Pondering That Which Lies Beyond My Human Reasoning

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Scoop caught in the act of trying to think a profound thought.

Time and movement is life, thought, sight, sound, suffering, joy and all other realities that we experience in the human condition. It even seems to be both the essence of life and being, space and existence itself. 

Take music, for instance. If one were focused on a beautiful piece of music with no other thought in our mind we are carried along, almost as life itself is carried along by movement that exists in time. If time and movement freeze then the string being plucked or the horn being played would not vibrate and therefore it would not be like a still shot of a particular group of pitches, it would cease and lose its being. In other words it would ‘wink out’ into absolute silence or nothingness.

The same concept can also be applied to both sight, thinking, emotions and everything else that we call life itself. For without vibrational waves, in time, we have no neurons firing, we have no vibrating electrons to produce light and no thoughts whatsoever or a means to experience anything; no suffering, no joy, no love, no nothing. All are dependent on that life by which we were given through time and movement and seems utterly mysterious; at least to me it does. So without time and movement it might be conceived in a manner of how some view death of the living when the heart stops, the brain quits thinking, and the nerves quit firing. But it is even more than that; It becomes the void where all light, sound, thought, feelings and existence itself ‘wink out’; and all measures of life simply cease and being itself falls into a void of nothingness. Everything ceases.

So it seems to me that religiously if we are to accept that God created the entire cosmos out of nothing, that this seems rather apt. And when John says that ‘In the beginning was the Word . . .’ it seems not only apt but a great mysterious event which seems to have no other better argument for why there is existence itself. And to boot, how do we imagine space if not with time, movement and speed? And can any meaningful understanding of size and space exist without the others? Thereby the cosmos itself becomes utterly non-sensical in such a thought experiment as this.

The Word it seems to me is the first act of creation; for a word spoken is dependent upon a thought, a vibrating voice, a meaning and thus an intelligence, that creates both time and movement and sets into motion a creation of that which is ineffable to our understanding. Where did the thought originate and how is a Word proclaimed that in and of itself lies outside of time, space and movement? Being itself, which God expressed as His Name, ‘I AM Who AM’,  but can our created human minds truly understand or grasp the concept of a pre-existent Being as we are contingent beings.  For we do not exist outside of time and we are made void if time and movement were to end. And the space we occupy is dependent upon the same.

So we are left with the mystery of whether we are part of that vibrating voice in time, space and movement that He uttered and that it will not return to God void. So we are left in almost a nihilist understanding unless we somehow posit that the Word spoke by God is Life itself and that He desired that His Life, which somehow does not require time and movement, was an act of Love so that other beings, made in His image, might be spawned as children created and birthed in a womb of earthly realities; that is to say of space, time and movement etc. 

Heaven then seems to me to be a new birth from this life into a New Life which is far beyond anyone’s capability of understanding. For it is a share in the very Being of God Himself, Who needs neither time, movement nor space to exist. He simply IS. This eternal moment doesn’t even scratch the surface of what such a state of being might be like. We have no examples to compare it with.

Just sharing some thoughts which are far above my pay grade; which at my age is non-existent. I guess for this retiree all time and movement has stopped economically since it has simply slipped into the void and ‘winked out’ of existence. See? I think I’m onto something here.

-isms

The Mises Institute ran an interesting article this week (which is rather long) on different theories about why intellectuals support and campaign for socialism, Marxism, and related concepts and policies. It prompted me to think about the ideological aspect of spiritual warfare, which came to my attention a few years back when I read Michael Green’s I believe in Satan’s Downfall.  In one of the chapters, the author discusses all the -isms that place themselves between God and man, acting as gods and distorters of truth. Christians may argue over which -isms should be included in the list. However, it seems reasonable to accept the basic premise that a number of ideologies are the means by which the god of this age blinds people to the truth of the Gospel.

In reflecting on this matter, I have been struck by a few points. Firstly, our arguments, in and of themselves, while useful, are not sufficient to remove the scales from people’s eyes. Repentance and revelation involve the grace and power of God. Each person’s Damascus Road moment may not be as spectacular as St Paul’s; nevertheless, the work of God is in each.

Secondly, where collective prayer is involved, we must have unity. If we pray from different directions, our prayers will not be optimal. To change the metaphor, it would be good if we all sang from the same hymn sheet. Herein lies a real, but not insurmountable problem: genuine Christians are on both sides of political and other spectrums. It can be difficult to broach certain matters because of the fervency with which private beliefs are held. However, if we are to pray in unity and in truth, then we must seek answers from God as to the root power behind these “doctrines of demons” and, knowing the truth, must confess it to each other in honesty and frankness.

I have a few thoughts on the means by which the principalities and powers use ideology against the Gospel in the West. If the reader will indulge me, I should like to preface my exploration of the topic with a slight tangent that may prove helpful. Some years back, at university (where I attended a charismatic, evangelical Anglican church), I heard a sermon in which the author said, “Money is not neutral.”

This striking aphorism has stayed with me ever since. In reflecting on it, I came to the realisation that there are things in life that, though of themselves inanimate, behave in such a way as to have the semblance of a life of their own. This may be because they are so expertly used by the powers of darkness, and because they occupy crucial places in human life and society. Perhaps this explains why ancient pagans devoted particular gods to these “domains” or believed that those gods were present in items and activities carried on in those domains.

Three things that seem to me to have particular “pagan attributes” of this kind in the West today are: money, alcohol, and sex. Each of these things has such a place in our culture as to cause noticeable problems when one tries to act as if these things should serve the purposes of God and not have us as their slaves.

