‘Almost’ … a big word for me

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“Almost.  It’s a big word for me.  I feel it everywhere.  Almost home.  Almost happy.  Almost changed.  Almost, but not quite.  Not yet.  Soon, maybe.”

~ Joan Bauer, Almost Home

Suffering, a reality of the human condition

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“Suffering is the reality of the human condition and the beginning of true spiritual life.”

~Fr. Seraphim Rose

(art: Save Me From My Demons, by J. Kirk Richards)

Asking for a miracle…

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A contemporary of the Russian novelist, Dostoyevksy, whose name was Turgeniev, wrote that, “whatever a man prays for he prays for a miracle.  Every prayer,” he said, “reduces itself to this: ‘Great God, grant that twice two not be four.'”

~ Harold J. Sala
Touching God
52 Guidelines for Personal Prayer

Most widely spread vice on earth…

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“Lust is an inordinate desire of unlawful pleasures. It is a vice most widely spread in the world; one that is most violent in its attacks, most insatiable in its cravings. Hence St. Augustine says that the severest warfare which a Christian has to maintain is that in defense of chastity, for such combats are frequent, and victories rare.”

~ Venerable Louis of Granada,
The Sinner’s Guide, Chapter 32

How Americans remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the date the United States government/military dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  More than one hundred thousand people were killed in these bombings.  The vast majority of those killed in the bombings were civilians, including women and children.  Read that again: we dropped nuclear bombs on targets that included many innocent women and children.

In Hiroshima alone, “Some 70,000–80,000 people, of whom 20,000 were soldiers, or around 30% of the population of Hiroshima, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 70,000 injured.” [Wikipedia]

In 1995, The Smithsonian Museum was unable to open an exhibit that intended to portray the events evenly, not merely discussing the men who flew the bomber and how it ended WWII, but actually presenting artifacts and images of the victims, many of whom were children, and non-military men and women.  Some people did not want the whole story, the entire narrative, to be told.  Think about that.

https://youtu.be/XMsg6I4rKSY

I’d just like to remind you all that there are certain narratives that we like to hold onto as Americans for sentimental or patriotic or other reasons that severely and detrimentally ignore or deny uncomfortable truths.  Many Americans seem to have a selective memory one might say.

Most people are comfortable with the common narrative: “America stopped Hitler by dropping “the bomb,”” and most are more than happy to let the story end there.  But such ignorance (voluntary or not) does a tremendous damage to the truth, and does not properly inform our current historical context as to how, when, or why certain military actions ought to be conducted, or not.

There are many such narratives alive and well in this country.  Narratives that shield us from uncomfortable truths.  Inform yourself, my friends.  Uncomfortable or not, truth is truth.

Let’s not forget the all-too-true maxim: “history is written by the victors.”

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(caption: Nagasaki before and after the bomb.)

“…and no one’s sure how all of this [war] got started, but we’re gonna make ‘em G**-damned certain how it’s gonna end…”

~ Bright Eyes “Road to Joy”

Lord have mercy.

“I tremble in fear for my country when I reflect that God is just…”  ~ Thomas Jefferson

Seeing Categories Instead of Individuals…

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The problem with labels is that they avoid complexity and ignore reality. As Christians, we’re guilty of labeling others too often, and we even do it when we read the Bible.
For example, we think of Bible characters as either good or bad. King David, Moses, and the disciples were good, while the Pharisees, Judas, and others were bad.
In reality, everyone had both their good AND bad moments.. Moses doubted and was violent, David killed a man just so he could sleep with his wife, and the disciples were far from perfect—Peter even chopped a guy’s ear off with his sword (the list could go on).
Contrarily, The Pharisees weren’t all bad, and Judas participated in Jesus’s ministry doing many good things before betraying Him.
This is probably why Jesus warns against judging others, because we rarely see—or understand—the whole picture of someone’s life.

— via SJ Mattson