Charlie's Blog: 2017

6.25.2017

St. John Vianney on Salvation


Good Christians, who labor to save their souls and to work out their salvation, are always happy and contented; they enjoy beforehand the happiness of Heaven: they will be happy for all eternity.
ST. JOHN VIANNEY


THERE ARE many Christians who do not even know why they are in the world.

"Oh my God, why have You sent me into the world?" "To save your soul." "And why do You wish me to be saved?" "Because I love you." The good God has created us and sent us into the world because He loves us; He wishes to save us because He loves us. To be saved, we must know, love and serve God. Oh, what a beautiful life! How good, how great a thing it is to know, to love and serve God! We have nothing else to do in this world. All that we do besides is lost time. We must act only for God, and put our works into His hands We should say, on awaking, "I desire to do everything today for You, my God! I will submit to all that You shall send me, as coming from You. I offer myself as a sacrifice to You But, God, I can do nothing without You. Do help me!"

Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble.

Look at that man, who is so active and restless, who makes a noise in the world, who wants to govern everybody, who thinks himself as important, who seems as if he would like to say to the sun, "Go away, and let me enlighten the world instead of you." Some day this proud man will be reduced at the utmost to a little handful of dust, which will be swept away from river to river, and at last into the sea.


See my children, I often think that we are like those little heaps of sand that the wind raises on the road, which whirl round for a moment, and are then scattered. We have brothers and sisters who are dead. Well, they are reduced to that little handful of dust of which I was speaking. Worldly people say it is too difficult to save one's soul. Yet nothing is easier. To observe the Commandments of God and the Church, and to avoid the seven capital sins; or if you like to put it so, to do good and avoid evil: that is all. Good Christians, who labor to save their souls and to work out their salvation, are always happy and contented; they enjoy beforehand the happiness of Heaven: they will be happy for all eternity. While bad Christians, who lose their souls, are always to be pitied; they murmur, they are sad, they are as miserable as stones; and they will be so for all eternity. See what a difference!

This is a good rule of conduct to do nothing but what we can offer to the good God. Now, we cannot offer to Him slanders, calumnies, injustice, anger, blasphemy, impurity, night clubs, dancing; yet that is all that people do in the world. Speaking of dances, St. Francis of Sales used to say that "they were like mushrooms, the best were good for nothing." Mothers are apt to say indeed, "Oh, I watch over my daughters." They watch over their attire, but they cannot watch over their hearts. Those who have dances in their houses load themselves with a terrible responsibility before God; they are answerable for all the evil that is done -- for the bad thoughts, the slanders, the jealousies, the hatred, the revenge. ... Ah, if they well understood this responsibility they would never have any dances. Just like those who make bad pictures and statues, or write bad books, they will have to answer for all the harm that these things will do during all the time they last. Oh that makes one tremble!

See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in Heaven.

6.24.2017

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 48


I played a great horse yesterday; it took seven horses to beat him.
HENNY YOUNGMAN

1. TRUMP

I support Donald Trump, but I admit that Mike Pence would be a better fit for me. Trump is basically a Democrat in a Republican suit. The irony is that so many on the Left express such disdain and violent fantasies towards the man. This begs a certain question. Would Jeb Bush be suffering as Trump suffers now if the Bushies had gotten their man elected? My answer is yes.

Something has fundamentally changed in Democrats and the Left. Eight years of Obama has done something to their rabies infected brains. It is so bad that you now have Leftist vs. Leftist at Evergreen State College where white progressives are now persona non grata. Then, there was the recent fracas between an LGBT group and Black Lives Matters. This brings me to my familiar refrain tweeted endlessly by yours truly.

The Left is truly eating itself and bringing about its own self-destruction. This is why Edmund Burke said, "Our patience will achieve more than our force." Basically, you win not by fighting but by refusing to surrender. Evil turns on itself inevitably, and victory is yours.

The only thing Trump needs to be successful over the next four years is to not resign the office. Granted, he is a fighter, but you can only expend so much energy on your enemies. Trump might find some small satisfaction in his late night tweets, but they aren't what will win over those enemies. You don't have to fight these people. You just refuse to quit. Jeb Bush is a quitter, and that's why he isn't president.

2. FRANCIS

The four cardinals have requested a chat with the Holy Father, and we all know that they aren't going to get it. Pope Francis will continue to ignore them as he has done up to this point. This leaves the four cardinals no other option except a formal and public rebuke. Granted, this is coming from just four cardinals he has ignored. He will ignore this rebuke as well. Yet, I expect others will sign on to this rebuke and make their voices heard as well as they have done previously. The four cardinals will not stand alone in their opposition.

Pope Francis is a bad pope. His pontificate will come to a bad end. But while he remains, he will do as much damage as he can. Rumors are already swirling that the modernists want to take down Humanae Vitae with the Pope's blessing.

This leads us back to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He was and is a quitter. It pains me to say that, but there it is. The cost for this surrender is that he has lived to see the Church in this calamity. Perhaps he thought he was avoiding this calamity by abdicating, but he has only hastened it. You never win by quitting. That is the lesson.

3. ILLINOIS

Illinois is on the verge of bankruptcy. The state cannot pay its bills and is effectively shutting down. This disaster portends possible coming disasters in other states and perhaps the United States itself.

