“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)
“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
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.
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.”
“…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
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
Every day we are given opportunities for acquiring a grateful heart. Whatever comes our way, whether it be good or bad, are occasions for being grateful. When we realize that even difficulties and hardships are allowed by God for our salvation, we are more likely to received whatever comes, with a grateful heart. Whatever life places before us, all is an opportunity to give thanks to God.
The difficulties we face are opportunities to embrace with a trusting heart, that which God has allowed. Our willingness to please God governs our response, and in turn nurtures a humble heart, and a humble heart opens the doors to a peace that passes all understanding, and the Gates of Paradise are opened wide to us.
+ Abbot Tryphon
For the holy men of old, whatever they suffered, they suffered for God’s name, either to demonstrate their virtue and so to help everyone else, or to win greater reward from God. But we miserable fellows, how can we say this? Every one of us goes on sinning and suffering what we deserve. We have left the straight road of blaming ourselves and taken the crooked road of blaming our neighbor. Every one of us is very careful, on every occasion, to throw the blame on his brother and to strike him down with its weight. Every one of us is negligent and keeps none of the Commandments, and we demand in return that our neighbor keep them all.”
– Dorotheos of Gaza