13 September 2017

The Death of Morality

Saint Augustine of Hippo in his excellent book, "City of God", quoting the Roman politician and lawyer, Cicero in his book "De Republica:"

"But our age, receiving the republic as a chef-d'œuvre [masterpiece] of another age which has already begun to grow old, has not merely neglected to restore the colors of the original, but has not even been at the pains to preserve so much as the general outline and most outstanding features. For what survives of that primitive morality which the poet called Rome's safeguard? It is so obsolete and forgotten, that, far from practising it, one does not even know it. And of the citizens what shall I say? Morality has perished through poverty of great men; a poverty for which we must not only assign a reason, but for the guilt of which we must answer as criminals charged with a capital crime. For it is through our vices, and not by any mishap, that we retain only the name of a republic, and have long since lost the reality."

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27 August 2017

St. Ambrose, where art thou?

As Archie Bunker might say, "Mister we could use a man like Saint Ambrose again!"

In AD 380 the Roman Emperor Theodosius made belief in Christianity mandatory by decree. Theodosius took for granted the close relationship between his own will and God's. The emperor was thought of as a "demigod" who represented God on earth.

St Ambrose wrote to Emperor Theodosius in the year AD 390: “I cannot deny that you have a zeal for the faith, and that you fear God, but you have a naturally passionate spirit which becomes un-governable when you are excited. I call on you to repent. You can only atone for your sin by tears, by penitence, by humbling your soul before God. You are a man, and as you have sinned as a man so you must repent. No angel, no archangel can forgive you. God alone can forgive you, and He forgives only those who repent.

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24 August 2017

Deplorables

The Complaint of Peace (Querela Pacis)
Desiderius Erasmus 1521

"We can be angry with the wicked but we can only pity the irrational. I do but weep over them and I weep over them more bitterly because they weep not for themselves. No part of their misfortune is more 'deplorable' than their insensitivity to it. It is one great step to return to health to know the extent and stubbornness of the disease. I overlook their ignorance because the powers of mind necessary to perceive any reasoning has been denied to them."

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13 August 2017

Watch out for that tail!

My mother Armella was born in 1913 and when she was a little girl there were still more horses than motorcars. When she was about ten or eleven a song appeared called "Horsey Pick Your Tailup,"
and the words went something like this:

"Horsey pick your tail up,
Pick your tail up,
Pick your tail up.
Horsey pick your tail up,
Keep the sun out of my eyes."

The gist of the song was that about the only time a horse raises its tail is when it's about to do something disgusting. And if the sun were high in the sky, you'd have to be standing awfully close to the horse to be shaded by its tail...way too close for comfort. Whenever someone started bragging about their accomplishments my mother would start laughing and sing this song to the tune of "Ach du lieber Augustine" or "The More We Get Together". Wenenever I hear our current president start bragging I can hear my mother laughing and singing that song.

28 July 2017

United or Untied?

The Tweet, the whole Tweet, and nothing but the Tweet!
Which came first, the people or the money?
Clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right.
Batten down the hatches, we're in for a fight!
Fishes feed on other fish according to their need,
But humans feed on others according to their greed.
Call your congressman, call your priest,
Call your anchorwoman at the very least.
Don't be timid speak your piece,
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Tell them that you want the truth!
Tell them you want justice!
When do we want it? We want it now.
We can't keep picking at the scab until it bleeds.
Let's throw all the liars out,
And make America united again!

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15 July 2017

Charity of the Spirit

Charity of the Spirit - the solution to the RED / BLUE divide, especially for Christians.

St. Paul to the Galatians 5:13-15
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through charity of the spirit serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

St. Paul to the Galatians 6:10
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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30 June 2017

Pray for Peace

On life's journey from the womb to the tomb,
A place of deep shadow without a glimmer
Of the light of awareness and reason,
A man should hope and pray for peace, even
To the last clod of earth thrown upon his grave.
God exacts from us less than guilt deserves
When you stretch out your hand to Him in life,
You will be forgiven and will not know fear.
You will have contempt for worldly misfortune,
Feeling secure in the knowledge that there is hope
And life beyond the grave will be brighter than noonday,
And the shadows will be like the morning sunrise.
Those who don't believe in God will remain unblessed.
They will grope around in darkness without the light
Their remedy against misfortune...to breathe their last.

21 June 2017

Don't drain the swamp. Clean out the barn.

In the Gospel of Mark (Mark 5:1-20), Jesus goes across the lake to the "country of the Gerasenes", that is to say, the territory of the city-state of Gerasa. There, a man "possessed by a demon" comes from the caves to meet him. People had tried to tie him down but he was too strong to be tied, even with chains for he would always break out of them. Day and night among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. Jesus approached him and called the demon to come out of the man, who replied "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you in the name of God never to torment me!" Jesus asked the demon for his name and is told "My name is Legion, for we are many." The demons begged Jesus not to send them away, but instead they asked Him to send them into the pigs on a nearby hillside, which he did. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. The possessed man was restored to sanity.

Now, the men tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and and the people went out to see what had happened. No doubt these people were not Jews because Jews under the Mosaic law do not eat pork and so these pigs were being raised for other people, perhaps for sale to the Roman soldiers or for export to other places. In any case, When the Savior released the young man from the evil spirits and permitted them to enter into the pigs and the pigs all died by drowning, the local people ordered Our Lord to go away. He was bad for business. The spirit of capitalism made them feel that rescuing a poor soul from the demons, was not worth the loss of their precious pigs.

Why is it that pigs and capitalism are so related? We talk about "bringing home the bacon" as if it were money. Mothers tell their children, "Don't be greedy like a pig." On Wall Street they say "pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered." In George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm" the pigs were the smartest animals and they ended up representing all of the other farm animals against the farmers. When the animals peeked into the window of the farmhouse where the negotiations were proceeding, they looked around the table and had difficulty discerning which were the men and which were the pigs.

Our television screen is our modern equivalent of the window to the negotiating table and we still have trouble differentiating the men from the pigs. I think instead of draining the swamp we need to clean out the barn.


14 June 2017

Where does one find rest?

In the fuzzy orange glow of a new dawn fear strikes the land.
The damp air is heavy and smells of fear and uncertainty.
The sound of shouting and quarreling is heard on all sides.
In whom can the people trust if they no longer trust in God?
Do they trust in Science? But how does one pray to Science?
Where are the altars of Science and Technology located?
Is the Devil nothing more than a malicious Russian hacker?
Don't Science and Technology die when you Control-Alt-Delete?
God is not dead. He is the Resurrection and Life Eternal.
I shall go with God. I invite you to come along with me.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand by the roads, and look, 
And ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; 
Walk in it, and find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)

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23 May 2017

Mastering Oneself

It is by patient endurance that you will gain possession of your souls. (Luke 21:19).

The possession of a soul means the undisturbed mastery of oneself, which is the secret of inner peace as distinguished from a thousand agitations that make it fearful, unhappy, and disappointed. Only when the soul is completely possessed can anything else be fully enjoyed. The body can be injured without the consent of the soul, but the soul cannot be injured without its own consent.

Truth is as native to the mind as light is to the eye, but when truth illuminates people's sins they hate the truth and prefer to lie. Truth stirs the conscience of all men, especially evildoers, and they don't like it. Hence they try to cover up the truth. No one can turn off the light of truth but they can pull down the blinds of their own soul and shut it out. (Fulton J. Sheen)

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About Me

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.