04 January 2019

A Prayer for Sharing

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen!

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30 December 2018

My one word resolution for 2019

Every year about this time I choose a theme for a New Year's resolution that I can put a one word label on and just concentrate on that one thing for a whole year until it becomes an ingrained habit. I am pleased to report that this system has worked for me very well. Here is a partial list from years past:

2011 "Ideate" ("to form an idea of", "think of", "imagine", "conceive of","envision", "visualize")

2012 "Update" ("improve", "correct", "renew", "revise", "upgrade", "amend", "overhaul", "modernize", "contemporize")

2013 "Motivate" ("prompt", "drive", "move", "inspire", "stimulate", "influence", "activate", "impel", "push", "propel"

2014 "Ataraxia" ("Tranquility", a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety)

2015 "Contemplate" (Know Thyself, "examine", "inspect", "observe", "survey", "study", "scrutinize")

2016 "Intentionality" ("Intentionality" is the connection between our conscious mind and the object we are thinking about. It is the quality of our thoughts and beliefs that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs. In other words a clear and conscious focus.)

2017 "Altruism"  (The practice of selfless concern for the well being of others. It is the charitable and humble giving of oneself to other people in many different ways.

2018 is "Meditate" (To focus and quiet the mind to reach a higher level of awareness and inner calm.)

My theme for 2019 is "Validate" (To check that something is true and that there is objective evidence from a valid source to prove or confirm that it is true or correct.

In this age of "relative truth" and "alternative facts" there is is obviously a serious case of "truth decay," and facts are likened to a "curate's egg." A "curate's egg" is something that is described as partly bad, but also partly good, whether that is true...or not. The term is derived from a cartoon in Punch (November, 1895) in which a timid curate, who has been served a bad egg while breakfasting with his bishop, when asked how he liked it, said that "parts" of the egg are excellent. The modern meaning is that something is a mix of good and bad but mostly one or the other depending on who is describing it. It is like saying after the massive white supremacist rally and subsequent violent confrontations in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017, "I think there is blame on both sides. You had some very bad people in that group, But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” That is a good example of a curate's egg."

It is said that we are living in a "post truth era" where truth is not necessarily true and this is damaging our democracy (and our collective morals) by calling into question whether or not there exits an objective truth. "Post truth" is based upon feeling and emotion and not hard data and objective reality. Post truth is moral relativism; the way that you like to remember the facts may be to your liking but not particularly by their veracity. Moral Relativism (or Ethical Relativism) is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. This encourages "truthful hyperbole," a presumed innocent form of exaggeration when the truth does not seem adequate. The reader or listener or political rally attendee is overwhelmed with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence.

There is nothing to be achieved by mere zeal of opposition to moral relativism, alternative facts, or political hyperbole. The end will be achieved through the concentration of all parties on truth, justice, and the camaraderie of charity (love through sacrifice) for one another. "E Pluribus Unum"..."Out of many, one."

Truth is Freedom. In John 8:32 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him,”And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

In John 18:37-38 Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you a king?" Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, Pilate turned away from the truth and handed Jesus over to the lynch mob to be crucified as a scapegoat.

Adam and Eve bought our knowledge of good and evil with their original sin and expulsion from Paradise but Jesus Christ paid for it with His death and resurrection and so we have no excuse for not seeking the truth.

May God bless everyone who reads this and may the Holy Spirit bring you light to guide your own path towards the truth.

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21 December 2018

On Paradise

"It's Christmas! It's Christmas in Heaven!
Hip hip hip hip hip hooray!
Every single day is Christmas day!"
(From Monty Python - "The Meaning of Life")

This isn't the Heavenly Paradise that we all long for. This Heaven that they sing about consists of a worldly, consumer driven Christmas, utterly lacking in any religious or spiritual meaning, for the reality of the situation is clear: everyone in this Monty Python skit has gone to Hell. The true Heavenly Paradise that everyone hopes to see (but many won't) is the Paradise that Saint Francis de Sales wrote about in his Introduction to the Devout Life. The following is my adoption of his meditation on Paradise:

Eighth Meditation - On Paradise

Considerations:

1.) I consider a lovely, calm, summer's night, when the heavens are bright with the light of the glittering stars, a scene that rivals the beauty of the blue sky, the white clouds, and the glorious morning sun. I imagine that all of this falls far short of the glory of paradise.

2.) I consider the beauty and perfection of all those who already inhabit paradise; the Angels, the Apostles, Disciples, Martyrs, Saints, and Innocents along with all of the other righteous men and women who have gone before. I imagine what it would feel like to be in that number, in perpetual joy, unimaginable bliss, and incredible delights.

3.) I consider how the inhabitants of Paradise enjoy the presence of God who fills them with wondrous knowledge and understanding and the perfection of a being united in Him. The souls in Paradise are like happy children without jealousy and strife, singing praises of their Creator.

Affections and Resolutions:

1.) I admire and rejoice in the thought of Paradise and the vision of my camaraderie with Jesus, His Apostles, His disciples, my mother and father, and my ancestors who have gone before me.

2.) I admonish myself for not availing myself long ago of God's gift and promise to those who acknowledge Him and keep His commandments. How could I neglect or reject such a treasure for mere vain, corruptible, and temporary earthly pursuits?

3.) I will aspire earnestly toward that Heavenly shore, not for the reward of the delights that it offers but for the blessed relief to be with my God in the company of all who love Him.

Conclusion:

1.) Bless me O Lord with Thy glorious gift of Paradise which I don't deserve but I long for with all my heart. I wish to dissolve my soul in holy unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever and ever.

2.) O God, please help me to grow in faith and love for Thee with all my heart and soul and to love my fellow human beings without exception. I cling to the hope and the promise of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that one day I shall be with Him in Paradise. Amen.

Merry Christmas Everyone! "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  Amen!

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11 December 2018

Pass it on!

We live for a moment in time just once,
For one fleeting second, and no more.
We live our lives taking leave of the past.
In the last moment we fade into that past,
Along with the memories about us.
Nothing is quite as good as it seems to be.
All things are best at the beginning.
We tire of things, they fall apart,
The sunlight fades, the party is over,
The night grows cold. It too shall pass away.
We are created with a free will.
We may want to shirk the responsibility
And shy away from dealing with it, but
In the end we must choose something,
Even if the choice is not to choose.
The Golden Rule: forgive others and be forgiven,
We will be done by as we do to our brothers.
Forgive us our trespasses Oh Lord, as
we forgive those who trespass against us.
Choose well and the momentum will lift you up.
While the heart weeps for our regrets
The spirit rejoices in peace and hope.
Prayer is a spiritual consensus between believers
and the Creator; a spiritual union, as it were.
The cost of sacrifice is the price of something
That it hurts to lose. Sacrifice is conscious love.
Sacrifice is charity and virtue. It is God's love.
He sacrificed for us. Pass it on.

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27 November 2018

The Kingdom yet to come.

I slept soundly until the the dawn cracked wide open.
The birds were singing like they were singing just for me.
The room was filled with an air of blessed thoughts,
And my dream had not yet left dreamland for consciousness.
I tried to make sense of the parting dream before it faded.
The night is at odds with morning like two different worlds.
What goes on while we are sleeping, and What foolishness?
What mischief, the owl and moth, the bat, and the rat? 
The only daytime thing that doesn't sleep at night 
Is the clock that ticks faithfully beside my bed.
Do we dream our own dreams or is someone dreaming us?
My dreams are a misty view through the window of my soul
Unto another world behind the filmy curtain of Paradise.
My dream companion, my hearts content, is my Lord and Savior, 
He was, and is, and ever shall be, my guiding light. 
I am happy to know that He is there for me at night,
But I am also happy to see the open eye of another morning,
To live and work, and pray, for the greater glory of God
And a ticket to His glorious Kingdom yet to come.

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17 November 2018

Among other things...

Sometimes when I am searching under the seat cushions
On the armchairs of history or philosophy, inter alia,
To see if there are wayward crumbs of wit or wisdom
That the vacuum cleaners of lost edits failed to get.
Continually coming up empty handed, I get the feeling 
That indeed there is nothing new under the sun and
I am just a pup chasing its tail to no particular avail.
It is apparent that those "Aha!" moments are by design
Only few and far between and they are likely reserved
For those who climb the highest peaks no matter what,
And bear the costs of risk for the sake of honest truth, 
To be on the side of He who tells the finger of fate 
What to write, and exactly how to say it, and move on.
For God has put it into their hearts to carry out 
His purpose by being of one mind, united in the hope
That the world can be made a better place if we only try.
In order that I might find some favor in His sight,
I will give Him my heart and soul and try harder.

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04 November 2018

Repair the World!

Are the means to an end themselves the end,
Delusional fictions that give life to lies?
Are there really alternative facts as well?
Did not God make man from dust and is not man
As befits the made, the inferior of the two,
Not purposed to create facts from lies, but
To avoid the bad, the ugly, and the false, and
To seek the good, the beautiful, and the true?
Is not man's attempt towards truth God's intent?
Can man ever create truth like God? Certainly not.
Nothing that never had life shall get it from man.
Rather it is the purpose of man to repent and
Correct what he has already done in error.
Those fortunate few with an abundance of life, or
The multitudes without much, it doesn't matter,
When it comes to the truth only one thing does.
Only belief in God makes way for a new beginning.
Faith completes the incomplete circle of life and
God redeems man's soul from total obscurity
By way of man's love for God and his fellow men.
"Tikkun Olam," the ancients say, "Repair the World!"
Imagine how it will feel when you are too late,
For by that time it really will be...too late.

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24 October 2018

Are you lucky?

A wealthy man is a lump of clay gilded with luck.
Oh greedy one, you are not wealthy. You are just lucky.
An unlucky person will accuse you of guilt,
But what guilt is there in being lucky?
To be lucky and guiltless you must share the luck.
Then everyone is rich. They are lucky to have wealth,
And lucky to know a generous person like you.
You are good when you are one with your soul,
You are good when you speak well of others.
You are good when you strive toward goals.
You are good when you do something kind
For somebody else's sake and for nothing in return.
And you do good in many countless ways
But when you are not doing good for others
You are merely wasting away an opportunity.
If you have the good fortune on Judgment Day
To be within earshot of the Savior,
You will cry out with the others and say,
"Oh Lord, I am a sinner and you are all merciful.
In spite of all the bad that I have done,
And all the good I could have done but didn't,
I sincerely repent and I crave your forgiveness
If it is not already too late."

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22 October 2018

All-Terrain Woman

Today was the first time that I heard the phrase "all-terrain woman." A news reporter was interviewing a young Honduran woman named Rosalin Guillermo with three children who had been waiting on the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico for twenty-four hours with no food or water and in desperation she had climbed down a sort of rope ladder into a boat that was below the bridge and some kind young men climbed down after her bringing her children with them and they all crossed he river together. When the reporter asked her how she had the courage to do something like that she said, "This bridge, this river, they can't stop me. I am an all-terrain woman." ("Soy una mujer todo terreno"). By the use the metaphor "all-terrain woman", she labeled herself as a strong person who can endure a lot of difficult situations.

When asked why she was making this difficult, dangerous, and uncertain journey to seek asylum in the United States with her young children she said, "I want them to study, have a good future. My husband is dead so I do this for my kids. I ask you with all my heart, wouldn't your mother do the same for you?" When the reporter mentioned that Donald Trump has a "zero tolerance" policy for her actions she said "I know about this," she says. "But I have faith in God. He has the final word. We did not come to rob or kill anyone. All we want to do is work and start a new life."

Her courage and determination remind me of a line from the English poet, James Allen:

The human will, that force unseen,
The offspring of a deathless soul,
Can hew the way to any goal,
Though walls of granite intervene.

My hat is off to all-terrain women everywhere!

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19 October 2018

Politics vs. Peace and Harmony

Politics is a convention for the narrowing of minds enough to perpetuate the reign of ignorance, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation of the desires and designs of one another. Because individual lives on earth are relatively short, mortality compels a dependence, and charity speaks to the heart in a faint, yet powerful voice, and binds mankind in a common brotherhood in the struggle for the common good against non-rational ideas and the evil impulse of our base desires. Nevertheless, we have every reason to hope that through individual humility, patience, empathy, and self-sacrifice that we can accelerate the unity of purpose of the vast human family under the paternal gaze of our Creator and thus reach the state of peace and harmony that is the end point of His eternal plan.

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About Me

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.