I have been real busy for the last two or three months. I was specially busy rebuilding the Catholic webzine Fe y Razón (Sp. meaning ‘Faith and Reason’) an excellent collection of slightly over 1,600 articles published in Spanish by the Centro Cultural Católico of the same name in Montevideo, Uruguay. As of today 1,616 articles of diverse lengths were edited and illustrated 100% by yours truly. Less than twenty articles are left to edit, some are quite lengthy and complex. The following step is the production of a real quarterly magazine that will be presented in September both in print and electronic editions, so some of the 500 million Spanish-speaking Catholics around the world can benefit from the excellent content presented there. I am very grateful to those of you who have made this possible by your continuing prayers and donations. I am sure God is already blessing you and will continue to do so. Thank you!
A strange song I heard for the first time when I was only 13 years old …
We were talking,
about the space between us all
And the people, who hide themselves
behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth …
In the last post we were talking about the so-called Postmodernism. I consider it the glowing end of the Modernist plague affecting the world since the 16th century or so. The latest manifestation of all errors that have bedeviled mankind since we were kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
To begin a new post on what is wrong with world in general I will ask you to read these three passages of Holy Scripture very carefully, meditating as you read… notice the important role of the poor in Holy Scripture.
Matthew 26: 6-13 — Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 — “If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren, in any of your towns within your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take heed lest there be a base thought in your heart, and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye be hostile to your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and it be sin in you. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him; because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land.
1 Corinthians 13: 8-13 — Love [agápe, ἀγάπη, charity] never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Apparently some of the disciples objected to the pouring of that very expensive perfumed ointment on Jesus. The teacher tells them that they will always have the poor with them but … wasn’t the Kingdom of God going to end all poverty forever? Of course, the disciples were expecting the Kingdom to arrive soon but Jesus knew better. Plenty of poor people have walked this tired planet since those days. But the Deuteronomy passage gives us a hint. In the model or type of the Kingdom of God, the ancient Israel, God inaugurates the Law by announcing that there will be poor people. God also makes sure to let everyone know that the poor are everyone’s responsibility, the key to God’s heart, so to speak. When we treat the poor decently, God promises to reward us according to our own generosity. Later, Saint Paul reveals that charity will never end. I understand that as a revelation that there is always going to be relative poverty, the same way it happens today: a man who is worth one million is relatively poor compared with someone who is worth ten billion. Perhaps God will allow some kind of disparity to exist after eliminating the miseries of abject poverty. In that way, charity can always flow from Him first, and then from the richest in God’s graces to the poorer. I believe that has always been the case from the beginning of the world: a poor person is a walking opportunity for charity and charity is a sure way for anyone to the generous heart of God. To be charitable to the poor is also the way to ensure God’s good graces towards us. The woman anointing Jesus’ feet was being charitable to the poorest person in the room. For who could be poorer than a man who is about to give up his own life for the benefit of others? That woman was the vehicle used by God the Father to show Jesus a small sample of the coming glorious Resurrection and the glory due to the Son for giving his life to redeem mankind.
In the world we live in these days, relative poverty is important not only economically but also politically. The current economic system has managed to pull millions of people out of poverty. As a result we live surrounded by things that would have been absolutely astonishing to my great-great grandfather Tomaso, the poor orphan serf. The very building where I live, mismanaged and dilapidated as it is, has many marvelous things: water available nine stories above ground level; two elevators, by flicking a switch one can have enough light to read a book even when it’s dark outside; I can order a pizza by making a phone call, I can call people thousands of miles away; and this computer allows me to write for you my readers in many countries around the world. We are certainly richer than most of the people that preceded us in history, even if we are poor by the relative standards of our age, but that is not enough for our Postmodernist party poopers. They do not see how far we have advanced. In fact, they do not see how the principles that Christian thought brought into the world have been able to pull the rabbit of prosperity out the world’s hat.
Matthew 13:31-32 — Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
The Postmodernist equivalent of the parable of the mustard seed would go more or less like this:
“The oppressive system set up by the patriarchy is like a weed that a heterosexual white man planted around every individual to choke the emergence of equality. It has been allowed to pervade all aspects of society and it is impeding the people from climbing to the tree of total prosperity and sexual freedom so that every human being, animal, and plant can express their sexual persona in any combination they desire.”
For the Postmodernist, the Kingdom of God is poison ivy. In their minds no one is free unless they become completely enslaved to their basest passions. To attain that kind of freedom, human beings must abandon logic. See, the word logic comes from Logos, the Word, a Person that St. John identifies in the first verse of his Gospel.