To take but one example, it is surprisingly difficult to steer a line of moderation in social contexts regarding alcohol, avoiding both serious drunkenness on the one hand, and total abstention on the other. In social contexts such as “a night out”, the nature of peer pressure (or whatever other force is at work) means that one must be quite deliberate and careful in maintaining a sensible limit on one’s drinking. Harder still is to suggest to someone else that he or she has had enough (not that I recommend being a busybody).

To return to the issue of -isms that prompted this post, I believe that ideologies function in a similar way to the operation of the “not neutral” inanimate things. Although concepts, they seem to have a life of their own in the way that money, sex, and alcohol call to people as if they were sentient. These ideologies seem to be targeted at the link between God and humanity. Stat-ism puts our governments in the place of God. The pro-choice movement attacks God’s decree that all human beings are made in His image. Religious plurality and multiculturalism and anti-Semitism attack the claim that the God of Israel is the one, true God, who has appeared in history as Jesus Christ. Hyper-empiricism attacks the link between heaven and earth, gnawing at the meaning God attaches to our existence. Nihilism, existentialism, and relativism make each man his own god, decreeing what is and what is not. The culmination of this evil is the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition sitting in God’s Temple, holding himself out as if he were God. As Derek Prince pointed out long ago, the root evil of the end times deception is the ancient Greek claim, “Man is the measure of all things” (Rules of Engagement, Chapter 21, “Humanism: Forerunner for Antichrist”) – at least as far as the West goes. (Incidentally, that book has a chapter, “Preparing to Reign with Christ”, that may be of interest to readers who are engaging with the Millennial question.)

So, in drawing this lengthy post to a close, and seeking to make some practical recommendation in the face of the ideological war that is plaguing the West, I return to the conclusions drawn earlier. We must pray for truth regarding the root of these supernatural strategies; we must pray against those strategies; and we must pray that the Church will be of one mind so that we may pray in unity and have freedom of speech to discuss these things amongst ourselves.

Looking Forward

It seems appropriate to review the purposes of this blog as a community, including both contributors and readers. This is still the beginning of what will prove to be an important year, and it is my personal desire that this place will continue to grow and see a renewed fire in the hearts of those touched by it, a fire that will give them the energy to interact with the Kingdom in the spirit of children of God.

This blog was begun by Jess, who retired from running and contributing to it. I am sure all of us who had any contact with her are grateful to her for founding this place and consistently exercising a spirit of charity and truthfulness. Her departure was a sad moment – but we all wished her well in her new focus and endeavours.

Chalcedon took over management of the blog from Jess, and he still maintains control. Owing to the busy nature of his work, he is unable to write here as frequently as in times past. Consequently, the day-to-day job of providing posts has been spread among other contributors. While we are not always able to have a daily post, owing to our own personal duties and commitments, we have tried to post frequently here. I give thanks to Scoop and NEO for the parts they have played in supplying this blog with posts and interesting discussion.

It seems to me, however, that we are due for a reassessment of the purpose(s) of this blog: what it is for and how we can better serve the Kingdom in this virtual place. Much of the material on this blog has been concerned with secular politics, politics within the Church, and the interaction between the Church and the world. We have looked at Church history, and at important contributors to Church theology. We have also been quite personal at times, growing as a community and occasionally discussing our personal devotional lives and moral struggles. The love and companionship of this place is found not only in our discussions, but also in our private prayer lives, and I am personally thankful to all of you who have prayed for me, whether about career changes, identity issues, or my broader walk with the Lord. These things are all good, and should not cease – but perhaps we need to seek some clarity of purpose.

This blog has a varied audience, which is why, as a Christian blog, it ought to serve a range of purposes. For non-Christians, it ought to present the Good News about Jesus Christ in a simple, clear format and, if possible, recommend next steps and resources for people who want to find out more or who decide to follow Jesus. Without the permissions to edit the layout of the blog, my way forward on this point is limited for the time being. Ideally, I would like to place some appropriate tabs in the top banner and side bars to meet the needs of this audience.

As for those who are Christians, the pressing needs of these end times require us to focus on certain matters in our efforts to prepare for the return of our Lord. There will necessarily be an overlap between the needs of this audience and those of the former, because the return of Christ is part of the Good News. In particular, the following matters weigh on my heart, and I hope that some of the contributors and readers feel the same way.

  • It would by good to explain why this world must end and the reign of Christ begin.
  • We need to get more specific about how a righteous government under Christ would look in comparison with how the world is governed today (economics, etc put in the context of morality).
  • We need to go deeper in unity, looking more and more at why and how Christians from different denominations can love each other and rally around Christ as our focal point.
  • The question of whether all believers will get to participate in the millennial reign of Christ ought to be discussed: if it is contingent upon our maturity, then the discussion of our growth and sanctification becomes pressing.
  • The return of Christ is closer than many – perhaps most – in the Church realise. In order to prepare for this in faith, we must first wholeheartedly accept this proposition, on the basis of Scripture, observation, and revelation.

Lastly, it is my desire that this place would become a fellowship where our individual gifts and talents can be put to greater use. As a non-physical gathering, it will not be a forum for some kinds of activity, but I believe we can seek the Lord in prayer for how this principle from 1 Corinthians can be implemented here, and we can pray for each other and email each other regarding the use of our abilities out there in the “real world”. I do believe the kind of supplementary fellowship we have here can strengthen our contributions to our local church communities.

God bless and look up – for your redemption draws near.

Via Media

Today, as in ages past, we find ourselves attempting to steer a middle course between Scylla and Charybdis. This is true in various parts of life (indeed this basic principle is foundational to Aristotelian virtue theory), but in this post, my emphasis is on government and politics. On the one hand, lies the danger of viewing the state as the source of our rights; on the other lies, hyper-democracy. Neither ideology is compatible with a Christian worldview.

The state is not the source of our rights, of our role as image of God on this earth. God created us as His image, meant to subdue and govern the earth according to the principles of His Kingdom. He sent His Son, Jesus the Messiah, to teach us what those Kingdom principles are.

He created the state in order to exercise some kind of justice in this fallen world, as a bulwark against the kind of chaos that characterised the earth in Noah’s day (Genesis 6). Administering justice does not entail that the state is the source of our rights – only that it has been ordained to protect and enforce them. Acting on God’s behalf does not entail that one is God. Were I to enter the throne room of  a medieval monarch, I would show respect to the Lord Chancellor, but I would pay homage to the King. So in this world, placing the state on too high a pedestal is equivalent to mistaking the Chancellor for the King.

The state’s authority, given it by God, is not intended for the purpose of interfering in every aspect of human life.  It holds its authority on trust for the beneficial interest of the people it governs. When it ceases to obey the principles of trust by which it was validly constituted, it loses its authority and is in need of replacement. This was the conclusion drawn by the authors of the American Revolution, relying on ideas elaborated by Thomas Aquinas and Enlightenment thinkers. They held that the state, as embodied by His Majesty George III and his ministers and Parliament, no longer exercised its power for the true weal of the people.

These revolutionaries, spurning the Scylla of tyranny that glowered above them, were also careful to steer away from the Charybdis of hyper-democracy. The good of the people, their welfare and prosperity, is independent of the people’s wishes. Right and wrong, albeit perceived and heeded contextually, are independent of our wishes and emotions. We presuppose such objective morality when we appeal to a common standard by which to persuade an interlocutor to adopt or refrain from an attitude or course of action.

While the wishes of the majority should be obeyed in certain matters, owing to the respect we ought to show the gift of free will, the wishes of the majority cannot make what is wrong right or vice versa. For this reason, though the majority of a nation should consider abortion to be acceptable, the answer as to whether it is or not must be derived from reason and not from a poll. In so far as abortion is a species of murder, and the state owes a duty to prevent murder, the Christian worldview must reject democracy to the extent that it promotes a crime against which God ordained the state as a protection.

These two dangers lie at the centre of the corruption that is killing the nations today: people on the one hand, who think that the state is our highest authority; and people on the other, who think that the people can make whatever laws they choose. Neither extreme is acceptable, because both reject the kingship of God. As Christians we must resist attempts to bring the power and influence of the state into areas over which it has no lawful authority, and we must likewise speak truth to the people when they would themselves become tyrants over the laws of God.

Speaking of the Kingdom and of Christ the King| Remnant Newspaper

I found this presentation by Roberto de Mattei which appears at the Remnant a very important analysis of our situation in this world which has thrown off the shackles of Christianity and has overshadowed the light of the Good with its absence of light; the darkness of evil. __ Scoop

A Shadow Moves About the Ruins by Roberto de Mattei

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THE PANORAMA WE have before us is one of ruins: moral ruins, political ruins, economic ruins; the Church’s ruins, the ruins of the whole of society.

In this scene, a silent shadow moves about the ruins like a ghost: Josef Ratzinger, who after his resignation from the papacy, wished to keep the title of Pope (Emeritus) and the name of Benedict XVI.

I believe that the abdication of Benedict XVI, on February 28, 2013, will go down in history as an even more disastrous event than the pontificate of Pope Francis, to which it opened the doors.

The pontificate of Pope Francis certainly represents a leap forward in the process of the Church’s auto-demolition, following the Second Vatican Council. However, this is only a stage, the last one of this process: we could say that it represents its ripe fruit.

The essence of the Second Vatican Council was the triumph of pastoral theology over doctrine, the transformation of pastoral theology into a theology of praxis, the application of the philosophy of Marxist practice to the life of the Church. For the Communists, the true philosopher is not Karl Marx, the Revolution’s theorist, but Lenin who carried out the Revolution, proving Marx’s thought. For Neo-Modernists, the true theologian is not Karl Rahner, the principal ideologue of the revolution in the Church, but Pope Francis, who is fulfilling this revolution, putting Rahner’s thought into pastoral practice. There is no rupture, therefore, between the Second Vatican Council and Pope Francis, but historical continuity. Pope Francis represents Vatican II in action.

Benedict XVI’s renunciation of the papacy represents a historic rupture, but in another sense. For starters, it is the first papal resignation in history which has taken place without clear reasons, without valid motives. It is a gratuitous, arbitrary act, rendered contradictory by the way in which it took place. Today in the Church, there is a situation of apparent diarchy and of real confusion, in which many doubt that he who is the pope – Francis – is truly pope, and he who is not the pope – Benedict – is a non-pope. This is a historic novelty without precedent. Benedict XVI is the one responsible for it.

But the gesture of Benedict XVI also has a symbolic reach, which must be understood in its deepest sense.