There are many reasons that Illinois finds itself in this mess, but the biggest one is the unfunded pension liability Illinois carries which is approximately $130 billion. This is an issue I touch on regularly here at the C-blog. I am against retirement. It is a really bad idea. Illinois is the most potent recent example of how bad this idea is.

The temptation for Illinois is to simply raise taxes to an astronomical level to pay its bills. This isn't going to happen without a revolt. As for those pensioners, I suspect many of them will move out of the state to somewhere more tax friendly like Florida but still collect those pension checks. There should be a law in every state that says you must reside in that state to collect the pension. As it stands, blue staters work in blue states and retire to red states. They get the best of both worlds.

Illinois is a failed blue state. I expect California and others to follow suit when they finally reap what they've sown. Socialism in whole or part does not work. Just say no to socialism.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.
THOMAS SOWELL

Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Hence it's funny to read in the New York Times that liberal Catholic activists are pushing for a change in Church teaching on issues relating to -- well, let's admit it, sex. Nobody is out there demanding the popes revisit the condemnation of Jansenism (don't ask), or settle the question of whether divine grace is or isn't resistable. No, journalists want to know what the Church thinks about whether one person should poke another and, if so, where, when, and how. What liberal Catholics and the journalists who love them are really asking for isfor the Church to admit that it was teaching a set of harsh, repressive errors for nineteen centuries and that now it is very, very sorry.
JOHN ZMIRAK

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Johnny Depp ended any confusion over his intelligence. He has none.

--Obamacare will not be repealed because Trump doesn't really want to repeal it. He's a stealth Democrat on issues like this. It will be his greatest failure. And, no, Obamacare Lite is not a repeal.

--Why are the polls so wrong? The silent majority truly is silent. Pollsters need to reconsider their methodologies.

--Father James Martin, SJ is a despicable priest promoting the homoheresy. I am with Michael Voris in the suspicion that Martin is a closet homosexual. The wider church needs to be aware of this man's errors, and a prelate needs to discipline this priest severely. Unfortunately, many bishops are in common mind with Father Martin.

--There is no happiness in comfort.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

You’re doing your weekend wrong

The Problem of Catholic Pretenders

The Taste of Strawberries: Tolkien’s Imagination of the Good

Eat The Crap Sandwich

Why Bishops Should Condemn Fr. Martin’s Dangerous Bridge

Only Pope Francis can end the ‘apostasy’ his words have caused


6.18.2017

SOC 18


Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
ANONYMOUS

At the end of each work week, I like to sit down in my chair and pop the top on a cold can of beer. That beer is Pabst Blue Ribbon. I get plenty of ribbing for that beverage choice, and I have tried other beers. But nothing satisfies me like that PBR.

I have not always drank PBR. The first time I ever drank the stuff was as a wee lad probably in first grade when I snuck into the refrigerator and drunk a few cans of the old man's brew. He was a PBR drinker at the time, and I am grateful that he was. Had he drank something really horrible like Coors, I would have been put off beer drinking forever. But that first beer left an indelible mark on my psyche, and I am glad that PBR tastes as good now as it did to me as a child.


Of course, I quickly learned from the old man that beer was for grown ups and not for kids. So, I never touched the stuff again until over a decade later. In the interim, I drank whatever was available. There has been Coors Light, Corona, Miller Genuine Draft, countless craft beers, Budweiser, and Bud Light which is the number one beer in America. There is something sad about that fact, but there it is.

I have drank cheap beers like Busch and Natty Light. It was during this time of exploration for a cheap beer that was easy on the wallet that I returned to Pabst Blue Ribbon. There it was in its slightly sweet flavor. I remind people that it did indeed once win a blue ribbon for taste. Basically, PBR is a good beer with a bad reputation.


This realization came to me when I drank my first and last Shiner Bock. I was on a craft beer kick, and this one was recommended to me from a coworker from Texas. Apparently, Bock is a big deal in the Lone Star State. So, I dropped eight bucks on a six pack. When I drank it, it had a familiar taste to it. I let my wife have one, and she said that it also had a familiar taste to it. We couldn't quite place until it came to us. It tasted like PBR. To confirm our suspicions, we went online to read reviews, and the reviewers concurred with the PBR conclusion that we had. Here is a direct quote from Beer Advocate:
This beer tastes like Pabst Blue Ribbon mixed with sparkling water and just a hint of rust. Not altogether awful, but not what I'd classify as good beer in any way shape or form.
Now, I'm not a beer snob. I enjoy a craft brew as much as the next guy. But I have to level with you, folks. I can't afford to drink that stuff. It is too expensive. To me, craft beer is just a high priced fad. The Shiner Bock experience also told me that a 12 pack of PBR at $7 was way smarter than a six pack of this stuff at $8. Plus, I think PBR tastes way better than Shiner Bock. So, I returned once more to the Blue Ribbon, and I remain there to this day.


Now, hipsters have had a love affair with PBR for the last decade or so which is weird because there are cheaper beers than Pabst. I hear that Miller High Life has become the new hipster beer of choice which is fine with me. I've tried High Life, and I just never liked the taste. PBR was very popular in the seventies, and it has become popular once again. But it ain't Budweiser.

