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The virtue of prudence August 15, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, error, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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The great spiritual treatise, Divine Intimacy, but Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D, has some of the very best studies on the virtues that I have found anywhere.  The portion below, on prudence, is capable, I think, of being transformative of one’s life, if followed diligently.  Let me know what you think:

If we wish to attain union with God, our whole life should be directed toward Him; and as our life is amde up of many acts, we should see that 480834_563499540326895_219565994_neach one is a step forward on teh way that leads to Him. Supernatural prudence is that virtue which suggests to us what we should do and what we should avoid in order to reach the goal we have set for ourselves. If we wish to reach union with God, prudence tells us to conform ourself in everything to His Will, to detach ourslef from all things, even th elast, if it be contrary to HIs Divine Will. If we wish to become a saint, we must perform these acts of charity and generosity without recoiling from the sacrifice……..Thus prudence prescribes what we ought to do and what we ought to avoid, whether in view of our final end -union with God, sanctity – or in view of an immediate goal – such as the acquisition of particular virtues – which, however, always must be ordered to our final end.

The future is in the hands of God; all we have at our disposal is the present moment with its actual circumstances. Therefore, true supernatural prudence consists in setting the highest value on each fleeting moment in view of our eternal goal. Human prudence values time 150326_508469895829860_1680512177_nas a means to accumulate earthly goods. “Lay not up to yourself treasures on earth….but lay up to yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither the rust nor moth doth consume….Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His Justice, and al these things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:19, 20, 33). These are the chief rules of prudence, dictated by Jesus Himself.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus said to a religious who told her that she dislied a certain act of charity which required a great spirit of sacrifice, “I would have been glad to do it, wince we are on earth to suffer. The more we suffer, the happier we are. Oh! how little you know about regulating your affairs!” Supernatural prudence teaches us exactly how to regulate our affairs, not in view of earthly happiness, but of eternal beatitude; not in view of our own selfish interests, but in veiw of our progress in the way of perfection; and above all in view of the glory of God and the good of souls. 552468_508469082496608_930305339_n

Supernatural prudence does not judge things according to their human value, according to the pleasure or displeasure they give us; but it elevates them in the light of faith, in the light of eternity. “What is this worth in the light of eternity?” (St. Bernard). Whatsoever is not God, is nothing (The Imitation of Christ, Book III, 31:2)

Christian prudence is opposed to the prudence of the flesh, which resolves everything with an eye to earthly happiness, without any regard for the law of God. “The wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God; for it is not subject to the law of God, and neither can it be” (Rom 8:7). Supernatural prudence far surpasses natural prudence which is not bad, but which is incapable of directing our actions to their supreme end, since it looks only to earthly goals. [All of which stands in marked contrast to recent statements from the highest leadership in the Church to the effect that atheist good works are meritorious of salvation, or put on on a path thereto.  They are not, because those works are done, objectively speaking, outside of Grace, and are not meritorious of supernatural benefit!  Also, the above makes clear there is an enormous difference between what nature believes constitutes prudence, and what constitutes supernatural prudence.  They are as far from each other as the earth is from the sun.  Thus, an atheist acting according to natural prudence and virtue could be gravely offensive to God.  In fact, it is very difficult to see, short of a totally gratuitous act of Grace, how militant atheists who deliberately reject and attack the Faith revealed by Our Mother the Church, can be saved.  I think it very misleading, even bordering on dereliction, to claim otherwise.]


Awesome history on the history of Christendom – how Constantinople saved us August 15, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Glory, history, persecution, secularism, sickness, Society, Tradition, Victory.
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I’m sorry I am so short on time this week, but here are some excerpts from an excellent article by Raymond Ibrahim on the muslim wars of aggression, murder, rapine, and conquest directed against the Christian Eastern Roman Empire.  Some really good stuff here, including how islam has always viewed Christianity as its #1 enemy, how important a symbol the crushing of Constantinople was for them (this is roughly around the time the Saracens sacked Rome, and had only recently been turned back at Tours by Charles the Hammer), and how our corporate, cultural conception of faith has shrunk to a tiny, rather pathetic remnant.  Some quotes:

