Know Thyself


“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn’t change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.

Socrates taught us: ‘Know thyself!”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

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Not for Naught


“Lord, You have created me to do You some definite service; You have committed some work to me which You have not committed to another. I have my mission — I may never know it in this life, buy I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for Your purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his. If, indeed, I fail, You can raise another, as You could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have my part in this great work. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. You have not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do Your work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I but do Your commandments and serve You in my calling. Therefore, I will trust You. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve You; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve You; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve You. My sickness, my perplexity, my sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond me. You do nothing in vain; You may prolong my life, You may shorten it; You know what You are about. You may take away my friends, You may throw me among strangers, You may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink; hide the future from me — still, You know what You are about.”

Cardinal John Henry Newman

God’s Grandchildren


An Advent Meditation – Psalm 78:1-7

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!  I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,  things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.  He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,  that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,  so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;

Augustine: “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.” Having left the first parents to the freedom of their own will, they chose to rebel against God and lost the very freedom endowed and became slaves to sin.  But God has a plan and that plan could not be thwarted for God the Son was born to die– to heal the the wound of separation caused by Adam and bring the lost sheep of Adam’s race back to the fold; we the adopted sons and daughters of God will sing the praises of the slain and risen lamb of God for all eternity.

And in this great family, God has grandchildren and great grands. When you and I experience baptism, we are born into a family: a family of people. As the Hymn The Church’s One Foundation says,

The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord, She is His new creation By water and the Word. From heaven He came and sought her To be His holy bride; With His own blood He bought her And for her life He died. Elect from every nation, Yet one o’er all the earth; Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth; One holy Name she blesses, Partakes one holy food, And to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.

The Heart of the Church: The Family

     Luke writes in Acts 17 that God governs the times and season in which we were born; he knew our parents and their parents; he had a plan that involved their personalities, their genetics, their dna, their likes and dislikes that would strongly affect us in many ways to make us what we are today.  None of us are cosmic accidents and are designed by God to do and be what he has called us to do and be. This is our vocation from the Latin voco “I call.”  Our task planned for us is a calling from God and designed by Him for his own glory in us and through us.  Adam and Eve were given the Great Commission in Genesis 1:26‑28:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [28] And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God told Adam and Eve that they were to have dominion over all things. Their marriage was to be the means by which God would build culture and hence subdue the creation.  Marriage is a federal “Federal” is a word from the Latin foedus, meaning “covenant.”  A covenant “is a solemn bond between two parties on agreed terms and conditions.”

The use of the term “federal,” like much of our classical vocabulary has lost its meaning. Because of the prevalent understanding of federal associated with the “federal government”, we often think that anything federal is large and intrusive.  By describing marriage as federal, we simply mean that marriage is ordered with obligations by both man and woman to God and each other, with stipulations for blessing and curse; for obedience and disobedience by breaking the terms of the covenant.

The goal therefore in our marriage covenant with God is to bring prosperity to our culture through raising covenant-faithful children to be faithful to God, as the Psalmist observed: “that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”

Every marriage is a pattern of the first marriage. Every marriage therefore is a glimpse of the glory of God; as God is Trinity in covenant love, marriages therefore reflect that social image in the earth.  The main purpose for marriage is raising “Godly seed” (Malachi 2.13ff). This Godly seed are the children that further bring the kingdom of God to fullness as the church expands in the world.  Christian children are therefore their inheritance in the earth and the promise of the expansion of righteousness in the earth.  Thus, the faithful procreation of Christian children is the normal means for the progress of the Gospel, as Peter said in Acts 2.39, “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

The Vocation of the Family

This also necessitates the parental obligation of traditioning — the mandate for parents to pass onto their children their faith and a self-understanding of what God expects of them. This is exemplified in Deuteronomy 6.4-9,

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This is the basis of the longstanding Christian practice of catechizing or training our children what they are to believe; if we don’t indoctrinate them as to the content of their belief, someone else will.  The Psalmist warns us and exhorts us today:

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,  things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 

  • The primary form of evangelism in Scripture is the family. This is our greatest sphere of influence.  God desires to have dominion over the culture through the propagation of covenant families who know their God and who desire to obey God in all areas of life.  Catechizing or teaching our children the faith is not the job of a youth minister, Sunday school teacher, but the job of the parents, particularly the father.
  • The secondary form of evangelism is bringing in outsiders to the community of faith; people who have no prior connection to Jesus or the Church. Jesus told us to go and get them as well, but not at the expense of the “little ones” among us.

