“Brothers, however cast down we may be by harassment or heartache, the consolations of Scripture will lift us up again. . . . I tell you, brothers, no misfortune can touch us, no situation so galling or distressing can arise that does not, as soon as Holy Writ seizes hold of us, either fade into nothingness or become bearable. This is the field where Isaac walked in the evening meditating, and where Rebecca came hurrying towards him and soothed with her gentle charm the grief that had befallen him. How often, good Jesus, does day incline to evening, how often does the daylight of some slight consolation fade before the black night of an intolerable grief? Everything turns to ashes in my mouth; wherever I look, I see a load of cares. If someone speaks to me, I barely hear; if someone knocks, I scarcely notice; my heart is turned to stone, my tongue sticks fast, my tear-ducts are dry. What then? Into the field I go to meditate. I reread the holy book; I note down my thoughts; and suddenly Rebecca comes running towards me and with her light, which is your grace, good Jesus, dispels the gloom, puts melancholy to flight, disintegrates my hardness. Soon sighs give way to tears, accompanied in their turn by heavenly joy. Unhappy are those who, when oppressed in spirit, do not walk into this field and find that joy.” ~ St. Aelred of Rievaulx
Watching as the vice of oppression tightened in my own back yard here in Orange County this past week these two quotes, one opening and the other closing, really hit home for me! As I was covering the newly minted authority of our county government to seize personal assets, the IRS seized Ann Barnhardt’s PayPal account. Pretty soon, local and federal will be one and the same I fear…But as horrible as this will be for you and I, it is not the source of my greatest worry and concern. What troubles my heart more is the staggering number of unfortunate souls of family, friends and people I’ve never met who are literally teetering at the threshold of Hell, unaware of St. Aelred’s field…and therefore unlikely to find it. Good Sunday Morning Dear Friend!
The Field of Joy
I have written here before that I start each and every day with prayer ending with a personal plea for God to give me the strength to live every moment of that day with honor, courage and integrity because I know what is coming to each and every one of us here in America and most everywhere else in the world for that matter.
We seem to be caught up in this national conversation about authority at the moment. It’s an interesting conversation for us to be having…after some 240 years, is it not? On the one hand, I would encourage every parent to teach their children never to resist arrest. On the other, I would teach that same child that a government that could manage its own fiscal affairs properly wouldn’t have to resort to raping its own citizens. After all, isn’t a traffic stop in the middle of Goshen in 2014 and one in the heart of Berlin around 1939 a question of the same authority? Or is it a question of legitimate authority…and if so, who among us will sound the alarm when the line is crossed? I’m laughing to myself imagining all the hands shooting up when that question was raised in our 5th grade civics class…imagining those same hands practically strapped to our sides, or stuck in our own pockets at this very hour…
…which brings us to our ending Carlyle quote on bravery. I know what is coming because I’ve developed a knack over the years to look through the face of things to see the motives behind them. It’s a very reliable science you see, following the money, spotting the stake-holders and understanding the cui bono will almost always lead us to the nefariously wicked misers behind the curtain…and the orcs who protect them.
It takes no courage at all to get on a bus with hundreds or thousands of protesters to chase the monsters of their creation. But it requires the greatest bravery there is to stand up in the middle of the mob to point out the true villains…especially when they are firmly in their seats of power and you are one, alone and by yourself…
…which brings us back to the question of authority. Knowing that only one group of men in the history of men led us to a place of acknowledging that authority above all others, and resisting to our own deaths those who would claim it falsely for themselves, tells me everything I need to know…so that I in turn am bound to tell you.
“Tell a person they are brave and you help them become so.” — Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Essayist, Satirist, and Historian