May the Lord forgive us for the slaughter of all the guiltless children who have died in the Souð and the other States of the union or any other place in the world by abortion or warfare or other violent means, and grant rest to their souls.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
The cosmos is not a gearbox,
Turning forever with grim precision,
Nor mere matterhood, protons and neutrons
Cleaving and sundering as they would.
Life is not a strand of little letters
Arranging themselves ever better
At the behest of hoary Thermodynamics
Or man’s craftwiseness.
Life is a miracle!
Horses in their fields
And sun-beams falling through tree-leaves.
Life is a miracle!
The sacrament of husband and wife
And the Church as the Body of Christ.
Life is a miracle!
Godhood and manhood in one Person,
Manhood taken up into Godhead,
Mankind and all the creation
Flooded with the Holy Light of Christ!
Life is a miracle!
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
. . . of the members of the Church of America the Messiah Nation, who push the anti-culture of pluralistic (which quickly becomes secular) democracy and consumerism on every people of the world, whether they want it or not, in the name of Progress:
. . .
What does it mean to “make a difference?”
Generally, the idea is linked with the myth of progress. With concerted effort and sufficient resources, we are making a better world, etc. Some undefined future awaits us, if only we care enough to make it happen.
But this is a myth. We can make changes, but change is not at all the same thing as progress. The leaders of the Western world in 1914 started a “war to end all wars.” It was one of the greatest projects of the modern era – the first “modern” war. At its end, there were 38 million casualties. The “winners” of the war sat down in 1919 and redrew the map of the world in the Treaty of Versailles. Every conflict that has occurred since that time has pretty much been driven by the arrogance and mistakes of the maps they drew. The world has been stuck repeating the same war all over the globe as we suffer the consequences of the “better world” we created.
They redrew the map of Europe, laying the foundation for years of turmoil in the Balkans. They redrew the Middle East, inventing new countries with little regard to the history and composition of the new nations. The war they started gave birth to the Communist revolutions that enslaved Russia and elsewhere for the better part of a century. The treaty gave rise to Hitler. On and on the consequences go, as the world constantly struggles to cope with one new eruption after another. The United States, considered the most successful of all modern projects, has been at war 222 out of its 239 years: that’s 93 percent of its history.
Most of the people who have lived and died over these modern centuries, only wanted to live and love and die a decent death. Farmers wanted to farm; mechanics wanted to fix their machines; parents wanted to raise their children in peace and safety; teachers wanted to share what they knew with another generation; and so on. But all of these things have largely been disrupted by the drive for a better world. Farmers are disappearing; the machines have taken over many lives; families are in almost total disarray; teachers long to quit a profession that has become one long series of frustrations. The better world is always in the future.
The better world has no place within the Christian life.
We have no commandment from God to make the world a better place. We have no commandment from God to “make a difference.” Only God makes a difference, and only God knows what “better” would actually mean. As Christians, the proper life is one lived in accordance with the commandments. We should love. We should forgive. We should be generous and kind. We should give thanks to God always and for everything.
We should understand that this is a description of the “better world.” We are not making a better world, we’re waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God. With every act of love, there is the Kingdom. With every act of forgiveness, there is the Kingdom. Every act of generosity and kindness sees its inauguration. As Christ told us, “The Kingdom of God is among you.”
Modernity is the practice and faith of gross idolatry. We worship technology, money, politics, science, everything that we believe is a human tool capable of building a better world. No tool is any better or different than the people who use them. A bad man cannot use a good tool to make a good world. A bad man makes a bad world and nothing more.
When we were baptized, we were asked to renounce the devil. More than that, we were asked to spit on him. That same devil suggested to Christ that he could make the world a better place if only He would bow down and worship the devil. Christ rebuked him. The same offer has been made to us. It is called “modernity,” and it is a devil’s bargain.
It is for us to renounce him, and spit on him along with his bargain. Christ will give us back our souls.
There are right and wrong questions. When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will not be asked whether we made a difference or whether we left the world a better place. The questions will be about the commandments. Feeding, clothing, visiting, etc., are very homely practices (Matt. 25). It doesn’t take all of the resources of the modern world to do them. They are all immediately at hand.
The better world and making a difference is a conversation we should refuse to engage: it does not belong to us. Speak the truth. Keep the commandments. Let God make all the difference in the world.
Source: Fr Stephen Freeman, ‘You Barely Make a Difference and It’s a Good Thing’, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/88354.htm, posted 3 Dec 2015, accessed 15 Dec. 2015
. . .
We are, in fact, all headed in the same direction human life has always gone: death. No technology can change this fact. At most, it can create new scenery as a diversion along the way. In general, the term “better” refers to “less suffering.” By a “better world” we simply mean a world with less suffering. But, like death itself, suffering is a fact of life. We suffer in different ways, some of them begotten by technology itself, but no amount of technology will ever change the landscape of human existence into a journey devoid of suffering. In the modern narrative, what is abolished is a reason to suffer. Suffering is understood as evil. But if it is unavoidable, then the modern project will always fail, and by refusing to rightly understand suffering, it renders suffering itself to be unbearable.
What We Can Do
Only an understanding of the Good can provide a proper measure for “better.” But the various philosophies that undergird modernity reject the notion of the Good. Christians in the modern world have all too readily translated the Christian gospel into the terms of the modern narrative. The Kingdom of God cannot (and must not) be equated with an improved world. Though the relief of suffering is often a very good thing, it is not necessarily an inherently good thing. Christ did not die in order to make a better world – He died in order to raise us from the dead.
That Paschal reality unites us to Christ’s death and resurrection and this becomes the measure and true vehicle of our existence. An alternate way to think about suffering is to ask, “How can I help you bear legitimate suffering?” There is no such thing as a non-suffering human existence. In the end, those who imagine the relief of suffering to be the overriding goal of life, will also accept death as a means to achieve it. Abortion and euthanasia are modern efforts whose use is defended as a relief of suffering. Putting someone to death certainly relieves suffering, after a fashion. A massive nuclear strike could end all suffering – for ever. It is, strangely, a logical conclusion that has so far been overlooked.
Overlooked by those who choose to use the language of modernity to describe the Christian life (“better world”) is the fact that such a description or self-understanding makes the Church just one more partner in the common secular effort to make the world marginally better. Christ founded the Church as His body, not as the Rotary Club. The fact that many members of the Church cannot give a description of a substantial difference between the purpose of Rotary and the Church is a testament to the power of the modern narrative. (Incidentally, Rotary has much more stringent attendance rules).
There is a “spirituality” that naturally flows from the modern drive for improvement and progress. Spiritual growth is cast in terms of improvement, getting better. And though Protestant and Evangelical theology classically champion the work of grace, modernity has high-jacked their movements and replaced them with self-improvement. Grace has been reduced to God agreeing to grade us on a curve.
The Classical Christian life, as described in the New Testament, is grounded in weakness and true grace (the Divine Energies). Our modern instincts urge us to try harder and get better. The New Testament tells us that we are saved in our weakness: the way down is the way up. Modernity has turned Christianity on its head and converted us into a society of the above average.
And this is very much my point. The critique of modernity is not the complaint of a curmudgeonly priest. It is a cry for us to return to the faith as it was once and for all delivered to the saints. The modern mind instinctively rejects the Cross as a way of life while the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11) instinctively rejects modernity.
For while we are commanded to do good, to share, to serve, to love, to forgive, we do these things knowing that all of our efforts do not change the world. The slogans of “making a difference” and “making the world a better place” are illusions, figments of our imagination. They entice us to plot and plan, argue and harangue. They do not nurture the spirit nor point us towards the way of Christ.
Source: Fr Stephen Freeman, ‘Modern Illusions’, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/88829.htm, posted 16 Dec. 2015, accessed 15 Dec. 2015
Friday, December 18, 2015
With Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky.
Many thanks to the folks at these web sites for their helpful lists:
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I pledge allegiance
to the Flag
of the Transnational Corporations of the Globe,
and to the New World Order
for which it stands,
under No One,
with sitcoms and warfare for all.
* * *
‘The New World Order of Global Warfare’:
‘Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings (Psalm 140:1-4 KJV).’
Friday, December 11, 2015
Fr Andrew Phillips has a few more words we should hear:
. . . We are reminded of the ever-memorable Fr John Romanides ‘Wyoming syndrome’ parallel. He said: ‘Try to imagine that everything in the USA has disappeared except Wyoming; this is what modern Greece has been since the fall of Constantinople – a provincial fragment of a once great empire. And this is what the modern Ukraine is: a fragment left over from a once great empire. What was that empire and how was its destruction organized?
The Empire was the multinational Christian Empire of Holy Rus and its destruction has been planned by the enemies of Christ over a century, in three different phases:
1. In 1914 there began the first phase in their operation to destroy the Christian Empire of Holy Rus, the Russian Empire, replacing it in 1917 with a militant atheist ideology developed in Western Europe. Three generations passed.
2. In 1991 there began the second phase, for it was to dismantle the successor Empire, the Soviet Union, which contained the Russian Empire’s cultural heritage, reducing it to oligarch corruption, dependence and poverty. One generation passed.
3. In 2014 there began the third phase, as it marked the beginning of the occupation of one of the countries that belongs to the former Christian Empire of Holy Rus, the Ukraine.
The coming months may mark either the End of that Empire or else its Restoration, when on the world stage the Lion will reprove the Eagle. On page 16 of the book ‘Elder Schema-Archimandrite Jonah of Odessa’ (1925-2012), recounting the life of the clairvoyant healer and prophet, we find the Odessa Elder’s words written:
‘We ask all Russians to pray that an Orthodox Tsar be granted us. If there is a Tsar in Russia, then he will be God’s Anointed. The grace of God will be upon him and then there will be a great help for Russia’.
May Thy Will be done, O Lord!
Source: ‘In the Ukraine’, http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/in-the-ukraine/, posted 2 Dec. 2015, accessed 6 Dec. 2015
As Fr Andrew and others have said, should the Tsar return to Russia, then many will come to salvation because of his strivings against the enemies of the Orthodox Church. This period in world history was described by Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose (+1982) of Platina, California, in one of his talks that was delivered on 3 Aug. 1981:
In the book which most thoroughly describes the events to occur at the end of the world, the Apocalypse of St. John the Theologian, at the opening of the seventh seal, which precedes the final plague to come upon mankind; it is said that there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour [Apoc 8:1]. Some have interpreted this to mean a short period of peace before the final events o world history — namely, the short period of the restoration of Russia, when the preaching of world-wide repentance will begin with Russia — that “new, ultimate word” which even Dostoyevsky hoped Russia would give to the world [Pushkin Speech, The Diary of a Writer, tr. Boris Brasol, New York, George Braziller, 1954, p. 980]. Under present world conditions, when the events of one country are known to the whole world almost instantly, and when Russia, cleansed by the blood of its martyrs, indeed has a better chance than any other country to awake from the sleep of atheism and unbelief — we can already conceive the possibility of such an event. As Father Dimitry Dudko and others have said, it cannot be that the blood of Russia's innumerable martyrs will be in vain; undoubtedly it is the seed of the last great flowering of true Christianity.
Source: ‘The Future of Russia and the End of the World’, http://www.desertwisdom.org/dttw/truth/fr-seraphim-rose/russia.html, accessed 7 Sept. 2015
Pray for Russia, O Southron, and for the return of the Tsar!
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
A change seems to be coming for the world. Dmitry Lapa writes,
. . .