There are symbolic gestures that express the metaphysical significance of a historic occurrence. Such is the example of the humiliation of Canossa, in January, 1077. Pope Saint Gregory VII refusing to receive Henry IV and leaving him for three days in the cold outside of the Canossa castle, affirmed the primacy of the Papacy over political power with this gesture, proclaiming the freedom of the Church before the world, and forcing the world to bow before the Church. It was an act of courage that gave glory to God, and honored the Church.

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Benedict XVI’s act of papal resignation was not only an admission of impotence, but a gesture of surrender. It was an act that expressed the defeatist spirit of the churchmen of our time, whose main sin isn’t moral corruption but cowardice. I say this with all the respect due to the figure of Benedict XVI, and with a certain compassion for this elder, made to watch the historical consequences of his decision by Providence. But we must have the courage to say it, if we do not want to be accomplices to this spirit of resignation and lack of confidence in the supernatural aid of Grace, which sadly today has spread among many Catholics, faced with an advancing revolutionary course.

Every soul has a vocation, every man has a mission to carry out. Renouncing the carrying out of one’s mission carries a grave responsibility. Resignation as the Vicar of Christ entails an immense responsibility: it is forsaking the highest mission which a man can have on this earth: governing the Church of Christ. It is an escape from the wolves, on the part of he who in his homily on April 24, 2005, said: “Pray for me, that I will not flee for fear of the wolves.”

And yet, Benedict XVI during his pontificate, carried out a courageous gesture: the concession of the motu proprioSummorum Pontificum, on July 7, 2007. Thanks to this action, the number of priests who offer the old Mass multiplied throughout the world, and for this, we must be grateful to him. But what was important in that motu proprio was not so much the de factoaspect, or rather, the permission to celebrate Mass according to the ancient Roman rite for every priest, but the de jure recognition that that Rite had not been abrogated, and could never be abrogated.

With that act, Benedict XVI bowed to the Tradition of the Church, he admitted that no one – not even the Pope – could undermine it; that everyone – including the Pope – had to submit themselves to it.

Today, there is an open fight between two camps and two standards, that of Tradition and that of Revolution. The first, as Saint Ignatius recalled in his meditation on the two standards, is held by Christ, “our High Captain and Lord,” the second by “Lucifer, the mortal enemy of our human nature.” The standard of those who love the Truth of the Gospel, recognizing Jesus Christ as King of Heaven and earth, and the standard of he who claims to transform the Church and construct a new religion based on his own opinion.

“But,” affirms Pope Saint Pius X in the encyclical E supremi apostolato, “no one of sound mind can doubt the issue of this contest between man and the Most High. Man, abusing his liberty, can violate the right and the majesty of the Creator of the Universe; but the victory will ever be with God – nay, defeat is at hand at the moment when man, under the delusion of his triumph, rises up with most audacity.”[1]

We must have confidence in victory, but we need to be convinced that we cannot win without fighting. And today the battle is, first of all, that of words which break silence, defeat falsehood, and destroy hypocrisy, as Archbishop Carlo Mara Viganò did with his courageous testimony.

The Benedict Option

On September 11, 2018 in Rome, a presentation of Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option[2], was held at the Chamber of Deputies. Among the presenters was Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household.

Dreher is an ambiguous character, he presents himself as Catholic, but he left the Church to join the Orthodox religion. The title of his book is also ambiguous because the “Benedict option” of which he speaks is not that of Saint Benedict, but that of Benedict XVI. In a recent interview with the daily newspaper “Il Giornale,” a journalist asked him: “There are some who think that the ‘Benedict option,’ means ‘Ratzinger option.’” Dreher responded: “Well, I mean Saint Benedict but it is true that Benedict XVI is the second Benedict of the Benedict option”[3]

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, for his part praised the “marvelous inspiration of the book,” which would represent a confirmation of the prophethood of Benedict XVI. I hold that between the “seeds of renewal” and the post-modern world, a peaceful coexistence cannot exist, but only war, and I have defined Dreher’s exit strategy as ‘catacombist’: the illusion of saving one’s self, forming “arks of salvation,” of privileged islands, where one can live the Faith, renouncing to fight the modern world.

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The Benedict option appears as a fruit of the refusal of the militant conception of Christianity, which spread after the Second Vatican Council. Walls must be substituted by bridges, so that opposed world visions will not exist, and the different religious confessions can unite based on a generic sentiment of transcendence. This exist strategy from the modern world is very different than that of the true Saint Benedict.

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The Benedictine monks were conquerors. They left the world to conquer it. This is why Pius XII defined Saint Benedict as “the father of Europe,” affirming that “while the barbarian hordes flooded the provinces, he who was called the last of the Romans, reconciling Romanity and the Gospel, brought true aid to unite the peoples of Europe under the banner of the auspice of Christ and to give a happy structure to Christian society. In fact, from the North Sea to the Mediterranean, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Baltic, legions of Benedictines were dispersed, who with the Cross, books, and plow tamed those rough and uncivilized peoples.”[4].

The vocation of the monks was complimentary to that of the knights. Monks and knights constituted the Christian society of the medieval age. The highest expression of the medieval age was the monk-knights, like the Templars, whose rule was written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. We need these men, but above all this spirit, today. The prospective of Rod Dreher and Archbishop Gänswein seems to be to the contrary: that of preparing Catholics to patiently put up with persecution, awaiting better times, to return in spirit to the era of the catacombs, because the possibility of an imminent triumph of the Church over the modern world cannot be seen. But is this truly so?

The Constantinian Shift and the Social Reign of Christ

Throughout the history of the Church, there has perhaps never been a more tragic moment than the dawn of the fourth century. A dawn red with blood when the age of the persecutions reached its culmination under the Emperor Diocletian.

From one end of the Roman Empire to the other, with the exception of Constantius Chlorus’ Britany, Christians were torn apart, crucified, decapitated. Christianity had to be extirpated from the face of the earth. Christians were defenseless, they had only the strength of their Faith and the help of the Holy Ghost, which fortified them. Who would have ever said that the hour of resurrection, known only to God, was so close? Who would have imagined that the blood of the martyrs would be transformed into the purple of the Christian empire of Constantine? And yet, that’s what happened.

On October 28, 312, the history of the Roman Empire and of the whole Church changed. A young leader, Constantine, battling with Maxentius to win the throne of Rome, had a vision. A blazing Cross appeared in the sky with the words In hoc signo vinces: in this sign, in the name of this sign – the Cross – you will conquer. And then, Eusebius and Lactantius recount, the Lord appeared to Constantine during the night, exhorting him to print this Cross on the standards of his legions. Under the sign of the Cross, Constantine faced Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge, at the gates of Rome, annihilated the enemy army and ascended the imperial throne. This date signaled an epochal turning point, destined to go down in history as the “Constantinian shift.”

There is no historian who denies the weight of this event. It was the birth, following three centuries of Christianity, of Christian civilization. A civilization born from the sacrifice of Calvary, from the grace of Pentecost, from the mission which Jesus Christ entrusted to His disciples: that of converting not only individual souls, but peoples, nations, the masses. But this civilization, this triumph of the visible Church, has its origin in a battle which had at its front two armies: one which raised the symbols of paganism, the other which fought in the name of the Cross of Christ.

We can say that there has never been a deeper, or more profound or faster social metamorphosis in human history, than that brought about by the victory at the Milvian Bridge. A most profound change because paganism which had dominated mankind for millennia, was inexorably condemned to death, while a new civilization rose from its ruins, the social fruit of Christianity.

This change took place thanks to a battle which may be defined as the first holy war of the Christian era. A war fought for Christ, and in the Name of Christ, and the promise of victory was tied to the Christian character of this battle. The motto in hoc signo vinces joins the symbol of the Cross to victory: not only an interior victory over disordered passions and sin, but a historic victory which confirms how Christianity received from Christ the mission to plant the Cross in the public domain, of conquering not only souls but society, its institutions, and customs, in this way creating Christendom.

Starting in the fourth century, the Church made herself visible, she raised her banner – the banner of the Cross – she began a triumphant march through history, the goal being the social reign of Christ, the prefiguration of His eternal reign in Heaven. This reign was only partially brought about in the medieval age; we still await its fulfillment, because the Church exists in history, she fights and wins in history. The social reign of Christ will be a total upheaval. Evil – although it will not disappear because it is destined to accompany the history of the Church until the end times of the antichrist – will be reduced to a situation like that in which good is today: isolated, condemned, charged, abhorred.

Pius XII in the encyclical Summi Pontificatus[5] of October 20, 1939, sketching a plan for his pontificate, affirmed that only the acknowledgment of the social reign of Christ could allow man to return to that degree of civility which medieval Christian Europe enjoyed[6]. “In the recognition of the royal prerogatives of Christ and in the return of individuals and of society to the law of His truth and of His love lies the only way to salvation.”

The reign of Christ cannot be separated from that of His divine Mother, Mary, because as the theologians recall, Mary in Her role as Mother of God has been associated with the work of the Divine Redeemer. “Christ is King from all eternity, Mary became Queen at the moment in which She conceived the Father’s Only-Begotten Son. Christ is King because He is God and Man-God; Mary is Queen because She is His Mother and Associate.[7].

The Marian theophany of the last two centuries, from Rue du Bac to Lourdes to Fatima, bears witness to the role which Our Lady must have in the establishment of the social reign of Christ, which is also the social reign of Mary, the triumph of the Church over the revolution it assails.

A Fluid Church in a Fluid Society

The modernists reject the social reign of Christ, accusing the “Constantinian shift” of having betrayed the Gospel’s ideals, as a compromise of Christians with power. This anti-Constantinian mythology developed in the radical schism of the Reformation, between the Anabaptists and the Theosophists who placed themselves at Luther’s left. These saw in the “Constantinian bond” of Church and state, a sacrilegious union which needed to be destroyed and substituted by the principle of religious liberty, intended as the right to profess any religion held to be true.

The ideas of the radical reformers were expressed in Holland in the 1600’s especially, and from there, spread to England where they constituted one of the intellectual foundations of Masonry which saw the light with the institution of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717. Masonry organized the French Revolution, that intended to break the Constantinian bond of altar and throne, in the name of the supreme ideals of absolute liberty, equality and fraternity. In the 1800’s, liberalism denied the public role of the Church in society, seeking to confine the Christian presence to the strict freedom of individual consciences, to bring it back to the catacombs. These texts were repeatedly condemned by the Papal Magisterium but the anti-Constantinian mythology penetrated the Catholic Church on the inside, through modernism.

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“The end of the Constantinian era”[8] was announced by one of the fathers of the Nouvelle Théologie, the Dominican Marie-Dominique Chenu, in a famous conference held in 1961. Chenu aspired to free the Church from what he defined as the three decisive factors of her compromise with power: the primacy of Roman law, the Greek-Roman logos, and the liturgical language of Latin.[9] The Church no longer had to face the problem of Christianizing the world but accepting its secularist development, breaking every tie with Tradition, renewing her doctrine through (pastoral) praxis.