To belabor a point: we are all born again into what the Bible and Tradition call the “Body of Christ” that is, into the Church. It is not just about “Jesus and Me.”  The primary emphasis in Scripture is corporate, not individual.  Your gifts and talents that God has given you are not for yourself, but for others who need you in the Body of Christ, the Church.  We are all baptized into one Body and are members of one Church.

The Psalmist calls us, “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,  so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;

It is our duty to give our faith to our little ones; Pope John Paul II referred to the family as the “Domestic Church,” and every father its pastor.  But it is not simply the family’s obligation, it is the church’s obligation to help spiritually raise these little ones into strong believers, secure in their Christian identity and their Christian heritage.  Why? that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;

Joshua after leading the people of Israel to the promised Land of Canaan, warns them:

“Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD; for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” The people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and him we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.

So That They Will Not Forget

In such times of economic uncertainty and such insecurity of the future in this nation that we will look to God for our strength and for the strength of our families. We cannot trust the devices and schemes of evil men whether on the street, county council, the state house or the white house.  We can however trust the God that has seen fit that in the land of plenty, we should have access freely to the Gospel that we celebrate at Advent.

Let us not grow weary in the task he has set for us as the people of God; Let us not forget our God to serve and bow down to the idols of the culture and the spirit of the age. God promises blessing for our obedience and promises discipline for our disobedience.  Let us heed the words of Joshua: “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served or the gods in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  May we respond as they did:

Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

While God did not take our ancestors from Egypt, he did bring the Gospel to the Saxons, the Celts, the Scots, the Britans and the Danes; the Romans and the Spanish and others who settled the new world.  He did see to it that our forefathers were converted and they sought to abandon the futile idols they once worshiped. Many of us grew up in Christian homes and some of us had godly examples to follow– may their faith and labor not be in vain.  May it be so even in our time and may not forget the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done and teach them to our children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;

ALMIGHTY GOD, FATHER SON AND HOLY SPIRIT: You have commanded and blessed faithful succession to generations of faithful families, as you said in your word—to the 1000th generation.  May we heed the call, and responsibility to guide our little ones and those in the family of God to further and faithful obedience to the Word of God.  Forgive us where we have failed and enable us by grace and faith that the world will see Jesus before they hear about him from us—through Christ our Lord, Amen.

As Jefferson Feared


Ours is a 241 + year history of an attempted “e pluribus unum.” Since it’s inception, this has been an experiment in Protestant political theory. Hence, like Protestantism itself, there never had been uniformity among the denominations that settled the colonies, nor between metaphysical realists (“conservatives”) and Enlightenment skeptics (“progressives”), nor between industrialists and agrarians, pro-slavery, anti-slavery, ethnic Europeans and non-Europeans, women’s suffragens and anti-suffragens, humanists and anti-humanists, temperance and anti-temperance, capitalist and socialist, and north, south, mid-west, West, northwest, New England, Whig, Republican, Democrat, nativist and diversified, Confederate and Union, federalist and anti-federalist.

In Hegelian philosophy, one would hope a synthesis to emerge from such dialectics… but it never will, for there is no principle of unity, which even Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Hamilton, Jay, Henry, Mason nor Madison could agree on, but Democracy won. The Constitution was ratified and has always depended upon the fallible interpretations of the 9, the Supreme Court and they remain divided between dynamic and static views of authorial intent of the Framers with some question of the validity of its usage in a post-modern and post-Christian and post-Structuralist society.