You get to a point in your life when you don't care to think about what you drink. This is the problem with those craft beer nerds. They overthink it. They want their experience to be more than what it is. Sometimes, you just want to sit back after a long week of working and just sip something that is refreshing and relaxing. And maybe you don't want to break the bank to do that. Pabst Blue Ribbon does that for working guys like me.

The problem with so many people today is that they are given to being pretentious. According to the dictionary, to be pretentious is "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." PBR is a beer that isn't pretentious. It is what it is. I find that lack of pretentiousness refreshing in a culture saturated in marketing and hype.

Recently I read this article on progressive rock at the National Review website, and I found it hilarious. Over the years, I have encountered prog rock aficionados, and they were much like the beer nerds of today. Now, I've listened to a lot of this prog rock, and it has its moments of classic rock glory. If you've ever listened to "Roundabout" or "Long Distance Runaround" from Yes on the radio, you know they had some good songs. Here's the deal. You don't have to dive into the deep cuts on those Yes albums because they already play the good songs on the radio, and you have already heard them. Save yourself from wasting what remains of your finite existence and leave Tales from Topographic Oceans alone.


The problem with progressive rock is that it tries and takes the music of Chuck Berry and turn it into something on par with Beethoven, Bach. and Wagner. Progressive rock isn't alone in this idiocy. You have your guitar gods who want to show off their tricks like Eddie Van Halen. There was hair metal and glam rock. Then, you had the backlash known as punk rock except most of the music was just so much noise. So, I always come down to the same question. Who was/is the greatest band in rock, and my answer seems to always be AC/DC.


Now, for the snobby readers and staff writers at Rolling Stone, this answer is anathema. AC/DC lacks the seriousness of acts like Dylan and the Grateful Dead. But by the same token, AC/DC never dressed up in women's clothes or donned theatrical make up like KISS. The only gimmick they had was the schoolboy outfit that Angus Young wears which is more of a running gag than a gimmick.

AC/DC didn't make political statements or try to shock the parents with outrageous costumes and antics. They just plugged in those guitars and rocked. This is a band that has consistently delivered for decades, and they did it precisely by not being pretentious. Looking back on their history, there's nothing that is embarrassing or dated about them now. To give this context, here is Peter Gabriel from his prog rock glory days:


There are worse pics than this, and it makes me cringe to see a grown man in this get up. The guys from AC/DC probably still own and wear the same T-shirts and denim from the seventies and eigthies. I just don't see those guys looking back and cringing the way I imagine that Peter Gabriel does now.


I place a lot of value on living without pretension. There is humility in not pretending to be more than what you are. There is also a dignity in it as well. How often do we do things out of foolish pride that make us so ashamed later?

I see so much pretension going on these days. I feel guilty of being pretentious in my younger years. When you're young, you have a certain naive optimism about the world that reality beats out of you by the time you are 40. I see so many young people today thinking they are going to be millionaires with reality TV shows where they get paid just for being famous for nothing whatsoever.

For me, my pretensions melted away about the time I was 30 years old. I had quit the only job I had ever had that required a college degree knowing that it was the absolute worst job I had ever had in my life. I realized that I was not cut out for life in corporate management. I could not shake the blue collar mindset that had been drilled into me growing up. For instance, I couldn't understand how someone could get paid big bucks to be a consultant to companies to help them craft their mission statements. I still don't get that.

I have a low regard for people who aren't blue collar. I think the biggest crooks in this world wear white collars and ties. My working life has featured many encounters with people who got paid to not work. And I put the guilt ray on these people whenever I meet them. I don't preach at them so much as ask them questions. What exactly is it that you do? How do you create value? How do you make the world a better place? Our consultant friends working on mission statements usually look at the floor when I ask these questions, but I see much of the same behavior with other white collar types when I ask these questions.

I'm OK with people scheming their way through life. Just don't expect me to let you feel good about it because I'm not. You work your cushy job while I work my sweaty dirty job. I'll have a warm shower and a cold beer and sleep well that night. You'll have your scotch on the rocks and try to drink yourself to sleep.

This is a good place to stop. I am trying to get back to blogging on the regular again. My work ethic in the writing department has slid hard, and I need to get that back. Or maybe this writing gig is just me being pretentious.


5.28.2017

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 47


I had to stop drinkin, cuz I got tired of waking up in my car driving ninety.
RICHARD PRYOR

1. TRUMP

I have never seen the media insane with the taste of blood for one individual like they are for President Donald J. Trump. It is a feeding frenzy for this guy. The only problem is that there is nothing for these left wing sharks to sink their teeth into. They keep going for the jugular and get a mouthful of salad. Frustrated, these ravenous fools are going after subordinates and Trump supporters in the media and on Facebook and Twitter. Some people liken this climate to a sort of pre-civil war.

What do I think of the job Trump is doing? To be honest, I am not that happy with Trump. This is mainly to do with his ineffectiveness of pushing his agenda through Congress. Whatever excuse the GOP passes on healthcare, Trump is going to slap his name on it and declare victory. The sad thing is that they can't even pass a bill in any form. Of course, a rebranded Obamacare would be a disaster for the GOP, so I'm glad it is failing. What bothers me is that Trump is making no progress with a Congress that is Republican. Reagan never had such a luxury.

