subject to them. (Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP.)
ROME – Probably it should come as no surprise that reaction to Wednesday’s US Supreme Court decision granting an injunction against limits on public worship imposed by New York State was immediately swept up into the broader political fulcrum of 2020.
After all, the governor who imposed those limits, Andrew Cuomo, is a liberal Catholic; the bishop who challenged them, Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, is a member of Opus Dei and conventionally seen as a conservative. Moreover, the deciding vote in the court’s 5-4 decision was cast by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, meaning one’s perception of the case often is tied to perceptions of Trump himself and his legacy.
As if that weren’t enough, the whole question of anti-Covid measures in America has become deeply ideological, with many liberals insisting anyone who questions any government restriction is “anti-science” and many conservatives harrumphing that any such measure is part of a global plot to erect a “New World Order” (whatever that’s supposed to mean.)https://a91eba72b8b03ed3f6970e85f4b872e6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
The thing of it is, the case actually has nothing to do with politics, or at least it shouldn’t. What it poses instead is a question of fact: Is a uniform policy of limiting attendance at religious services to a certain fixed number of people a reasonable infringement on a constitutional guarantee, when the facilities in question have vastly different capacities and abilities to observe safety protocols?
If you can explain how that’s a left v. right issue, you’re smarter than me.
To be clear, DiMarzio’s fight, which also applies to a similar appeal filed by Agudath Israel, is not over. The injunction means the case now returns to an appeals court, which has scheduled a hearing on Dec. 18. Should that ruling go against the diocese, however, it likely would return to the Supreme Court, and given Wednesday’s precedent, there’s every reason to believe the result would be the same.https://a91eba72b8b03ed3f6970e85f4b872e6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
It should also be noted that the restrictions were imposed originally in response to reports of rising infection rates in Orthodox Jewish congregations in New York, but were applied across the board to all religious bodies.
Granted, left v. right probably does shape core sensitivities when it comes to church/state issues and Covid-19.
Contrary to popular mythology, most secular liberals aren’t hostile to religion, merely indifferent. Many see it as analogous to quilting, deep sea fishing or rodeo – perfectly fine if you’re into it, but hardly “essential.” Equally, most religious conservatives aren’t hostile to science or public health measures, but they’re far more inclined to see worship as analogous to grocery stores and pharmacies, i.e., an essential public service.
Certainly DiMarzio is hardly a Covid denier or indifferent to public health concerns.
“I don’t want to endanger anybody,” he said. “That’s primary, because life itself is so important. But spiritual life is equally important, when we have the right safeguards.”
He underlined the diocese’s commitment to fighting the spread of the disease.
“We instituted every possible safeguard, 18 different points that our pastors have to follow in opening up for Mass,” he said.
“We closed down 10 days before we were asked to, and we opened up two weeks after we were able to in order to make sure we were ready to implement all these safeguards,” DiMarzio said. “I’m very confident we can do it in the right way.”
DiMarzio spoke in an interview for “The Crux of the Matter,” Crux’s weekly radio program that airs Mondays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time on the Catholic Channel, carried on Sirius XM 129.
Yet as a matter of law, none of that should matter anyway. For better or worse, the constitution establishes religious freedom as a core legal principle, which means that the bar has to be set high to demonstrate that an infringement on that freedom is justified.
DiMarzio offered an example from outside his own diocese to illustrate the kinds of questions involved.
“I’m on the board of the National Shrine in Washington. It’s the biggest church in the Western hemisphere,” he said. “Five thousand people fit in that church, but they are restricted to 100.”
“They went to the District of Colombia government, because they have a rule there that they can look at how many people can fit in the place. They refused [to reconsider],” Di Marzio said.
One does not have to be a “Make America Great Again” Trump fanatic to find that sort of restriction unreasonable. Presumably, the guiding principle should be to respect constitutionally guaranteed freedoms as much as possible, as long as the same protections for public health are in place in those settings as in other permitted venues.
Similarly, one does not have to be a far-left, anti-Trump activist to believe that the coronavirus is real, it poses a clear and present danger, and that religious organizations ought to be expected to bear the same sacrifices as the rest of society – as long, of course, as those sacrifices are reasonable given the best empirical and scientific data available.
In other words, is it too much to hope for that such questions can be resolved rationally, and without the burdens of ideological a priori? Maybe, maybe not. But for those inclined to see things that way, the Brooklyn case may well loom as a classic example.
Follow John Allen on Twitter at @JohnLAllenJr.Share: