Friday, October 30, 2009

Sympathy for the Humanity Within Me

"To meet Christ we must first formulate our human problem seriously." ... Precisely because Christ took my human problem seriously, I can look it in the face -- now, yes, because I am no longer afraid of it -- and truly begin to formulate my human problem. It is not because I have become a philosopher... but... because He brought out into the open that need that was confused.... [T]he encounter (with Christ) does not close the human problem; on the contrary, it is precisely here that the adventure truly begins.
Looking on the Humanity Within Us with Sympathy, Notes from the synthesis by Julian Carron at the CL University Central Equipe, Feb., 2007, quoting from Luigi Giussani's The Religious Sense.
The adventure truly begins.

I am attempting to draw into writing a synthesis I am experiencing. Writing usually helps me to understand, if I am really doing the work of writing. We'll see.

The article from which I quoted is found in its entirety here. Reading it again shows me that the thoughts Carron was sharing nearly three years ago are in many ways the same things he is repeating to us now in the movement of Communion and Liberation.

What strikes me from the article is this: a prerequisite for meeting Christ is to formulate our human problem seriously. I want to help people meet Christ. In Him is all the riches, all the everything, that any person needs, wants, desires. If I love people, if I have the slightest regard for them, what I want for them is Christ.

But what good is my desire for others if what I perceive in them is a disinterest in Christ, or in going deeper in Christ, or in even being open to the possibility that there is more to a relationship with Christ than they already know? (Is there anything more discouraging than to hear a Christian say they already have all the Christ they are interested in, thank you very much?)

Carron tell us that if we desire to meet Christ, we must "look on the humanity within us with sympathy." He goes on to say that we do this by "taking seriously everything we experience, to discover every aspect, to seek the complete meaning."

Now, this man speaks my language, because I am all geared toward digging out complete meaning and taking things seriously. In the last year, though, I've benefited most from turning this tendency toward my experience, because I have exercised my "gear" more comfortably on an intellectual level. I think that in the past I have spent more time avoiding the pain I expected to find (and therefore, generally did) in my experience. I use the term "experience" as it seems to me, that is, inseparable from relationships and interactions with people, an area about which I have been admittedly guarded and hesitant. This year has been an experience of stumbling over guardedness and hesitance and tremblingly seeing about having this sympathetic look on my humanity.

What I'm learning, I think, is that there is but one humanity. There is this thing, this essence, that we call humanity, and it is within me and within you. This is what we mean when we say we are "all children of God." Some children of God live an enmity with Him, and eternity apart from Him is a clear option for all, but these are still His creation, and in this sense, His children. What I think I have grasped is that as long as there is another person upon whom I can look and say "I hate this person, s/he makes me so infuriated that I wish s/he would burn in hell; s/he is a worthless, rotten slimebag," there is a degree to which I myself cannot look at myself, at my humanity, with true sympathy. I actually loathe myself as well.

Conversely, if I have learned to have sympathy for the humanity within me, it is only because I have met Someone who is filled with compassion for me. God in Christ has given Himself to me in such a way that I become human. I am redeemed. I am shown the value with which I was created. I discover God's original intent for me, which is my happiness. And at some point, I begin to look at myself with this same sympathy, born of the compassion I have experienced through Christ, through the Body of Christ.

I'll tell a story of something which has been happening for me over the last many months, even though I thought I was too old for it. I have been reminded of my father. In being reminded of my father, who was a very problematic figure in my life, I was faced with reconsidering some very foundational assumptions I had made about myself. There is a way in which we are enveloped in our generative past that is automatic and effortless and even at times seemingly against our conscious desires, like the way standing near a fire causes one to smell like smoke, even after moving far away from it. The reason I thought I was too old for all this was that I'd already run the gamut of responses one can have to an alcoholic parent: hatred, blame, disdain, avoidance, shame... but then also by God's grace, forgiveness and an attempt at reconciliation as well. This was all many years ago. But this year, I've been wondering at and pondering over a person I know, who sort of sparked this memory of my father in me, and this pondering has been part of a graced chain of changes in me.

I'll tell a different story to illustrate this story. When I was 19, I had a friend named Mary with whom I met to pray occasionally because I was desperate for someone to pray with. (Why would be another story, but I can only handle so many stories with a story.) One day I arrived at Mary's apartment and after Mary greeted me, her 3-year-old daughter Tina, a bubbly and outgoing little girl, came to greet me, too. She grabbed my legs and hugged them. I will never forget my response, nor hers. I stood stiff as a board, unmoved, looking down at her and wondering what in the world just happened. What was this little thing doing to me, and how was I supposed to respond? I had no clue whatsoever. I was frozen. I remember Tina's laughing, happy smile dropping off her face and her mouth going agape just a bit, and her eyes going big. She slowly backed away from me, I think truly frightened. She did not know what to make of an adult that acted this way. In contemplating that exchange, I can see that Tina's reaction to me allowed me to see the dire state of my heart. In contemplating what she exuded, and how she recoiled, I glimpsed what I lacked.

So this person that has become a part of my life has been like Tina for me, except our exchanges are far more subtle, and on-going instead of a one-time thing. In the process one specific area of change in me has to do with allowing the grace of God to supersede some of those smoky-residue-like problematic things. Like, for example, how if I had a physical need for food, water, a restroom, etc., I would judge that it wasn't important because, after all, it's only me. Honestly, what do my needs matter. Demanding, or even thinking about, justice for myself seemed wrong, arrogant. But I have sensed the Lord teaching me that these attitudes about myself have to go, out of obedience to Him and His law of love. That this law of love has to extend to myself.

As I embraced that truth, I saw something else that amazed me. I saw that as I struggled to do the best I knew how in relationship with this person, I found myself recognizing in my own behavior some things I had feared and judged harshly in my father. Only suddenly, I could imagine what it felt like to have been in his shoes, and instead of fear and judgment, I was overcome with compassion, and an awareness that my judgment had been wrong. I saw that my father's humanity and my humanity are one and the same. In order to truly look on myself, my humanity, with sympathy, it seems I had to have this experience of both justice and mercy (which are inseparable).

Now, this metamorphosis has ramifications for all of life, even political life. Sympathy, fear, justice, self-loathing, love, mercy, myself, others. It is too simple to just slap a Jesus bumper sticker over it all and say "let's all love one another and be like Jesus." I think there is nothing more sickening than turning what is to be a deep, inner, personal, passionate experience and turning it into a niceness slogan. No. We have to start with our guts. What rips apart your guts? What makes you feel like the raw, aching need that you are -- that we all are? I need to experience Christ taking my human problem seriously so that I am no longer afraid to look it in the face. Then the adventure can begin.

Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.

As a post script, I encourage you to take 20 minutes to watch this short film. I watched it while I was in the midst of writing this post. It is the story of my redemption, just like yours.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Different Gift

Tonight I had a most unusual experience. We were at an event at our parish, and afterwards a friend who is pregnant and I got chatting. She reviewed for me the history of her ebb and flow of fertility; times when she conceived easily, times when she couldn't conceive at all, when she miscarried, when she never expected to become pregnant again. It was the whole nine yards of conversation. I could almost hear the unspoken thoughts coming through: "So, you never know, Marie, despite the number of years -- the same thing might happen to you!"

I could very easily imagine a day when my heart would have started beating fast and I would have broken out into a sweat. Or worse, broken down into tears, these words pummeling at me like bricks falling on my already bruised and aching body.

But tonight, it was just a chat about her experience, and appreciating that she was exuberant about an unexpected turn in her life.

And I know I've had an unexpected turn in my life, too.

It was just over a year ago the last time I found it necessary to run out the back door at a baby shower. Too much baby talk, too many pregnant women, too much pain in my heart. A complete inability to face it.

One of the transformations that has happened for me this year has been peace about our family size. I don't know why it should be, but it is true: infertility just doesn't weigh on me anymore. I realized this somewhere in the late Spring. Today sure confirmed it.

Infertility is a strange kind of mourning because it is mourning the absence of something, like the loss of something that never was there. So it is hard to articulate being free of an absence. I guess it is just called contentment. It, too is a gift of God, just like the yearning is. It's just... different.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Anatomy of a Naru Hodo Moment

I've just had an insight, a naru hodo moment, that I must try to capture in words here.

