Are You Ready to Deal With Reality

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Have you ever noticed how different a place looks when viewed from above?

Look at a satellite image of a place you know well—your home, for instance. Zoom in close enough to identify the place, but wide enough to see the surrounding structures and spaces.

You might notice how those buildings and streets and rivers seem so much closer than when you’re looking from eye level. You’ll feel a bit embarrassed that you routine drive to that store a few blocks away. We might even say that objects viewed from ground level are closer than they appear. They are.

As learn more about the extent of election fraud, the many layers of crimes both sophisticated and sophomoric, we may feel shocked that the end of self-governance came about so swiftly. That’s our ground-eye view of things.

But if we launch our historical drone and view the recent past from the sky looking down, we are embarrassed that we thought end was so far away. It was right around the corner all the time, just like that neighborhood grocery store.

I’m going to let you in a little secret to get you through what comes next, in all likelihood. It’s simple mental trick that could save your life. Or, at least, save your soul. And this trick might even preserve the idea of liberty and self-governance so that some future generation can rekindle the flame.

Why “some future generation?” Because viewed from above, it looks like self-governance is a thing of the past. Self-governance died in early, dark hours of November 4, 2020. It was extinguished by people who have little faith in humanity. Actually, people who despise humanity. If liberty and self-governance ever return, it will re-ignite from the preserved juices of today’s patriots, preserved in words and images beyond the reach of big brother.

2 Maccabees 1:19-23 #

For when our fathers were being led captive to Persia, the pious priests of that time took some of the fire of the altar and secretly hid it in the hollow of a dry cistern, where they took such precautions that the place was unknown to any one. But after many years had passed, when it pleased God, Nehemi′ah, having been commissioned by the king of Persia, sent the descendants of the priests who had hidden the fire to get it. And when they reported to us that they had not found fire but thick liquid, he ordered them to dip it out and bring it. And when the materials for the sacrifices were presented, Nehemi′ah ordered the priests to sprinkle the liquid on the wood and what was laid upon it. When this was done and some time had passed and the sun, which had been clouded over, shone out, a great fire blazed up, so that all marveled. And while the sacrifice was being consumed, the priests offered prayer —the priests and every one.

When we look at history from high above, we see ourselves closer to the time of the Maccabees than we might think. Closer to 175 BC than, perhaps, to tomorrow.

Some believe that our sole job is to fight. Fight we might, but preserve we must. Battles are lost, but wars must be won. And some wars last for generations.

We are in such a war.

It’s unlikely that this generation will live to see the war’s conclusion, but that’s possible. Those who die before the end might go their graves believing all is lost. But all is not lost unless we allow it.

The Maccabean books tell of great warriors who defended the faith with swords and rocks. By God’s assistance, they prevailed, but only after setbacks and defeats.

As the passage above indicates, others of the time preserved the flame. Faith rekindled it from a thick liquid generations after most people believed the flame had gone out.

Is Self-Governance a Good in Itself? #

Self-governance is the idea that people are created to run their own lives, their own families, their own businesses, their own communities free from the arbitrary interference of others.

Self-governance includes agreeing with other free people to form or commission agencies to carry out certain tasks. We usually call these agencies “government.”

The idea of self-governance is most clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence as:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

If self-governance is a tenet of Natural Law, then we have a moral duty to preserve it, even if we must give up our own self-governance to do so. In other words, we have a duty to go to jail (or die) in order to preserve self-governance. We must value the preservation of self-governance even above our own life.

The priests in Maccabees did not live to see the flame reignite at Nehemi′ah’s direction and under God’s hand. But they were instrumental in preserving the flame to rise again.

If we cannot keep the republic we were given 244 years ago, can preserve its essence for some future generation to rekindle with God’s Holy Will.

Our Hope Is in the Name of the Lord #

When we put our hope in human beings, we set our selves up for disappointment. People are flawed. The reason “Governments are instituted among Men,” is because men are flawed. People will always disappoint you.

