Saturday, October 24, 2009

Marian Chivalry in the Great Battle

Reality is closer to the vision of the film Constantine than the majority of people realize. The superficiality of the bored teenager, the desperate housewife (I know, I know), the whipped-to-be-a-success spouse may find it impossible to perceive, but reality is, in fact, a battle between Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, on the one hand, and evil, depravity, and debauchery on the other.

More succinctly, either you believe Nietzsche and worship Dionysus, or you believe Catholic truth and worship Jesus Christ.

What makes it all the more difficult is that all of us - all - are fallen creatures made
imago dei with disordered passions that make discernment of the path leading one direction or the other nearly impossible.

A father may discern this clearly, but painfully watch his nearly adult son turn his back on him in the inevitable process of individuation. He may be left, like the father of the Prodigal Son (
Lk 15), watching and praying for his son's return - totally unable to offer help when the son has no desire to receive anything from his father (except cash, if offered).

Such a life situation, while painful, is not without benefits. For the Catholic, even suffering can be useful. Redemptive suffering, accepted with a modicum of joy, patience, and faith, can be an exceptional witness for others and benefit to oneself.

Marian chivalry -
saying Yes like Our Lady - to suffering, cares, opprobrium can and will be added to the work of salvation carried out by Our Lord.

So, "Offering it up," brother or sister-in-arms. Fight the good fight by being servant of all and help to the least, the last, and the lost.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blasphemy of the Right and Left

...what is blasphemous about both the promise of the left and the promise of the right is that neither will acknowledge the fallibility of man, his dependence on God. Both of them suppose that man can do everything for himself and therefore that there was no need for the Incarnation, no need for Christ to come into the world and die and be raised from death. That is the heart of the blasphemy, because once man has no need of God and is permitted to do everything for himself, that is precisely what he will do. The self, what I want, what I can get at the other fellow's expense, what a few of us can get at the expense of the many ... the will of the self now has no bounds, and cruelty will be sanctioned on the right by the idea that the strongest have the right to prevail, and on the left by the idea that the strongest will deliver paradise to the weak. Which they will not.
- Dr. Fischer, in A Postcard from the Volcano

Millais - PRB

Jephthah (1867) - John Everett Millais

Only One

This is a dangerous moment. The Last Self-Help Administration, made up of the likes of this guy who believes that power comes from the end of a gun ("and if you want a friend, get a dog"), can no longer blame the "turble situation" on their predecessors, as Peggy Noonan points out.

Never before has the American public been asked not only to believe its president, but to
believe in its president. From a mimetic theory point of view, he is an "internal mediator:" one looked up to as a messiah-figure sans a true connection beyond this earthly vale of tears and trouble. Others have been given such adulation - dictators, tyrants, royalty, potentates - and, so far, only One has deserved such devotion; namely, a true and transcendent "External Mediator."

All others have resorted in dangerous times for their regime to "the end of a gun." Or its equivalent.

Theater of Cruelty - For the Masses

A hanger-on to Antonin Artaud's Théâtre de la Cruaut, and ignorant and disregarding of the anthropological realities of mimesis, Danish director, Lars von Trier, says his film Antichrist was made "for himself."

Yeah, right.

I'm sure he won't mind being a satanic tool used to rachet-up the new level to which progressive, Dialectic materialists will go before they begin to squirm in their seats at the movies. Especially as he deposits the monies he earns from it. Ah, Mammon ..

He is washing his hands of the mimetic effects of a movie that at Cannes had persons leaving the darkened theater physically sick to their stomachs.

What he does not know is that Antichrist will become for another generation of college students what Deep Throat was: a rite of passage in an initiation into the banality, desensitization, and dehumanization of a human being.

Still farther down the bell-shaped curve, the images of cruelty and violence will take even worse effect on those who will feel compelled to act-out what they see in von Trier's foolish depravity. Expect more bizarre crimes - those little snippets of horror that reside far from the front page of the MSM.

One might say that von Trier merely adds to the growing number of gore flicks.

Unfortunately, this "high-brow", tasteless one will add more possibilities of the theater of cruelty spilling blood on the streets - and in relationships between men and women.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Schall - 'Nowhere Man' vs. Somewhere Man

Is it discouraging to assist at Mass wherein one senses the palpable dreariness of a merely social action modus operandi of the priest? You know the sort: his heart is somewhere south of the border in the barrios rather than with his parish.

Ex opere operando.

Fr James Schall, S. J., applies his forensic skills in Mass with ‘Nowhere Man’.

Regardless of What Utopian Ninnies Say

For the record: does this lifelong student of the ways of the Scimitar misunderstand his sacred scriptures, or "get" them, spot-on? The template or O/S of one's anthropological nexus governs one's dealings with one's fellow human beings. And in the case of the Scimitar, its "shining example" (Harris) and founder is its exemplar, par excellence.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2,000th - Millais

Christ in the House of His Parents (1849-50) - John Everett Millais

Here Come the Anglicans

You know you're doing something right when the WaPo says, pouting,

Vatican fishing for disgruntled Anglicans : Catholic invitation to join church allows for married priests

Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth says, Our prayers have been answered.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Millais - PRB

Cinderella (1881) - John Everett Millais

Monday, October 19, 2009

You Don't Need No Steenkin' Bubble Zone

Jeff Miller - the Curt Jester - does a great job of limning the sacred precinct of today's certifiable and duly sanctioned victim fodder: pro-life abortion protesters.

You see, it is like this: If (a) abortion is legal in the eyes of the state, and (b) pro-life abortion protesters are protesting the duly sanctioned murder of unborn infants, then, ipso facto, (c) those daft enough to enter the sacred precinct of the abortuarial arena of duly sanctioned human sacrifice of unborn infants are worthy of violent opprobrium themselves. The logic is impeccable. Irreducible. Luciferian.