Today, August 15, [C’mon, Raymond, it’s the Feast of the Assumption!] marks the anniversary of Constantinople’s victory over Muslim invaders in what historians commonly call the “Second Siege of Byzantium,” 717–18. Prior to this massive onslaught, the Muslims had been hacking away at the domains of the Byzantine empire for nearly a century. The Muslims’ ultimate goal was the conquest of Constantinople — for both political and religious reasons.  [well, islam recognized then, as did the Christians, that you can’t separate religious and political systems. The two are intertwined closely – politics bears on religion, and religion certainly has much to say regarding politics.  Islam still operates as a politico-religious system. It is only in the failing West that we have forgotten that the only way to “separate” religion from politics is to drive the Church from the public sphere. That was the goal of men like Locke, Voltaire, Jefferson, and Adams – very explicitly. And so now we all tacitly accept that islam is bizaare because it forms one cohesive political-religious whole.  I know I found that strange and alien for a very long time.  That is why, after 9/11, we heard lamentations that islam had never gone through a “reformation,” because it was the protestant revolt that led to the enlightenment, which gave us the modern world we all live in]

Politically, Islam had no rival but the “hated Christians” of Byzantium, known by various appellations — including al-Rum (the Romans), al-Nassara (the Nazarenes), and, most notoriously, al-Kilab (the “dogs”). The eastern Sasanian Empire had already been vanquished, and Persia subsumed into the caliphate. Only the “worshippers of the cross” — as they were, and still are, disparagingly known — were left as contenders over the eastern Mediterranean basin.

More important, Constantinople — from a theological perspective — simply had to fall. From the start, Islam and jihad were inextricably linked. The jihad, or “holy war,” which took over Arabia and Persia, followed by Syria, Egypt, and all of North Africa — all formerly Byzantine territory — was considered a religious obligation, or, as later codified in sharia law, a fard kifaya: a communal obligation on the body of believers, to be adhered to and fulfilled no less than the Five Pillars of Islam. [Islam has always been spread by the sword, while Christianity almost never has been.  That is the prime difference, on a natural level, between the two religions]  As the famous 14th-century Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun put it: “In the Muslim community, the jihad is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. . . . Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

This concept of jihad as institutionalized holy war was first articulated and codified into Islam’s worldview by “warrior-theologians” (mujahidin-fuqaha) living and fighting along the Byzantine-Arab frontier (such as the mujahid Abdallah bin Mubarak, author of the seminal work Kitab al-Jihad or “Book of Jihad”).

The prevalent view was that, so long as Constantinople stood, the Cross would defy the Crescent. This is a literal point: Symbols played a great role in these wars. Less than a century earlier, at the pivotal battle of Yarmuk (636), where the Muslims crushed the Byzantines, leading to the conquest of Syria, one Muslim complained to the caliph, saying, “The dog of the Romans [Emperor Heraclius] has greatly frustrated us with the ubiquitous presence of the cross!”

Indeed, one cannot overemphasize the religious nature of these wars — which, if still codified in Islam’s sharia, has become all but alien to a Western epistemology that tends to cynically dismiss the role of faith. [Which was the specific intent of Locke, Hobbes, and Newton, the unholy trinity of endarkenment philosophy.  These very liberal protestants/deists had an enormous loathing for the Church and Christendom as it then existed, and set out to destroy it.  They succeeded, I would think, beyond their wildest imaginings, although Voltaire prophesied the French Revolution coming decades before it occurred] That the primary way of identifying oneself in the old world was based on religious affiliation — not race, ethnicity, or nationality, all modern concepts — is indicative of the central role of faith. Even useful terms such as “Byzantines” are ultimately anachronistic; “Byzantines” identified themselves first and foremost as “Christians.”

—————End Quote—————–

Go check out the rest, it’s really worth your time!

Putin is not our savior……. August 15, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, blogfoolery, Christendom, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, silliness, Tradition, Virtue.
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…….nor is he the devil, or anything approaching such.  I have found the various reactions to Vladimir Putin’s seeming embrace of Orthodox Christianity and defense of Christendom (at least rhetorically) rather edifying, even if I am dubious as to his motives.  For one…..can you name another world leader that speaks as openly of defending Christianity and traditional morality, as Putin does?  And while his domestic record may not be indicative of the kind of virtue we would like to see in a truly Christian ruler, compared with what came before – and with what is occurring in most of the rest of the world – his “atrocities” are distinctly mild.