The bulk of what Trump has accomplished can be undone with a few pen strokes in the next Democrat administration. We need legislation. Beyond that, I think Trump is doing well on those things he has greater control over. The executive branch is in good hands. I just want to see conservative laws hit that desk in the Oval Office for his signature.

2. TAKEN FROM TWITTER
3. SETH RICH

I believe that Seth Rich was murdered for being the DNC hacker. I'm not one to go for conspiracy theories, but this one has a stink on it that no explanation can get out. I could be wrong, but if it proved to be true, it would be a bombshell. This is why I don't understand why the media don't go after it. They won't let the Russia story go, and there is nothing there. Yet, this story is ignored by the MSM. It boggles the mind.

I won't go into the details since they are widely available in conservative and alternative media. I just know that there is strong evidence that Rich was the Wikileaks source. Regardless of the nature of his death, this alone makes it worth pursuing because it ends that Russia crap. As for the murder, if Seth Rich was the leaker, it makes it very convenient for him to wind up dead like that.

I think the truth about Seth Rich will inevitably float up to the service. When it does, I think it will shock this country to its foundations. All I can say about Democrats is that they are criminal murdering trash.

4. Q & A

Q: What is that line on your ring finger?

A: This question refers to this:


This is not a tattoo. It is a simple line drawn on a daily basis with either a Sharpie or ball point pen that takes the place of the wedding ring I never wear. I don't wear my wedding ring is for a couple of reasons. The first is that my ring fits loose and is in constant danger of falling off my finger. The second is that I am always doing blue collar work type things that makes wearing rings very dangerous. If you are an auto mechanic dealing with batteries or an electrician, this is the sort of thing you can expect when wearing conductive wedding rings on the job:


They make rings now that are non-conductive, but that still leaves the possibility of these types of injuries:


This was the type of injury that happened to this guy:


Jimmy Fallon caught the edge of something with his ring when he tripped while rumored to be intoxicated resulting in serious damage to his digit. Even guys in non-blue collar professions have to watch out.

My work and activities put me in a higher than average risk range for incurring such an injury. On the other hand, I want people to know that I'm married especially flirty females. So, out comes the Sharpie, and I have my "ring."

Some people go with wedding ring tattoos like these:


The obvious problem with these sorts of things is that the tattoos will probably outlast the marriages. I am a Roman Catholic, so my marriage is truly until death. I wouldn't have a commitment issue on the tat. But there is the aesthetic issue because tattoos are trashy. You should never get a tat that is visible when wearing normal clothes.

My drawn on ring has the benefit of a ring tat without the drawback. Plus, the daily ritual of drawing it on my finger is a push for me to renew my commitment to my beloved on a daily basis. Marriage takes effort as much as commitment, and people forget this. The tat takes momentary pain and carries the possibility of regret. The simple ink is painless but demands constant daily effort. That is what I think a good marriage should be. It is painless, but you still work at it.

5. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.
G. K. CHESTERTON

So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over--a weary, battered old brontosaurus--and became extinct.
MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE

If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.
THOMAS SOWELL

Nothing would be done at all if one waited until one could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.
BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

We become like that which we love. If we love what is base, we become base; but if we love what is noble, we become noble.
VENERABLE ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

Reformation or Revolution?

What’s Wrong with the American Craft-Beer Boom?

Why Do We Need The Benedict Option?

Delete His Account!

This Is How the Elite Poisons Our Culture

5.21.2017

St. John Vianney on the Holy Spirit


But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
ACTS 2:38 DOUAY-RHEIMS

My CHILDREN, how beautiful it is! The Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. Man by himself is nothing, but with the Holy Spirit he is very great. Man is all earthly and all animal; nothing but the Holy Spirit can elevate his mind, and raise it on high. Why were the saints so detached from the earth? Because they let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit have true ideas; that is the reason why so many ignorant people are wiser than the learned. When we are led by a God of strength and light, we cannot go astray.

The Holy Spirit is light and strength. He teaches us to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and between good and evil. Like glasses that magnify objects, the Holy Spirit shows us good and evil on a large scale. With the Holy Spirit we see everything in its true proportions; we see the greatness of the least actions done for God, and the greatness of the least faults. As a watchmaker with his glasses distinguishes the most minute wheels of a watch, so we, with the light of t£e Holy Spirit, distinguish all the details of our poor life. Then the smallest imperfections appear very great, the least sins inspire us with horror. That is the reason why the most Holy Virgin never sinned. The Holy Spirit made her understand the hideousness of sin; she shuddered with terror at the least fault.

Those who have the Holy Spirit cannot endure themselves, so well do they know their poor misery. The proud are those who have not the Holy Spirit. Worldly people have not the Holy Spirit, or if they have, it is only for a moment. He does not remain with them; the noise of the world drives Him away. A Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit has no difficulty in leaving the goods of this world, to run after those of Heaven; he knows the difference between them. The eyes of the world see no further than this life, as mine see no further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity. To the man who gives himself up to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there seems to be no world; to the world there seems to be no God. . . . We must therefore find out by whom we are led. If it is not by the Holy Spirit, we labor in vain; there is no substance nor savor in anything we do. If it is by the Holy Spirit, we taste a delicious sweetness ... it is enough to make us die of pleasure!


