Saturday, December 31, 2016

"The imposition of P.C. has no logical end because feeling better about one’s self by confessing other people’s sins... is an addictive pleasure the appetite for which grows with each satisfaction. The more fault I find in thee, the holier (or, at least, the trendier) I am than thou."

-Angelo M. Codevilla

(H/T Mike Flynn)

Friday, December 30, 2016

"During the patriarchal Victorian/Edwardian Age, the Church was accused of being 'too feminine'. During the age of feminism, the Church was accused of being 'too patriarchal.' She is always accused of being the opposite of what the secular society reveres."

-Mike Flynn

Sunday, October 23, 2016

About 'escapism', never let that flea stick in your ear. I was liberated from it once & for all when a friend said 'These critics are v. sensitive to the least hint of Escape. Now what class of men wd. one expect to be thus worked-up about Escape- Jailers.'
-Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3 (To Arthur C. Clark, January 26, 1954)

Friday, October 21, 2016

...but in all collections of men, the straw and rubbish (as Lord Bacon says) float on the top, while gold and jewels sink and are hidden. Or, what is more apposite still, many men, or most men, are a compound of precious and worthless together, and their worthless swims, and their precious lies at the bottom.
Blessed John Henry Newman, Loss and Gain (1848)

Monday, October 3, 2016

So assiduous have [the media] been in seeking out anything that can pass for wrong-doing ...as the only salient feature of their candidacy that when real wrong-doing comes along it only looks like politics as usual.
-James Bowman (H/T Mike Flynn)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"If he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why sir, when he leaves our house let us count our spoons."
-Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's "Life of Johnson", 1769)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The devil Screwtape in "The Screwtape Letters" (C.S. Lewis):

I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course, if they do- if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridgeplayer or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner- then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question "If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?" You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won't come into his head. He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit balance in the Enemy's ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these 'smug,' commonplace neighbours at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"In making scientific discoveries man patently reveals his ability to see beyond what is immediately given in the physical. Because this ability of man is metaphysical, the metaphysics of discovery imposes the rediscovery of metaphysics."

-Stanley L. Jaki: "The Absolute Beneath the Relative and Other Essays"

Monday, June 27, 2016

"[My sister] wants me to tell you that I'm a lazy little girl, but this isn't true because I work all day long playing tricks on my poor little sisters."

 -St. Therese of Lisieux, age 4, in a letter to her sister's friend. :-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"...the ability of the Professionally Offended to take offense where none was offered is really a kind of social theft. (Theft is taking something that was not offered.)"
-Mike Flynn

Friday, June 3, 2016

“Am I hideous, Jane?"
"Very, sir: you always were, you know.”
-Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Monday, May 30, 2016

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl.  Do you know where the wicked go after death?”
“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.
“And what is hell?  Can you tell me that?”
“A pit full of fire.”
“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”
“No, sir.”
“What must you do to avoid it?”
I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: “I must keep in good health, and not die.”
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"[T]he existence and prestige of the Church prevented society from being totalitarian, prevented the omnicompetent state, and preserved liberty in the only way that liberty can be preserved, by maintaining in society an organization which could stand up against the state.” 

-A.D. Linsday, The Modern Democratic States

[H/T Mike Flynn]

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mark Shea on the name "Easter"

"But what about the very name 'Easter'? It comes from the pagan goddess 'Eostre'!"

Right you are. And 'Friday' comes from "Freya's Day". Does that make you a Norse pagan who worships Freya when you say, "Thank God it's Friday?" No it makes you an inheritor of a Germanic language group that didn't bother to change the names of some of its days. But in all Latin language groups (and beyond) what we English speakers call "Easter" is known by some variation on Pascha, or (as it's translated into English) "Passover". Why? Because Jesus was crucified on the eve of Passover and is our Passover sacrifice
-Mark Shea

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'

[H/T Dale Price]
So Rex was sent to Farm Street to Father Mowbray, a priest renowned for his triumphs with obdurate catechumens. After the third interview he came to tea with Lady Machmain.

"Well, how do you find my future son-in-law?"

"He's the most difficult convert I have ever met."

"Oh dear, I thought he was going to make it so easy."

"That's exactly it. I can't get anywhere near him. He doesn't seem to have the least intellectual curiosity or natural piety.

"The first day I wanted to find out what sort of religious life he had till now, so I asked him what he meant by prayer. He said: 'I don't mean anything. You tell me.'  I tried to, in a  few words, and he said: 'Right. So much for prayer. What's the next thing?' I gave him the catechism to take away. Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: 'Just as many as you say, Father.'

"Then again I asked him: 'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said "It's going to rain," would that be bound to happen?' 'Oh, yes, Father.' 'But supposing it didn't?' He thought a moment and said, 'I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it."
-Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
[Note: Rex Mottram in this scene is *not* a model for Catholics. lol. But this is a humorous passage, so I wanted to post it.]

Friday, March 11, 2016

"The average American is physically, biologically, psychologically and neurologically unable to do anything worthwhile before he has a cup of coffee!"

"If at all possible, the priest should make his daily Holy Hour before celebrating his Mass. Now that the Church's regulations on the pre-Eucharistic fast have been modified, he will be well advised to take a cup of coffee before he starts. The average American is physically, biologically, psychologically and neurologically unable to do anything worthwhile before he has a cup of coffee! And that goes for prayer too. Even sisters in convents whose rules were written before electric percolators were developed would do well to update their procedures. Let them have coffee before meditation."

-Venerable Fulton Sheen, The Priest Is Not His Own

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Good reminder, especially when it comes to stories concerning Christianity in general, or the Catholic Church in particular:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

 -Michael Crichton

 [H/T Mike Flynn]

Monday, February 22, 2016

From the day He raised His standard of the Cross, all must fight and win in Its shadow. Far more by suffering and persecution than by eloquent discourses does Jesus wish to build His Kingdom.
 
