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Civilizations wax and wane; ours is unlikely to be the exception.

1 October 2014

Muggeridge

“In one lifetime I have seen my fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that “God who’s made the mighty would make them mightier yet.” I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian proclaim to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last for a thousand years; an Italian clown announce that he would restart the calendar to begin with his own assumption of power; a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the Western world as wiser than Solomon, more enlightened than Asoka, more humane than Marcus Aurelius. I’ve seen America wealthier and in terms of weaponry more powerful than all the rest of the world put together, so that Americans, had they so wished, could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests. All in one little lifetime. All gone with the wind.”
– Malcolm Muggeridge

Comprehending Evil

30 September 2014

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Camille Paglia has some interesting, and I think correct, observations to make about why “Young women today do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.”

Here is part of her article in Time.

“Current educational codes, tracking liberal-Left, are perpetuating illusions about sex and gender. The basic Leftist premise, descending from Marxism, is that all problems in human life stem from an unjust society and that corrections and fine-tunings of that social mechanism will eventually bring utopia. Progressives have unquestioned faith in the perfectibility of mankind.

The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.”

and this.

“Misled by the naive optimism and “You go, girl!” boosterism of their upbringing, young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark. They assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic. They do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.”

- Camille Paglia, from this article.

Nectarios of Aegina: “we must align our will with the will of God”

29 September 2014

Nectarios of Aegina

“Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all our hearts and always patiently await union with Him? Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbor? Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected. Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a helper, who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue.”

- Saint Nectarios of Aegina, in The Path to Happiness

G.K. Chesterton: “The way to love anything”

28 September 2014

G.K. Chesterton

“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”

- G.K. Chesterton

Seraphim of Sarov: “the devil, strives to lead a man into despair”

27 September 2014

Seraphim of Sarov

“Just as the Lord is solicitous about our salvation, so too the murder of men, the devil, strives to lead a man into despair.

A lofty and sound soul does not despair over misfortunes, of whatever sort they may be. Our life is as it were a house of temptations and trials; but we will not renounce the Lord for as long as He allows the tempter to remain with us and for as long as we must wait to be revived through patience and secure passionless!

Judas the betrayer was fainthearted and unskilled in battle, and so the enemy, seeing his despair, attacked him and forced him to hang himself, but Peter, a firm rock, when he fell into great sin, like one skilled in battle did not despair nor lose heart, but shed bitter tears from a burning heart, and the enemy, seeing these tears, his eyes scorched as by fire, fled far form him wailing in pain.

And so brothers, St. Antioch teaches, when despair attacks us let us not yield to it, but being strengthened and protected by the light of faith, with great courage let us say to the evil spirit: “What are you to us, estranged from God, a fugitive from heaven and evil servant? You dare do nothing to us. Christ, the Son of God, has authority both over us and over everything. It is against Him that we have sinned, and before Him that we will be justified. And you, destroyer, leave us. Strengthen by His venerable Cross, we trample under foot your serpent’s head” (St. Antioch, Discourse 27).”

- Saint Seraphim of Sarov, in The Spiritual Instructions to Laymen and Monks

Seraphim of Sarov: “One should not think about the doings of God when one’s stomach is full”

26 September 2014

Seraphim of Sarov

“One should not think about the doings of God when one’s stomach is full; on a full stomach there can be no vision of the Divine mysteries.”

- Saint Seraphim of Sarov, in The Spiritual Instructions to Laymen and Monks

T.S. Eliot: “returning to the eternal source of truth”

25 September 2014

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“As political philosophy derives its sanction from ethics, and ethics from the truth of religion, it is only by returning to the eternal source of truth that we can hope for any social organization which will not, to its ultimate destruction, ignore some essential aspect of reality. The term “democracy,” as I have said again and again, does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces that you dislike––it can easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God) you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.”

– T.S. Eliot

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