Archive for the ‘World On The Edge’ Category

HOW DOES A CATHOLIC WRITER’S IMAGINATION WORK?

I

Along with the present moment, each human person carries a past and a vision for their future, These can be brought to the forefront by our human imagination and allow us to better understand our lives. But the Christian imagination and its belief in God presents an even wider view. We have a purpose in being here. Yes, we are here on this earth for a reason.

Without belief in God, comes the perception that what is real is only available through the senses, and that we were created through a chaotic combination of unlikely accidents. If a person thinks this way, God is negated because admitting God creates that purpose beyond the senses. It creates an invisible world, a spiritual world, that is truer and more lasting than the sensual world we can see.

The Catholic vision, the Catholic imagination, understands that –just beside our physical world — there is a spiritual world — and an ongoing battle between good and evil in both. In this battle, we often let go of God, even with the magnificent destiny promised us — eternal life in the presence of God. And yet, in spite of ourselves, we have been given hope.

I

One Common Denominator

The Incarnation

The common denominator, the sole reason, behind Catholic fiction produced by a Catholic imagination, is belief in the Incarnation. God became man, suffered for our sins, and died for love of us. In Catholic novels, God and sin (good and evil) are the forward-moving thrusts. God pursing the sinner is key, and therefore, the revelation that God’s love reaches out to all, not just the righteous.

At first glance, stories that come from the Catholic Imagination may not always be beautiful in our usual sense of the word, because the actions of people are not always beautiful. In fact, they are often plainly ugly. But when the Catholic fiction writer shows the presence of God in our world, the Truth comes out. Ugliness can be redeemed. If this is not sincerely believed by the writer, it shows, and the work falls apart.

II

Subjective Thinking

The fiction writer with a Catholic imagination writes about what is personal to himself. He/she is a subjective thinker, writing as a particular human being created by and directly related to God. For the Catholic writer, human beings exist only because God exists. The writer views himself as a child with a Father who loves him, a child who is often disobedient, and yet, at times completely in line. And he understands that the Father’s love does not disappear in either situation. When a Catholic writer believes himself to be both ugly and beautiful, but nevertheless loved, his imagination will transfer that human mystery to Story.

III

Mystery

The Catholic imagination shines out the existence of a good God even when the human deficiencies of a character keeps that character from recognizing it. The Catholic imagination also shines out evil. Evil is not simply a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be endured. (Flannery O’Connor) A Catholic fiction writer presents a truth that is higher than anything material, an intangible truth, and a mystery that some will not accept.

IV

Becoming

A writer’s characters and their dilemmas are always becoming something either higher, or lower, than before. The becoming is a mystery, too. Key to that mystery is weaving authenticity into the story. Everything in the universe is connected and forever on the move; this is concrete science. The Catholic writer uses the concrete, but aims beyond it through immaterial Truths.

This is a quote from Catholic novelist Walker Percy’s 1983 address to the trainee priests graduating from St Josephs College Seminary in Louisiana. I would add that it speaks also to all who write with a Catholic imagination. The address ended with these words:

Never has there been such loneliness in the midst of crowds, never such hunger in the face of satiation. Never has there been a more fertile ground for the seed and the harvest the Lord spoke of. All that is needed is a bearer of the Good News who speaks it with such authenticity that it can penetrate the most exhausted hearing, revive the most jaded language.

Authenticity is the key word here. The realization that sinners, like each of us, can be redeemed. Think of the beauty in that! Think of how the world is changed when even one sinner is touched by the grace of God!

Sacrifice is part of the very definition of what it means to truly love another person.

In fact, intimate relationships require sacrifice. I think we understand this most in the context of family, because we do sacrifice for our spouse, our children, and our parents.

Sacrifice does not mean giving up something for nothing; it means giving up one thing for something else we believe is worth much more. When we give our love to another sacrificially, we are putting the other first. We putting their needs above our wants. Husbands and Wives, Mothers and Fathers do this all the time – for the greater good of each other and of their children.

Why do we do this? Because we genuinely love them. Spousal love and Parental love are not ‘false loves.’ It is the kind of love that calls us to take the responsibility we have been given to take care of a separate person created by God. This does not at all mean that we want to be treated as doormats by our spouse, or that we give our children all the material things they may ask for. Quite the opposite. We treat our spouse and children as God’s gift to us, and try to show them the true way to joy and happiness. Just as our Father in heaven did — and does, through the Eucharist, daily consecration of the Host at Mass — offering His only son as an example of the kind of sacrificial love we, too, should show the world. The kind of love that will lead us to eternal life.

For Christians, the greatest example of sacrifice given out of love is the ransom Jesus Christ paid for us. And I believe the second greatest sacrifice was made by his mother, Mary. Can you imagine watching as your beloved innocent son suffered and died in such a horrendous way?

Today’s society tries to obliterate sacrifice at every turn. Some of our so-called leaders in government push us toward horribly sinful actions through legislation that will selfishly benefit them, not us. Many of them even try to obliterate God, Himself. Many of them seem to love themselves much more than the people they serve.

The things that we love tell us what we are. — Thomas Aquinas

And then there are the superficial ads promising people that they can fulfill their desires without having to sacrifice anything at all. “Lose weight without giving up your favorite foods!” “Get a great body without long workouts!” “Get rich without having to work hard!” “Vote for us and our crazy legislation and we’ll give you lots of things for free, but not real freedom.” The denial of sacrifice is everywhere. How about our soaring credit card debts–and of course the national debt?

But it’s a fairy tale to think you can have whatever you want without sacrifice.

If you want to lose weight, you have to sacrifice eating what puts the weight on. If you want to be loved, and be able to love, you have to show another person that you would give up something of importance for them. Love and Sacrifice are intertwined. Genuine love — when we sacrifice ourselves for someone else — can cost a great deal of suffering.

What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.- St. Basil the Great

Why is Sacrificial Love So Important for Every Human Being?

It is a fact. Each of us will die.
But is death the end of us?

We come into this world innocent, and nothing can change that we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Part of each one of us is spiritual, like it or not. And it is that spirituality that draws us to the reality of God.

But we’ve also been given a free will by our Creator. We can make choices, and some of those choices are wrong ones that steer us away from the inborn likeness to God set in us, and toward a dead end, where we often have no desire to change, or even acknowledge God. Many of us are fine with our lives as we’re living them.  And some don’t think about change, or God, at all until we are faced with death.

Yet we want eternal life.

And eternal life requires sacrifice.

This week, Holy Week, is all about eternal life. The final Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday, begins Holy Week for Christians. It commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. Following days are Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and finally the Resurrection – Easter.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist–His real presence at Mass, reminding us of HIs actual sacrifice. This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in remembrance of me. On Good Friday, He shows us how to suffer through the worst of all deaths, the excruciating death of an innocent man through the conniving of greedy and selfish human beings; a suffering He allowed so that we –his beloved children– might have eternal life. And on Easter Sunday, He rose from the tomb into which human evil cast Him.

He rose because no grave could hold Him. No grave could silence Him. No grave could keep Him from us, each one of us, His children, made in His image and likeness.

But are we striving for a life beyond our earthly grave?

Do we even consider our own resurrection?

Resurrection is defined in the dictionary as the act of causing something that has ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again.  Our ultimate Resurrection is a promise from our loving God if we truly desire it. When we  attempt by our free will to overcome our sinfulness through faith and sacrificial love. And when we rely on the overflowing mercy of God, we will have eternal life.

So that no grave can hold us.
No grave can silence us.
And no grave can keep us from our God who loves us.

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Are we Going into War based upon lies????

Jack Maxey – discusses Matt Gaetz’s recent challenge of an FBI representative regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop, Jack’s work on the laptop in Switzerland, and how important Jack’s Catholic faith is to him. Click here to support our campaign: https://give.lifesitenews.com/ To help LifeSite continue sharing videos on important and vital topics, consider donating here: https://give.lifesitenews.com/sustain… Sign-up for LifeSite’s video newsletter here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/subscribe/ Sign-up for LifeSite’s email newsletter so you’ll never miss a beat: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ajax/sub… Follow LifeSite on social media: Telegram: https://t.me/lifesitetelegram Gab: https://gab.com/LifeSiteNews Gettr: https://gettr.com/user/lifesitenews MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/lifesitenewscom1 Rumble: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNews Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifesite/ Follow John-Henry Westen on social media: Telegram: https://t.me/jhwesten Gab: https://gab.com/JohnHenryWesten/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jhwesten/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnhenrywesten\

Who is Jack Maxey?

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/meet-jack-maxey-the-man-singlehandedly-exposing-hunter-bidens-laptop/

These are crucial questions for America, questions that came up at the Supreme Court Confirmation hearings which I watched live on C-Span this past week. Those questions and more have become political questions. Except they should not be political, because they are based in ethics and they deal with TRUTH, not politics, yet the answer to them may eventually end up being determined by the Supreme Court — a court that, in this moment in time, is not exactly non-political.

I spent twenty years in advertising, oftentimes making a product appear better than it is. How is that done? Back then, we called it ‘costuming,’ the ability to cover-up flaws so that the product appears flawless so the public may be more likely to buy it.

Justice Katanji Brown Jackson appeared flawless, a perfect choice for the Court. Gentile, intelligent, a lover of her country, a lovely daughter and very special parents. For quite a while as I watched, she seemed perfect. And then, she could not/would not answer an important question: “What is a woman?”

“I can’t. … I’m not a biologist,” Jackson said after Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked her to provide a definition of the word “woman.” It wasn’t a trick question, but a simple one. Just as we don’t have to be an apple-grower to know what an apple is, we don’t have to be biologists to know what a woman is. Especially if we are a woman, and especially if that was one criteria for her nomination.

And that is when I began to wonder if there isn’t a very leftist agenda behind the Justice’s guarded answer. Especially when she talked about abortion. After all, only women have abortions.

Treachery covers itself under a cloak of kindness; and above all, it is peculiarly painful to find numbers of men, even of the learned professions, who ought to set an example of probity and honor, misapply their abilities to twist and pervert the sacred meaning of both law and gospel to the basest and worst of purposes. –Thomas Bewick, 1753 – 1828. Hailed as a truly original genius of his time.

HOW DOES EVIL MAKE ITSELF LOOK LIKE GOOD?

Thomas Bewick (The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing)

“A Wolf disguising himself in the skin of a sheep, and getting in among the flock, easily caught and devoured many of them. At last the Shepherd discovered him, and cunningly watched the opportunity of slipping a noose about his neck, and immediately hung him up on the branch of a tree. Some other Shepherds observing what he was about, drew near and expressed their surprise at it. Brother Shepherd! says one of them, what! are you hanging your sheep? No, replies the other, but I am hanging a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing, and shall never fail to do the same, whenever I can catch one of them in that garb. The Shepherds then expressed themselves pleased at his dexterity, and applauded the justice of the execution.— fablesofaesop.com/the-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing.html

APPLICATION by Thomas Bewick

“We ought not to judge of men by their looks, or their dress and appearances, but by the character of their lives and conversation, and by their works; for when we do not examine these, we must not be surprised if we find that we have mistaken evil for good, and instead of an innocent sheep, taken a wolf in disguise under our protection. The finished hypocrite, by assuming the character of virtue, makes the vice more odious and abominable, and when the mask is torn off, and fraud and imposture are detected, every honest man rejoices in the punishment of the offender. Men (and women) who have not had good, religious, and moral principles early instilled into their minds, find no barrier to check their propensity to evil, and get hardened as they advance in years; and even the most liberal education, if it want the foundation of truth and honesty, is often a curse instead of a blessing, and the objects of it fail to do honor either to themselves or to their country. Thus it is we see tyranny stalking along under the mask of care and protection. Injustice sets up the letter of the law against its spirit. Oppression strips the widow and the orphan, and at the same time preaches up mercy and compassion. Treachery covers itself under a cloak of kindness; and above all, it is peculiarly painful to find numbers of men (and women), even of the learned professions, who ought to set an example of probity and honor, misapply their abilities to twist and pervert the sacred meaning of both law and gospel to the basest and worst of purposes.”

So, as far Justice Ketanji Jackson Brown’s confirmation? Though I admire much about her, I have concerns about the decisions she has made, and those she might make on abortion legislation, gender identity, lenient sentences for those involved in distributing child pornography, and Critical Race Theory in public schools.

Here are two articles you might want to read:

https://yournews.com/2022/03/23/2318523/trans-women-are-men-and-pretending-otherwise-is-cultural-insanity/

https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/23/if-ketanji-brown-jackson-doesnt-know-what-a-woman-is-why-does-she-use-the-word-so-much/

And here is a very revealing interview by Senator Marsha Blackburn, well worth the look.

The Bell and The Switch

As a child, I didn’t want to hear The Bell. It resonated through the pine trees of the woods where I was building the perfect straw house; it caught me dunking a glass jar in the creek to catch the biggest tadpole I’d ever seen; it caused me to brake my Blue Schwinn bike on a red dirt road after I’d peddled all the way up a hill so I could fly down it again. The Bell instructed me to stop all that. The Bell commanded, “Come home. Now.”

A child, of course, comes into the world with irritating abilities. One of them is the ability to close her ears to what she doesn’t want to hear. A child wants to finish the straw house. She wants to capture the tadpole. She wants the excitement of flying down a hill, fast as the wind. A child wants what she wants. Still, The Bell beckons. And in the course of its annoying jangle, a child considers the consequence of not obeying its command.

For me, the consequence of not answering The Bell was The Switch. At first, I was able to choose The Switch. My mother, the bell ringer, pointed a stiff finger. “You did not obey the rules of this house. Now, go get me a switch off the Redbud.” This command, I chose to hear in its entirety, except I brought back the wimpiest branch I could find. When I laughed and told her it tickled, she resorted to finding The Switch on her own. A little stronger, a little longer, it laid as a symbol of consequence on the top shelf of the bookcase in our den. Even now, I can see it in my mind, and usually do if I’m considering something I know is wrong.

We can ignore the consequences, too, as if there will be none. But ignoring can be hazardous, because there is no peace in sin. There is only the fear of being caught, a cover-up, and then the consequences that come from all that.

The Law of Cause and Effect

Nothing happens by chance or outside the Universal Laws. Every Action has a reaction or consequence “We reap what we sow”. Ralph Waldo Emerson said the Law of Cause and Effect is the “law of laws”.  The most important lesson involving human conduct and interaction is seen in the Cosmic Law of Cause and Effect.  “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.  Every human thought, word and deed is a Cause that sets off a wave of energy throughout the universe which in turn creates the effect whether desirable or undesirable.  The law states the effect must lead to physical manifestation.  This is why good thoughts, words, emotions, and deeds are essential for a better world for they all create good effects.

The law of cause and effect states that every cause has an effect and every effect becomes the cause of something else. This law suggests that the universe is always in motion and progressed from a chain of events.

WE ARE FREE TO MAKE DECISIONS, BUT WE ARE NOT FREE TO ALTER THE CONSEQUENCES OF THOSE DECISIONS. https://www.tfp.org/eternal-and-natural-law-the-foundation-of-morals-and-law/

Sin always has consequences. It may, at first, seem a small thing. It may even have a hint of conscience, until it becomes habitual and infectious to everyone around it. Love also begins small, becomes habitual, and infectious as well. Except love is honorable in the human person, while sin degrades his or her soul.

Of course, sin is all around us. It surely happens in politics since it is made up of many people with ambition, people who ignore goodness if it interferes with their political goals. A few examples of some politicians ignoring of goodness are these: the taking of a human life in the womb, the mistaken confusion that we can change our own gender, or the misrepresentation of what marriage truthfully is. These acts demean us as human beings created by God. And yet, each one of us can choose to agree, and even do, any of them. But there will be consequences.

Genuine love isn’t easy, has never been easy, and will never be easy. Obeying the rules, or even standing by our own beliefs, is a hard thing to do. Today, the rules are watery. Like children, we dilute them to suit ourselves. Our beliefs are spineless; we rarely consider their depth. And sometimes we call consequences of our own making, ‘unfair.’ We spout off platitudes, meant to show that we’re ‘okay’ people, but we don’t realize that we’re called to be much more than just ‘okay.’ No matter who we are, if we live on earth, we are being called to holiness, not immorality.

But, like a child ignoring a bell she doesn’t want to hear, what if we break the rules of God’s house? What if we kill a human person? What if we take what isn’t ours? What if we use others who are weaker than we are, and trample on their dignity as human beings just because we can? What if we lie to gain profit for ourselves? The consequence for un-repented acts such as these is the spiritual death of our soul. And if our unrepentant soul is dead . . . ?

The eternal nature of hell is stressed in the New Testament. For example, in Mark 9:47–48 Jesus warns us, “[I]t is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” And in Revelation 14:11, we read: “And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Hell is not just a theoretical possibility. Jesus warns us that real people go there. He says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13–14).

Freedom is a big word. A weighty word. A lengthy word. The locomotive of Freedom is championed by words, like Liberty and Independence. But the locomotive’s steam is often the lack of any restriction or inhibition. Personal freedom has lots of options, but we all know, it doesn’t mean doing anything we want, especially if other people are involved –spouses, children, parents, friends, and even unknown fellow citizens, other human beings we are meant to help, not hurt.

Dishonest political leaders regularly talk about freedom because it sounds good. But do they really mean true freedom? Are they thinking about the betterment of the people they’re supposed to be leading? Or are they thinking only about themselves? The train of Freedom runs two ways, and on conflicting tracks. One is a track of lies, the other a track of truth.

Before you buy a ticket on one train or the other, there are questions to ask: Where does that train come from? Where is it going? And most especially, who is its engineer?

The lying train of Freedom can be very long and black. It can come from jumbled and defective thinking. It can take us to foolishness and death. And its engineer can be a faulty entity of propaganda.

For example:

Do we really have the freedom to kill innocent babies in the womb, and even after birth? The engineers of society and our government say we do.

Do we honestly have the freedom to forget our marriage vow, or steal another person’s wife or husband, or to have sex with whomever we want? The engineers of Hollywood say we do.

Do we truthfully have the freedom to knock ourselves out with dope at the expense of the life of our family and our own life as well? The enormous drug trade says we do.

Do we have the freedom to burn cities, destroy businesses, and maim or kill anyone who stands in our way? Some political activist groups say we do.

Do we have the freedom to ruin our country? http://www.capecharlesmirror.com/news/how-to-destroy-a-country/

Who is your personal engineer? Who is driving your Freedom train? Is he or she a bearer of truth, or lies? We all have a God-given choice.

And at least for the present, our country of America has a choice, too.

On which train has America bought a ticket?

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.– Gal 5:1 13-18

“The world does not revolve around you.”

From my own experience, the above is a message that will often need repeating to a child. Why? Because children usually want what they want when they want it, with no regard for anyone else’s needs. The pictured boy appears to be having a temper tantrum, demanding his way. He is shown as being three to five years old, so being demanding is somewhat normal for a child his age. This is why the behavior is not often considered to be a problem in children because generally they grow out of them.

It is, however, a huge problem in adults when they want what they want when they want it without regard for anyone else’s needs. One name for that is narcissism.  Or elitism. Or people who idolize themselves.

We probably know adults like this, people concerned only for themselves. People with no empathy for another’s situation although they attempt to make you think they are. Literally hung up on ‘self,’ people like this always put themselves first. And unfortunately, many of them are called leaders and have high positions in politics, where they dress their behavior in false concern and fake empathy, insisting they work for the people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. Instead, they manufacture crises supported by lies to get what they want when they want it. Narcissistic? Yes. Elitist? Yes. Dangerous? Most certainly. Man’s narcissistic tendency to idolize himself rather than God is not only disastrous for him, no matter what position he holds, but also, can be deadly for those around him. And it can also destroy a country, even one like America.

I believe in the goodness of people, but I also realize how evil they can be. We only have to look throughout history to see the wickedness committed against populations who choose not to conform to the wishes of kings or presidents — populations who found their God-given rights taken away, populations who were made to feel inferior because of their convictions and beliefs, and then, punished or even killed, because of them. We see this happening today around the world.

Today, there are people and entire countries who do not want to be ruled by the narcissism of a leader who treats them as inferior, do not want to be part of a forced globalist whole, do not want to be part of a new world order, or great reset by the radical left. Yet, the narcissism, elitism, and carefully orchestrated lies of those leaders are forced upon them.

There are multitudes in our country today who cannot speak their minds without being censored or worse. There are multitudes who have been misled by the mainstream media, and yet there are others who do not seem to care if they are being lied to. But as human beings, we are made to question, and meant to seek the truth. It is inevitable that many will fight against the lies and misrepresentations. Why? Because God — yes, God — made us unique, with the free will to choose for ourselves. And our Constitutional right — in an honest election— is that “the people” choose what, and who, is best for ourselves and our country.

“Be proud of your identity as American patriots and of the Faith that must animate your life. Do not allow anyone to make you feel inferior just because you love your homeland, because you are honest at work, because you want to protect your family and raise your children with healthy values, because you respect the elderly, because you protect life from conception to its natural end. Do not be intimidated or seduced by those who propagate a dystopian world in which a faceless power imposes on you contempt for the Law of God, presents sin and vice as licit and desirable, despises righteousness and Morality, destroys the natural family and promotes the worst perversions, plans the death of defenseless and weak creatures, and exploits humanity for its own profit or to preserve power.” — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

I ask you to read the following article. There is much in it that surprised me, but its proven records shed light on the truth. Yes, the article will take time and thought, but I believe it is finally the truth set out for us, and we have the right to know it. https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/abp-vigano-globalists-have-fomented-war-in-ukraine-to-establish-the-tyranny-of-the-new-world-order/

Let’s not forget who we are and what America truly stands for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband and I once stopped at an overlook on The Blue Ridge Parkway. It was Fall, so the mountains beyond us were blazing with color; every shade of red, orange, and yellow. To the side of the overlook, we noticed a little-worn path that led into the woods below. We took it.

Step by step we went down into an odd, emerald-colored shade, almost as if we had descended into a different season. There, we found a stream running between fat tree trunks and meandering down and around small rises in the earth. For a time, we sat in silence on a large rock beside the stream, listening to the trickling sounds and the quiet rustle of a breeze.

At the time, one of my grandsons was a lover of rocks, the more unique, the better for him. So, I began to look for some.

All around were smaller rocks that had obviously come from a ragged indent in one side of the large rock on which we were sitting. Perhaps time had made the indentation, or maybe another boulder had fallen upon it. But one thing was certain, the smaller rocks surrounding it had the fiery color of the large rock’s interior, and if any one of them were tested, it would have the same interior composition of elements, too.

Individually though, the parts of the big rock were very different in appearance. Some had ended up in the stream and were round and smooth. Others were angular and roughly formed through weathering and erosion. Yet each was born from the same large rock.

I think our human lives are like those rocks. We all come from the same origin. Many of us may have personally broken away from that entity, or we may have been severed from it by happenstance. Nevertheless, despite our differing appearances through facial features, skin color, or personality traits, we possess the characteristics of our origin. We come from a ‘whole,’ and we all are related to it. This is the fact that makes us brothers and sisters.

Of course, the ‘whole’ I’m speaking of is God, our Creator. The amazing thing is that although we are no longer physically attached to God, as the smaller rocks are no longer physically attached to their origin, we still carry His likeness within us.

Many today, refuse to accept that we carry God within us, or that God exists at all. But if you’ve ever truly loved anyone, how do you come to that refusal? Love is not a physical attachment, not really. Love is something that can’t be touched or seen except through a person’s actions. Our love in action, the way we relate to our brothers and sisters, is the unifying characteristic that likens us to God, and it is the characteristic that distinguishes a human being from the rest of creation.

Reconsider the rocks; the whole and its parts. It is the law of physical nature that the broken pieces of rock will never again be ‘one’ with the boulder they came from. Their natural destiny is to remain divided from it. But human beings have a supernatural destiny. All religions believe that someday we will individually re-unite with God. We will return to the whole.

In the words of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?'”

In other words, God will ask: How much of Me did you show to the world?

New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade

It’s Tuesday, Mardi Gras day, and time to party!!!
But why do we party? What’s Mardi Gras all about?

Americancatholic.org says that Mardi Gras has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the “last hurrah” before the Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That’s why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of street sweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.

Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from “to shrive,” or hear confessions).

But do you know that Mardi Gras is related to the Christmas season, through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival? (Ordinary time, in the Christian calendar, refers to the normal “ordering” of time outside of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter seasons.)

Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.” Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it likely has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. Some believe the festival represented the few days added to the lunar calendar to make it coincide with the solar calendar; since these days were outside the calendar, rules and customs were not obeyed. Others see it as a late-winter celebration designed to welcome the coming spring. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking.

The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings’ Day and, in the Eastern churches, Theophany. Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 12 days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. In cultures that celebrate Carnival, Epiphany kicks off a series of parties leading up to Mardi Gras.

Epiphany is also the traditional time to serve King’s Cake, a custom that began in France in the 12th century. Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, in order to confuse King Herod and foil his plans of killing the Christ Child. In the early days, a coin or bean was hidden inside the cake, and whoever found the item was said to have good luck in the coming year. In New Orleans Louisiana, and in Mobile, Alabama, bakers now put a small baby, representing the Christ Child, in the cake; the recipient is then expected to host the next King Cake party.

The official colors of Mardi Gras, with their roots in Catholicism, are: purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power.

Tomorrow, it’s Time to Turn Down the Noise.

For Catholics, Ash Wednesday (the day after Mardi Gras) is the beginning of Lent, which lasts for forty days. For every Catholic, it is a day to confront the inevitability of his or her death, and for that day, we wear the sign of that inevitability on our foreheads in ashes.

The ashes we receive on our forehead in the shape of a cross serve as an outward sign of our sinfulness and need for penance. The ashes also symbolize our mortality, a reminder that one day we will die and our bodies will return to dust. Traditional words when we receive the ashes are: Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.

So, Ash Wednesday is a time of self-examination, and of our faith in the promise of eternal life. Can we turn down the noise in our lives for forty days and listen to what God wants to tell us? Because if we don’t listen, we won’t hear him call us by name–our name. We won’t hear that we should not be afraid. We won’t hear that God is madly in love with each one of us. We won’t hear what we can do to change ourselves.

Is there something in our lives that might prevent eternal life? If there is, we have an opportunity to change it. We know who we are. We know we’ve done. Shouldn’t we examine ourselves and work on the problems we may have?

Dear Lord, we are now in the holy season of Lent. We begin to realize anew that these are the days of salvation, these are the acceptable days. We know that we are all sinners. We know that in many things we have all offended Your infinite majesty. We know that sin destroys Your life in us as a drought withers the leaves and chokes the life from the land, leaving an arid, dusty desert.

Help us now, Lord, in our feeble attempts to make up for past sin. Bless our efforts with the rich blessing of Your grace. Make us realize ever more our need of penance and of mortification. Help us to see, in our ordinary difficulties and duties, in the trials and temptations of every day, the best opportunity of making up for past infidelities. Every day we are so often reminded in field and wood, in sky and stream, of Your own boundless generosity to us.

Help us to realize that You are never outdone in generosity, and that the least thing we do for You will be rewarded, full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and flowing over. Then we shall see, in our own souls, how the desert can blossom, and the dry and wasted land can bring forth the rich, useful fruit that was expected of it from the beginning. Amen.

–Catholic.org

The Tongue

Posted: February 23, 2022 in World On The Edge

The tongue is a small part of the human body, and yet, if not tamed, it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Photo by Karley Saagi

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,
for you realize that we will be judged more strictly,
for we all fall short in many respects.
If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man,
able to bridle the whole body also.
If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us,
we also guide their whole bodies.
It is the same with ships:
even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds,
they are steered by a very small rudder
wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes.
In the same way the tongue is a small member
and yet has great pretensions.

Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze.
The tongue is also a fire.
It exists among our members as a world of malice,
defiling the whole body
and setting the entire course of our lives on fire,
itself set on fire by Gehenna.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature,
can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,
but no man can tame the tongue.
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father,
and with it we curse men
who are made in the likeness of God.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
My brothers and sisters, this need not be so.

James 3:1 -10 

Are you certain what you say is the Truth? If you are not certain, then Do Not Speak. That’s more than just common sense, it’s a human being’s responsibility toward others.

A human characteristic is the ability to speak, to converse, to give instruction, to make our opinions known. We talk. We use our tongues–sometimes without thinking, and sometimes very intentionally.

Our speech is directed to another, a listener. The listener may be a child, a friend, a family member, or a stranger in the grocery store. Regardless of who or where, what we say to each other matters. Speech is a gift to be used with care. I would suggest loving care, though I’m often guilty of overlooking that.

 “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” — Matthew 12:36

Wow! That’s a lot of personal responsibility.

Words and actions by those in prominent places can make or break this country.

Will the words and actions they use as weapons against others be ignored, or inevitably condemned by those they are supposed to serve?

Beware. The devil is on the doorstep now. What are we going to do about it? Take control. Speak only the truth, and hold others, especially our leaders, accountable for the same.