Those who are led by the Holy Spirit experience all sorts of happiness in themselves, while bad Christians roll themselves on thorns and flints. A soul in which the Holy Spirit dwells is never weary in the presence of God; his heart gives forth a breath of love. Without the Holy Spirit we are like the stones on the road Take in one hand a sponge full of water, and in the other a little pebble; press them equally. Nothing will come out of the pebble, but out of the sponge will come abundance of water. The sponge is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, and the stone is the cold and hard heart which is not inhabited by the Holy Spirit.

A soul that possesses the Holy Spirit tastes such sweetness in prayer, that it finds the time always too short; it never loses the holy presence of God. Such a heart, before our good Savior in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, is a bunch of grapes under the wine press. The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and
suggests words in the hearts of the just Those who have the Holy Spirit produce nothing bad; all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are good. Without the Holy Spirit all is cold; therefore, when we feel we are losing our fervor, we must instantly make a novena to the Holy Spirit to ask for faith and love. See, when we have made a retreat or a jubilee, we are full of good desires: these good desires are the breath of the Holy Spirit, which has passed over our souls, and has renewed everything, like the warm wind which melts the ice and brings back the spring. You who are not great saints, you still have many moments when you taste the sweetness of prayer and of the presence of God: these are visits of the Holy Spirit. When we have the Holy Spirit, the heart expands -- bathes itself in divine love. A fish never complains of having too much water, neither does a good Christian ever complain of being too long with the good God. There are some people who find religion wearisome, and it is because they have not the Holy Spirit.

If the damned were asked: Why are you in Hell? they would answer: For having resisted the Holy Spirit. And if the saints were asked. Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: For having listened to the Holy Spirit. When good thoughts come into our minds, it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us. The Holy Spirit is a power. The Holy Spirit supported St. Simeon on his column; He sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love. The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, "You will accompany this man everywhere, and you will bring him back to me safe and sound." How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit! He is indeed a good Guide; and to think that there are some who will not follow Him. The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Paris. We should only have to say "yes," and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say "yes"!. . . Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven; we have only to say "yes," and to let Him take us there.



The Holy Spirit is like a gardener cultivating our souls The Holy Spirit is our servant. There is a gun; well you load it, but someone must fire it and make it go off. In the same way, we have in ourselves the power of doing good. . . when the Holy Spirit gives the impulse, good works are produced. The Holy Spirit reposes in just souls like the dove in her nest. He brings out good desires in a pure soul, as the dove hatches her young ones. The Holy Spirit leads us as a mother leads by the hand her child of two years old, as a person who can see leads one who is blind.

The Sacraments which Our Lord instituted would not have saved us without the Holy Spirit. Even the death of Our Lord would have been useless to us without Him. Therefore Our Lord said to His Apostles, "It is good for you that I should go away; for if I did not go, the Consoler would not come." The descent of the Holy Spirit was required, to render fruitful that harvest of graces. It is like a grain of wheat -- you cast it into the ground; yes, but it must have sun and rain to make it grow and come into ear. We should say every morning, "O God, send me Your Spirit to teach me what I am and what You are."


5.20.2017

SOC 17


Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.
CONFUCIUS

I have been in a crisis of doublemindedness lately. This problem of the two minds is one that has afflicted me in the past. It is not a pleasant problem to have like deciding between a BMW or a Mercedes. It is more like deciding between a moped and a Yugo.

Doublemindedness comes from a choice between two options that are virtually equal in their costs and benefits. For instance, there is the choice between cheesecake and ice cream. Both are fattening and decadent but are so totally delicious. But when one is done, there will be the longing for the other. This is the fear of regret.

My doublemindedness comes from the dilemma of being a writer. With everything I write comes the regret of what I could have done with that time. As I get older, this regret becomes more acute. No one wants to waste their time because wasting time is wasting life. On the other hand, no one wants to waste talent either. The world would be a lesser place if Mozart had opted for a career as a piano tuner.

I can either waste my talent, or I can waste my time. I don't have similar dilemmas with my musical abilities because I am not talented in that regard. I don't lie awake at night regretting giving up the guitar. I basically quit it when the fun ended. The best I can ever be in music is a dilettante.

I am a writer, and that is something I will just have to learn to live with in the same way people learn to live with a chronic disease. I just need to settle it in my mind that I put words on screens and paper. I'm going to quit with the quitting. I also need to quit being lukewarm in the pursuit of writing. I have a long list of projects I want to get done on this side of the grave.

If writing is my disease, Twitter is my addiction. Unlike previous attempts to quit, I was actually very successful this time. I noticed that I had way more time on my hands when I shut down my Twitter account. The downside was that I was left with way more boredom. Boredom is not something I have experienced in some time. I always have something to do, and I always work to exhaustion. This leads to five minutes of stop which leads to four hours of sleep. Basically, I am either awake doing something or asleep trying to recharge. Without writing or tweeting, I was stuck with large blocks of nothing to do and lots of time to do it. I didn't like it.