This came about through an experience that has happened to me many times in my life, and of course it all happened while I was doing dishes and making food, which squeaks in just ahead of the shower for my naru hodo moment settings. I was grappling in my thoughts with something that was feeling like a difficulty, a blockage, in my life right now. But suddenly a metaphor came to mind of how this blockage could be dislodged. It felt very insistent. I began to imagine how this metaphor could actually come to pass in reality, and how I would take it in, how it would strike me, how I would respond to it. As I went through this mental exercise, the power of that metaphor really penetrated my heart, and I actually felt different.

I realized that it was all "imaginary." I have had this sticking point sometimes with the charism I follow, of Communion and Liberation, that real-life experience is emphasized as the way we encounter Christ. So, was this a real-life experience that happened in my imagination? Or was it just an intellectual or emotional head trip? Or just a fantasy world?

I thought of a woman who was 39 weeks pregnant and grappling with fear over childbirth. I pictured her going through a visualization of labor, and encountering her fears, and seeing herself able to go ahead, anyway. Then I imagined her saying "Oh, what a relief. That's all taken care of!" Of course, not exactly. She had faced her fears, and she no longer felt paralyzed by them. But she would still need to go through childbirth. There is no guarantee that what she visualized would be anything like the actual experience of her child's birth. But in this moment, she was prepared in a way she hadn't been before. Prepared for facing the moment when it came.

Was my mental exercise a real experience? Yes, and no. It opened me up to the possibility of facing this blockage and believing it could be overcome. (And I just wrote about my struggles to do this in my last post!) And more than that -- for me today it was not just the sense that I could over come this, but that I will. It was like a promise, a deposit guaranteeing that which is to come, though not of my orchestration. It was a very real preparation, even though it happened in my head. But it was not the real experience of resolution, just like visualizing labor does not produce a baby. I realize, though, that sometimes simply being able to believe seems so powerful to me that I forgo the actual experience. I remember the Lord impressing on me, maybe 15 years ago these words: "Don't disappoint Me by going half way and then turning back!" I didn't really understand that at the time, but perhaps now I will be able to. I am able to do so very little that is spontaneous unless I am in this place of meditation at my sink or stove, but alas, that isn't where I live my whole life, and it isn't where I interact with others. I am always warmed by what feels like God's mercy for me being just the way I am: introverted, cerebral, intuitive. This little gift today, and the feeling of making sense out of the way I experience the world, extends my ability to delight in all God's works, and to know He is the Master Designer.

And it just makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gotta Wrestle this Specter to the Ground

It's late, and I should be in bed, but it is also quiet in my house now, something that seems to never happen these days when I'm awake. So, I'm going to write. Write first, think about it later.

Awhile back I wrote this post about a song I was going to play on guitar with my church choir. The last comment dangling there in my combox was left unanswered, at least publicly: How did it go? That question in my own mind has been eating a hole in me ever since, and I think it is time I wrestle it to the ground. Isn't that what this blog is for, anyway?

Last Saturday evening after Mass my friend who does the cantor scheduling nabbed me and told me what a wonderful job I did with the song the week before. I don't hang on compliments as a rule, but I wanted to take that one and mentally frame it and look at it several times. It didn't really make that much of a difference, but at least it gave someone else's perception of reality to think about.

There was something very deeply strange about this experience of playing my guitar that Sunday. I was shaking, but it wasn't from nervousness. I've played in church, at Masses, in front of people, on stages, at concerts, in all sorts of settings -- for years. Like 30 of them. I started playing guitar when I was 11. No, the strange thing was how I brought that guitar into this context that has been so strangely powerful and meaningful in my life this year. When I showed up for choir practice the Tuesday before that Sunday (the day I wrote the aforementioned blog post) I actually left my guitar in the car at first, until Joe (the director) pointed out that it seemed I'd forgotten something. I joked about how, upon my arrival, I was only able to remember how badly I needed to use the restroom, so I'd left the guitar behind. But I knew that wasn't actually true. I needed the reassurance that he was serious about this proposition, and in fact I had almost left it at home out of disbelief. It was only a conversation, a casual request, after all. There was no, you know, blood pact or anything.