Over the past 150 years, the relics of a number of early English saints have either been miraculously rediscovered or returned to England from other countries. There are numerous cases of miracles through these saints’ prayers and apparitions of them to people. Thus, St. Botolph of Iken more than once rescued travelers from imminent death in a visible way; the residents of the tiny town Dorchester-on-Thames near Oxford, where relics of the Apostle of Wessex St. Birinus are kept in the abbey church, have seen him at night walking along the streets as if guarding his flock; likewise, residents of Beverley near York have seen the holy Hierarch and Wonderworker John of Beverley walking in the town. He is a great intercessor for his people who saved the place from destruction many times; the Venerable Bede has appeared to people (including one Orthodox bishop) near his shrine at Durham Cathedral; miracles, including a vision of an angel, have occurred in the Church of St. Mary in Lastingham where the relics of St. Cedd of Essex rest. And these are only some cases of miracles. Also, in 2013, the possible relics of the Holy and Righteous King Alfred the Great were uncovered in the church of St. Bartholomew in Winchester. These remains are now being examined by scientists. The Lord is speaking to us through His faithful servants in our difficult and unstable times, when many people and even entire nations urgently need to remember and return to the life and merits of their pious, Orthodox forebears.
. . .
Source: ‘Saint Edwin of Northumbria, King and Martyr, and Saint Ethelburgh, Queen and Abbess of Lyminge’, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/87056.htm, posted 25 Oct. 2015, accessed 16 Nov. 2015
Father Andrew Phillips may have put his finger on the cause of this outpouring of grace:
As for the lion whom you saw rousing up out of the forest and roaring and speaking to the eagle and reproving him for his unrighteousness and all his words that you have heard, this is the Anointed One, Whom the Most High has kept until the end of the days against them and their impieties…He will denounce them for their ungodliness and their wickedness and will cast up before them their contemptuous dealings…He will deliver in mercy the remnant of My people, those who have been preserved within My borders, and He will make them joyful until the end comes, the Day of Judgement…
(3 Esdras 12, 31-32 and 34 – the last book of the Russian Orthodox Old Testament; in the Protestant RSV this appears as 2 Esdras)
. . .
Today is the time of St John the Baptist. We are being called on to prepare the way for the enthronement of the new Emperor of the Christian Empire of Rus. He will be, by the grace and anointing of the Church, the only protector of Christians from those who are preparing the coming of Antichrist on Zion, even arranging in Paris the largest gathering of world leaders in history. Our destiny is to fight in the mystical battle against spiritual impurity and slander.
Last week I prayed in Odessa as a pilgrim at the grave of the humble Elder Jonah (+ 2012). Are his prophecies regarding the Ukraine and all Rus in 2016 to be realized? All depends on our repentance. All the fragments of Holy Rus, ‘the footstool of the Kingdom of Heaven’, in the words of St John of Kronstadt, are to be guarded, propagated and gathered together before the end. All Orthodox of all nationalities who know what is prophesied in the holy book of Esdras (3 Esdras 12, 30-34 and 3 Esdras 15, 8-63), the enthronement of the last Christian Emperor before the end, are to repent and show the way.
Source: ‘Prophetic Times’, http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/prophetic-times/, posted 30 Nov. 2015, accessed 6 Dec. 2015
And what shall we do in the South? Are we so sunk down in the mire of imported Fundamentalism and Dispensationalism that we will not run to Russia’s aid (and thus to our own and all the world’s as well)? Has our worship of ‘American Exceptionalism’, of the idols of American constitutionalism and consumerism, become so ingrained that we would ræther leave Orthodox Christian Russia to the mercy of the devil-worshipping, New World Order-promoting, Corporatacracy (which now controls so many of the American Empire’s institutions and has lusted for the murder Holy Russia for more than a hundred years)? Forbid it, Almighty God!
Come to your senses, Southrons. Embrace the True Faith of your forebears, and pray for and help in every way you can your friends in Russia.
Friday, December 4, 2015
How can Southerners and other good-hearted folks escape the Bacchanalia of ðe (the) modern West? One very important step would be returning to the Christian tradition of fasting found in the Orthodox Church, which both Protestants and Catholics have largely abandoned since their being sundered from her:
Fasting is not very alive and well in the Christian world. Much of that world has long lost any living connection with the historical memory of Christian fasting. It is as though they were Jews who heard there was such a thing as kosher and decided to make up the rules for what to eat and what not to eat because no one knew what was actually kosher.
There are other segments of Christendom who have tiny remnants of the traditional Christian fast, but in the face of a modern world have reduced the tradition to almost meaningless self-sacrifice.
. . .
Fasting is not dieting. Fasting is not about keeping a Christian kosher. Fasting is about hunger and humility (which is increased as we allow ourselves to become weak). Fasting is about allowing our heart to break.
I have seen greater good accomplished in souls through their failure in the fasting season than in the souls of those who “fasted well.” Publicans enter the kingdom of God before Pharisees pretty much every time.
Why do we fast? Perhaps the more germane question is “why do we eat?” Christ quoted Scripture to the evil one and said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We eat as though our life depended on it and it does not. We fast because our life depends on the word of God.
. . .
Christianity as a religion – as a theoretical system of explanations regarding heaven and hell, reward and punishment, is simply Christianity that has been distorted from its true form. Either we know the living God or we have nothing. Either we eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us. The rejection of Hesychasm is the source of all heresy.
Why do we fast? We fast so that we may live like a dying man – and in dying we can be born to eternal life.
Source: Fr Stephen Freeman, ‘Why We Fast’, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/87798.htm, posted 28 Nov. 2015, accessed 1 Dec. 2015
For more on Christian fasting: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/50335.htm
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Your wait is over!
The Second Coming
You have longed for
Has come to pass:
Not of Jesus
Whom you honor
With your lips,
But of Bacchus
Whom you honor
With your deeds.
And, lo, great wonder!
You witness his
Coming not once only,
But once every year.
See how kindly the god
Condescends to dwell
In your mortal flesh,
Like the demons
In the swine herd!
Such grace he bestows!
He gives you to gorge
On food and wine
Until even violated nature
Feels a deeper shame.
Then with bulging, cloudy eyes
You are invited to watch
The blessed magic screen
Till they are nigh burned out.
But the highest ecstasy
He gives last, for
He is a loving god:
Brother waylays brother
With frenzied fist
For shoddy, slave-made treasure,
Which only seems to grow in value
The more it is sprinkled
With flecks of human blood.
Give thanks! Give thanks!
To Bacchus, America, your most beloved benefactor!
Give thanks! Give thanks!
To your god, America, now and forevermore!
Friday, November 27, 2015
When a politician
Says in a speech a thing
The people know he doesn’t mean,
Many call the lie a throwaway line
And let him be, for, so wise,
They have outgrown wrong and right.
When, just as heedless, men and women
Offer a prayer of thanks to God the King,
Whether long or short, thoughtful or hurried,
They too have not simply
Thrown away some empty
Lines, but all their being.
Monday, November 23, 2015
With the South’s double-mindedness on Christian art, which icons might speak to the souls of Southrons as they make timid steps towards the Orthodox Church?
As was said aforetime, given the mindfulness of the South towards the Savior, icons of Jesus Christ ought to surprise no one.
(Icon available here: http://www.bostonmonks.com/product_info.php/cPath/27_48/products_id/108)
As well, because of the tradition of chivalry she has inherited, Dixie has always been a land where women, and particularly mothers, are held in high honor. The Alabamian Alexander B. Meek is perhaps the poet par excellence of this longing of the South’s to venerate women. Again and again, his poems praise women and mothers, speak of the beauty of Southern women, dwell on the yearning of the knightly man for his maiden. His poems ‘My Mother’ and ‘A Soldier’s Love Dream’ (from Songs and Poems of the South, 1857, pgs. 115-7, 119-20) show forth this mindset very well:
My mother !—at that dear and sacred word,
What thoughts, deep-treasured in this breast, are stirr'd;
How speeds my heart back to long vanished hours,
When life was sunshine, o'er a path of flowers !—
When the young spirit, like an April bird,
Poured forth glad music, in each sinless word !
Boyhood's lost Eden, at that mention, beams.
Its curving sky,—its clear and laughing streams ;—
Its hopes, its pleasures—fancies and its fears,
Its wild ambitionings—its easy tears,
All—all arise, like stars at even-time.