The modernists deny the social reign of Christ because they deny the visible dimension of the Church. They want to liquidate the structures of the Church, they want a fluid church in a fluid society, like a river which runs in a perpetual flow. According to Father Roger-Thomas Calmel: “Doctrines, rites, and the interior life are subjected to a process of such a radical and refined liquefaction which no longer allows for a distinction between Catholics and non-Catholics. Because ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ the definite and the definitive are considered outdated, the question arises as to what it is that impedes non-Christian religions to also be part of the new universal church, constantly updated by ecumenical interpretations.”[10].

The fluid church requires fluid Catholics without an identity, without a mission to carry out, incapable of fighting: because fighting means resistance, resistance means staying, staying means being: and Tradition is nothing else than being which opposes itself to becoming which flows toward the sea of nothingness. Tradition is that which is stable in the perennial becoming of things, and that which is unchangeable in a changing world, and it is such because it has in itself a reflection of eternity.

The anti-Christian revolution which spans history, hates being in all its expressions, and counteracts it with the denial of all that in reality is stable, permanent, and objective, beginning with human nature, dissolved by gender theory.

So, the ruinous horizon before us is an expression of this revolutionary process, it is the result of a process of liquefying society and the Church, carried out by agents of chaos, by societies which would like to recreate or destroy the world. This route, however, leads to an inevitable defeat of the revolution.

In fact, the revolution, like evil, does not have its own nature, but exists only insofar as it is the privation and a deficiency of good. “The being of evil,” – explains Saint Thomas – “consists precisely in being the privation of good.”[11]. Evil, which is the privation of being, can spread, like darkness in the night, following daylight. But the darkness does not have in itself the power to defeat the light in a total and definitive way, because it (darkness) draws its very existence from the light. Infinite light, which is God, exists. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness,” says Saint John (1 John 1:5). Absolute darkness does not exist, because radical nothingness cannot exist. Our existence is the living negation of nothingness. Evil advances when good recedes. Error is affirmed only when the truth is extinguished. The revolution wins only when Tradition surrenders. All revolutions throughout history have taken place only when an authentic opposition is lacking. For this reason, every abdication is an act of surrender and retreat.

However, if there is an evil dynamic, there is a dynamic of goodness. A remnant – even a minimal one – of light cannot be extinguished, and this remnant has in itself the irresistible strength of daybreak, the possibility of a new day with the sunrise. This is the drama of evil: it cannot destroy the last remnant of good that survives, it is destined to be destroyed by this remnant. Evil cannot stand even the smallest surviving good, because it glimpses its defeat in the good which exists. The dynamism of evil is destined to shatter itself against that which stays, which remains solid in society’s liquefaction. Therefore, the final step in the process of today’s self-dissolution eroding the rock on which the Church was founded, is destined to witness the death of the revolution and the sprouting of the beginning of an opposed life: a mandatory itinerary of restoration of faith and morals, of truth and of the social order to which it corresponds: this principle is the Catholic counter-revolution.

Social philosophy has several laws which should be remembered. One of them is that  history is made by minorities who fight to establish a project, an idea – right or malformed as the case may be. The strength of these minorities is proportionate to the strength of their passions, which can be ordered to good or can be disordered. These have an immense, propelling force, because they advance ideas, they put them into action. The strength of a warrior is proportionate to the breadth and intensity of his love; and there is no higher love than that which a man can have for the Church and Christian civilization, the love which drove the noblest of history’s ventures: the heroic deeds of the Crusades. In our dramatic, historic time we need to rediscover the perennial spirit of the Crusades, not that of the catacombs.

CIC graphic screenshot

(Order a poster print of this original Remnant artwork from The Remnant’s Store )

The Spirit of Crusade

Please read the rest here: https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/4286-church-in-crisis-the-final-act-of-vatican-ii

 

The Coming Davidic Messiah

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

-Revelation 3:21

The Kingdom is woven into all the teachings of Christ. He taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come”. He taught that our good deeds on earth are seen by our Father in Heaven, and that He will reward us in the resurrection. He taught that His Kingdom is not of this world, and that this world is in darkness. Christ’s moral teaching is so sublime as to be unattainable by the flesh: it is the power of the Spirit, who is given to us as an earnest of the Kingdom, that makes us able to live as Christ did.

In our suffering, the resurrection is our comfort. The Kingdom is what we are striving for: even as we wait for the return of Jesus, we catch glimpses of the Kingdom now in works of power and love. Healings, true Christian love, casting out of evil spirits, and revelation of God – these things are signs of the coming Kingdom.

The Kingdom is our inheritance: when Christ takes the kingdoms of the earth from the Gentiles and restores the Kingdom to Israel, His faithful followers will sit upon thrones and oversee the governments of the earth. This world is a terrible place, a vale of tears as the old Catholic words tell us (“in hac valle lacrimarum”).

Today I watched Paul: Apostle of Christ. As I looked upon the depravity of burning Christians alive under Nero, I thought to myself, “I cannot pretend this is all over: this is the sort of thing that ISIS does to people.” The Christians overcame the Romans and the demons by laying down their lives for Christ and passing on the Good News about Him. Their martyrdom was costly, but it sent a resounding message throughout the ancient world: Jesus Christ is Lord.