In other words, a reasonable faithful soul should find elements to admire in Putin’s leadership, as well as reasons to be wary.  I guess some folks – primarily in comboxes, hardly a reliable indicator of either serious thought or emotional balance – have gone a bit over the top in their Putin praise.  But at the same time, I find Simcha Fisher’s recent diatribe against Putin to also be quite unreasonable, as well as being revealing. Herein I violate my rule to rarely engage in blogfoolery.  Mrs. Fisher (I add emphasis and comments):

Am I crazy, or are we seeing an awful lot of Putin worship lately?

I must be crazy.  It can’t possibly be that American Catholics are this confused.  They can’t possibly really think that Putin is a Christian guy who just wants to make the world a better place in which to live. [I haven’t seen any serious commentators make this claim.]

Well, Pat Buchanan seems to think so.  Hilary White seems to want us to think so[This is not even a remotely fair assessment of either piece. In fact, it’s a radical misrepresentation of Buchanan’s article.  I should add that Buchanan has strongly criticized Putin in the past, and certainly does not see him as any kind of savior.  If there are hysterics, they are coming from Mrs. Fisher]  One commenter responded, “I’m moving to Russia now :D” and this comment got 56 upvotes. [Well, that’s a reliable indicator. Some commenter on a blog said something goofy. Stop the world.] Some commenters are suggesting that Putin is doing the work of our Lady of Fatima, apparently forgetting that he called the collapse of the USSR “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. [Which doesn’t mean he desires the return of communism. From the standpoint of many Russians, given how their country has lost its dominance on the world stage, the end of the USSR was a catastrophe]

Really?  You really think the man actually cares about reestablishing Christian values in his country?  These battered, bloodied anti-Putin protestors might disagree . . . if they were allowed to speak.  Which they’re not.  Because it’s Putin’s Russia, and speaking gets your head bashed. [More on this later]

Can I read Putin’s soul?  Of course not.  All I can read is his biography.  He was a KGB agent from 1985-1990.  His opponents are jailed and his critics are murdered on his birthday. He is a thug.  He is corrupt, and a narcissist, and a kleptomaniac. [Again, if there be hysterics, I think they are on the side of the excited mommy blogger] He is a fascist. [Wrong.  I don’t think Fisher knows what fascism is.  Putin is something quite different. See below]  He is an enemy of free people and free speech.  He is not building a paradise that red-blooded conservatives would enjoy living in. [Your tipping your hand, Simcha……] He is simply an authoritarian who’s noticed that Muslims are having more babies than his own people.  Fascism is still bad, folks!  Worse than Obama!  Really! [Again, I don’t think she knows what fascism means, which is really a form of socialism oriented towards the radical re-making of the established social order.  Putin is defending and trying to rebuild a largely extinct social order. But note the reflexive assumption “free people” “free speech” = good. That is, the precepts of the virulently, purposefully anti-Catholic endarkenment. Enlightenment radicals from Locke to Franklin sold the union of monarchy and Church as the worst tyranny imaginable.  They sold a false notion of “liberty” which has been unquestioningly accepted by people in this country for 250 years, a notion which has taken on mythic proportions and is now automatically accepted by all who live in this nation. But those same authors of “liberty,” 300 years ago, were also arguing that abortion was perfectly fine, as a couple need not be burdened by the tyranny of a baby, if they did not want it.  The seeds for the present state of our culture were planted very long ago, folks.]

Oh, is he the defender of the family?  For crying out loud, Hitler was also vociferously anti-gay.  Yes, I said “Hitler” on the internet, boo hoo hoo. [Putin has taken a country that was totally lost and rapidly committing suicide after 75 years of communism, and has really turned it around.  Russia was a virtually totally atheist nation 25 years ago. The Church, to the extent it existed, consisted of MVD agents and small underground groups.  Drunkenness and abortion were rampant, the population was collapsing with a rapidly decreasing life expectancy, and the nation was on the verge of moral and demographic collapse. Now, Orthodoxy is in full bloom in Russia again, and Russian women have a higher birthrate than American women.  Looking across the world landscape at other developed nations, only in Russia and a few near her do we see ANY headway against the advancing collapse caused by sexular paganism.  Putin deserves a fair amount of credit for that.]