However, Democracy will triumph as in Athens and Rome, but we have a problem the Framers did not have: while Democracy will determine the laws of the land, there is no more an overarching meta-narrative; no unified moral vision to established if the laws be JUST or RIGHT, for the humanists won 100 years ago in the public education of children with the disestablishment of Christianity particularly and religion in general (in the political jurisprudence of the Framers, pure religion = Christianity).

So, without the ability to determine the true, good and beautiful, it will be as Jefferson feared: mob-rule or “oligarchy” and the warning from the Book of Judges (honored by Jews, Christians and Muslims), is as true as Luther fighting Zwingli or Knox fighting Queen Mary, or Puritans fighting Anglicans fighting Baptists, “everyone does what is right in their own eyes” as the body of the concubine was dismembered and sent to the twelve tribes in Judges 19.

The Myth of Hope


Eyes pry open from a hazy, distracted lull;

drenched in dreams, phantasms and blurred sense, cooing for comfort in a crib of space and null.

Focusing on the present gaze inoculated to the past;

it’s memory, locus and finely polished lenses offering piercing wonder, but sadness looms fast.

A nightmarish fantasy with boundaries, crisp and clear;

a butterfly’s grasp on the dark, tearing fabric of a shade appears.

It soars with freedom to hope, dream, and believe in the dense air of certainty with every flap, whisk and spin it will not fail;

Because the tomb of fortitude, assertive and raw manipulation the cold predictable and silky entrapment has been assailed.

That fragile edifice hanging on threads of its own making, is being undone by the winds, the flight of clear and perfect waking…

To the bright future of unhindered song and beauty and design, orchestrated in ancient melodies alight on the wings of will and the freedom of lightness on the structures of strength afforded by experience of time.

It is living mythos with every stroke of wing slicing the air so dense; beyond the hopes of the chrysalis bound to its dark, hard and malicious sense.

It dies in hope not cold calculation but believing in knowing in Being the unhindered will of life, death, dying and rising and subjugation.

It soars in infinite possible space; where the horizon binds sight, flight in the certainty of the life being lived in a story, a dream a romance, a chase.

Where the end is in sight from the mythology of hope; providing purpose, a meaning whose breadth and scope …

Form the song, the chant of life and light, far above the decay of the silky, Chrystaline chamber of sense and sight;

so with wings so great and beauty so rare the butterfly lives to sing with freedom and a new soul to bear.

. . . Of Parents


Sirach 3:1 “Children, listen to me, your father; act accordingly, that you may be safe.

2 For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children and confirms a mother’s authority over her sons.
3 Those who honor their father atone for sins;

4 they store up riches who respect their mother.

5 Those who honor their father will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they are heard.

6 Those who respect their father will live a long life; those who obey the Lord honor their mother.

7 Those who fear the Lord honor their father, and serve their parents as masters.

8 In word and deed honor your father, that all blessings may come to you.a

9 A father’s blessing gives a person firm roots, but a mother’s curse uproots the growing plant.b

10 Do not glory in your father’s disgrace, for that is no glory to you!

11 A father’s glory is glory also for oneself; they multiply sin who demean their mother.

12 My son, be steadfast in honoring your father; do not grieve him as long as he lives.

13 Even if his mind fails, be considerate of him; do not revile him because you are in your prime.

14 Kindness to a father will not be forgotten; it will serve as a sin offering—it will take lasting root.

15 In time of trouble it will be recalled to your advantage, like warmth upon frost it will melt away your sins.

16 Those who neglect their father are like blasphemers; those who provoke their mother are accursed by their Creator.

Embrace Pre-Modernity


So the way out of the Marxist language invasion of victim/ oppressor and class warfare is to delegitimize it and refuse to use it; don’t acknowledge so-called research and statistics of 50+ years that passes off as peer-reviewed only among fellow marxists. 

Marxism filled the vacuum in academia afforded by postmodernity’s denial of the transcendent and reducing everything to Nietzschean – group power struggles. So refuse it and use the logos-centric language and philosophy of western civilization of over 2000+ years, which flourished and developed because of the spread of Christianity that suppressed infantile paganism.

Laying Hold to the Past to Save the Future

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