The spiritual rulers in darkness and fallen humans try to claim that title, Lord. Their rulership is coming to an end. One of the great proclamations from Heaven in the Book of Revelation is this: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

A world ruled by Christ is better than the one we have made for ourselves. The powers of darkness do not rule for our benefit; they do not have the shepherd’s heart that characterises Christ. The works of the Kingdom we practise now are training for government in that age to come. Our lives parallel the life of Christ, of which David’s life was a foreshadow. David served as a humble shepherd. Anointed by Samuel, he was persecuted by Saul, to whom he showed mercy and compassion. Finally he was vindicated by enthronement in Jerusalem, graced by the presence of God in the tabernacle on Mount Zion – a time when the Levitical strictures were in abeyance.

So our lives reflect that of David: we are nobodies in this world, but we have received the Spirit, and we are called to learn kingship and compassion. One day we will see the glory of God when Christ returns to Mount Zion. Even now, as Paul the Apostle informed the Church, we are seated on thrones in heavenly places: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

My prayer is that, as we move closer to the Day of Christ, God would light a fire of yearning for the Kingdom afresh in our hearts, and help us to believe with conviction that we are already seated on those thrones in Heaven, thrones that John was privileged to see descend to earth in the resurrection.

Moving into the Millennium

Many contributors and readers at AATW know that I believe the return of Christ is near. I will not state a year or make any of the specific predictions that date-setters do. I do not believe He will return in the next year; all I can say is that, in my spirit, I feel the coming and believe it will be within my lifetime.

I have held this belief for some time. It is born from an intuition, deep within, and from reading Scripture. Jesus in His Olivet Discourse gave a sequence to help us understand when His return would be near: the Abomination of Desolation; the Great Tribulation; the darkening of the sky; the sign of the Son of Man and the return of Jesus on the clouds.

Without a proper understanding of this sequence, the Olivet Discourse becomes unintelligible. The intertextuality between the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Daniel, followed up by the Book of Revelation, allows the reader to form a more complete picture of the end of the age.

The Abomination of Desolation referred to by Christ has not happened yet. Those who assert it happened in AD 70 make an error in their typology and misread what Josephus, our most important source on the sack of Jerusalem, has to say on the matter. Josephus did not understand AD 70 as a mirror to Antiochus’ desolation of the Temple in 167 BC. Antiochus’ desolation happened in the Jewish month of Chislev. The sack of Jerusalem in AD 70 happened on Tisha b’Av, the same day as the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC. Josephus understood AD 70 as a mirror to the Babylonian Exile, not as a mirror to the Seleucid persecution.

Whichever generation witnesses the Abomination of Desolation will also see the return of Christ. When He returns, He will set up His millennial Kingdom. The good works of the saints will follow them into the Kingdom (AKA the “Messianic Age”, the “Millennium”, etc), but much that we associate with “how we do Church” will not survive.

The Millennium represents a challenge to our perspective and our way of doing things. Its approach forces us to consider our priorities and question our attachment to things that are not essential to the Kingdom.

Sometimes, a glimpse of the reality of the Kingdom is enough to clear our mental fog, helping us to focus on what is really important.

…and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come… 

-Hebrews 6:5

The first Christians saw these powers in the miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Gospel. These signs testified to the reality of the risen Christ, including His promise to return, and showed them what heaven on earth would be like. Healing wonders revealed God’s love and compassion and the perfect state He planned for the world. Speaking in new tongues represented a reversal of the confusion caused at Babel: mankind would be one in Christ. Note that our national tongues were not abolished by this miracle: the catholicity of the early Church did not destroy the variation and distinctiveness that God spread among humans. The ability to strike enemies blind also emphasised the authority of Christ in heaven and on earth: nothing would be permitted to hinder the proclamation of His Gospel.

As we think about the approach of this Kingdom and see hints of its quality in the wonders of God, we must incorporate Kingdom thinking into our approach to today’s challenges.

ISIS

Today, as an adjunct to a post over at NEO, I’m sharing another Anglican Unscripted video, this one on the question of ISIS in Iraq.

I make no comment about what should be done on the foreign policy and military levels except to repeat what I have often said: Turkey bears watching. Turkey features prominently in end times discussions these days, thanks to the influence of writers like Joel Richardson. Interpretation of apocalyptic and prophetic passages is notoriously difficult and controversial, but no one can deny that many of the territories mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 are in modern-day Turkey.

Father Argo’s comment on charity is another important point to take from this video: much giving, including to Christian charities, never reaches its intended recipients. For this reason, it seems wise to properly research charities before making donations, giving only where one is certain the money will be used properly.

It is important to remember that a great deal of oil passes through the Middle East. I am not a “prepper” (at least in the physical sense), but I think it is wise for people to be aware that we could experience economic problems consequent on wars in the Middle East. That is not to say we should become fixated on the problem – only that we should not let the shock of such a possible event overwhelm us. Those are times when we must attempt calm thought, looking to God for guidance and strength.

The high point of this interview is the discussion of dreams and visions, followed by Bible study and discipleship. This is an important reminder that our God will do whatever it takes to reach us: He loves us and wants the best for us. As we look to revival, seeking God in prayer, let us draw on these testimonies for strength, perseverance, and inspiration.

 

Samson: an unpopular hero

I have recently read Milton’s Samson Agonistes. Samson’s story, like much of the Book of Judges, has little in the way of editorial commentary, which means that the reader is left to draw his own conclusions about what is good and what is evil in the story. That being said, traditional readings among Jews and Christians have generally found a basic consensus on the events and motifs of the tale, and that consensus is unpopular in today’s world.

