Monday, September 28, 2009

When They Said 'Repent'

I wonder what they meant.
One of the Mass'keteers' favorite Jewish prophets, Leonard Cohen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crises - Knox

An atmosphere of crisis takes people different ways. Some get so wrapped up in their work that they never look beyond the edge of their own cabbage-patch. Others think in continents, and are depressed, nowadays, by the exercise; what is the use of doing anything, when everything is going from bad to worse? The Christian ought to rise above both those temptations. His daily work, his common human duties, are a charge entrusted to him. He believes in the sacrament of the present moment; what might happen, what is likely to happen, he leaves in the hands of God.

- Monsignor Ronald Knox

Mere Letterman

This is a clip of Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer) explaining the band's C.S. Lewis inspired moniker on The Late Show. Once Dave settles down, he actually says something rather nice.

Fraser - C. S. Lewis Song

Brother D'Artagnan, being a musician, probably is well-acquainted with Hillsong and singer Brooke Fraser. I admire any Christian musician who helps denizens of pop culture breaking into awareness of C. S. Lewis:

"C.S. Lewis Song"

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me

Am I lost or just found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?
is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
'Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
An avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become


For we, we are not long here
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
And I, I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you
Hope is coming for me
Hope, He's coming

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Life - a drama of the visible and the invisible - the art of amazement

The "invisibility of man" has been incisively described by Maurice Nicoll:

We can all see another person's body directly. We see the lips moving, the eyes opening and shutting, the lines of the mouth and face changing, and the body expressing itself as a whole in action. The person himself is invisible...If the invisible side of people were discerned as easily as the visible side, we would live in a new humanity. As we are we live in visible humanity, a humanity of appearances...All our thoughts, emotions, feelings, imagination, reveries, dreams, fantasies are invisible. All that belongs to our scheming, planning, secrets, ambitions, all our hopes, fears, doubts, perplexities, all our affections, speculations, ponderings, vacuities, uncertainties, all our desires, longings, appetites, sensations, our likes, dislikes, aversions, attractions, loves and hates - all are themselves invisible. They constitute "one's self."
Nicoll insists that while all this may appear obvious, it is not at all overt:

It is an extremely difficult thing to grasp...We do not grasp that we are invisible. We do not realize that we are in a world of invisible people. We do not understand that life before all other definitions of it, is a drama of the visible and the invisible. -- Living Time (London, 1952), ch. 1, quoted in Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed, p. 33

What smites us with total amazement is not what we grasp and are able to convey, but that what lies within our reach is beyond our grasp - not the quantitative aspect of nature, but something qualitative. Everything is more than the sum total of its parts. Man is aware of it, but it is beyond description or comprehension.

This is the beginning of all genuine religion. Because of man's astonishment with the world and himself, he recognizes the masterly hand of God. He ponders over the grandeur and sublimity of God. When seeing God as the foundation of all mystery, he starts to feel Him in his bones, in all that he does, feels, thinks and says!

As has been said, the tendency to take everything for granted and the indifference to the sublime is the root of all irreligiosity. It is a way toward the secularization of the world. Religion is a protest against taking things for granted. It is the art of living in amazement. -- Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Leighton, Bell, and Debussy

The Maid with the Golden Hair (1895) - Edward Lord Leighton

All Sound, No Music

Anthony Esolen writes on some important cultural realities. Pay close attention to what he sees as indicatives and imperatives.

Recently my family and I watched The Sound of Music for perhaps the twelfth time - probably the last great musical that Hollywood ever produced. It made me wonder if I could list the reasons why such a movie could not now be made.

These reasons I offer below; but it seems to me that they can all be united under the single assertion that the intellectual, imaginative, and emotional palette of the American people has suffered a terrible constriction, a reduction to the tedium of lust and greed and the thirst for power. It is not so much that Hollywood would not make a movie like The Sound of Music as it is that the people themselves would be hard pressed to understand it...MORE>>

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bacon Your Pardon

You know, I've had rare experiences that Lewis described as Joy in my life, usually unbid, unlooked for, unrepeatable. Now, finally, someone has done the unthinkable, unimaginable. It seems that Joy - or something near to it - can indeed be purchased (be still my foolish heart). You may find the path to it for yourself here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just One Judge

Good news. Good thinking. Hopeful, redemptive, penitent. [ht: CMR]

Find more videos like this on Catholic Mountain

Mining for real words

Till We Have Faces
“The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered. Lightly men talk of saying what they mean… ‘to say the very thing you really mean…that’s the whole art and joy of words.’ A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years…you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” - Queen Orual from Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

Orual realizes that before the face of God all questions die away and even all words die away. THEN "when Christ is revealed - and He is your life - you, too, will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:4

Uniting Both Lungs?

ZENIT's Robert Moynihan reports on that a Recent Meeting Could Mark Turning Point.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Thing Leads to Another

Jill Fallon over at Business of Life uncovers the shocking news. It was all about Hot food not sex.

I could have told them that. I find a woman stirring apple butter over a fire vvvery attractive.

Grace is Sufficient

The greatest temptations I face are self-pity, despair, the panic that robs the good of intellect. Your grace saves me from them, O Lord. It is sufficient.

Today grace taught me right before my chemotherapy treatment that I loathe it because I, too, was raised in a culture that disdains the body in a kind of Gnostic angelism. Walker Percy astutely observed that those caught in this plight make occasional attempts at re-entry by means of bestialism. I thank you, Lord, that you excised that temptation at my Confirmation.

Chemotherapy is a blessed reminder that the body
is, is good - imago dei, and that I am no gnostic. Let the chemo always remind me, O Lord.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knox - In Men's Hearts

CHRISTENDOM HAS BEFORE now taken up arms in its own defence; or even in a pathetic attempt to recover the Holy Places. Christian princes, before now have tried to spread the faith at the point of the sword, always, or nearly always, with disastrous results for religion. But the substantial victories of the Church have lain, always, in the sphere of the human conscience. Christ has reigned, not in the councils of nations, but in men's hearts.

- Monsignor Ronald Knox

Bicycle Artist

Via the Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys - Ryan Leech

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Screens Dripping with Blood

David P. Goldman - remembered fondly by many readers as 'Spengler' in his cloaked identity - notes a six-fold increase in horror/gore/slasher movies since 1999 in Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid.

As occasional Girardians, the 4 Mass'keteers might discuss this trend, and, of course, we invite others to do so as well.

Brown's Banal Blather

I'm with her about Dan Brown

From one who has been known to write staggeringly bad prose (and howlingly inconsequential poetry), I choose to throw a stone of disdain in the direction of an author destined to make millions more from his bad writing. I present to you, Dan Brown’s worst sentences.

I prefer Providence to destiny, you see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Puer, Puer, Pitiful Me

A question: Do you happen to think this is entirely appropriate psychological discernment (the fellow is a practicing psychotherapist) or scapegoating? Or, would you put your money on something in between? Why? Explain.

Not to put a kink in your ruminations, but here's why an increasing number of Americans do not believe that he believes what he says.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The Exaltation of the Cross
Adam Elsheimer c. 1600
I'm a day late...the Exaltation of the Cross...think about it...really think about it...
. . .Both Jews and Gentiles rejected Jesus that day. Both Jews and Gentiles believed in Jesus that day. The cross has thus blurred the distinction between Jew and Gentile, but has starkly delineated the distinction between believer and no-believer.
May the thoughts of our hearts be disposed to become ever more profoundly faithful before the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before the eyes of an aggressively disbelieving world may it become ever more clear that we are believers who long for the eternal life offered to us through the cross of our Lord and the sorrows of our Lady. – Fr. Richard Veras “What is Crucial About the Cross” Magnificat

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

from C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength
Mark's encounter with Dimble:
"One thought prompted him to cling to Dimble as a lost child clings to a grown-up. Another whispered to him, 'Madness. Don't BREAK with the N.I.C.E. They'll be after you. How can Dimble save you! You'll be killed.' A third implored him not, even now, to write off as a total loss his hard won position in the Inner Ring at Belbury: there must, must be some middle course. A fourth recoiled from the idea of ever seeing Dimble again: the memory of every tone Dimble had used caused horrible discomfort. And he wanted Jane, and he wanted to punish Jane for being a friend of Dimble's, and he wanted never to see Wither again, and he wanted to creep back and patch things up with Wither somehow. He wanted to be perfectly safe and yet also very nonchalant and daring--to be admired for manly honesty among the Dimbles and yet also for realism and knowingness at Belbury--to have two more large whiskeys and also to think everything out very clearly and collectedly. And it was beginning to rain and his head had begun to ache again. Damn the whole thing. Damn, damn! Why had he such a rotten heredity? Why had his education been so ineffective? Why was the system of society so irrational? Why was his luck so bad?"

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The Exaltation of the Cross...think about it...really think about it...

Better to be Normal than Boring

I guess it is safe to say we are proud of our Normal status.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hear Us Now, or in 2010 - You Choose

From Reason.TV (sorry about the overlap, guys)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hut! Hut! HUT!

To commemorate the first Sunday of NFL coverage, two items for fans. First, the story of a super young man, Michael Oher (pronounced 'Orr'), rookie Left Tackle of the Baltimore Ravens (74). Watch for the upcoming movie version of The Blind Side (2009) of Michael's life story.

He hasn't lived long enough for a "life story?" Just wait, wait. I've read the true story. This will be the better than fiction; better than
The Natural, better than Field of Dreams. His foster mama is played by Sandra Bullock, and she nails the spirit of Michael's real foster mother.