John 1:1-2 — In the beginning was the [Λόγος] Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
After copying this passage of John 1:1-2 I intentionally replaced the translation “Word” with the original Greek term “Logos.” For Greeks, the word Λόγος has a staggering number of meanings. You can check a good biblical dictionary and most likely you will find a dozen pages on the usage and many biblical meanings of Logos. Towards the end of the Old Testament the Logos begins to appear, courtesy of the Jewish communities dispersed throughout the Greek-speaking world in the two or three centuries preceding the birth of Christ. Today, Logos appears everywhere in our language. Words like logic, analogous, and dialogue are echoes of concepts emanating from Logos. Of course, for us Catholic Christians, Logos is the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Way, and the Life, the very force of life, the Person that created the Universe and keeps it going.
Postmodernists avoid dialog because in the bottom of their darkened hearts they hate the individual because individuals are made to the image of God, and are the only creature that can “dialog” having the gift of the “word” –observe very carefully– Postmodernists have an Anti-Logos who is the father of lies, who misleads men into perdition, and makes souls perish in eternal death. Lies, perdition, and death are the mirror opposite of Truth, Way, and Life.
Postmodernists avoid believing in logic. For them logic is a ruse, a tool that the patriarchy uses to keep mankind under its sway. For them History is not the story of the love of God for mankind but a dark tale of suffering under the rule of an oppressive patriarchal deity.
In that nonsensical, illogical frame, the Postmodernist does not accept that people of all kinds can exchange ideas and foster good will for their own general benefit. No! they believe the dominant culture controls the terms and conditions of the exchange, and dialog is used to perpetuate the power of the oppressor over the oppressed. From that perverted state of mind come the battle cries of Postmodernism: “white privilege”, “sexual diversity”, “total equality”, “deconstruct hierarchies” and other complaints too numerous to list here. That is the reason why Marx did not propose the dialog between the bourgeois and the proletariat but rather the dictatorship of the proletariat. The spirit of Postmodernism is anti-Logos, anti-individual, and dictatorial.
The Marxists that kickstarted Postmodernism did not succeed in uniting the workers of the world to rise against the bourgeoisie. The combination of the rising standard of living in the organized capitalistic countries and the unspeakable atrocities committed against the common man in country after country by the Socialist-Communist hordes, were insurmountable obstacles to convince the masses to sacrifice their lives to the Socialist State. Faced with a resounding defeat, the old Marxist credo “evolved” into a series of sophisticated tools of societal disruption. Antagonizing workers and capitalists did not succeed but they could still attack everything in society that reminded them of godly order and happiness: babies, families, couples, the concept of art, beauty, truth, love, life … because they wanted to make this Earth a living Hell.
In his Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri reserved the lowest circle of Hell to two groups: sodomites and usurers. Look around you and see if Postmodernism has not opened the gates of the ninth circle (some western USA residents would call it the Ninth Circuit!) of Hell and turn lose the souls of the dammed on our society. Truly our civilization is presently dominated by sodomy and usury, by Moloch and Mammon.
I call those “the two final kinds of avarice” – the avarice of the flesh, and the avarice of riches– but that is the theme of my next post.
 George Harrison, Within you, without you, 1967.
 Agápe: ἀγάπη, H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, […] means “love: especially charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” […] Agápe is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”
RECEIVED VIA EMAIL:
“I am reading a very good commentary on the Bible, following a tour through a book about Biblical typology. There is so much more to know that I have at last realized the abysmal depths of my ignorance. Drop a pebble down there and by the time it hits bottom, it is too far away to hear the splash. So it seems infinitely deep and probably is.
I like very much the article on post-modernism. I didn’t offer any thoughts because I have had a busy morning and also because the subject is so both odd and vast. It is odd because it falls perfectly in line with the sense of most end-time prophecy and yet has a feeling of inevitability about it.
I listen to a lot of Christian radio, all Protestant of course. The Catholics with a few rare exceptions, are terrible about all media except, perhaps, print and lately the internet. I audit the Protestants because they have done a lot of spade work on scripture. They also have a sense of the times and a sense of urgency that is entirely missing from my local parish. Our pastor is a post-modern who believes that we can bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth if we all just love one another, especially those who are different. He is unable to define “love” in the context. The nearest I can figure is that he means “just be nice and give people stuff”. His rhetorical position has as much foundation as a passing cloud. In the same week that now-Mister McCarrick stepped down from his Cardinal’s perch, we got the drone about the loaves and fishes means giving stuff to people. The Kingdom of God has been reduced to just another Utopian social justice program.