Twitter is an extension of writing especially when you write about religion and politics. This is why so many journalists and politicians and even the President and the Pope use the service.  I've used other social media, but they never held my attention like Twitter. As for GAB, it merely serves as a future home should Twitter decide to expunge conservatives like me. Until it reaches a critical mass, I will use it sparingly.

So, I am a hopeless writer and tweeter. The reality is that when I get frustrated in my life I want to blame those two things for my inability to get things done. They are "distractions." But when I purged those distractions, I still didn't get anything done. My problem isn't distraction. It is laziness.

I am lazy. No one says that about me because my work ethic is above average. This is merely because the average is so low these days. This is why I choose not to use comparison with others as any true measuring rod. Instead, I hold myself to an extreme standard which has always eluded me. I don't get things done that I know need to get done.

People may consider this mindset to be extreme, but I don't. Jesus worked really hard. He worked hard as a carpenter, and He worked hard when He left those tools to pursue his public ministry. How do I know this? The fact that He could fall asleep in a boat on a stormy sea indicates that He was someone with very full days that pushed Him to exhaustion.


The Gospels are full of small details like this. Jesus had an awesome work ethic. Sometimes, I feel bad that I can sit in a chair and fall out in just a few minutes. This comes from working long hours and sleeping few hours. Yet, this is how Jesus lived. No servant is above his master. When I fall asleep this way, I just remember Jesus in the boat.

My cross is exhaustion. I always talk about the lack of time, money, and energy. But I have to admit that I have all the time and money I need. With the energy thing, I remember lamenting to God that I was always tired, and I was hit with this sort of epiphany about exhaustion. It was a command to work even though I was exhausted. For instance, I like to write after a good night's sleep, yet the command was to write even in the late hours after a grueling day at work. Somehow, the labors performed while exhausted counted more than the ones I did from rest and refreshment. It reminded me of that Navy SEAL wisdom that when you feel completely done that you are only at 40% of what is in you. There is a lot of truth to that as I have done some amazing things after I had reached my quitting point and ignored it.

I think a great deal of pain and exhaustion is purely mental. This is not merely a personal speculation and madness but is the basis of the theory of the central governor. The gist of this theory is that the brain induces sensations of fatigue as a protective response to maintain homeostasis. This is why exercise always begins in pain and ends in pleasure. When you exercise, you are overriding the central governor in your brain telling you to conserve energy, avoid injury, etc. If you can push through this resistance, you will find the famous "second wind." If you are a Navy SEAL, you will find a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth wind.

The fact is that our minds almost always give out before our bodies. The human body is capable of amazing feats of endurance. You won't find anything identical to it in the animal kingdom. Consequently, I don't think you need to fear working yourself to death. You might work yourself into sleep deprivation and marital breakdown, but your body will be just fine with it.


This leads to my other epiphany. Go ahead and bite off more than you can chew. I have done this, and it wasn't pleasant. But it was awesome. This practice pushes you to places you didn't know you could go. I think God has purposely made my life hard and frustrating for this reason. So much of our prayers are focused on external conditions instead of internal reserves. As Pope Benedict XVI put it so well, "You were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness."

We always pray for our crosses to be taken from us instead of praying for the strength to carry those crosses. God is not going to answer prayers for comfort. He will always answer prayers for strength. Like a good parent, God does not spoil us. He is demanding, but He knows best.

I have this thing called my "minimalist impulse" which is a leftover of the influence of this guy. Leo's advice for living is pretty basic. Pare down everything to a few things and relentlessly focus. Then, you will succeed. So, the result of this minimalist lifestyle is that you post a few times a week on your blog, get some exercise and sleep, and learn to live in the chill zone. Basically, you should bite off less than you can chew. Does it work? Of course!

The goal of minimalism is to make life as easy as possible. It is the philosophy of quitting. It is a mix of Epicurus and Zen Buddhism. But is it Christian? Heck no. Jesus was poor, but He wasn't a minimalist. He poured Himself out in working and giving. I have always been down with living a simple life in terms of material things. This is wisdom embraced by many religious and philosophical traditions. Life is more than houses and bling. But so much minimalism is about living a simple lifestyle in order to work less and do less. This is garbage. You want to live simply in order to work more and do more. It all hinges on the fact that this working more and doing more is for the sake of God and others. Minimalism as espoused is simply selfishness on a smaller budget.

As a Catholic, I have three role models to look to in order to emulate. The first is Jesus. The second is the Virgin Mary. The third is St. Joseph. All three of them were simple. humble, hard working, and selfless. As a layman and a husband, St. Joseph is the one I look to the most. That guy was blue collar. He didn't say much. He just put his head down and did what had to be done for his family. I don't think St. Joseph would be spending his weekends working on his golf game or putting a nice coat of wax on his Corvette. The man was a worker.


There is no happiness in living for yourself. I reject the old McDonald's slogan that said that you deserve a break today. I think there is nothing wrong with taking a break, but the troubling word in the slogan is "deserve." Unfortunately, this slogan has worked its poison into other areas such that people believe they deserve a fancy new car, a trip to the Bahamas, or an adulterous fling with an exciting new lover. Sad as I am to admit it, I have heard various people tell me they deserved each of these three things.

I don't believe I deserve anything except Hell. The fact that God forgives me and still blesses me in spite of my unworthiness makes me very grateful. And when I offer up my works and sufferings to Him, they are out of gratitude. It is a duty and a privilege to make these offerings to Him.