God, on the other hand, won’t. Our hope is in the Name of the Lord Who made heaven and earth.

Suppose America quickly descends into a Marxist nightmare of re-education camps and summary executions. Does that mean God has abandoned us? No. It means large numbers of us have abandoned God.

The exorcists tell us the spirit world is “legalistic.” It’s what theoretical physicists call a “formal system.” The spirit world, which are part of, has a finite alphabet of symbols, a syntax, and a decidable set of axioms and a finite set of rules. Within this formal system, it’s impossible to “break” the rules or to add to the alphabet of symbols because everything inside the system is subject to its finite alphabet and rules. Get it?

Try it this way: it’s possible for you and your family to change the rules of Monopoly (most families I know do), but it’s not possible for the shoe token or the Boardwalk property to change the rules. The tokens and the properties exist within and because of the game. They did not create themselves, and, so, cannot change their natures.

The spirit world did not create itself. God did. He created a finite alphabet of creatures, a set of axioms, and a finite rule set. Not all rules apply to all creatures (spirits don’t have bodies), but creatures cannot change the rules imposed on themselves or on other creatures. The rules of the spirit system are fixed and finite and known.

One of God’s rules is that of free will. Human spirits can choose to cooperate with God or not. In game theory parlance, the choice is to cooperate or defect. There are consequences to either choice. Cooperation frequently causes immediate pain for eternal gain, while defection usually earns immediate gain for a future total loss.

People often try to reason their way out of this decision by pretending we don’t live in a formal system. Ironically, the people most susceptible to this self-delusion are the people whose livelihood involves trying to prove the universe is a formal system: scientists. Scientists pursue a “grand unified theory” (GUT) of everything, yet deny the GUT revealed in the Torah and the Gospels.

Non-scientists also deny the Biblical GUT by denying either God’s existence or His honesty. “Jesus didn’t really mean that,” they say. In other words, people want to believe in the formal system God created, but they want to believe, as shoe tokens, they can change the rules of the Monopoly.

Psychologists call this cognitive bias “magical thinking.” Some devout and pious believers also engage in magical thinking by convincing themselves prayer will change the rules of the system. That they can cooperate with God and not suffer temporally.

In the formal system of our spirit world, fallen spirits may mess with humans, but only with God’s permission. We know this from numerous points in the Bible, beginning with the Book of Job. The devil asks God to let him screw up Job’s life, and God says, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him. (Job 1:12)”

In the New Testament, we witness Christ, God, “negotiating” with a legion of demons (John 8:28-32):

When He arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met Him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water

In both the Old and New Testament, we see something clearly: the devil cannot act upon man without God’s permission.

From the exorcists, we also learn that our daily decisions to defect from God’s Will are the the actions that invite God to give into the demons. And the sins that are most likely to attract demons are sins against the First Commandment. (Ever wonder why God put that one first?)

According to numerous exorcists and Catholic demonologists, the vast majority of people who suffer demonic oppression or possession have:

  • experimented with seance, a ouija board, tarot cards, palm-readers, fortune-tellers,
  • dabbled in witchcraft, necromancy (ghost hunting), or New Age spiritualism,
  • practiced Satanism,
  • made bargains with earth, the universe, or something other than God for earthly gains,
  • used or bought cursed objects, including most illegal drugs,
  • or were consecrated to the devil or some spirit (e.g., Pachamama) as children.

Each of these sins against the First Commandment seems to open the door to the devil’s work. But these direct violations of the Commandment are not the only ways we can invite demonic harassment. Any mortal sin exposes us to greater temptation. (The first one’s hard; the rest are easy.) God honors our free will to defect. The more we sin, the more we move from the glory of God toward the smoke of Satan.

In 21st century America, there are some who try to cooperate with God in all things. But no one in his right mind would say that number of cooperaters is as high as it once was.

And, no, being a “good person” by your own standards is not cooperation with God’s will. Being a nice person is cooperation with society’s will, and society belongs to the devil. Jesus was perfectly good, but you can’t read the Bible and conclude modern society would label Him a “good person.” He was rude, insulting, uncompromising, and snarky. Occasionally violent. He would have been banned from Twitter for tweeting, “You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? (Matthew 23:33)” to the wrong person.

In God’s formal system, you can cooperate or defect. There is no third way. As the number of cooperators declines, the number of defectors must, therefore, increase. As the number of defectors increases, so does the number of extreme cases: possessions and perfect possessions. (A perfect possession is when a person invites demons to take over his body and has no desire to be free from possession.)

While the fraction of defectors who become possessed will get smaller as the number of defectors grows, the absolute number of possessions will rise. Thus, we see an ever-increasing number of extreme cases of people who cooperate with demons.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

As we saw in the passage from Job, the devil’s goal for eternity is to pull people away from God. The devil wants people to defect just as he and is minions defected. “I will not serve,” was his cri de coeur. Christ said, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)” And, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (John 12:31)” Therefore, cooperation with this world is cooperation with the devil and a defection from God’s Will. You cannot serve two masters, remember?

What we’re seeing, then, is a mass defection of God’s human creatures. Millions of people are running toward hell, even though they don’t know it yet. They think they’re being good people. Or that there is no God. Or that God doesn’t really care what they do. And they don’t want to rock the boat, or be accused of bullying or offending or, worst of all in this world, shoving their religion down someone’s throat.

When we put our trust in human institutions, we defect from God. When we trust Donald Trump or Sidney Powell or Lin Wood or the Supreme Court, we trust the devil, we wander into dangerous territory. And when we trust ourselves, we enter that dangerous land with no map, compass, shelter, or food.

Do not trust in people. Trust in God, because our help is in the name of the Lord Who made heaven and earth.

The 54-Day Novena Prayer for the Election # led a 54-Day Rosary Novena for the Election. Its ecclesial sponsor was America’s Bishop, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó. The prayer was this:

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Crush the plans of the enemy under your heel, and obtain from your Divine Son an election according to His Holy Will.

The prayer asks Mary, mother of Jesus, to beg her Son to grant us an election according to His Will, not ours.

In a 54-Day novena, you pray the prayer of petition 27 days in a row, then a prayer of thanksgiving for the next 27 days. “We thank you for obtaining this grace.”

Ours, then, is not to worry about the result of the election. We believe our prayers have been answered; that the election result will be according to His Holy Will. Even if it means great suffering for many people.

I prayed that 54-day novena. Admittedly, I never wanted to say “according to His Holy Will.” I wanted to say, “according to my will.” Or, better yet, just be direct and say, “Obtain from your Divine Son a landslide victory for Donald Trump and many other Republicans.” We are willful creatures who live in a world where the master is the devil. We want what we want when we want it."

We are also instances of a symbol in the formal system God created. Unlike the shoe token in Monopoly, we have free will and conscious intellect. This means we can catch glimpses of God’s power, we can know His will, and we can choose to cooperate or not. Like a game-piece, though, we lack the power to change the rules or structure of the game. We might invent our own games within The Game, but playing our games won’t remove us from The Game. Neither will death. We invent games to keep us busy while we await the next and final phase of our existence in heaven or hell.

Politics is one of the many games man has invented. We play this game very seriously because of pride of ownership, also known as the IKEA Effect. (Studies show that people demand a higher selling price for IKEA furniture they assembled themselves compared to identical pieces someone assembled for them.)

We can seriously play the game of politics and cooperate with God, but only if we play politics for God’s sake, not our own. This is similar to the second great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. We must love our neighbors in the context of the first and greatest commandment, to love God above all else. Love is to will the good of the other, and our will must be aligned to God’s, therefore love of neighbor means willing our neighbor to align with God.

Politics for a Christian, then, must be a means of cooperating with God’s will on a large scale. Because politics affects many others, it is a way to love our neighbors as ourselves for God’s sake. Just as Monopoly is a game that imperfectly imitates capitalism, politics is a game that imperfectly implements the Second Great Commandment. Politics played for any other reason is a defection from the will of God. We, as Christians, must play politics only to better align our own will and the will of our community to God’s.

So, what if the election of 2020 turns out bad for “us?” Suppose the wrong candidate gets sworn in on January 20, 2021 and does all those bad things he promised to do? What if the Supreme Court becomes a mere tool of the godless Communists who now run that other party? What if people like me and those who read this blog are rounded up and carted off on box cars to re-education camps? What if America turns to forced abortions and mass euthenasia of the sick and disabled? What if churches are closed and burned, the Bible banned, believers hunted down like dogs in the streets by angry, demon-oppressed mobs? How could that scenario possibly be God’s holy will?

Remember that nothing can prevent you or me from doing God’s will at all times.

The martyrs were killed, but they weren’t prevented from cooperating with God. They cooperated with God even unto death. Death precipitated by their cooperation with God. The apostle Paul reminds us that the glory we will receive for cooperating with God will make whatever we suffer on the journey a source of joy.

If America becomes a sickening synthesis of Nero’s Rome, Hitler’s Germany, and Stalin’s Russia, we still know exactly what is expected of us as Christians. That’s all we have to do. (It’s also why we better memorize what we have to do while we still can. And time seems to be running short. You will not know the day nor the hour, remember.)

When it comes to the question why would God will such an anti-Godly outcome, we cannot know for sure. But we can form a hypothesis: When Christianity is persecuted, Christians get really serious about living according to God’s will.

Conversely, when times are good, Christians tend to invent their own games and convince themselves these manmade games are just as important as God’s formal system. For most the last 200 years, American Christians feared no persecution or even inconvenience in practicing their faith. Over those two and a half centuries, we’ve managed dumb-down our theology, water down our faith, and turn religion into mere amusement. I’ll give you two examples: weddings and baptisms.

Which would upset a modern bride worse: if the caterer provided only half the food needed to feed everyone at the reception, or if the marriage itself were invalid? Which would be more embarrassing? Yet, the purpose of a marriage is to cooperate with God in procreation, not to impress wedding guests.

Baptisms are another matter. How many Christian parents schedule their child’s baptism around the availability of friends and family? “We can’t do it on 15th because my cousin Freida will still be in Jamaica.” Or, as in the case of COVID, how many priests and bishops ban the sacrament altogether?

Our secular view of weddings and baptisms have evolved because of the availability of the two sacraments. In popular (and even Church) culture, we tend to refer to these rites as “ceremonies” rather than “sacraments.” There’s nothing wrong with adding a little pomp to celebrate Christian rites. In fact, celebration of sacraments received seems fitting and necessary.

But the human celebration must be ordered beneath the sacrament itself. The most important feature of a wedding is the uniting of two bodies into one, not the throwing of a garter. The focal point of baptism is the commitment of a soul to God. No cake or frosting can approach the significance of that. If cousin Freida is in Jamaica for octave of your child’s birth, she’ll have to settle for watching one of the nineteen videos live-streamed to Facebook by friends and family. And if the wedding was invalid, there is nothing to celebrate and guests can satisfy their hunger at McDonald’s or the nearest pub and grill.

Persecution Raises Saints #

Bishop Athanasius Schneider grew up a devout Catholic in the Soviet Union. His grandfathers were killed in Stalin’s purges. Priests were executed if caught. Masses were completely underground events, dangerous affairs.

In such horrible times and places, devotion is unmistakable. He tells the story of his grandmother’s refusal to defect from God’s will:

Then, some years later, she had to work in the “kolkhoz” system—which was a Communist abbreviation for “collective economy” in the village, where nothing belongs to you, and you have to work in the fields—and she was expected to work on Sunday. She refused, even though her husband was killed and she herself was a target of the tyrannical authorities. The chief commanded her: “You have to work on Sundays in this kolkhoz!” Whereupon she answered: “You can kill me because I will not work on Sundays.” And then they left her in peace. I consider this the second miracle. This is an example of the soil from which I was born.

—Schneider, Bishop Athanasius; Montagna, Diane. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age

In Christus Vincit, Bishop Schneider described the family going to Mass:

Once, Father Oleksiy began to celebrate the Holy Mass and suddenly a voice cried out, “The police are coming!” My mother, who was attending the Mass, said to the priest, “Father, I can hide you; let’s flee!” My mother led the priest into a house outside the German ghetto and hid him in a room, also bringing him something to eat, and said: “Father, now you can finally eat and rest a bit; and when it gets dark, we will flee to a nearby city.” Father Oleksiy was sad, because, though all had made their confessions, they could not receive Holy Communion; the Holy Mass, which had just begun, had been interrupted by the police raid. My mother said: “Father, all the faithful will make a Spiritual Communion with great faith and much devotion, and we hope that you will be able to return to give us Holy Communion.”

Bishop Schneider’s baptism was not merely the excuse for a family get-together. And no priest was available.

There were no priests in Kyrgyzstan, and only very rarely would a priest come secretly. My mother could not leave me without baptism—it was impossible for her. So, one week after my birth, she baptized me herself because she knew her catechism well, and she knew that it was possible.

Tyrannical, murderous dictators cannot stop the faithful unless the “faithful” cooperate. Schneider’s parents read their children the catechism while they worked in forced labor camps. They simply would would not allow their children to remain ignorant of the faith, poorly formed, uncertain of what was expected of them.

Contrast the Schneiders' practice with those of most contemporary American Catholics. Catholic schools and CCD classes do not recite the catechism until memorized. We do not set examples of defiance in the face of anti-religious tyranny. Few priests and almost no American bishops fought for the sacraments when COVID lockdowns closed churches.

After centuries of religious freedom, Americans have become weak. We are physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual weaklings. Free to live the lives Christ commanded, we bing-watch filthy shows on Netflix, instead. Free to go to Mass daily, we go to the bar. Free to homeschool our children, we send them to government institutions to learn boys can become girls with some chemicals and surgery.

We complain, but we take no action. How many would offer their life to avoid servile work on a Sunday as Grandma Schneider did?

Perhaps God’s will for this election was to vomit the lukewarm from His mouth (Revelation 3:16).

In a cruel, anti-religious dictatorship, there are no lukewarm believers. You live your faith courageously or you deny Christ. There is no middle ground. You can’t just pop into church on your way to golf course on Sunday, then live like a heathen the rest of the week. You can’t send the kids to CCD class on Monday evening and wash your hands of religious formation. You can’t commit that pleasurable sin and make a note to pop into confession on Saturday afternoon.

When there are no priests, no churches, no Catholic schools, no copies of the catechism, you are the Church or there is no Church in you.

Maybe the election of 2020 is not a sign but a decision. Perhaps God wants the lambs and the sheep to sort themselves out. “An election according to His holy will,” could have been a plea to be tested as if by fire.

God’s will is known, but His ways are mysterious.

The New Maccabees #

Assuming Joe Biden is sworn into office in January, and assuming the Democrats steal both of the Georgia Senate runoffs, it’s logical to assume that America’s conservative Christians will face a test beyond our imaginations. Only those who fled communism will have anything close to a point of reference.

We will be able to communicate only in person and away from electronics. (All electronics spy on us, recording every word.) Our churches will close. We will become truly second-class citizens. Assaults and murder on Christian conservatives will go unpunished; self-defense will be treated as a felony.

To prepare, read 2 Maccabees. Here’s a link where you can read it online. Learn how God rescues those who resist in His name.

Pray for Me #

I will pray for you. I ask that you pray for me. The good guys win in the end, but they go through hell getting there.

Maybe we don’t have what it takes to persevere to the end. But God does, and He’s eager to share with us. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.