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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Love of Wisdom (philo-sophy)

by Larry Fox
Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the God’s Holy Spirit poured upon the man and woman of Faith. Wisdom is the gift which brings order to all things including the other six (6) gifts (Fear of the Lord, Piety, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, & Fortitude).
Wisdom is the gift which enables man and woman of faith to grasp the purpose of things as intended by their Creator.
O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who made all things by your word, and by your wisdom formed man to have dominion over all creatures that you have made and to rule the world in holiness and righteousness and to pronounce judgment in the uprightness of soul, grant to me the Wisdom that sits by your throne and do not reject me from among your servants… Book of Wisdom 9:1-6, 9-11.
A person with the Gift of Wisdom recognizes the order and purpose of earthly and heavenly things and judges what is good and what is evil accordingly:
• And God said: “Let us make man in our own image and likeness.” – Genesis 1:24.
• “God blessed them and said to them be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.” – Genesis 1:28
• “A man shall leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” –Genesis 2:24.
• “Let your love be sincere, hate what is evil and cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9.
• “Jews demand miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ Crucified: a stumbling block for the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” – 1 Corinthians 1:22.

Without this Gift of Wisdom, man and woman are prone to live in foolishness: both in theory and in practice:
• Foolishness in knowledge, understanding, and the practice of counsel.
• Foolishness in fear of the lord and the practice of piety.
• And foolishness in the practice of fortitude.
For the fool perseveres in acts of chaos, invents gods, and practices superstition and witchcraft, and judges things based upon mal-adjusted emotions leading to the malpractice of judgment: teaching GOOD to be EVIL and EVIL to be GOOD.
For into a malicious soul, wisdom shall not enter; nor dwell in the body that is subjected by sin. For the holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and be remove from thoughts that are without understanding, and will not live in the soul of man when unrighteousness enters in (Wisdom 1: 4).
The Gift of Wisdom comes to those moved by the Holy Spirit to Faith in God. [Reference Topic on Faith]
The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and there is good understanding to all that practice it. Piety towards God is the beginning of discernment; but the ungodly will not tolerate wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1: 7).
The Gift of Wisdom is manifested within the Deposit of Faith (Oral and Written) which is preserved and guarded by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ and His Cross is the Wisdom of God, foolishness to the Greek and a Scandal to the Jew.
God chose us in Jesus Christ before the world began to be holy and blameless in his sight. He predestined us to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ; such was his will and pleasure, that all might praise the glorious favor he has bestowed upon us in his beloved son. In him and through his blood, we have been redeemed and our sins forgiven so immeasurable generous is God’s favor to us. God has given us the wisdom to understand fully the mystery, the plan he was to decree in Christ. A plan to be carried out in Christ, in the fullness of time, to bring all things into one in him, in the heavens and on earth (Ephesians 1:3-10).
So the purpose and ordering of human life is to live in a holy communion with God as adopted sons and daughters – and that is what we are in Christ Jesus. To order one’s life as an adopted son and a daughter of God is to Live and Love Wisdom.
Virtue, Justice, and Wisdom
On the natural level, Virtue is the art and practice of governing one’s actions, and the ordering of one’s passions. On a supernatural level, Virtue is the art and practice of goodness. God’s Grace and Gifts build upon nature not destroying it. As such, through God’s Grace and Gifts, virtue becomes the art of governing and ordering one’s passions for good and not vice or evil. A person of faith is tutored in the practice of virtue while reading Sacred Scripture and the Lives of the Saints. The heroes of virtue are the Saints- who received the Crown of glory at journey’s end.
There are moral virtues and theological virtues. Four pivotal virtues for moral behavior and the governance of societies are prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude.
The three theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity.
The Gift of Wisdom is foundational for the development and practice of virtue. Actions based upon wisdom promote virtuous habits. Discernment and counsel which flow from wisdom promote the common good.
All of man’s actions are moral and directed towards either virtue or vice. Conscience - the director of man’s actions - is the exercise of judgment based upon knowledge. But what knowledge: God’s Revelation, the World, the Flesh, or the pomp’s of the Devil?
It is sophomoric to say, “My actions are based upon my conscience” as if conscience was the canon for validating one’s actions. Conscience - if free and truly exercised - is objectively the cause of one’s action and as such the condition for being properly judged. If conscience is not free, then the cause of one’s actions is subjective.
Jesus said: “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but since you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:41).
Without the Gift of Wisdom, vice builds upon the foundation of foolishness. Actions based upon foolishness promote habits which are destructive. Discernment and counsel which flow from vice, decrease the common good and society moves toward moral anarchy.
If there was a phrase which most aptly described the “progressive movement” in the Church and in Secular Society it would be “vice progressing towards moral anarchy.” Moral anarchy flows from rebellion, which is described in Divine Revelation as Witchcraft (Sorcery). It is the opposite of Order, the opposite of Wisdom, the opposite of Divine Revelation and Satanic in origin. The fruit of the progressive movement in the Church is evidenced by the very many and costly scandals.
The Gift of Wisdom is critical for those who teach, judge, and govern in the home and in secular and religious society. Without wisdom the foundations of the soul, family life, communities, and societies will crumble and be destroyed.
In the Lord I have taken refuge. How can you say to my soul: Fly like a bird to the mountain. See the wicked bracing their bow; they are fixing their arrows on the string to shoot upright men in the dark. FOUNDATIONS ONCE DETROYED, WHAT CAN THE JUST DO (Psalm 10)?
The key stratagem to the progressive movement is teach and to legislate that there is no purpose for things, no virtue, all ideas are equally valid, nothing can be distinguished, and the bulwark of their abuse is “Civil Rights.” Observe those who speak of justice and civil rights, while at the same time despise moral truth, natural law, and Divine Revelation. Strange to hear from people who lie and break the laws of entry into this Country, the cry for Civil Rights.
How does Justice support Virtue?
“God said let there be light and saw that is was good.”
Example 1: On a natural level, the function and therefore the virtue of the eye is to see. The doctor who supports the virtue of the eye practices justice. The doctor who diminishes the virtue of the eye practices in-justice. Read Plato’s Republic!
Example 2: On a supernatural level, the virtue of the eye is to see the beauty and providence of God in all His works and to be a window of goodness and truth to the soul. In order to Glorify God with one’s eyes, the sense(s) need to sanctify. The person who teaches the soul to sanctify their senses by fasting, prayer, and the reading of good literature practices justice.
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent and praise worthy – think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
The person who diminishes beauty with profanity, stirring up the concupiscence of the eye with lust, greed, avarice, murder, sloth, anger, and deception practices in-justice. The person who strives against sanctity and sanctification practices in-justice.
NOTE: Religious teaching which diminishes the role of sanctification as something peripheral to salvation and justification promotes in-justice.
Virtue, Goodness, and Human Life
My friend once asked me, what is the nature of good? The rich man called Jesus good and Jesus replied: “Why do you call me good, only God is good. “
God is the origin and nature of good. If one’s actions have their origins in God then they are good. Since God is immutable, then good is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As such, what was good in the beginning (Genesis) remains good and what was identified as not good is today (SHOCKING) not good.
Creation, order, generation of life, marriage between man and woman, fruitfulness in marriage, friendship with God and obedience to God’s word were identified as good in the beginning.
In a phenomenological sense, when Adam and Eve put their hands to the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” what they set into motion was the disastrous notion that THEY (WE) COULD DISCERN AND KNOW GOOD AND EVIL APART FROM GOD’s WORD. Is that not the perverted standard for today, the litmus test for progressive and unwise judgment?
God is love (agape) and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him. This love is good for its origins are in God: Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7).
But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5: 22).
In opposition, we find disordered love to be impatient, unkind, envies, boasts, is proud, is rude, is self-seeking, and is easily angered, it keeps record of wrong, delights in evil and rejoices with the lie. Evil always destroys, always promotes infidelity, and always leads to despair, and always takes the easy road towards death.
The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live this will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5: 19).
I responded to my friend: “God is good, Human Life is good, and everything which seeks to promote and preserve human life from natural conception to natural death is good. Everything which deviates from this simple path leads to eventual evil and is not good. Tiny and continual steps away from the proven and revealed path of goodness, eventually leads to being lost.”
So simple and yet apart from God’s Gift of Wisdom and His Word impossible to grasp and live.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

RE: HOPE

Dear Larry and Susan,

I just read Larry's post on hope. Yes, we must always remember that hope is a virtue, one of the three theological virtues, and the most misunderstood and under appreciated. Hope has always been difficult for me. Only in the last few years, as I approach old age, have I begun to understand how important it is. How I wish they still taught about virtue and vice in school. Faith, hope, and charity, the theological virtues. Prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, the cardinal virtues. How can you cultivate something if you do not even know its name, what it is, how to define it?

