My prayer be an incense offering

My prayer be an incense offering in Thy sight, my uplifted hands, as an evening sacrifice. Set, O Lord, a watch over my mouth, and a guard over the door of my lips. Permit not my heart to turn to evil, seeking pretexts for wickedness, with men who work iniquity. (Incensations of Offerings.)


Behold the Bread of Angels,
made the Food of wayfarers,
Truly the bread of children,
not to be given to the dogs.

O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the living God: Who by the will of the Father, with the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, has by Thy death given life to the world, deliver me by this Thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil. Make me always cling to Thy commands, and never permit me to be separated from Thee. Who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen. (Prayer For Fidelity.)

Quoted from The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

I had rather be despised

“And who is there to harm you, if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you suffer anything for justice’ sake, blessed are you.” (1 Pet. 3:13-14.)

“For one day in Thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I had rather be despised in the house of my God, then to dwell in the tents of sinners.” (Ps. 84 (83)).

celebrating_mass“Be propitiated, O Lord, by our supplications, and graciously accept these oblations of Thy servants and Thy handmaidens, that what each has offered to the honor of Thy name may profit for the salvation of all.” (Secret for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.)

The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

Being a conservative makes you evil

It’s getting to the point where merely being a conservative makes you evil. You may not be evil on purpose. It may be that you don’t understand your own underlying motives. Then again it could be that you simply refuse to acknowledge your underlying motives because you know that they’re repulsive to most people in today’s society.

This was the impression I got from a discussion I had in the comment thread of another blog. A blogger had asked, “How can the Democratic party reconnect with people in middle America, people who are ‘cultural traditionalists’ [not defined]?” (I’m paraphrasing.)

My answer was, by not constantly accusing them of racism and homophobia, among other things. Of course, being accused of racism would only be off-putting to white cultural traditionalists. So someone opined that I was assuming that ‘cultural traditionalist’ was synonymous with ‘white’, and wondered why. And then proceeded to tell me what was wrong with “traditional white culture” (hint: it’s racist).

I pointed out that that was precisely the type of anti-conservative rhetoric that alienates rural cultural traditionalists: You can’t be one of those without being presumed racist. He then explained that some cultural traditionalists are not white. Those, obviously, are not racist. But the white ones are. Well, maybe some aren’t, but if they’re not racist then they “choose not to think about the history and real-world consequences of some of [their] beliefs”.

And by the way, the Republican party is about to become solely the party of Southern Christian racists.

And herein lies the rub: A conservative may not be personally racist, he may not actually feel hatred for non-white people. But even if he lacks the emotional component of racism, his conservatism per se is racist, because of its “history and real-world consequences”.

Meanwhile, one of the liberals on the blog had commented that “we need to be careful in ascribing a monolithic identity to the democrats” (he was making the point that not all Democrats are among the “bohemian rich” as someone had suggested). It didn’t seem to occur to anyone that conservatives aren’t monolithic either.

See, liberals get rather piqued when you associate them with the views of a Saul Alinsky or a Bill Ayres. “We’re not all like that!” But associating any and all conservatives with conservative racists is completely fair. This is because, again, conservatism per se is racist: If you’re conservative, you’re racist, not because of what you assume the definition of racism to be: that you hate people of other races; but because conservatism has a “history” and also “real-world consequences” which link it and its adherents indelibly to racism.

The course of the discussion was ironic, in light of the topic of the post (written by a Democrat) being how distressing it is that people “are forgetting how to talk to one another”; and that “Some of the responsibility for [the] depth of the urban/rural divisions in the country rest with the Democratic Party, which has become a far more exclusively urban-constituent party than it used to be”. In light of this, you would think that someone besides me would notice the utter failure to engage with conservative viewpoints on their own terms, and accept what conservatives say about their own beliefs at face value, at least for the sake of the discussion.

Hall on divine immutability

Divine immutability is the entire freedom of God from the vicissitudes of change and contingency. Rightly understood it does not constitute a restriction of His personal life and operations, but characterizes their transcendent perfection and fulness. The very infinitude from which divine immutability is deduced forbids all external limitation.

*  *  *

Divine immutability involves (a) that no change, whether of accretion or subtraction, of growth or corruption, or of alteration in manner of existence and internal relation, can take place in the divine essence or attributes; (b) that the operations of God, which may not be evaporated of reality by the manner in which we hold this truth, are eternal in themselves, and involve no transition or mutation in God. They may have changes for their effects, but an eternal operation cannot itself be changed; (c) that the changes which occur in the relations between God and creaturely things and events are not changes in God or in His actions, although we do not err necessarily in symbolically describing His actions in temporal terms – terms which, strictly speaking, apply only to their effects in history.

The truth of divine immutability, however abstract it may be in its theological explication, has practical value: (a) It affords a guarantee that science will never be stultified in assuming that the fundamental principles by which natural phenomena are governed will never cease to control them; (b) It assures us of the inviolabilty of the laws of the moral order, and of the principles that lie behind the mystery of the Cross and the future dispensation of mercy and justice; (c) It enables us to rely with confidence upon the promises of God, and upon the eternal purposes which they reveal.

The Being and Attributes of God, Francis J. Hall, D.D., New York:Longmans, 1918, pp. 256-260.

An illustration of God’s eternity

I had heard eternity illustrated as a sheet of paper upon which the line of time is drawn, such that God looks on time all at once, beginning, middle and end, every moment of which is present to his gaze.

Here is another illustration of eternity which was new to me and also quite good, in my opinion:

There can be no adequate illustration of what transcends imagination, but the figure of the circle is helpful in comparing time and eternity. The circumference is subject to division and measure and yet endless to those who pursue its path. It is a fit symbol of time. The center, being a point, has no measure, and yet is abreast of every part of the circumference, however vast that may be. It symbolizes eternity.

The radii occupy various positions, and are drawn in different directions. But while these divergences produce different points of contact with the circumference, their points of contact at the center coincide under all circumstances. They symbolize the relations between the temporal and the eternal. Like the radii these relations are diverse and changeable, but the region of change lies in the temporal alone. When, therefore, we describe the relations of the eternal mind and will of God to the temporal effects of His operations in terms of temporal change and sequence, we are describing truly, if we remember that we are not describing the eternal center itself, which is immutable.

The Being and Attributes of God, Francis J. Hall, D.D., New York:Longmans, 1918, pp. 255-256.

God’s eternity

If God is self-existent, He is eternal. That is, He utterly transcends in essence, life, and action the relations of time. If He were a temporal being He would have a beginning, even though His origin coincided with the origin of time. Such a being cannot be uncaused or self-existent. Moreover, if He were temporal, whether in essence or in action, He would be conditioned externally and limited by temporal relations and sequences, and His self-realization would at each moment be partial and imperfect.

*  *  *

Real eternity is infinite and non-temporal. It is not, in particular, an indefinite expansion of temporal duration, but is that attribute of God which, although timeless, is conceived when we contemplate the infinity of God from the point of view of the temporal.

The Being and Attributes of God, Francis J. Hall, D.D., New York:Longmans, 1918, p. 253-254.