Monday, August 31, 2015

Inspiration from Benson's Books

I have recently read two novels by Msgr. Robert Hughes Benson. 

Very interesting.

One of them was Lord of the World, which was recommended by Pope Francis as well as Pope Benedict XVI. To be honest, if I’d remembered that it was recommended by one of those popes, I wouldn’t have read it. But I didn’t remember, and the Kindle version was free, and it was mentioned somewhere else where it caught my eye, so I ordered it.

Lord of All was first published in 1908, and it is Benson’s view of the world 100 years later. It is really quite amazing how prophetic it is. I had to read the summary and explanation at Wikipedia at the beginning of it, because it is very British, and I didn’t quite understand some of the allusions. But as it went on, I was able to follow it without the extra explanation, and I found it fascinating. I also found it to be inspiring.

However, apparently, Benson was criticized for the negative and “depressing” view the book presents. It is quite depressing in the sense that it shows the decline and demise of Catholicism, but in the big scheme of things, it is quite a hopeful presentation. The final scene gave me an incredible spiritual boost!

Having received negative feedback, Benson went on to write Dawn of All. This book takes a completely different view of the future, and shows Benson’s view of how the world might look 50 years hence. This world is a completely Christian one, with almost everyone having become Catholic. Benson presents the story through the eyes of a “man who had lost his memory” and re-awakened in a world he found new and confusing. The man, who is a monsignor and assistant to a Cardinal, finds it difficult to adjust to the fact that everyone is Catholic and that the faith is quite evident in all the physical and spiritual structures in place. He finds it strange to see priests and bishops actually respected by the people!

At first, I thought that Dawn of All was not as inspiring as Lord of the World, but in the end, I found it was. Benson develops some of the doubts and questions that the man who lost his memory has concerning the new world order of Christianity. It’s really quite thought-provoking.  In the end, the issues are resolved in a stunning climax.

I highly recommend both books.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unholy Smokes

We’ve had more wild fire activity in our area than I’ve seen in the 12 years we’ve lived here.
Our house and property were not in danger at any time, really, but fires came very close to the southern edge of town; we live 12 miles out from the northern boundary. Residents just a mile or so out of town were evacuated; the freeway was closed in both directions, and the highway going out of town to the south was even closed for a time.

Of course, we aren’t the only ones with fire problems, but it certainly seems that the world is on fire. Even though there are no fires raging out of control near us at the moment, the smoke is worse than ever today. The rising sun appeared as a bright red ball. I couldn’t capture the color in a photo, but here’s a similar shot from a few days ago:

My favorite views have been obscured with the smoke:

Here the view I usually see instead of that last photo (though there is not much snow right now!):

I know that a big part of the reason we are seeing so many forest fires right now has to do with the mismanagement of the forests. Nature has a way of thinning out the old timber to make way for new seedlings, and clearing out the debris on the forest floor to prepare a place for growth. We can help the process through careful logging and controlled burns, as well as by means of cattle-grazing in some areas, but when we don’t do the job, eventually the forces of nature to the work for us.

Still, natural explanations aside, it’s easy to entertain thoughts about the more supernatural implications. The world is on fire, it seems! There are the forest fires, and there are the fires of hell raging in our society as we watch our government ignore the vile fetal tissue and organ harvesting that Planned Parenthood engages in, after they murder their innocent little victims.  The natural world just seems to be reflecting what is happening in the spiritual world.

God promised not to destroy the whole world by a flood ever again. He did not, however, promise not to destroy parts of it, or not to destroy it by other means. Seems to me that we are pushing the limits of His patience!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Signs of the Times

Here is a comment that was posted on the Church Militant website the other day. I’m not 
sure if I should put the author’s name, but it was public comment, and I think it’s an excellent observation, so…credit where credit is due!

The article was about an interview given by Cardinal Müller that was intended to clarify some points about the upcoming Synod on the Family. The commenter said:

I try to hold onto a semblance of clarity in my own thinking. But, it is very difficult to understand what these clerics are saying while remembering the Scriptures which one revisits in the Liturgy of the Hours. The phrase that keeps echoing in my mind when I hear people talk about the "Kasper Proposal" or its like is from Psalm 49(50):
"But to the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your lips? You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you! When you see thieves, you befriend them; WITH ADULTERERS YOU THROW IN YOUR LOT. You give your mouth free rein for evil; you harness your tongue to deceit. You sit maligning your own kin, slandering the child of your own mother. When you do these things should I be silent? Or do you think that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay the charge before you." (Psalms (NAB) (49)50:16-21.) (EMPHASIS added.)

When I looked into it a bit further, however, it got worse:
 "For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns, and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil, and their might is not right. "BOTH PROPHET AND PRIEST ARE UNGODLY; even in my house I have found their wickedness, says the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall; for I will bring evil upon them in the year of their punishment, says the LORD." (Jeremiah (RSV) 23:10-12.) (EMPHASIS added.)

Even the Pope's notion that these questionable things might be justified by a hope of saving the children of adulterous unions seems naïve. After all, what version of the Faith can they discern, if "honor your father and your mother" is opposed to Christ's words about adultery? This seems to be a serious problem:
"But children of adulterers will not come to maturity, and the offspring of an unlawful union will perish. Even if they live long they will be held of no account, and finally their old age will be without honor. If they die young, they will have no hope and no consolation in the day of decision. For the end of an unrighteous generation is grievous." (Wisdom (RSV) 3:16-19.)

All of this is tempered by confidence that the impossible can be accomplished with God's help, however, the size of the task might suggest that it is not a topic for public debate or general policy statements.

Pax Christi semper nobiscum.
John Hiner

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.