Alas, virtues are mostly derided in our culture. Try talking to the average American about chastity and see how they react. They will think you are a religious nut case, if they have ever even heard the word.

Still, since hope is a virtue, we must seek it wherever we can, and nourish it, cherish it. Thank you for your post.

And I completely understand what you mean when you say that "violence is the modern cultural method for preventing and spacing the birth of children."

But I would not always have understood that statement so well, not even after my conversion to the Catholic faith.

When I think how deeply I was immersed in the ocean of lies that is the culture of death, it gives me, paradoxically, hope. Hope because I now begin to understand, comprehend. Only now, as I approach 60 years of age. Yes, when I converted at age 23 in 1974, God gave me the grace of contrition for my sins and a fervent desire to believe all that the Catholic Church holds and teaches. When he sent me my husband I wanted to live the sacrament and promised to accept children from God. We practiced natural family planning and had three wonderful children. I thought abortion was a great evil and sometimes sent money to pro-life groups like Human Life International. But I never went beyond that.

The culture of death is our ocean, the ocean of lies that we swim in, and fish are not aware of water. Most people in our secular culture are like the blind fish in the deepest part of the ocean; the weight of the waters of death keeps them in the dark. If they tried to swim toward the light they would literally explode. Only an infusion of grace can transform them, give them eyes to see and ears to hear and bring them up toward light and life. If I may continue this analogy, I think that God has completely transformed the living saints, the apostles of life like Fr. Frank Pavone and Mother Angelica. They are no longer fish, struggling to understand the water they swim in. I think of them as dolphins. They are still swimming in the ocean of lies, but they understand that trying to breathe in that water means literal death. They can swim to the surface, grab a lungful of life-giving air, and swim back down to communicate with the denizens of the deep. They are trying to help us grow lungs to breathe in the Gospel of Life.

Thanks to these modern apostles and their use of the media I am slowly beginning to understand the immensity of the evil of the culture of death. But because I am beginning to understand, and many other people are beginning to understand, I have hope. If someone like me can change, even a little, I must have hope. God can accomplish all things. Christ has overcome the world. What does that mean, exactly? I don't know, but I believe it. That must mean I have faith. Now if God would only instill in me the virtue of charity, I would have the big three!

Phoebe Wise

Sunday, August 15, 2010

PERFECTION AND IMMORTALITY: Mary's Fidelity to God

by Sally Govea

Aug. 15, 2010 --When God created man he was perfect and when something is perfect it does not corrupt. Therefore, man was immortal in body and soul. When Eve came along she was perfect as well, that is, before sin came into the picture and everything changed. Perfection is a perfect blending of our will with God’s We abuse our free will when we pull away from God’s will to do our own will; thus our free will is corrupted and this deterioration seeps into our life and our body is no longer immortal.

When Christ took on a human body, though He is perfect, He allowed His Body to die so it could live in a most mysterious manner in the Holy Eucharist.

Next to Christ, Mary was the most perfect in body and soul. She lived on earth, not in an earthly paradise, but in a spiritual paradise. Even before the Annunciation her soul welcomed the life of God within it and her soul never lost that Life—God’s will was Mary’s will. Because of this, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven by his infallible pronouncement in these words: “After frequently praying to God and invoking the light of the Spirit of truth, to the glory of Almighty God Who enriched the Virgin Mary with special favor, to the honor of her Son, the immortal King of ages and victor over death and sin, to the increase of the glory of His august Mother, to the joy and exultation of the whole Church, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and by Our own authority, We declare and define as a revealed dogma that the immaculate Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, when she had finished the course of her earthly life, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