[… edited for privacy …]
A Cardinal with a decades-long reputation for sexually importuning seminarians and for pederasty, who was in a position of power during the era of cover-ups and who leant his vote (one may presume) to Pope Francis… he is a Biblical type. He is a pre-flood type. He and others with similar dispositions have done uncountable damage to the Church and to the faith. They all preside with what appears to be satisfaction over the loss of Ireland in the fight for life. Nary a voice was raised in public before the vote and hardly as whisper after.
And that is just a dimple on the tip of the iceberg. That is why I say that the subject of post-modernism is so vast. Where does one start? It began really with the Protestant break with – of all things – the priestly function. If every man-jack is a priest (as most of them affirm) then there is no need for liturgy, the Eucharist, the mass, or any kind of formal worship. The break with the priestly function severs the link between the New and Old Testament. Salvation for them becomes a simple affirmation of Jesus. Many of them believe “once saved, always saved”. But once the priestly office was done away with, the practice of faith (protestants despise “religion” as such) becomes a technical matter of interpreting scripture – strangely legalistic for those who claim to be against legalism. Ironies abound. But in breaking off from liturgy, they attempted to “rationalize” our relationship with the transcendental. In sweeping away the great mysteries, they swept away the most profound poetry of truth that is bigger than any rationalization. That was the beginning of scientism. Everything else has been a development. Logical Positivism is Protestantism secularized. The subject spreads before me like a desert landscape seen from a mountain top.
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Oh! Thanks for your comment. And yes, even I knew about McCarrick as far back as 2005… See if you can the article about Fulton Sheen in the NCR.
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You state: “The woman anointing Jesus’ feet was being charitable to the poorest person in the room. For who could be poorer than a man who is about to give up his own life for the benefit of others? ”
Commentary on this passage from Haydock says rather: “Ver. 10. Why do you trouble this woman? By this, our Saviour teaches us, that we are not to expect the more perfect acts of virtue from persons still novices, or young in the service of God. He takes the part of the woman, and speaks in her behalf; that the tender bud of her faith might not be blasted, but that her virtues might be watered with tenderness, and thus assisted to produce greater fruit for the future. When, therefore, we behold any good action done, though some imperfection may creep in with it, still ought we to behold it with kindness, and assist it to bring forth more perfect acts for the time to come. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxxi.)
Quite different interpretations, yes?
Your interpretation sounds more like what a Modernist would say about the passage with their obsession with the poor rather than the salvation of souls.
Haydock’s interpretation teaches us about virtue and how the newly faithful must be treated with tenderness and also we must acknowledge a good action done so we may assist in bringing forth greater goods in the future.
I do not see a contradiction between that quote and the commentary by St John Chrysostom (not a word from Tom Haydock there since he is quoting Chrysostom) — I do not see any connection to Modernism. Yes, the Liberation Theology crowd is obsessed with the poor but that does not relieve us from our obligation to be charitable lest we become followers of Leonardo Boff … Christ, Peter, Paul were concerned with the poor — that does not make them Communists or Liberation Theologians. In the passage I allegedly interpret as a Modernist, Christ says: πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε· — “pantote gar tous ptochous echete meth’ heauton eme de ou pantote echete”– Latin: nam semper pauperes habetis vobiscum me autem non semper habetis. The phrase is interesting, almost as if Jesus was identifying with the poor in a swap, a turn of phrase that is common to his style of preaching. He is “turning the table” on the indignant “friends of the poor” among his disciples by saying “soon you will be poor because your riches (Jesus) are going away.” The greatest posession was not the ointment, and the greatest gift to the poor was not the sale price that could be obtained. Jesus is the only valuable thing they have and soon they will be deprived of him. Those acting like Modernists are the disciples themselves. To them it was not clear yet that having Jesus one has everything. There is also a hidden parable in this passage: the ‘pouring’ of the scented oil, the breaking of the vessel containing it –are a figure of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross– 2 Corinthians 8:9 says … “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. ” We are all poor in God’s sight but he is willing to break the most precious vessel He owns to make us rich in grace. There is life in that giving that we are told to imitate but we can only give “downstream” from us and that is why we will always have someone upon whom we can bestow our charity. We are both the object and carrier of God’s grace.
Adding one more thought: Jesus is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. When the stream of grace that comes from God reaches the last in line, that last person, the poorest of them all will give to God what he received thus closing the circle.
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