St. Josemaria gives an illustration of a trashcan used to hold flowers. We find our beauty and purpose in holding those flowers. But we must never forget that we are still trashcans. The moment we think we are better than those flowers we delude ourselves. To be a good trashcan, we need to empty out the trash and provide for those flowers. This is sanctity. It is in forgetting ourselves that we become truly beautiful and find our greatest purpose.

That is all I have for now. I needed to prime the writing pump again, and these SOC posts always do the trick. The simple fact is that writing is my only real leisure activity. I do not hunt, fish, or play golf. I write which seems like a better hobby because it looks a lot like work. I like working.

4.23.2017

Selections From the Diary of Saint Faustina for Divine Mercy Sunday 2017


Today the Lord said to me, ‘Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it.  Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul.  When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you.  I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul.  Here the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy.  Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust.  If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.  The torrent of grace inundate humble souls.  The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.
SAINT FAUSTINA

O Eternal Love, You command Your Sacred Image to be painted
And reveal to us the inconceivable fount of mercy,
You bless whoever approaches Your rays,
And a soul all black will turn into snow.
O sweet Jesus, it is here² You established the throne of Your mercy
To bring joy and hope to sinful man,
From Your open Heart, as from a pure fount,
Flows comfort to a repentant heart and soul.
May praise and glory for this Image
Never cease to stream from man‟s soul.
May praise and glory for this Image
Never cease to stream from man‟s soul,
May praise of God‟s mercy pour from every heart,
Now, and at every hour, and forever and ever.
                   
                   O My God

When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.
It is no longer in my power,
To change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.
O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire,
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.
And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory.

* * *

I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was open wide for every soul.  In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world – mercy triumphed over justice.

* * *

Everyone in the world can belong to this group. A member of this group ought to perform at least one act of mercy per day; at least one, but there can be many more, for such deeds can easily be carried out by anyone, even the very poorest. For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving, and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray-that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy. And when the Last Day comes, we shall be judged from this, and on this basis we shall receive the eternal verdict.

* * *

He who knows how to forgive prepares for himself many graces from God.  As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart.

* * *

A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble. Pride keeps it in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery.

* * *


* * *

Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions.  And the purer our love becomes, the less there will be within us for the flames of suffering to feed upon, and the suffering will cease to be a suffering for us; it will become a delight!  By the grace of God, I have received such a disposition of heart that I am never so happy as when I suffer for Jesus, whom I love with every beat of my heart.

* * *

Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like...how terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin.

* * *

I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence...the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.

* * *

There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned.

* * *

The Lord said to me, ‘The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness.  You always console Me when you pray for sinners.  The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners.  Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.

* * *

All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us.  Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person’s sins were as dark as night, God’s mercy is stronger than our misery.  One thing alone is necessary; that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest.

* * *

When once I asked the Lord Jesus how He could tolerate so many sins and crimes and not punish them, the Lord answered me, ‘I have an eternity for punishing [these], and so I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize the time of My visitation.


4.22.2017

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 46


I hate small towns because once you've seen the cannon in the park there's nothing else to do.
LENNY BRUCE


The Art of Manliness is one of my favorite websites, and I recommend it highly. Yet, I must take issue with Brett McKay's recent piece on the value of church attendance. He makes good points for attending church on a weekly basis, and they act as a way for people like me who do attend on the regular to appreciate more than just the purely spiritual benefits of the practice. But I am reminded of Flannery O'Connor's infamous tale regarding someone's remark about the symbolism of the eucharist. If it is just a symbol, then to Hell with it.

When I used to be an atheist, I had an atheist friend who obviously had been raised in a Christian home and a church setting. He lost his faith, but he never lost the reassuring comfort of church. So, he became a Unitarian-Universalist and attended a U-U fellowship. This queer practice of his would become a thing in the wider freethought world with atheist churches and Alain de Botton's dreadful, Religion for Atheists.


The simple fact is that we attend church because we worship a God we actually believe exists. I know this is a stunner, but I am one of those weird people who never got the utilitarian arguments for religious practices. There may be utilitarian benefits to attending church, but there are also utilitarian benefits to sleeping in on Sunday morning. Those benefits are why even people who profess belief in God and Jesus Christ can't be bothered to get off their asses and make it to church.

I prefer the religious case for going to church versus the non-religious case. The number one benefit of going to church would be not going to Hell. I would work backwards from there to church making you a better person, making you happier, and instilling in your children the idea that you might be a moral person instead of a piece of crap human being. But, ultimately, we worship God because He exists and is worthy of our praise and exaltation.

I don't think you can be a real man without being a godly man. You can't be a godly man without going to church. And this, Gentle Reader, is the reason manliness is in such steep decline in our nation today. Men are now video game playing douchebags and a disgrace.

2. DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT

News comes that unemployment is now at a 17 year low. Yet, news also comes that many stores are closing and companies are doing layoffs. What is going on here? How can you have low unemployment while business is contracting? The answer is the demographic shift.

