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John Cassian: “the asking, the seeking, the knocking”

20 November 2018

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“When we say that human efforts cannot of themselves secure perfection without the aid of God, we thus insist that God’s mercy and grace are bestowed only upon those who labor and exert themselves, and are granted to them who will and run, according to that which is sung in the person of God in the eighty-ninth Psalm: ‘I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and have exalted one chosen out of My people’ (Ps. 89:20). For we say, in accordance with our Savior’s words, that it is given to them that ask, and opened to them that knock, and found by them that seek (cf. Mt. 7:7); but that the asking, the seeking, the knocking on our part are insufficient unless the mercy of God gives what we ask, and opens when we knock, and enables us to find when we seek. For He is at hand to bestow all these things, if only the opportunity is given to Him by our good will.”

Saint John Cassian

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Whittaker Chambers: “it is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization”

20 November 2018

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“I no longer believe that political solutions are possible for us. I am baffled by the way people still speak of the West as if it were at least a cultural unity against Communism though it is divided not only by a political, but by an invisible cleavage. On one side are the voiceless masses with their own subdivisions and fractures. On the other side is the enlightened, articulate elite which, to one degree or other, has rejected the religious roots of the civilization—the roots with-out which it is no longer Western civilization, but a new order of beliefs, attitudes and mandates. 

In short, this is the order of which Communism is one logical expression, originating not in Russia, but in the culture capitals of the West, reaching Russia by clandestine delivery via the old underground centers in Cracow, Vienna, Berne, Zurich, and Geneva. It is a Western body of belief that now threatens the West from Russia. As a body of Western beliefs, secular and rationalistic, the intelligentsia of the West share it, and are therefore always committed to a secret emotional complicity with Communism of which they dislike, not the Communism, but only what, by the chances of history, Russia has specifically added to it—slave-labor camps, purges, MVD et al. And that, not because the Western intellectuals find them unjustifiable, but because they are afraid of being caught in them. If they could have Communism without the brutalities of ruling that the Russian experience bred, they have only marginal objections. Why should they object? What else is socialism but Communism with the claws retracted? And there is positivism. ‘What is more, every garage mechanic in the West, insofar as he believes in nuts and bolts, but asks: “The Holy Ghost, what’s that?” shares the substance of those same beliefs. Of course, the mechanic does not know, when he asks: “The Holy Ghost, what’s that?” that he is simply echoing Stalin at Teheran: “The Pope—how many divisions has the Pope?” 

That is the real confrontation of forces. The enemy—he is ourselves. That is why it is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more now than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury them secretly in a flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men begin again to dare to believe that there was once something else, that some-thing else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth.”

Whittaker Chambers. August 5, 1954

Gregory the Great: “consumed by the fire of love”

19 November 2018

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“What, my friends, do we think love is if not fire? And what is sin if not rust? Hence it is said that ‘many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much’ (Lk. 7:47). This means she has completely burned away the rust of sin because she is mightily aflame with the fire of love. The more the heart of a sinner is consumed by the fire of love, the more fully is the rust of sin consumed.”

Saint Gregory the Great

Lorenzo Scupoli: “never cease to wonder at the miraculous mystery of it”

18 November 2018

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“Strive to increase from day to day your faith in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, and never cease to wonder at the miraculous mystery of it, reflecting on how God manifests Himself to you in the guise of bread and wine, and becomes essentially present in you, to make you more holy, righteous and blessed. For blessed are they who do not see, yet believe; according to the words of the Savior (cf. Jn. 20:29). Try to set alight in yourself a warm desire for this sacrament and to make progress every day both in your fervent readiness to do only God’s will, and in spiritual wisdom, making it the queen and ruler over all your actions of the spirit, the soul and the body. Every time you take communion, while partaking of this bloodless sacrifice, offer yourself as a sacrifice to God, that is, profess your complete readiness to endure every affliction, every sorrow and every wrong you may meet in the course of your life, for the sake of the love of God, Who sacrificed Himself for us.”

Lorenzo Scupoli

Symeon the New Theologian: “those who believe with difficulty”

17 November 2018

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“Unbelievers, those who believe with difficulty, or believe in part, are those who do not show their faith through works. Apart from works the demons also believe (cf. Jms. 2:19) and confess Christ to be God and Master. ‘We know Who You are’ (Mk. 1:24), they say, ‘You are the Son of God’ (Mt. 8:29), and elsewhere, ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God’ (Acts 16:17). Yet such faith will not benefit the demons, nor even humans. This faith is of no use, for it is dead.”

Saint Symeon the New Theologian

Camille Paglia: “Those who invest all of their spiritual energies in politics”

17 November 2018

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“As an atheist, I have argued that if religion is erased, something must be put in its place. Belief systems are intrinsic to human intelligence and survival. They “frame” the flux of primary experience, which would otherwise flood the mind.

But politics cannot fill the gap. Society, with which Marxism is obsessed, is only a fragment of the totality of life. As I have written, Marxism has no metaphysics: it cannot even detect, much less comprehend, the enormity of the universe and the operations of nature. Those who invest all of their spiritual energies in politics will reap the whirlwind. The evidence is all around us—the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil.”

Camille Paglia

 

 

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Ignatius of Antioch: “as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ”

16 November 2018

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“Being come together in the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than Whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore all should run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from the Father, and is with and has gone to one.”

Saint Ignatius of Antioch