Saturday, March 19, 2016

Five Considerations in Face of a Fight that Seems Disproportional

Written by John Horvat
So many times, people become discouraged by all the trials and obstacles they face. The struggle to lead a life of Catholic virtue seems huge and disproportional. This is especially true of our neo-pagan world where all sorts of vice and temptations constantly appear before us.
In times of discouragement, it is good to remember that God does not put us into situations that are beyond our ability to overcome. In fact, with God on our side, the fight to remain faithful is not at all disproportional since we have all the conditions for victory.
However, it would be good to list five considerations we can make that will give us the upper hand when temptation comes. These considerations help show why this fight is not disproportional. In this way, we can act with energy and conviction in times of trials and temptations.
The first consideration is one of perspective. The fight is not disproportional to one who has the proper perspective. If we look at it simply from our own human perspective, we are cutting ourselves short. We need to see the big picture of the fight between good and evil, and Who’s side it is that we are fighting on. Like Saint Michael, we are forced to fight a battle beyond our means. But because Saint Michael had eyes only for the honor and glory of God, he did not withdraw inward, but jumped to defend God’s honor. In the big picture, God always wins, and He invites us to participate in His victory. We must strengthen within ourselves the conviction that He will win. We should see the beauty of our struggle and thank God for placing us in it.
Next, we must have an attitude of engaging in the struggle without hesitation. The fight is not disproportional to one who is heroic. However, it must be a heroism based on convictions not emotions. On this firm foundation, we are able to do what must be done, cost what it may, no matter how absurd it may seem. If we do this, we will have conditions to defend the Faith and resist sin.
A proper understand of suffering is the next consideration. The fight is not disproportional to one who understands the need to suffer. We must understand that suffering is part of our lives as a result of Original Sin. When we suffer, we make amends for our sins and build in ourselves strong character and integrity. To the extent that we reject suffering, we are like thieves and fraudsters who seek to avoid paying the tribute for our own faults.
The next consideration involves service to God and Our Lady. The fight is not disproportional to one who considers the God we serve and Our Lady who has pity on us. We must consider the fact that God so loved us as to die on the Cross for our sins. He offered Himself as the Divine Victim to placate His Own justice. In face of such a good God, how can our attitude not be one of giving ourselves entirely to Him? How can it not be offering ourselves to Our Lady who can obtain all things for us? By putting ourselves in their service, we secure their overwhelming help since we serve their cause.
The fifth consideration involves accepting things with resignation. The fight is not disproportional to one who desires the greatest glory for the Church, but is content with the least that is given to us. In this way, we will be content in either joyful or sorrowful times, in times of grace or aridity, in victory and defeat. We will put God at the center of things and ourselves wherever He desires we be. This gives us the courage to be filled with hope and peace when God gives us trials and tribulations.
Finally, the fight is not disproportional to one who prays. An attitude of one who constantly is asking will obtain results. We must be confident that God will hear our prayers and grant us what is best for our salvation.
These five considerations should help convince those in trial that the fight is not disproportional. In fact, if there is a disproportional factor, it is on our side. We worship an almighty and powerful God. His grace can touch and change the most hardened sinner. His wrath can overcome the most challenging obstacles. It is with convictions like these that we should engage in the fight to be faithful to God in these difficult and sinful times.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

5 Things That Have Turned Us Into a Nation of Whiners

On campuses nationwide, students have whined about what they call “micro-aggressions.”
People suffering from “micro-aggressions” are offended by tiny acts that might in some slight way, point to politically incorrect behavior. The offended student then feels free to demand changes from college administrators in a very macro-aggressive way. Such an attitude is an example of what has turned the country into a nation of whiners.
To understand the problem of how society has come to this point, a well-known philosopher wrote a commentary some time ago that describes five things that lead people to become so hypersensitive. The list is very helpful to see where society has gone wrong and where it needs to go.
1. Treat Your Children As Equals and Fear Them
The list begins with the father who “accustoms himself to become like his child and to fear his sons.” This refers to parents who not only pamper but also put themselves in a position of equality with their children. It creates a situation where parents fear doing anything that might offend the children, who become very sensitive to being refused anything.
2. Teachers Flatter Your Pupils
The second item on the list is that of the school teacher “who fears and flatters his pupils.” Like the pampered son or daughter, this pupil is helped along and saved every effort lest the child feel overshadowed by the better students or made to feel the shame of failure. In schools with these teachers, there should be no winners in games or honor roll for studies as they safeguard tender sensibilities, now made ever more sensitive.
3. Elders and Youth Dress and Act Like Each Other
The next attitude involves the differences of age. This happens when “the young act like their seniors, and compete with them in speech [or] in action.” On their part, the old “condescend to the young and become triumphs of versatility and wit, imitating their juniors in order to avoid the appearance of being sour or despotic.” This also describes the modern illness of living out fantasies especially that of eternal youth. Everyone is encouraged to appear, act and dress like youth, even when one is old. Moreover it includes any other disorder and fantasy that people live out, and who become extremely sensitive when others do not play along.
4. Make Laws to Equalize Everything
And then there is the “wonderful equality of law” that seeks to equalize all that are not equal. Such laws reward the indolent and penalize those who make more effort as might be seen, for example, in punitive taxation.
5. Equalize All Difference Between Men and Women
Finally, there is that liberty, which “prevails in the mutual relations of men and women.” This can be seen in the sexual revolution that makes all promiscuous relationships equal to those of marriage and family. This attitude leads to bitter complaints against those who would be so insensitive as to prevent them from total free love or oppose abortion, its natural consequence.
Result: A Nation of Whiners
The conclusion rings so true for the present times. It reads: “The main result of all these things, taken together, is that it makes the soul of the citizens so sensitive that they take offense and will not put up with the faintest suspicion” of a strong authority which is likened to “slavery.”

In this way, so many have become part of a nation of whiners who cannot bear the burden of contradiction from those around them. To those who whine, freedom consists only in the absence of opposition to whatever one wants to do. When opposition appears, it must be exterminated or silenced. They especially target the restraining influence of Christian morality, which they see as a strong authority similar to slavery.
Little do such people realize that they are the least free of men since they are tyrannized by their shifting passions and appetites. In a similar way, a society of whiners is hardly free because when one does not exercise interior restraint and exterior restraint becomes even more necessary to keep order.
Actually, no modern scholar wrote this commentary. The school of human behavior changes little over the ages. This ancient observer shares wisdom valid for all times and places. His name is Plato and this particular passage can be found in his famous work, “The Republic.”
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Friday, March 4, 2016

One Word Missing in the Election Debates

Listening to the rhetoric in the present political cycle, there seems to be a missing word.
It is not “angst” or “frustration,” neither “equality” nor “jobs” or even the latest buzzword, “establishment.”
All these words are thrown around in the present debate. Being true politicians, candidates pepper their speeches with them, while promising everything to maximize voter benefits and placate their concerns. The word “anti-establishment” is now all the rage, even among those who actually benefited from being part of it.
The race is like an electoral supermarket, where voters can find all these words and promises, but it seems to do little to satisfy their agitated mood.
One aisle offers lower taxes (for most) or higher taxes (on others), free healthcare, free college, and jobs of every size and shape. Down another aisle, one can find less bureaucracy, fewer government programs, or increased military spending. There are special displays for classic socialism or socialism lite. Everything can be found save the missing word, so necessary to fix our nation’s problems at its very core.
Two factors help explain voter discontent and the need for this missing word in the present debates.
The first is an internal factor: America’s institutions are crumbling. They no longer provide the solutions they once did. High on the list are government institutions that burden society with the weight of their cost and the rigidity of their regulations. To this can also be added declining schools, communities and churches.

Behind these crumbling institutions are the ruins of broken lives and relationships. One can also see the effects of hurried and stressful lives lived in what might be called the frenetic intemperance of the times where everyone must have everything instantly and effortlessly. And when one is not given everything, there are resentful cries of “unfairness” and “injustice” against a broken “establishment.”
That is why there are desperate calls for replacements or solutions that harken back to better times. Behind the anti-establishment angst is a desire for a quick fix to reconstruct the old establishment the way it used to be before it went awry, or to try new alternatives that offer an easy way out. Anything, that is, save one based on the key missing word, which no one dares to mention.
There is a second factor behind the discontent. This one is external. The old world order is breaking down. America is threatened by Islamic terrorism, global economic downturns, and disastrous foreign policy decisions. The world is a mess. People feel the uncertainty and insecurity of new world disorder.
Both factors are causing an immense anxiety that nothing in the electoral supermarket of benefits, free stuff and jobs can assuage. What is needed, and needed now, is the missing word lacking amid so much rhetoric. That word is sacrifice.
The crisis that the nation now faces is so huge that it will not be resolved without a spirit of sacrifice on the part of all Americans. Candidates need to have the courage to make this call that so contradicts a frenetically intemperate world. Such a call also presupposes higher ideals and causes that inspire people to selfless action.
Some might object that a call to sacrifice is political suicide in today’s climate. The supermarket is the safer course. But the nation’s history testifies to the contrary.
Whenever the call to sacrifice sounds, Americans rise to the occasion with great valor, Americans have always responded with touching dedication and generous hearts as they defend other and aid nations in distress. The sacrifices of American soldiers hold a special place in the hearts of most Americans who are deeply moved by their devoted service and selflessness, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and did not return.
Sacrifice. A noble word. And one missing in the debates. It’s not the only word needed, but it is a good start.
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One Word Missing in the Election Debates -: One Word Missing in the Election Debates