Harry Dent is the man behind this idea and observation that baby boomers will retire causing all sorts of economic upheaval, stock market crashes, and the like. Personally, I take what he says with a grain of salt. But I do believe that as baby boomers retire in massive numbers, there will be a massive vacuum in the job market, and there will not be enough millennials to fill that vacuum. The result will be low unemployment and rising wages for workers. I also predict incredible strain on pension funds, Social Security, and Medicare. Finally, cash will exit the markets as the boomers draw down their retirement funds.

I don't believe in retirement either personally or socially. That will have to be the subject of another blog post. But the bottom line is that retirement is detrimental to you on a personal level and to us all on a social level. The one upside is that it makes more job opportunities at higher pay for those of us who believe in working until you die and have a good work ethic. This was the reason Social Security was created in the first place. The downside is that we have created a geriatric welfare class that will spend 30+ years not working but living off of the work of others. That can't end well.

3. ASSANGE

The saga of Julian Assange took a new turn this week when the US DOJ announced that they would try to arrest Assange and bring him to trial. Of course, this announcement is not really news since no one doubted that the US authorities would extradite him as soon as Assange got shipped to Sweden on those trumped up rape charges. This is why Assange is now a virtual prisoner in that Ecuadorean embassy.

The problem with this announcement from the DOJ is this thing we have in America called the First Amendment. Now, this amendment has been challenged but has prevailed in cases like the ones involving porn publisher Larry Flynt. Courts have ruled that the First Amendment covers filth as well as political and religious publication. The law would seem firmly on the side of Assange since the intent of the Founders in adding the First Amendment was to provide a check against governmental power. If Larry Flynt qualifies for First Amendment protection, then Julian Assange most certainly qualifies.

The arguments against Assange having First Amendment protection are threefold. The first challenges whether he is a journalist or not. Apparently, only "real" journalists qualify for First Amendment protection. How is this determined? And would such real journalists require licensing to establish their bone fides? You can see the problem there. Josef Stalin would approve of this.

The second challenge centers on Julian Assange being an Australian and not an American citizen. The First Amendment can only give rights to Americans and not foreign citizens. On this basis, illegal immigrants to the USA could be tortured, detained without trial, murdered on the street, or what have you. It is obvious that the powers that be would love to do all of these things to Julian Assange, but it creates a whole new set of problems. My personal belief is that anyone within the borders of the USA is entitled to the rights and protections afforded under the US Constitution. I suspect the feds will try and sidestep this issue entirely and send Assange to Guantanamo Bay.

The third challenge deals with how Julian Assange gets his information. The argument is that Assange is some kind of journalistic terrorist running a non-state renegade intelligence agency. As such, he is on the same level as Osama bin Laden or the Rosenbergs. But the problem is that the Rosenbergs actually got a trial. Whether it was a fair trial is debatable. As for bin Laden, he received no trial, but he would have received one had he been captured alive and delivered to the USA.

The Assange affair is quite a mess, but it hinges on one fundamental question. Should it be illegal to publish classified information? That question has not been sufficiently answered since it was raised during the Pentagon Papers episode. Daniel Ellsberg and the New York Times were never brought to trial over their publication. The answer to the question depends on the difference between espionage and journalism.

I doubt I can settle such questions in the context of this blog, and it wouldn't matter if I could. But legal clarity needs to be brought to this murkiness. I think the fate of our democratic republic depends on the answers to these questions.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

If we do not fill our mind with prayer, it will fill itself with anxieties, worries, temptations, resentments, and unwelcome memories.
SCOTT HAHN

We are not to be without pain. Pain is Jesus suffering in us, but we are to look to Him for strength and courage. We are to learn this ability to shoulder our cross by gazing at Him and being gentle and humble in heart.
MOTHER ANGELICA

The moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand.
G.K. CHESTERTON

Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.
THOMAS SOWELL

The Lord’s triumph, on the day of the Resurrection, is final. Where are the soldiers the rulers posted there? Where are the seals that were fixed to the stone of the tomb? Where are those who condemned the Master? Where are those who crucified Jesus? He is victorious, and faced with his victory those poor wretches have all taken flight. Be filled with hope: Jesus Christ is always victorious.
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

We shall steer safely through every storm so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Those McDonald's employees that aided in getting the Facebook Killer are true heroes in my book.

--Aaron Hernandez chose the life of a thug. Playing in the NFL only showed that this choice was entirely voluntary and not thrust upon him. His suicide makes people think he was filled with despair. I think he did it as his last act of defiance on earth. I'll wait for his suicide notes to become public to see if he was remorseful or defiant. Either way, I believe suicide is a one way ticket to Hell. I will not presume on anyone's fate, and I hold out hope for everyone. But I don't see how you can die in a state of grace hanging from a bedsheet in a cell.

--I never liked Bill O'Reilly. As for Fox News, if they stay conservative, they will do fine. But I suspect they will become another MSNBC.

--Mark Levin is my favorite pundit. Way better than O'Reilly or Rush or Hannity.

--Ann Coulter at Berkeley shows how close we are to letting the left wing mob violence determine who has rights in this country and who doesn't. Call out the National Guard.

--The fear of death is fundamentally the fear of judgment.

--Zuckerberg should kill Facebook Live before it kills Facebook. Of course, Facebook deserves to die, but it should be the slow death of irrelevance.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST