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Christ is Risen!

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

The Easter sermon of John Chrysostom (circa 400 AD)

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Saturday Saints- #123

Today we feature the letter “P.” So our saint for the day is Padre Pio:

Padre Pio, also known as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Italian: Pio da Pietrelcina), O.F.M. Cap. (May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968), was a friar, priest, stigmatist, and mystic,now venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church. Born Francesco Forgione, he was given the name of Pius (Italian: Pio) when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Padre Pio became famous for exhibiting stigmata for most of his life, thereby generating much interest and controversy. He was both beatified (1999) and canonized (2002) by Pope John Paul II.

There is a great deal more to his life, no surprise given he was a figure of much controversy. More can be learned about him at his wiki, located here.

padre_pio_during_mass

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #124

Two passages for today’s post. The first is a section of St. Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians, which I propose to contain many valuable lessons:

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. 13 Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.

14 If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

(2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)

Here is a quick list I have made of the important lessons which St. Paul teaches here:

  • Avoid those “Christians” who are idle, that is, given over to sloth.
  • Avoid those professed Christians who are living in a way which goes against Apostolic tradition.
  • St. Paul and his companions may have worked for their upkeep, but they had the right to expect their fellow brethren in Christ to support them.
  • Those who refuse to work should not eat- that is, be given food by the community.
  • Christians should not grow weary, presumably in the soul, of hard work.
  • Have nothing to do with fellow Christians who disobey the teaching of the Apostles. This will shame them and hopefully convince them to turn aside from their sin.
  • Those who have fallen away are not our enemies, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Instead they are wayward brothers who should be warned about the perils of sin out of love.

As for this next passage, it was motivated by Dalrock’s long running series of weak men- many of whom seem to be screwing feminism up. This passage indeed features a weak man- Herod:

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some[c] said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli′jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

(Mark 6:14-29)

Is it just me, or does this passage make Herod seem, well, kinda pathetic? He fears John, and yet it is only when a woman effectively blackmails him that he finally puts the prophet to death. Not to mention the fact that a pretty girl dancing (plus presumably a fair amount of drink) would compel the man to make that rash of a vow. And to make it even worse, Herod knew John was righteous and still was so full of pride as to keep on with his (initially) half a—d measures.

 

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New Year, Same Rules

Since it has been some time since I’ve covered comment rules, I will take this opportunity to go over them again. As a general matter I tend to be fairly liberal in what I allow said, and by whom. However, certain things are prohibited, and will get you banned (or dumped in the spam filter without ever having a chance to get your comment visible). They are, in no uncertain order:

  1. Obscenity or excess profanity. The latter is sometimes appropriate, but most of the time is unnecessary. Keep it clean, or keep it elsewhere.
  2. Link dumping to your own blog. If you have your own blog, that is great. Feel free to link it on occasion,  or when you have a post worth reading. But linking to your homepage every comment is irksome and will get you banned.
  3. A lack of civility. One can challenge the ideas of another while still keeping it civil. If anything, this is easier with the internet, because you don’t have the other person right in front of you getting in your face. Take the time to be respectful, even if you think the other person doesn’t deserve it.
  4. Sock Puppets. Just don’t do it. Use one ID, and keep at it. If you need to switch, e-mail me to let me know. You can find my e-mail in the About page.
  5. Linking to harmful or obscene websites. Nothing more need be said.
  6. Lying about what I or other commenters have said. Feel free to critique myself or the other readers all you want. Just don’t misrepresent what folks are actually saying. This is a pet peeve of mine, and will get you banned.
  7. Extreme or excessive off-topic comments. Posts are meant to discuss specific topics, and just those topics. If you want to talk about something else, use another blog (such as your own), or petition for a post on that/those subject(s).

Those are just a few of the rules. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have any questions about them feel free to ask in this post, or reach me via -email.

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The Necessity Of Suffering

I have been meaning to write a follow-up to Ace’s post “To feel the pain that spurs you on” “To feel the pain that spurs you on” for over a week now, but various matters intruded and kept me from it. It intrigued me for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it explores critical difference in how men and women think- a pet issue of mine.

His post is in many respects a follow up to one he wrote almost a year ago- “That’s why I cut you just to heal you.” That post is one I also responded to, with The Misery Of Too Much Comfort. So in a way, this post is a double follow-up, in that it addresses posts both old and new.

In my old post I offered a theory as to why women these days are so quick to go out and do things that will make them suffer:

Women expect suffering in their life- it is the natural thing. [Think about the vast majority of human history- filled with suffering for pretty much everyone.] When women are too comfortable, when suffering is absent from their life, then it sends a message to their unconscious mind that something is wrong, that what they are living is an unnatural life. That message of unnaturalness will only be repeated over the years as they grow up. They will know, somewhere deep down inside, that something is wrong. Unfortunately, because this is unconscious, they won’t know what it is, exactly, that is wrong.

This will, naturally enough, lead them to feel miserable. The misery is only made worse because they won’t understand it. It will gnaw on their mind incessantly, like an itch you can’t quite reach.

I suspect that part of the reason that women act so crazy in the west today is because of this. Using that itch analogy I just mentioned- women act crazy because they are trying to scratch that itch. Only they don’t quite know how- so they do so in extreme ways. Again, deep down inside they know they should be suffering, so they go out and make themselves suffer (without every truly understanding that is what they are doing).

Ace, in his own far more concise way, offers an alternate explanation:

[W]omen use suffering (subconsciously, at least) to demonstrate resilience.

In fact, more often than not, women’s complaints are (at heart) actually backhanded boasts of how much suffering they can take.

Now, as interesting as these theories are, they aren’t the key matter I want to examine in this post. Instead, I was fascinated by this (in hindsight obvious) point Ace made:

In fairy tales, the most desirable/marriageable women

had terrible & harsh lives [“childhoods”].

This is not a coincidence but a lesson.

This got me thinking about the role that suffering plays in the rearing/raising of children. More specifically, the different roles that it plays for men and women.

You see, I think that enduring a certain amount of suffering is necessary for the healthy growth and maturity of both men and women. However, the way that the suffering should be experienced/handled is different between them.

For men, suffering should be a tool that is used to strengthen them. They should be exposed to trials and challenges and then forced to overcome those challenges. In that overcoming of obstacles they will be forced to break down the old self, the boy, and build up a new self- the man. This process is repeated over and over as a boy grows up into a man. If successful, he comes out as a strong, tested and confident man who can tackles whatever life throws his way.

For women, on the other hand, suffering is a tool that is used to remove weaknesses and flaws. While that might seem similar to what men undergo, it isn’t. They aren’t put through trials and challenges in the same way. The reason why is simple- the goal isn’t to break the girl down and then build her up as a woman. Instead, the goal is to raise her right from the beginning, and over time to wear down any and all negative traits.

Let me try to explain this further with an agricultural analogy-

For both men and women you have a field that represents them and their character. In the beginning it is sown with wheat. As they get older, however, weeds creep up throughout the field. The wheat represents ideal traits, the weeds negative traits.

For women, the way to deal with this problem is to get on your hands and knees and pull up those weeds. Start in one corner and work your way throughout the field. It will likely be necessary to double-back at some point to deal with any new weeds that sprouted in already cleared parts of the field. As a result, this is a long, continuous process that won’t end for a long, long time (until the woman is that wizened grandmother).

For men, the way to deal with this problem is to cordon off parts of the field. Then, once it is in sections, turn to the first one. Tear everything up. Leave that section as a bare field. Then plant and sow new seed. Water it. Let it grow. Remove any weeds that start to sprout. Then move to the next section, and repeat the process. Do this section by section until the whole field has been attended to.

Tying all of this back to the title of the post, I am arguing here (as I have in the past) that suffering is necessary for healthy character development of both men and women. However, the way that suffering should play out is very between between the two sexes. One of the many problems with our present age is that we have forgotten this, and all too often children are raised alike, irrespective of whether they are boys and girls. And of course, all too often their lives contain far too much comfort, and far too little suffering.

This theory has been bouncing around in my head for almost two weeks now, and I am curious what my readers think about it. Please leave your own thoughts in the comments below. Tell me where I am right, where I am wrong, and where else you think all of this can go.

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas!

Christ is Born!

Glorify him!

I shall be sparse around these parts until the New Year, so I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. May you find joy however you can.

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #122

The Nativity is nearly upon us. There are two passages in particular I want to cover with this post. The first is the genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

(Matthew 1:2-16)

What we can see from this list is there was a mix of really good, righteous people  (flawed as they were), and some truly wicked people here. Some were great, and others not so much. All of which is meant to show that God can accomplish His will despite any seeming human obstacles. He can work greatness out of nothing, and can find a way to turn something evil towards the service of good. No human evil can overcome the Will of God, or interfere with His plans. That is one lesson, among many, to draw from the genealogy of Jesus.

Then we have the beginning of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:1-15)

There is a strong message of hope here- the darkness cannot overcome the Light. That should be of great comfort to us in the days ahead. I imagine that much darkness lies yet before us in the times to come. Whatever happens, the darkness cannot truly win.

At the same time there is a sadness. For it was through Jesus, the Word, that all things came to be. And yet that same creation did not know him. We human beings had become  (and still are) so estranged from our Creator that we no longer recognize Him. Much of our work as Christians is to change this- to no longer be estranged from God but establish a lasting relationship with Him. The Nativity of our Lord was a chance for us to really do that- an opportunity to overcome the consequences of the Fall. Let us not waste the precious gift that was offered to us,  and to instead accept Him full into our lives. For if we do so, then we shall become children of God.

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