So, after rehearsal I stammered out to Joe something to the effect of "So, I assume I brought this thing here for some reason?" He invited me to let him hear it. The song, that is. Images flash through my mind: me and Gail, me and Marcia, me and Lothair, me and Joe Glatzel.... about 20 years worth of "listen to this song." But this is not "listen to this song," it is "let me hear it." This is not a cowardly demand from me, it is an invitation from him. My mind was fluttering like a butterfly trying to get outside through a solid pane of glass. Joe was fine with my honestly pitiful attempt at the picking of this song. I'm guessing he doesn't play guitar and therefore doesn't realize what it sounds like to me. We spend most of the time debating what key to play it in, all because I'm assuming he plans to play it the way he talked about hearing it -- with piano.

In a day or two I calm down and realize I don't know how to do the introduction, nor do I know exactly how to follow a piano. I realize I need to call Joe and ask him about this, but my strange case of phone phobia overtakes me. I put it off as long as I can, until Saturday morning. At which time I learn he expects me to do it alone, leading the choir and the congregation. I hang up the phone, and the more I think about it, the more I think he is nuts. I had arranged to meet him briefly after the Saturday Mass, and I try to suggest a change of plans. Does not fly. At all.

So Sunday arrives, and I can see my heart beating through my dress. My other choir pals assure me it will be fine. We never run through the introduction, and I'm cringing inside. Joe sits down to his prelude and assures me "you'll be just fine." Generally I believe him, but this time I knew he just had no idea what he was saying. At least, not to me.

The offertory came, and I played what I knew to be the introduction. I was the only one who knew that's what it was, just as I knew would happen. Oh, and I did completely fumble several chords, like fingers on the wrong fret fumble. When the choir was not cued in, I repeated the same chord for a couple of measures while seeing if I could taser Joe with my eyeballs. For some reason he didn't fall to the ground writhing in pain. He cued, we sang the song, and that was it.

But that was just what was visible and audible on the outside. What was going on inside me was screaming so loudly and rumbling so violently, and yet it took me several days to grasp it.

I can use this metaphor for how God has brought about healing and transformation in my life by the vehicle of this choir this year: It is like going through a photo album. I'm going about my business, and then God picks out a snapshot of my past, of my heart and holds it up for me to see. He asks me to look at it, and then to look at the reality around me. Then He asks me "Marie, is the reality you see now anything like this snapshot of the past?" And I eventually have to say, "No, Lord, it isn't." And I come to know and realize more deeply that the Lord is my Redeemer. This whole process doesn't happen in moments. It's more like weeks or months.

But that Sunday, it wasn't just a photo I was being shown. There was a real live artifact right there with me, AND I was singing a song I had learned back when I was a teenager. Double blast-from-the-past whammy. Somehow that experience dredged up not the image of me in music ministry at Franciscan University or at Risen Savior Fellowship, and not the memory of me with my friends, but the memory of a much more difficult reality. For many years, my guitar was my primary escape from emotional misery, sadness, depression, despair, isolation. I poured out my heart in songs that I wrote when I did not know how to speak to people. I wrote prayers when I did not know how to make any connection between Jesus and the Body of Christ, His Church, real people. For far longer than I care to think about I was very much like Simon and Garfunkel's I am a Rock: I've built walls/A fortress deep and mighty/That none may penetrate/I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain/Its laughter and its loving I disdain.

And the truth was, when this "photo" was held before me to examine, it frightened me more than all the others I'd seen combined. That question: "Marie, is the reality you see now anything like this snapshot of the past?" frightened me. I did not see... I almost feel I should say I do not see, or am just seeing, that walls are something I build, or something I render flat. I determine admission to my fortress. Maybe friendship does cause pain, but living like a Rock causes all feeling to cease. It causes numbness. It causes walking death. I have tremendous need of friendship. I have tremendous friends. Like Joe often tells us in choir: you have the notes, you just need to believe that you have them! But at that moment, and in the aftermath of playing that song that Sunday, I could not believe. The question arose before me like the most frightening specter. And all I could see was my former self, holding that guitar, being alone. Like it was the only possibility for my life.