Next, a re-post of the scary accurate passing arm of New Orleans' Drew Brees. He is a god. Watch Bree throw for the record of passing yards this year.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Truth Shall Set You Free

A most important matter to consider on this of all days is motivation. WHY? is the haunting question lurking in the most hardened hearts of New Yorkers. For the truly concerned as well as curious, Bill Siegel at Family Security Matters unveils vital information for all non-Scimitar folk who do not want merely to avenge or retaliate or fall into doubling rivalry with the Scimitar:
In Judaism and Christianity, the other Abrahamic religions to which Islam is rooted and tethered, there are mechanisms for the adherent to reach some degree of internal stability and mental comfort. For Christians, even if one commits the worst of sins, there is still a path through acceptance of Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, to find one’s way to eternity in Heaven. For Jews, there are mechanisms, in part centered around the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur, coupled with specific required actions depending upon the sin, to earn back the Almighty’s graces. And even in the grand non-Abrahamic faiths, including Hinduism and Buddhism, the architectures of the belief systems provide roads to reach internal peace.

Such is not the case with Islam. Islam, essentially, has paradoxical provisions. On the one hand, a Muslim’s fate is sealed before birth and not revealed to him. On the other hand, there are acts which are believed to induce or reduce favor with Allah and can count as evidence on Judgment Day. Consequently, a genuinely engaged Muslim can never be sure where he stands in eternity and is given both the duty to try to influence the outcome while being told (as his destiny is already written) he is impotent to change it. “Change the unchangeable” is a double-bind command that is extremely difficult to mentally navigate.

Islam, however, does afford a solution. There is one (and only one) guaranteed way to ensure a road to Paradise: to die in Jihad as a martyr. (Oops! Did that just say “Jihad?” How does one die in the peaceful internal struggle against one’s own lusts and appetites?)

The Koran and Islamic literature are clear that Jihad entails a contract with Allah whereby, if the Muslim fights for Allah’s cause and dies, Allah will reward him. While most of the Koranic references to Jihad” are military in nature, Allah’s cause can be fought in other, non-violent ways as well, including Jihad by converting others, or “Civilizational Jihad” or, as Robert Spencer has coined, “Stealth Jihad,” the seemingly innocuous infiltration into Western civilization to destroy it from the inside.

Violent Jihad, however, offers a more direct path to death. While suicide is generally considered forbidden in Islam, dying in Jihad is exalted. He who dies while carrying out Jihad automatically bypasses the grave and Judgment Day and earns an immediate pass to the eternal pleasures of Paradise, all the while avoiding the eternally unbearable torment of Hell.

If you want to hear more about the fascinating understanding of soteriology from the Scimitar viewpoint, Erwun Caner shares it in his testimonial as convert from the Scimitar to Christianity.

Religionists in the Scimitar fear hell. They see precious few ways out. Martyrdom bypasses judgment. It isn't the virgins, it is, as Siegel says, the hell. Talk about a no-brainer.

Blessedly, there is an alternative. I write about it in A Little Guide for Your Last Days. We have a Savior who is One-with God who loves us more than we possibly imagine or conceive. There is no need to be a martyr to an unworthy image of the Almighty who sees us as mere pawns and slaves. Come to the true God who wants all to be free, joyful, loving, and At-home for all eternity.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Frightful Pleasure

Daniel Mitsui tells us, according to G. K. Chesterton, why gargoyles grin.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Madonna of Victory (1496) - Andrea Mantegna

Monday, September 07, 2009

For Those With Ears to Hear

The wisdom of G. K. Chesterton distilled through a discerningly faithful mind of Dale Ahlquist:
...the evil of big business has an evil twin sister: big government. When government tries to right the wrongs created by capitalism, it creates an even worse mess. The idea of socialism may sound good: to provide houses and food for everyone. However, in order to carry this out, State officials would have to inspect houses and regulate meals. The State has found it easier, Chesterton points out, to provide the building inspectors without providing the builders, and easier to restrict the diet without providing the dinner. We have simply "added all the bureaucratic tyrannies of a Socialist State to the old plutocratic tyrannies of a Capitalist State." The result is a loss of liberty and an assault on the common man.
G. K. Chesterton - Apostle of Common Sense, p. 159

Labor Day

St. Joseph the Carpenter (1642) - Georges de La Tour

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Make It Easier, Jesus

You'll get more followers. You know, Salvation by Consumer Lite. Get a focus group, conduct marketing strategy, refine, streamline, repackage your message. Get it now?

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Voiceless Victim

At The Catholic Thing, Austin Ruse, President of the New York and Washington, DC-based Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) sums it up: We Americans have many generous impulses, but we have become blinded and hardhearted by failure to protect the poorest and most defenseless among us – by abortion.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

YooHooooo...what about me?

There is a lot that this political cartoon by Lisa Benson tells and much more just below the surface. As a "dealer" - a store owner I see our "lot" being plowed under by a mighty tide - an ideology based in socialism and the inevitable worship to the many past pagan gods.

If we think these gov't programs are just suffering a few quirks, but the sentiment behind them will show us the way back toward progress wait till we blanket ourselves in the big 'O's national health care program. Suddenly the caption in the cartoon above is not spoken by 'dealers' but individuals who will be lost in a system much more drenched in darkness and murky waters than what we have now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

With a Better Tailor

George "I stole the debate book" Will opines - he is an An Ivy League Huey Long.