By Mary’s fidelity to God she remained perfect and therefore, God granted her, according to His creation of the perfect man, immortality of both body and soul.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Loss of Hope in an Obama Era

by Lawrence Fox
Hope is the Theological Virtue of Expectation; an expectation rooted in a Promise. For the Christian, Hope is rooted in the Promises of Christ, such as the promises found within the Sermon on the Mount. Hope as a virtue is like a muscle, and the exercise for this muscle is fidelity to one's calling in life. Hope brings about the freedom from self. The opposite of Hope is despair which is rooted in self and self desecration and self destruction.
Despair (spiritual not chemical) is the opposite of Hope, and is the fruit of presumption and lack of fidelity. Lucifer exists in absolute despair...something to be grasped. A person of Hope gives of themselves. A person in despair demands things for themselves, like entitlement on steroids or like pundits who demand and call people bigots for seeing the wisdom and natural and created reality of male-female marriage for which there is the potential of real giving.
Soren Kierkegaard (Danish Philosopher) wrote a gifted essay titled: "Sickness unto Death." In this essay he describes hope and despair in relation with promise and fidelity. Pagan society (before Christianity) lived in a form of despair as evidenced by the practice of suicide so often clothed under a cultural virtue of dignity, and abhorrence for suffering.
But pagan society was searching for a promise.
With the Gospel and the promise of Redemption and Resurrection, the culture changed and Hope entered the vocabulary as a Theological Virtue. 400 years after the confusion stemming from the "Reformation" things have reversed. Society is in a worse state; now advocating for a culture of bareness, a promise of wealth without children, and commitments which cannot produce children naturally, and of course the promise of a safer planet which will be populated by people living in despair and demanding entitlement provided by the STATE which will be a tyrant run by leaders in greater despair.
Despair inflames fear which so often leads to violence. Violence let it be known is the modern cultural method for preventing and spacing the birth of children.
Sounds like HELL.

Monday, August 9, 2010

From Ground Zero to the Supreme Court Bench

By Lawrence Fox
America got hit with three (3) punches this week from New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. NYC leadership demonstrated no sense of remorse over 9/11 by supporting the building of a Mosque to near Ground Zero – which was made possible by multiplicity of persons who attended Mosques; A Fellow Practicing Judge in San Francisco rules that 7 million people who supported Proposition 8 in CA did so solely upon “Moral and Religious Sentiments” and therefore their actions were Unconstitutional even if the process was Constitutional; and the U.S. Senate gave a pass to an unqualified professor, who will now sit on the Supreme Court for Life and shows every sentiment to Rule with the Judge in SF Against Prop 8.

NY Mayor Bloomberg - who know for certain that a Tea Party Member upset with Obama Care was responsible for leaving a car loaded with explosives in a car in Times Square - is in desperate need of jobs and money and for sure the money will come pouring in from Saudi Arabia.

Oh yes Saudi Arabia that bastion of religious freedom unless of course if you are a jew, christian, bahia, sufi,and shiite muslim.

This Mosque has nothing to do with Mayor Bloomberg’s sense of religious freedom, the 1st Amendment and the sentiments of religious. No! the ever shameless Mayor Bloomberg attempted to legislate (maybe successfully)in NY the law that persons of moral pro-life faith who want to practice OBGYN in NY must first be educated in the finer practice of fetal removal from a woman’s womb. How the fetal (“Latin for little person”) got into the woman's womb no one knows. Yes, so much for religious and moral sentiments.

On the other side of the Country, the CA Court legislated the same sort of Bloomberg-ian sentiments (did I say legislate) when the court ruled that a doctor and pharmacist could not refuse to provide contraception to a minor nor refuse to perform in-vitro on non-married couples based upon their moral and religious sentiments. The one thing the CA Court did do right was identify “Catholic Charities” as a Secular Institution. To bad the CA Court has not ruled that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) is a Secular Institution. Can someone please tear up those worthless “Faithful Citizenship” pamphlets!

Image someone deciding something based upon moral and religious grounds? Not surprised by this decay of logic since U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun while deciding “Roe vs. Wade”, pontificated that since previous cultures - which were not impeded by moral and religious convictions - allowed abortion, there was room under the penumbra of the 14 Amendment to strike down State Laws which addressed moral issues based upon moral and religious sentiments. And besides, as he muses in his memoirs: “It was regrettable that my daughter while in College did not have the freedom to abort my grandchild [sic].”

Elana Kagan, who never sat on a Bench – except a park bench while eating Chinese Food on Christmas Eve will work hand and hand with U.S. Federal District Judge Vaughn R. Walker on the demise of Prop 8 and the 20+ states who have amended their State Constitutions and DOMA. Why? They are based upon "moral and religious sentiments."

I have been asked to FAST and make reparation for the things in my life which contributed to this demise of common sense and sensibilities.