-St. Therese of Lisieux

Friday, February 5, 2016

...even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter.

We are apt to deceive ourselves, and to consider heaven a place like this earth; I mean, a place where every one may choose and take his own pleasure. We see that in this world, active men have their own enjoyments, and domestic men have theirs; men of literature, of science, of political talent, have their respective pursuits and pleasures. Hence we are led to act as if it will be the same in another world. The only difference we put between this world and the next, is that here, (as we know well,) men are not always sure, but there, we suppose they will be always sure, of obtaining what they seek after. And accordingly we conclude, that any man, whatever his habits, tastes, or manner of life, if once admitted into heaven, would be happy there. [...] heaven, it is plain from Scripture, is not a place where many different and discordant pursuits can be carried on at once, as is the case in this world. Here every man can do his own pleasure, but there he must do God's pleasure. It would be presumption to attempt to determine the employments of that eternal life which good men are to pass in God's presence, or to deny that that state which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived, may comprise an infinite variety of pursuits and occupations. Still so far we are distinctly told, that that future life will be spent in God's presence, in a sense which does not apply to our present life; so that it may be best described as an endless and uninterrupted worship of the Eternal Father, Son, and Spirit. "They serve Him day and night in His temple, and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them ... The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." Again, "The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." [Rev. vii. 15, 17; xxi. 23, 24.] These passages from St. John are sufficient to remind us of many others.

Heaven then is not like this world; I will say what it is much more like,—a church. For in a place of public worship no language of this world is heard; there are no schemes brought forward for temporal objects, great or small; no information how to strengthen our worldly interests, extend our influence, or establish our credit. These things indeed may be right in their way, so that we do not set our hearts upon them; still (I repeat), it is certain that we hear nothing of them in a church. Here we hear solely and entirely of God. We praise Him, worship Him, sing to Him, thank Him, confess to Him, give ourselves up to Him, and ask His blessing. And therefore, a church is like heaven; viz. because both in the one and the other, there is one single sovereign subject—religion—brought before us.

Supposing, then, instead of it being said that no irreligious man could serve and attend on God in heaven (or see Him, as the text expresses it), we were told that no irreligious man could worship, or spiritually see Him in church; should we not at once perceive the meaning of the doctrine? viz. that, were a man to come hither, who had suffered his mind to grow up in its own way, as nature or chance determined, without any deliberate habitual effort after truth and purity, he would find no real pleasure here, but would soon get weary of the place; because, in this house of God, he would hear only of that one subject which he cared little or nothing about, and nothing at all of those things which excited his hopes and fears, his sympathies and energies. If then a man without religion (supposing it possible) were admitted into heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment. Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there; but when he arrived there, he would find no discourse but that which he had shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he had disliked or despised, nothing which bound him to aught else in the universe, and made him feel at home, nothing which he could enter into and rest upon. He would perceive himself to be an isolated being, cut away by Supreme Power from those objects which were still entwined around his heart. Nay, he would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him. Ah! he could not bear the face of the Living God; the Holy God would be no object of joy to him. "Let us alone! What have we to do with thee?" is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge His majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord.

When, then, we think to take part in the joys of heaven without holiness, we are as inconsiderate as if we supposed we could take an interest in the worship of Christians here below without possessing it in our measure. A careless, a sensual, an unbelieving mind, a mind destitute of the love and fear of God, with narrow views and earthly aims, a low standard of duty, and a benighted conscience, a mind contented with itself, and unresigned to God's will, would feel as little pleasure, at the last day, at the words, "Enter into the joy of thy Lord," as it does now at the words, "Let us pray." Nay, much less, because, while we are in a church, we may turn our thoughts to other subjects, and contrive to forget that God is looking on us; but that will not be possible in heaven.

We see, then, that holiness, or inward separation from the world, is necessary to our admission into heaven, because heaven is not heaven, is not a place of happiness except to the holy. There are bodily indispositions which affect the taste, so that the sweetest flavours become ungrateful to the palate; and indispositions which impair the sight, tinging the fair face of nature with some sickly hue. In like manner, there is a moral malady which disorders the inward sight and taste; and no man labouring under it is in a condition to enjoy what Scripture calls "the fulness of joy in God's presence, and pleasures at His right hand for evermore."

Nay, I will venture to say more than this;—it is fearful, but it is right to say it;—that if we wished to imagine a punishment for an unholy, reprobate soul, we perhaps could not fancy a greater than to summon it to heaven. Heaven would be hell to an irreligious man. We know how unhappy we are apt to feel at present, when alone in the midst of strangers, or of men of different tastes and habits from ourselves. How miserable, for example, would it be to have to live in a foreign land, among a people whose faces we never saw before, and whose language we could not learn. And this is but a faint illustration of the loneliness of a man of earthly dispositions and tastes, thrust into the society of saints and angels. How forlorn would he wander through the courts of heaven! He would find no one like himself; he would see in every direction the marks of God's holiness, and these would make him shudder. He would feel himself always in His presence. He could no longer turn his thoughts another way, as he does now, when conscience reproaches him. He would know that the Eternal Eye was ever upon him; and that Eye of holiness, which is joy and life to holy creatures, would seem to him an Eye of wrath and punishment. God cannot change His nature. Holy He must ever be. But while He is holy, no unholy soul can be happy in heaven. Fire does not inflame iron, but it inflames straw. It would cease to be fire if it did not. And so heaven itself would be fire to those, who would fain escape across the great gulf from the torments of hell. The finger of Lazarus would but increase their thirst. The very "heaven that is over their head" will be "brass" to them.


-John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Sermon 1