Destroying one’s enemies

The destruction of the Philistines is a central element of the Samson story. The Angel who prophesies his birth tells his parents that he was born to deliver Israel from Philistine oppression. He has numerous violent encounters with the Philistines, including the famous slaughter with the jawbone of an ass, and culminating in the incident at the temple of Dagon.

Christianity has a complex view of martial violence; nevertheless, Samson is affirmed as a hero in the New Testament.

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

-Hebrews 11:32-34

There are times when a military approach is necessary. It should not be desired for its own sake, nor should it be lightly undertaken, but it is necessary. If Israel had continued under Philistine oppression, it might have fallen into apostasy and idolatry and ceased to be distinctive as a nation, melting into the surrounding Canaanite culture.

Samson stands out as a hero, a brave man who singlehandedly fought to liberate Israel from her oppressors. He fought when the rest of his nation would not help him, armed not with steel or bronze, but with the power of God’s Spirit, in whom he placed his trust. He is an inspiration for us today to have faith when things look bad, when we look weak and isolated. But he is also a reminder of the need to defend our country when she is threatened by enemies.

Putting God first

Samson goes wrong because he fails to keep God first in his life: this is arguably the greatest lesson we can take from his walk of faith. He finds himself unhappy in his first marriage because he has married outside of Israel. God is able to turn this into an opportunity to begin the liberation of Israel, but this is a contingent series of events. Things could have been otherwise: Samson could have married within Israel and God could have provided another means for him to remove the yoke of Philistine oppression.

In Delilah Samson meets his downfall. By revealing the secret of his strength, his Nazarite locks of hair, he places his love for her over his love for God. This lesson is particularly unpopular in today’s world, which places Eros, not Agape, at the pinnacle of its Babylonian tower of values. If Samson had put God before his romantic liaison, he would not have revealed the secret, and would have avoided the capture and slavery that degraded him and led to his tragic death.

Grace and supremacy

Samson’s story does not end with his work in the prison-house of  Gaza. Though blinded and humiliated, his hair grows back, a symbol of God’s supervening grace. He seeks the LORD in prayer, and God grants him a guide in his blindness and the strength and opportunity to pull down the temple of Dagon, humiliating the idol and destroying the Philistines.

In this example of grace, we see God’s forgiveness and faithfulness to His covenants and promises. We also see His supremacy: God said that Samson would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines, and He saw to it that the promise stood, despite Samson’s moral weakness. Following the time of Samson, God raised up David to complete the work.

Women

At first glance, women do not come across well in the Samson story. It would be a mistake, however, to read it misogynistically. The point of the story is not that women are any worse than men: Samson is culpable for failing to keep his Nazarite vow.

There is a contrast, however, between the treacherous wheedling used by Delilah and the honest, open force used by Samson in battle. We are not meant to infer that women are inherently more treacherous than men – the Bible is full of stories of male treachery. The contrast and allocation to the genders is there simply to hammer home the warning about treachery, which is an important motif in the Bible: be careful about where you place your trust.

Conclusion

At the start of the year, it is common to think about resolutions, repentance, and aspirations. In our more humble and virtuous moments, we think about what we got wrong and what we would like to do better. We also hope for achievements, successes that will make us feel good. Samson’s story should serve as a warning and a message of hope going forward: we must persevere despite our own failings and the failings of others and look to God as our strength to carry on. Happy new year!

 

The New Year

As we pass from 2018 into 2019, it is appropriate to look back and forward.  2018 has been a year of revelations. We have seen just how deep political convictions can be and the lengths to which people will go to achieve their desired ends. Such dark revelations have been countered by visions of light: we have been reminded that God ultimately is in control. He has accorded free will to mankind, but man will not prevent the King from exercising His power to break into our lives, bringing grace and truth.

This is an age of division and the divisions are going to get worse. The darkness will get darker and the light brighter. 2018 battered us with its hurdles and tensions. The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh seemed doubtful and the mid-term elections seemed to threaten a “blue wave” that would empower the Democrats to impeach the President. But Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed and the Republicans kept control of the Senate.

Looking forward, we are confronted with the challenge of realising a vision. All the contributors and readers here know that God’s Kingdom is beyond the politics of man. Votes that we may cast for the Republican or Conservative parties are not cast with the frenzied adulation that characterises the cult of personality. No, we cast such votes because we deem that, at the time (and this is an important qualification), these parties are the best means in our democratic systems to safeguard our God-given liberties.

The Gospel would continue if we found ourselves under the kind of tyrannies that characterise other parts of the world. Indeed, this year has been a great year for evangelism in countries such as Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Syria, and 2019 promises a continued ingathering of God’s Elect as evils of the spiritual and human worlds are exposed by the Spirit of God.

https://www.catalyticministries.com/blog/2018/10/25/redemptive-compassion-ministries-rxhx9-ykeyj

https://www.faimission.org/our-three-mandates/

https://iranaliveministries.org/

Let 2019 be the year of Transformation, a year in which God transforms His Church and the Church, in reliance on God, transforms the world. God promised that He would empower His Church before the great and terrible Day of the LORD. That Day draws nearer, and the stark choice it places before all of us becomes clearer. On the one hand, we hear the voices of death, calling for the destruction of the nations, of liberty, of faith in Christ, of Israel. On the other, we hear the call of faithfulness and hope in the redemptive and transformative power of God.

If the verse for 2018 was, “Rule in the midst of your enemies”, let the verse for 2019 be, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Let 2019 be a year of transformation as we prepare for the coming of Christ. A blessed new year to you all.