But the only way that specter could be true is if I could simultaneously deny how I came to be standing there that day with that $*#&! guitar in the first place! Sometimes I just cannot process reality that quickly. And sometimes it is simply very hard for me to accept happy things. I'm pretty good at gritting my teeth and weathering the icy wind ripping into me, but to simply feel the sunshine on my face and smile can cause me to get weepy.

So, my friends, do me this little favor. Help this recovering Rock and Island. Laugh with me for the joy of friendship.

But don't laugh at mistakes I make on the guitar or I shall hit you with it.

Giving an A

I am currently reading the book The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. Rosamund Zander is a counselor, and Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and is featured in the video below. Together they are a remarkable couple, determined to face life as a conversation of possibilities rather than as a set of fixed (and negative) circumstances with a predetermined outcome.

I have not yet completely worked through the philosophical underpinnings of Zanders' approach, but I must say that from a pragmatic point of view, it is tremendously effective and freeing. One of practices this book discusses is that of "giving an A." This means that one first gives up living with a mindset of facing the behaviors of others (and oneself) with an eye to judging efforts and output, measuring against my infinite desire how much I am pleased by the results before me. Instead, I decide to bring to the relationship before me an attitude, a decision, a desire, to see "an A," the best, and to share the excitement of living that brings forth the best from both people in the relationship. Both persons are focused not on making the grade (and therefore on themselves) but on the greater possibilities open to them, of becoming something greater, of inspiring others.

This sort of thing works well in the context of musical and business leadership, which is the intended audience of the book. But there is also a striking passage in the book where Rosamund tells the story of coming to a new understanding of the relationship she had with her father after he had passed away. She tells how her parents divorced shortly after her birth, and how she had but intermittent contact with him through her childhood and into her early adulthood. After his death (at his own hand), she realized she had given him a grade of about a B- or a C. Why? Clearly, he didn't love her. And how could he, when he hardly knew her? Then suddenly it struck her that she had settled on her harsh judgment as truth: "He didn't love me." She saw how this evaluation had colored all of her intimate relationships. She realized that this just might not be fair at all, based on what she could objectively recount of her father. She decided to start with "giving him an A," with the thought "He did love me," and what could be concluded from that: "He knew me, to a degree at least." Starting from that brand new perspective, she thought about what could have brought about the type of relationship he had with her, and indeed with everyone in his life. She saw that he did not feel he had anything of value to offer her or others. This paradigm shift enabled her to see their relationship in a completely different light. She recalled that the day after this thought exercise she found a letter from him that not only expressed his love, but expressed his hope that she would pursue a career in helping others because of her giftedness in this area. It was as if she had never seen that letter before; at least she never had been able to take in what he tried to offer her. She could now see that her father knew her in just the way her heart desired, but it had been her judgment that stood in the way of receiving it.

This account really resonates with me and my own experiences with my father, and other relationships. It is impossible that any human being fill the abyss of our needs. It seems we can either go around being disappointed in others and in what life offers, or we can reckon our needs met -- in Christ -- and really see Christ making things new in our lives. The Zanders don't speak of Christ, though I can't help but see that he stands in the direction they point, even though they might believe that the beautiful reality they decide to create really is only a product of their creativity, nothing more.

Here is a passage Benjamin quotes from a letter written to him in response to one of his presentations.

We keep looking so hard in life for the "specific message," and yet we are blinded to the fact that the message is all around us, and within us all the time. We just have to stop demanding that it be on OUR terms or conditions, and instead open ourselves to the possibility that what we seek may be in front of us all the time.
It seems to me that this possibility in our lives indeed bears the name Emmanuel.

Monday, October 05, 2009

What Experiences do you Want?

My son often comes out with questions or comments that tip me off-balance for a moment, in a good way, I mean. This morning on the way home from Mass he asked me, "Mom, what experience would you most like to have?" I knew what he was driving at, and I knew that an answer like "the salvation of the world" wouldn't cut it for him. It would have to be a real experience; something he would be able to see. I really had to think about this, and allow myself into that part of my heart that holds my desires. It's not until he asks me something like this that I'm able to realize how little I live within my desires. So I told him I'd like to gather my friends together to sing, at my friend Suzanne's house. (That's so I wouldn't have to clean my own! Just kidding.)

I was still meditating on that when he told me what his for top desired experiences are: to get married, to own his own computer, to play with his friends, and to sing.

And he's been singing all day about a sweetheart named Cotton Candy: "When I kiss you, you just melt! And if I lick you, you turn into sugar -- my sugar!" (We recently won a candy gift basket at a Chinese Auction, in case you are wondering.)

How many fewer smiles I would have without my son.

Random Political Thoughts: Views

So in my last post in this series I rambled on about my personal history as it pertains to the formation of my political thought. Now I'm going to try to wade into how things have evolved for me in the last year or so, leading me to certain current positions and working views.

Where I've been in the last year is in reading a lot about economics and the role of the Constitution in the vision of America's founders. I've been in the midst of the Tea Party movement and the Campaign for Liberty movement, both of which pull in people from a variety of backgrounds, politically and otherwise. I've been talking with strangers while collecting signatures and holding meetings and attending events. I've been following what my Congressional Reps are doing, reading lots of websites and processing different views on the many issues that have rushed on this nation. Most of the time I feel like it is all swirling in my head.

This political learning has grown up in me at the very same time as a sort of new awakening or conversion in my life as pertains to my interactions with other people and reality in general. (I can't possibly recap all that here, but just read through a bunch of posts in the last year and you'll get a sense of what I mean, if you are outside the realm of the two or three people who devotedly hang on my every blogged word). For me personally, although I do not enjoy politics as a "sport" and there is much about the discussion of it that I have a strong aversion to, I feel that if I try to avoid the political reality in which we live, it is a serious breech of charity towards the world at large. Oh, there is no person called "the world at large," but I cannot lose the sense that at some point, specific details of the lives of individuals become impacted by political trends and decisions. To only express concern at the point when an individual need arises in front of me is like when a person crosses the threshold from seriously overweight to obese. The time for concern and action is long before that moment, and the concern has to focus on far more than trimming back that decisive pound. I am being convicted and convinced that political awareness is an integral part of charity, just like health awareness in my example is an integral part of self-care.

I have a driving need to pursue the root causes of things. My brain works by seeing the broad picture and making connections, and not so much by making black and white judgments about rightness and wrongness. So I am not particularly interested in taking up sides, condemning bad policy or bad politicians, or in championing individuals or a party with whom I agree. These attributes of mine also make the supposed "impracticality" of political approaches of little concern to me. Some political views are judged "too idealistic" to work in the real world. Some candidates are judged to have "low electability" as well, and so party hacks gravitate towards popular people with whom they don't entirely agree. This is not my style. My goal is not to fix humanity's problems with politics, because this is impossible. My goal is to understand humanity's problems, because somehow for me understanding is a necessary precursor to charity.

I was really encouraged to come across this from Pope Benedict recently: "...normally those who determine the future are the creative minority." He spoke this in the context of visiting the Czech Republic, where Catholics are clearly a minority, and he was calling them to live their faith in such a way as to become leaven in society.

Ok, so here are some random thoughts:

  • I feel many who are concerned with social justice often look to the government to be the catalyst, moderator, and governor of said social justice. True social justice, however, is a work of grace, and the government is not a means of grace, the Church is. Without grace, "social justice" quickly devolves into power and domination games. What the world cries out for cannot be contained in a government program. The truth is, though, that the local churches are far too anemic to do the job they are commissioned by the Lord to do. So perhaps the first political responsibility of the Christian is to repent of how we treat others.
  • Totalitarianism is to me the most sinister political enemy. However I feel we in the United States have come to accept and even welcome it. I believe that many act out the false belief that rights are derived by citizens from the State, rather than the belief that rights are given by God to the individual, and the individual entrusts some of these to governing structures which exist only at the behest and service of the citizenry. You never see Totalitarianism 101 taught anywhere, but I do believe that our culture has been formed by government schooling with the belief that we exist not for God but for the state, or for some power that is extraneous to us.
  • This is something I never thought I'd see myself write, but I think Christians have been taken advantage of by primarily the Republican party and the right to life movement. Anyone who knows me knows I am absolutely opposed to abortion, abortion funding, euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, infanticide, cloning, and all of the other direct affronts to human life. But I'm sure I am not the only one who closed my eyes to everything else ever done by a pro-life candidate, as long as we were in agreement on that ideological position. And in the meantime, how often haven't I felt "ah, ok, a good guy won... now we'll all be safe and I don't have to pay attention or worry about those other details". Christians need to be wiser voters. And I'm talking to myself first. We need to wake up en masse and demand a real difference between the totalitarianism lite candidate, who wears a cross pin in the lapel, and the totalitarianism full-flavored candidate, with a UN flag in the lapel.
  • I am quite persuaded that a sound money policy is very important at this juncture in our history, and that if we had such a policy in effect we would be forced to curtail some of our most dangerous spending. Stated another way, if the government couldn't create all the money it wanted (thereby causing inflation and loss of currency value), it wouldn't be able to spend like the proverbial drunken sailor on war and waste. Government would be bound by the reality that there is only so much money, and once it is gone, it is gone. Like I try to tell my 8-year-old son.
  • Health care: Europe has something over the United States, and it isn't socialism. The European first line of defense tends to be a natural, herbal, homeopathic, or "alternative" approach. These approaches are not regulated off to the side-lines or ridiculed by the medical establishment (that I am aware of). We Americans have tremendous innovation in life-saving medicine and surgical procedures, but we also have huge problems that derive largely from how we feed ourselves and use our bodies, and medical management of these problems is very ineffective. Well, no, that's not true. The management is effective, if you don't mind staying on drugs for a lifetime. The paradigm of curing illness has all but vanished from American medicine. Root cause? Who cares, if the pill changes the symptom. The history of the war between the American Medical Association and other approaches such as homeopathics, chiropractic, etc., is very intriguing to me. Until we change our view of how we care for ourselves, and throw the FDA and their good friends the drug companies back to the back of the bus instead of having them lead the whole show, talk about reform of how we will pay for all of this drug peddling is seriously missing the mark.
Well, that certainly doesn't exhaust every thought I could articulate, but it is a start.

Jesus is building a structure of love -- Us!

On the first of every month, Our Lord gives Anne a new message about His call to service.

October 1, 2009


My dear children, I am with you. I watch closely as you struggle for holiness. Often, you are uncertain of your spiritual condition. You strive to serve but feel conflicted by the times in which you are serving. There are some things that all humanity deals with regardless of where in history they are placed. First, there will always be a difference between the world’s path and heaven’s path. These two paths, while they can run along side each other for increments, will always separate. Ultimately, each man will have to choose. Every man, to a greater or lesser degree, will have to contend with choosing first good over evil and then he will have to make another choice and that is the choice of choosing My plan for his life over his own plan for his life. After that, the choices become even more studied in that the man must choose My plan in each day, in each task and even in each moment. You may say, dear apostle, that this is a difficult call for a man, to study his actions in each day. You may say, this is asking a lot. You are right. I, Jesus, am asking a lot of you. I ask for your full commitment and I do so without apology. Dearest apostles, if you give me your full commitment, there is no limit to what I can do. Look at your life. You have said yes to me on many days. Examine what I have done with your yes answers. Consider what I am building with the commitments of so many children of God who are willing to be directed by the Saviour, their King. I am building a structure of love. I am building a structure through which many are returning. Truly, your hearts, open and filled with My love, call out to others. You provide for Me a welcome to those who feel separated. If they can be taken into your heart for even a brief moment and experience Me, with My love, then they will have the courage to both approach Me directly and to accept Me directly. Please, do not count the sacrifices when you consider your service. Do not count the loss of worldly respect. Count only the souls who are comforted and consoled. Count the repentance and healing of so many who have been restored to unity with heaven. Count the humility that I have bestowed on you, dear apostle, since you began to learn about true holiness. I am your King. I can give you anything. I choose to give you peace and holiness. I choose to make of you a resolute servant. Accept My will in your life and you will then be able to accept all of the graces heaven has stored up for you.