_The Good Place_: “It’s All In Plato” and “These People Need Jesus.”

We have a saying in our house when TV shows get too morally or ontologically problematic: “These people need Jesus.”
C. S. Lewis says several places, himself following Chesterton, that everyone who thinks they’re saying something new is really saying something that one of the classical or medieval philosophers already said.  (snippet unfinished by John)

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Flannery and Psalm 19

When I first read Flannery O’Connor (also 20 years ago), I had the same reaction as Melody Lyons describes here. Since that time, after learning how much evil there is (and how much has been covered up in our society and church) , suffering through my own chronic health problems and my husband’s sufferings from Marfan syndrome and his death this past October, I have a whole new appreciation for Flannery.
“Show me what is my secret sin” (Psalm 19) is the purpose I think of all of her works. Reading her stories and essays, after understanding their anagogical meaning, does lead me to make a better Confession as I realize how much sin I tend to rationalize and excuse unknowingly instead of repenting and confessing it.     Father Theodore from the Norbertines wrote an excellent homily that encouraged and inspired me to pray the prayer of the psalmist.  (http://104.236.240.51/our-top-secret-sin?page=2 is the link if that one does not work.)   
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Ornan’s Threshing Floor and the Baptism of the Lord

Ornan the Jebusite offers his threshing room floor for sacrifice

Ornan the Jebusite offers David his threshing room floor for the sacrifice

In Acts 2, the early Church shared everything, even though they were being taxed by the pagan government.  In Second Kings and First Chronicles , David and his people suffered horribly because he took a census, described as “A satan–rose up against Israel, and he incited David to take a census of Israel.” In other words, the devil cajoled David such that trusted his own wisdom over that of God’s and doubted His Providence.  Given 3 choices, he chose to be punished by God for 3 days until he made the atonement.  Because of the generosity of a stranger, Ornan the Jebusite, who gave him the land, including his threshing room, and freely offered to pay the entire atonement, at the very spot that would house the Temple in Jerusalem, David and his sins for presuming God had not granted enough for the people, were atoned.  Interestingly, David turned down Ornan’s offer for it to be free, wanting to pay from his own stores.

Consider Matthew 3: 7-12:

7 But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit worthy of repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Jesus came when a “census of the whole world” was being done by the secular, pagan government and offered His Life, once and for all, in atonement for our sins and for the whole world, essentially paying the price for our taking a census, of saying, no God, there isn’t enough, we can’t provide for all, which is blasphemy, as He does indeed provide for all. That pride and greed is essentially where all the other sins come from.

It’s Caesar we worship when we refuse to help each other, saying it’s the government’s job or those in need should have planned better (taken a census) instead of our very duty as followers of Christ is to trust Him and do whatever *He* tells us. Read Matthew 25 for those responsibilities. No, I am not even talking about immigration matters, though that certainly is part of it. Asking myself how many times I have “taken a census” to avoid helping someone or put someone down, period, is a good examination of conscience.

Published on John’s Facebook page on October 6, 2018

Went to Confession today. Didn’t want to be a “10 minute Confession,” so I prayed a long time about it–including my post about the Saints last night–and I talked about my existential doubt/Dark Night, my doubt of the Church, and rash actions committed because I was really angry at God and didn’t realize it. Father said to pray the Glorious mysteries and focus on the third. Didn’t even say that Penance till later this evening, but when I came out of Confession, I sat down, rejoined the people saying the Sorrowful Mysteries in church, and felt a deep sense of God’s Presence to a level I haven’t felt in a long time, and didn’t think I’d ever feel again now that I ‘m in the last stages of the Dark Night. I felt so overwhelmed by JOY, by LOVE, by PEACE, that I practically felt like a Charismatic. I thought of Joy Davidman Lewis’s famous description of her conversion:
“All my defenses—the walls of arrogance and cocksureness and self-love behind which I hid from God—went down momentarily. And God came in.”

selective focus photo of brown and silver rosary

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Our Lady as Widow

It was my consolation from God on the night my husband died, to realize that of all the titles I had heard of Our Lady, widow was not one of them, but now I know intimately the pain she must have felt at St. Joseph’s death. I suddenly realized every time Jesus refers to a widow and/or an orphan, He refers to His Mother and Himself.   I found this article very helpful:

“The experience of Mary and her times of loneliness that arose from the circumstances of her life as the mother of Jesus is a reminder that Mary’s life was real and truly human.

She knew what it meant to be isolated, to fear, to experience terrible anxiety, loneliness, and hurt. For all her sinlessness, Mary’s life was filled with the faith-demanding events just mentioned. There likely were many more.”

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“A union of soul with soul more perfect”

My husband, John, the author of this blog, always said he was (_) with a life expectancy of 20. He had a genetic disorder, and so he and I discussed death probably way more than the average couple. I shared this in a discussion about what Heaven will be like, and I thought it might be helpful. It’s from a letter to a young widow by St. John Chrysostom:

But, as it is, we have been relieved from this apprehension, and we are firmly persuaded that in the great day he (the widow’s husband) will appear in much radiance, shining forth near the King, and going with the angels in advance of Christ and clad with the robe of unutterable glory, and standing by the side of the King as he gives judgment, and acting as one of His chief ministers. Wherefore desisting from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more delightful and far nobler kind.

accessory anniversary band celebration

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Written Christmas 2017 by Mary

Mary gave birth to Jesus in an animal shelter because the government (during the so-called Pax Romana) forced them to travel to a city with short notice, a city that should have had quite a few of their own relatives and friends in it to help them. Then, the government decided terrorizing families and killing the little ones born around that time was a good way to prevent future toppling of the government, and they had to flee to Egypt with just their clothes on their backs. Shepherds and pagans sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to recognize His Revelation of His Divinity and Humanity while believers slept. Don’t worry if your Advent and Christmas are not “perfect,” if animals are kinder than humans, if strangers are truer than relatives or friends, if your life is a painful mess because the government, employers, and the Church are proving sorely lacking in their responsibility to their citizens, workers, and “least of these.” Turn to Him and His Holy Family. They have been there and understand deeply the suffering, of going without proper food, clothing, shelter, transportation, employment, and medical care, in the midst of a world that could provide (by the Mercy of God) except for greed and pride and power-lust and lack of trust in Him (all sins of which I am guilty–throwing no stones). Prepare the manger of your soul to welcome Him and to rejoice with the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph. Do what you can and be at Peace, the one He gives, not the world. May we all repent and joyfully and generously open our eyes to the Holy Family in our midst, bringing His Mercy in our tiny offerings of love. I wrote this, musing on various FB posts, from friends and family, my chronic illness groups, autism groups, Catholic groups, homeschooling, Dean Koontz groups, etc. We have been so very blessed by animals, relatives, friends, private employers, government employers, the military, conscientious objectors, strangers, Catholics, Protestants, pagans, other people of faith, and non-believers, all of whom have a place in the Advent and Christmas story. I have seen in a very extraordinary way this year how He chooses to reveal Himself to each person on an individual basis. I cannot say that I understand everything, of course, but I do understand that much, that His Revelation is here and now if you wish to see Him, just ask. But it does require falling to your knees (or bowing) in repentance and love and a change that will be continuously worked out with trembling in this fallen world. His Glory is in the cave, on the plain, and on the mountain. We cannot bear it *all* in this mortal life–that is what Heaven is for. But He provides what we need to know He is Who He says He is.