And shed their softness on my manhood's prime !
I see each favorite spot, where then I roved,—
The foes I hated, and the friends I loved !
My morning sports, sweet, innocent and pure,—
My sunset rambles by the river's shore,
Like dreams, return,—and oh, more dear than these,
My night-time worship, at my mother's knees !—
When she, as low my faltering prayers I said,
Invoked heaven's blessings on her first-born's head!
Mother !—dear mother !—though my heart hath grown,
As manhood's will, by care, well nigh to stone,—
Though with a cold, indifferent eye, I gaze
On the fair scenes, that charmed my earlier days,—
And scarce a joy, that, flower-like, wreathed my heart.
In life's young morn, hath, in its noon, a part,—
Though the dear friends, I loved so fondly then.
Have left my side, or grown to cold-browed men,—
And I now mingle in life's fever-fray.
With little lingering of that better day,—
Yet still, my mother, unto thee my breast
Turns, as the ark-dove, to its only rest,
And finds its hopes, affections, feelings, there.
Mirrored in kindness, unestranged by care,—
Twines round thy bosom, as the vine that clings
Around the oak, from which its nurture springs,
And unto thee, its filial worship gives.
As e'er it will, whilst its pulsation lives,
With a devotion fonder, deeper far,
Than the rapt Chaldean pays his idol star !
Yes ! dearest mother !—though mine eyes have seen
Full many a brow, as fair as Paphia's queen,—
Though oft, bewildered, I have gazed on forms
Would madden seraphs, with their starry charms,—
And felt their influence o'er my feelings reign,
Like night's pale maiden, o'er the restless main,—
Yet still, my mother, I have never found
One who could claim affections so profound,—
So free from selfishness,—so pure and strong,—
As these, which ever unto thee belong.
Thy high, pale brow, —thy soft and tender eye,—
Thy gentle smile,—thy dear maternal sigh,—
Thy changeless love,—are dearer far, to me.
Than fame's bright baubles are, or e'er can be !
I would not give one kindly word of thine.
For all the music poured at Beauty's shrine !
And oh ! when life's last pulses cease to play,
And all its dreams, like eve-clouds, melt away,
Upon my heart, undimmed by time or care.
Thy name will stand, MY MOTHER ! —written there !
From ‘A Soldier’s Love Dream’
. . .
And now, though mountains intervene,
And ocean spreads his waves between,—
Though toil and strife are 'round me here,
And " war's red banners flout the air, "—
I turn awhile from them away,
And dedicate to thee this lay,—
To thee, whose young and sinless heart.
Is Virtue's own peculiar shrine,—
Where Love and Genius grace impart,
And Beauty's lustres softly shine.
To thee,—my light,—my life,—my star !
Whose radiance glimmers from afar.
O'er mount, and plain and heaving sea.
And fills my breast with thoughts of thee !
With these sentiments etched within the hearts of Southerners, we may likewise expect to see icons of our Lord’s All Pure and Holy Mother in the South, whose life free of all blemishes and full of beautiful virtues made her worthy to become the living Tabernacle of God the Word.
(Icon available here: http://www.bostonmonks.com/product_info.php/cPath/27_49/products_id/51)
Beyond our Lord and His Holy Mother, the whole tirfæst (glorious) host of saints from Dixie’s fatherlands in Western Europe and Africa waits to be discovered: Anthony the Great and Pachomius the Great of Egypt, Ælfred the Great of England, Andrew the Holy Apostle (patron saint of Scotland), and so many others.
(St Pachomius receiving the Rule from an angel for organizing communal monastic life. Icon from this site: http://oca.org/saints/lives/2013/05/15/101384-venerable-pachomius-the-great-founder-of-coenobitic-monasticism)
Paintings and pictures have long been used to remember and honor family, friends, and other praiseworthy men and women. The South’s Heavenly Family - Christ our Lord and Master, the Holy Apostles and Prophets, and saints and angels of all kinds - now await their turn to receive honor and glory through the veneration of their icons in churches, homes, schools, businesses, senates, and so on. How long, O Southron?