Pro-lifers deserve it. Don't they? Well, don't they? No "bubble zones" for them! (Strong language alert)

Dowd - The Fatal Flaw

Maureen Down @ the NYT on I Wun's foreign policy known as "strategic reassurance:"

In an interview with Alison Smale in The Times last week, Vaclav Havel sipped Champagne in the middle of the afternoon and pricked Barack Obama’s conscience.

Havel, the 73-year-old former Czech president, who didn’t win a Nobel Peace Prize despite leading the Czechs and the Slovaks from communism to democracy, turned the tables and asked Smale a question about Obama, the latest winner of the peace prize.

Was it true that the president had refused to meet the Dalai Lama on his visit to Washington?

He was told that Obama had indeed tried to curry favor with China by declining to see the Dalai Lama until after the president’s visit to China next month.

Dissing the Dalai was part of a broader new Obama policy called “strategic reassurance” — softening criticism of China’s human rights record and financial policies to calm its fears that America is trying to contain it. (Not to mention our own fears that the Chinese will quit bankrolling our debt.)

The tyro American president got the Nobel for the mere anticipation that he would provide bold moral leadership for the world at the very moment he was caving to Chinese dictators. Awkward.

Havel reached out to touch a glass dish given to him by Obama, inscribed with the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. “It is only a minor compromise,” he said. “But exactly with these minor compromises start the big and dangerous ones, the real problems" ..MORE>>

Chicken Little and the 900-Ft Jesus

I was juust thinking: doesn't this scam sort of remind you of this?

Mnsgr Pope - Original Sin

For the record: Monsignor Charles Pope's important reminder of What is Original Sin?

BXVI on Music

"(G)reat music, gives the spirit repose, awakens profound sentiments and almost naturally invites us to lift up our mind and heart to God in every situation, whether joyous or sad, of human existence. Music can become prayer."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Incredible Lightness of Non-being

I will be eternally grateful to my teacher, mentor, and friend, Gil Bailie for introducing to me the notion of ontology: the study of being.

Everyone today - and I do not exaggerate - everyone scopes out everyone else today to see if he or she can grab, snatch, or steal a bit of "ontological density" (DeLubac) from someone else. It can be brutal, if stealthy. Often, it is something so simple as seeing if I am wealthier, more attractive, more on the inside of the "inner circle" (Lewis), more educated, consuming more, more erudite, more charming, spending more money, more generally admired, more (fill in the blank, the list is nearly endless) than YOU.

For a few, fleeting moments, one experiences a sense - sometimes even a rush - of (false) substantiatility.
Ahhhh .... But this does not, cannot last. For inevitably I will come to, or am brought into, the presence of someone who is wealthier, more attractive, more on the inside of the "inner circle" (Lewis), more educated, consuming more, more erudite, more charming, spending more money, more generally admired, more (fill in the blank, the list is nearly endless) than ME.

Dashed! That person without even knowing (perhaps) has suddenly snatched ontological substantiality from me. I quiver on the brink of nothingness, a howl of anguish. For, as Walker Percy said so cleverly and masterfully in
Lost in the Cosmos, is possible to learn more in ten minutes about the Crab Nebula in Taurus, which is 6,000 light-years away, than you presently know about yourself, even though you've been stuck with yourself all your life
The biblical basis for authentic ontological substantiation resides (for one) in the words of the Psalmist (139):
[1] O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me!
[2] Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up;
thou discernest my thoughts from afar.
[3] Thou searchest out my path and my lying down,
and art acquainted with all my ways.
[4] Even before a word is on my tongue,
lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
[5] Thou dost beset me behind and before,
and layest thy hand upon me.
[6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high, I cannot attain it.
[7] Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
[8] If I ascend to heaven, thou art there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!
[9] If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
[10] even there thy hand shall lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me.
[11] If I say, "Let only darkness cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
[12] even the darkness is not dark to thee,
the night is bright as the day;
for darkness is as light with thee ...
[18b] When I awake, I am still with thee.

True ontology cannot be found in this "hall of mirrors" called human culture; a midway with carnies blaring "new" tonics and elixirs, balms and salves for the soul. True ontology is found in keeping the loving, self-giving, steadfast God in the Second Person of the Trinity - Jesus Christ, crucified and risen - at the center of one's being.
God gives us being; we are its steward in this mortal life.

To paraphrase the old saw, "A fool and his ontology are soon parted." Wisdom comes in knowing the source of my being; remaining in a state of grace (remember this!); receiving our God - body, blood, soul, and divinity - in the Holy Eucharist; and loving our neighbor as ourself.
For more important info, refer, gentle reader, to A Little Guide for Your Last Days.

Metanoia and Forgiveness

For all those who say the Catholic Church isn't "friendly" enough, or, worse, for those who say She "persecutes" those whose alternative lifestyles does not match Her faith and morality, I say this. I want a Church that tells me, as per G. K. Chesterton, where I am wrong; not one that tells me in an expedient, oily, and "friendly" way where I am right.

The Catholic Church does not "persecute" me in telling me where I am wrong in my disordered passions, in my choosing my will over that of God; She is doing me a favor. A huge one at that. And Our Lord in His divine mercy goes even further. He grants us a swift and healing sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Prodigal Son did not wait for his father to come and dredge him up and out of the pig stall. His disordered passions and willfulness took him into that "far country." He picked himself up and started trudging back to his father's homestead.

Once there, what happened? Read it - Luke 15:11-32.