Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Monday, October 10, 2016

A New World ?

Today Monday October 10, Canadians celebrate "Thanksgiving" to manifest their gratitude to God for the kind of life they have attained in such a beautiful and immensely resourceful country. Thanks also to the many who, across many generations, labored to improve the conditions of life and care for the human person and creation.
This does not mean that Canada is a paradise to enjoy. In this world, nothing is perfect. Canadians, like many other populations, have a long way to go in order to reach a society based on peace and justice for everyone.

Make no mistake, Christ is still, in a way, crucified. The temptation of the Devil continues to lure the human race; for everyone must worship. If Man does not worship God, he will find a god to worship: desire; power; money or any source that helps or threatens his life. The ancients feared rain so they considered it a god. They needed the Sun so they made it a god. Today Man fears unemployment so he attempts to make money even if by enslaving himself to long hours of work at the employer's need or whim. Slavery is not over. It has only taken another form. It is above all manifested in new products that glorify me such as "Selfie"...The manufacturer sells them to the consumers through distributors or marketing companies. In the end the self is materially enriched at the expense of his spiritual enrichment. This is happening in the developed countries as well as the underdeveloped countries which are going through much disturbance.

The above does not help me achieve my ultimate goal of real satisfaction, but on the contrary it suffocates me and alienates me from the innate desire for my highest good which we must discover. According to St.Thomas Aquinas we observe ourselves and the world and find that we are impelled forward to our highest good “God”. This humanist approach of St.Thomas Aquinas gives us the opportunity to find God in all things and particularly in the people that we know, because everyone of us has a vocation. If Christ himself was not thanked for healing 10 lepers who begged him except a Samaritan; an outsider of his society, how do we expect thanksgiving today? (Luke 17:11-19). Thanksgiving starts with recognizing God's beautiful creation: the other person with whom I deal daily. This humanist approach is carried forward in the writings and acts of St. Thomas More in his judgment as Chancellor of England on the primacy of conscience; in St. Ignatius Loyola founder of the Society of Jesus in his Spiritual Exercises on weighing the presence of God in the choices man makes; and St. Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney in his heroic acts of helping some 20,000 annual pilgrims from France and other countries to repent where he instructed his visitors against evil and patiently spent close to 18 hours daily in the confessional advising the penitents on avoiding evil while he cried with them in the town of Ars, France.

In today's world, the elite and top politicians continue their competition with mutual accusations and personal insults too...In the United States, as the presidential elections come closer, the intensity of aggressive behaviour, reflecting fear of loss, increases. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have shown signs of intolerance towards each other and went as far as attacking each other's personal life. The American President Barack Obama, likewise, accused the Russian President Vladimir Putin of betrayal over their commitments to end the Syrian War since the latter continues to bomb the Islamists in Aleppo thus giving advantage to the Syrian army over the armed opposition. Obama is also embattled in his support for Clinton with Trump's accusation that the American administration founded and finances the Islamic State terrorist global organization. In Jerusalem for the funeral of Shimon Peres, Obama did not lose a chance to "diplomatically" slap the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by addressing President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority among the distinguished dignitaries and reminding Netanyahu of the two-state solution endorsed by the American administration - It is the same Abbas who has attempted to bring the terrorist Islamic Hamas group with him to the negotiating table for peace in order to guarantee his re-election as the Palestinian leader in his increasingly weak position.  But Obama's diplomatic slap to Netanyahu was particularly a personal tit-for-tat since the Israeli Prime Minister dared to address the American Congress without care for Obama's approval or presence either.

On the other hand, Putin has made political and economic gains in his Machiavellian moves into Iran and Turkey, both arch-rivals in their attempts to dominate the entire Middle East and beyond into Europe but surely both are traditional enemies of Russia. For Putin, it paves his way to China of the "Silk Road". While Moscow ships arms to the Kurds in Northern Syria (considered terrorists by Turkey), it could not bypass a chance to have Turkey's Islamist Erdogan beg Putin for an alliance as both see the Western powers especially America and Germany becoming a common enemy who betrayed them. Erdogan's visit to Moscow in Summer only paved a new front to penetrate Europe and disseminate NATO - Trump praised Putin, and therefore was accused by America's Clinton's supporters of being Putin's agent to destroy what America still has of economic power. On Trump's side, Newt Gingrich has accused Obama and Clinton of finalizing a trade deal with China who, according to Gingrich, has stolen $360 Million of America's intellectual property. In Europe, news indicate an increase of intolerance. In Germany, whose Chancellor defended the reception of refugees from the Middle East, a Syrian refugee was hunted and arrested by police after finding very volatile explosives in his apartment near Leipzig. With the type of material found and his moves, German police found out that he was affiliated with the IS terrorist organization (see BBC here: Following the British Exit from the European Union, Germany found itself unable to lead the rest. Borders north of Germany had to be closed since cheap labour coming from countries surrounding it could influence jobs available for Germans. In France, while continuing to fear internal problems on wearing the "Bourkini" by Muslim women in a secular state, the Socialist President Francois Hollande indicated he might not receive the Russian President when the latter visits Paris on October 19 to inaugurate a new Russian Orthodox church because France has condemned Russia's role in the Syrian war. In the Arab world, Saudi Arabia is reluctant to lend Egypt new money especially that the Egyptian president seems more moderate than Islamists/Salafists would accept. Yet he is criticized by some of his own media gurus to have no vision for modernizing Egypt especially that he accepted the IMF conditions for borrowing money without sufficient consultation with experts.

Meanwhile, fear overshadows the ordinary citizens of the world. How will America be great again if Americans are in fear? How will the world be secure again if terrorism roams its capitals and cities?
The disasters caused by rivalry among human tribes can be understood, but how about the natural disasters such as the tornadoes in Haiti and Florida? Even if one day, humans were able to control and eliminate natural disasters, it will not stop them from wanting to be eternal. The only answer to our quest for happiness is in eternity.

The above reminds me of two recent saints that give us a foretaste of the eternal life: Thérèse of Lisieux; and Teresa of Calcutta...The first was a Carmelite sister cloistered in Lisieux who died in 1897. The second founded the Sisters of Charity and trodded the world in her missionary work and died in 1997. Bishop Robert Barron spoke about the life of St.Thérèse of Lisieux, The Little Flower. Listen here to her rich spiritual life of only 24 years: ​Based on the doubts about the existence of God that St. Thérèse experienced near the end of her life, I have asked myself this question: If the greatest saint in modern history experienced such doubts near the end of her life and possibly until the end of her life and yet she still persisted in her love for Jesus in humility, how can any one still condemn anyone else to hell ? St. Teresa of Calcutta too had the same experience. She mentioned that for 50 years she suffered the absence of the beloved God in her daily prayers before the Blessed Sacrament. Yet she persevered in her vocation and made the love of Jesus known to multitudes especially in her care for the poorest of the poor left to die in the streets of Calcutta in India. For this reason she trodded the globe. Much about her work can be learned in this video published in September 2016: or by reading this post:
By only looking to heaven, imitating their selfless love and asking for their intercession, we have the possibility of contributing to a better society that thanks God and reflects on the wonders of his creation as civilization moves on. It is the possibility offered by Christ for a life everlasting with God.

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


See Links to Websites Below