Think.  Think.  Just because someone says he hates the things that terrify you, that does not make him your friend.

Of course not.  But I can sympathize with those who look out at a world increasingly hostile towards the Faith they cherish, and find in Putin at least someone not as visibly, outwardly hostile to their interests as the Obamas, Camerons, and Hollandes of the world, all of which have taken direct action to persecute the Church .  People sensing the coming persecution are, quite rationally, imagining where some safe harbors might be.  If some get a bit carried away in their rhetoric, well, it’s the internet, Simcha.  You’re doing a good job of apoplexy yourself.

Russia has almost no history of democracy.  While the West was embracing the so-called enlightenment and pursuing ideas of radical revolution against the established order of Christendom, autocracy remained firmly entrenched in Russia.  Over the past 1000 years, Russia has known less than 30 years of “democracy.”  In the 1990s, when democracy and enlightenment “liberty” were embraced without reservation, Russa very nearly collapsed. In the wake of that, Russians deliberately turned to a strong leader.

I think Putin has in his mind that Russia needs a Tsar.  Tsardom was an autocracy to be sure, and regularly committed numerous dastardly deeds, but looking over the past 100 years of Russian history, it’s very possible to put together an argument that Russia is now enjoying the most virtuous, reasonable, and benign administration its seen since Alexander II.  “Enlightenment” ideals have not penetrated into the Russian conscience nearly so much as they have in the West – which penetration has been a tragedy of epic proportions.  I find it bizaare for Americans to chastise Russia, when our government is guitly of many if not ALL the same sins as their government is.  In many respects, one can look at Russia – which government is adopting policies to limit recourse to abortion, something the communists got almost the entire nation hooked on to an unprecedented degree – and find areas where it is behaving in a manner much more virtuous than our own.  That was Patrick Buchanan’s point, which Fisher totally, totally missed.  Buchanan was saying perhaps the West should remove the plank from its own eye, before it complains of the mote in Russia’s.  To believe the ardent Cold Warrior Buchanan now has some love affair with the former KGB agent Putin is simply to laugh.  As I said, hysteria.

In point of fact, Putin seems to be trying to reconstruct, at least in a nascent sense (and, it could be all political theater, but, it exists at least on a surface level) the classic model of Christendom, which involved a close union between the “supreme authority,” be that king, prince, or tsar, and the Church, in this case, Orthodox.  It might be all for show, but if it is, Putin is going to very substantial lengths to put on that show.  None of which is to say that Putin is not doing evil, un-Christian things.  Very few leaders in the history of the world have ruled in a truly virtuous manner, and it is, tragically, the nature of power to corrupt.

What really suffuses Fisher’s piece is an unquestioning acceptance that the current predominant Western form of government – liberal, tending rapidly towards fully socialist, “democracy” – is not only the best form of government, but just about the ONLY acceptable form of government even from the standpoint of the Catholic Faith.  This ignores the history of post-enlightenment democratic liberty, which has its own massive problems, was founded with the direct intention of damaging the Church as much as possible, and was, from the very beginning, constructed on assumptions which made today’s cultural collapse inevitable.  For centuries, the Church strongly condemned those endarkenment beliefs that have led to today’s “democratic” sexular pagan culture (and how democratic is it, when 50.1% of the 20% who vote (ie, 10% of the population) get to elect rulers whose power is essentially totally unlimited, because they have the approval of the “will of the people?”)  More blood has been shed in the name of “liberty” and democracy than all other ideologies, possibly even all other ideologies combined, when one realizes that communism is simply the logic if liberty taken to its extreme end.

I’ve spent a lot of time on this, because it touches on a critical, but almost completely ignored, issue: the very form of government predominant in the world today, which all of us have been very carefully educated, even propagandized, to accept without question as simply “the best,” has huge problems from the standpoint of the history of the Catholic Faith and the social construct of Christendom, and contained all the ingredients that have led us to our present state.  This is a subject that really needs to be discussed, broadly within the Church and culture.