Tag: Winston Churchill

Few Elect?

Few Elect? posted in Eleison Comments on January 22, 2011

Why is it so seemingly difficult to save one’s soul? Why – as we are told – are relatively few souls saved in comparison with the number of souls damned? Since God wishes for all souls to be saved (I Tim.II, 4), why did he not make it somewhat easier, as he surely could have done?

The swift and simple answer is that it is not that difficult to save one’s soul. Part of the agony of souls in Hell is their clear knowledge of how easily they could have avoided damnation. Damned non-Catholics might say, “I knew there was something to Catholicism, but I chose never to go into the question because I could see ahead that I would have to change my way of life.” (Winston Churchill once said that every man runs into the truth at some time in his life, but most men turn the other way.) Damned Catholics might say, “God gave me the Faith, and I knew that all I needed was to make a good confession, but I reckoned it was more convenient to put it off, and so I died in my sins . . .” Every soul in Hell knows that it is there by its own fault, by its own choice. God is not to be blamed. In fact looking back on their lives on earth, they see clearly how much he did to try to stop them from throwing themselves into Hell, but they freely chose their own fate, and God respected that choice . . . However, let us delve a little deeper.

Being infinitely good, infinitely generous and infinitely happy, God chose – he was in no way obliged – to create beings that would be capable of sharing in his happiness. Since he is pure spirit (Jn. IV, 24), such beings would have to be spiritual and not just material, such as animal, vegetable or mineral. Hence the creation of angels with no matter in them at all, and men, with a spiritual soul in a material body. But that very spirit by which angels and men are capable of sharing in divine happiness necessarily includes reason and free-will, indeed it is by the free-will freely choosing God that it deserves to share in his happiness. But how could that choice of God be truly free if there was no alternative to choose that would turn away from God? What merit does a boy have in choosing to buy a volume of Shakespeare if there is only Shakespeare for sale in the bookstore? And if the bad alternative exists, and if the free-will is real and not just a pretence, how are there not going to be angels or men who will choose what is not good?

The question may still be asked, how can God have foreseen to allow the majority of souls (Mt.VII, 13–14; XX, 16) to incur the terrible punishment of refusing his love? Answer, the more terrible Hell is, the more certain it is that to every man alive God offers grace and light and strength enough to avoid it, but, as St Thomas Aquinas explains, the majority of men prefer the present and known joys of the senses to the future and unknown joys of Paradise. Then why did God attach such strong pleasures to the senses? Partly no doubt to ensure that parents would have children to populate his Heaven, but also surely to make all the more meritorious any human being’s putting the pursuit of pleasure in this life beneath the true delights of the next life, which are ours for the wanting! We need only want them violently enough (Mt.XI, 12)!

God is no mediocre God, and to souls loving him he wishes to offer no mediocre Paradise.

Kyrie eleison.

Children’s Treasure

Children’s Treasure posted in Eleison Comments on June 7, 2008

Do mothers know – do they still want to know – what treasures they, and they alone, can lay up in the hearts of their children? Here is a charming reminder from a young poet of the Irish countryside, born in the last years of the 19th century, who died on the eve of World War Two, Michael Walsh. The poem is entitled “Roses”:

Roses of evening – O loveliest of roses

Falling in music as the night came down –

To me the most familiar sound of childhood,

My mother praying on her beads of brown.

Evenings at home – O evenings long remembered!

Sunset on the meadows – moonrise on the snows,

Be it June or December – twilights that descended

To low soft music of a falling rose!

Of all the memories of a quiet valley

That haunt me, haunt me in this dusty town,

But one remains – the loveliest and the sweetest –

My mother praying on her beads of brown!

What a mother can give to her child in its earliest years cannot be replaced by the father, nor even at a later date by a beloved spouse. Both of them come upon the heart made, or unmade, by the mother. The key to its unmaking is her self-centredness, or selfishness, arising often today from the pursuit of her own fulfilment – how little does she know! The key to its making, and to that profound veneration in which mothers are naturally held, is her self-sacrifice, or selflessness. See in “Roses” how deep in the child struck his mother’s forgetting herself in God!

Kyrie eleison.

Masking Apostasy

Masking Apostasy posted in Eleison Comments on May 3, 2008

Question: Why do so many politicians of modern times talk right-wing while acting left-wing? Because the people want to go left while pretending to stay right. And why do the crowds want to slide leftwards while pretending not to do so? Because they want to bask in a godless future even while they pay hypocritical homage to a godly past.

For if there is one word to sum up the last 500 years of world history, it is the word “apostasy,” i.e. a falling away from God. Now, ever since God revealed himself in the Incarnation, that has meant a falling away from the Incarnate God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Catholic Church. Before the Incarnation, apostasy could never be so clear. Ever since the Church established Christendom, if one wished to descend from those medieval heights, it made such apostasy necessary.

But from the end of the Middle Ages onwards it was so clear that those heights were truly high, that all those choosing to descend had to honour what they were quitting even while they were quitting what they claimed to honour. Hence the hypocrisy intrinsic to, for instance, liberal and socialist politicians. For instance, when somebody tried to sing the praises of Communism to Winston Churchill, he snorted: “Christianity with a tomahawk!”

However, as usual since the Incarnation, the heart of the problem lies not in politics but in the Church. “Left-wing” and “right-wing” are terms arising from the division of the French Revolutionaries of 1789 into violent and only semi-violent, destroyers of the Old Order, that of throne and – altar. Now King Louis XVI was guillotined, but the real target was the altar. Therefore what differentiates left-wingers from right-wingers is their more or less explicit apostasy.

So when Cardinal Suenens described Vatican II as the French Revolution of 1789 within the Church, it is not surprising if the mass of churchmen divided into extreme or only moderate destroyers of the Old Order, i.e. of the true religion. But, as in 1789, the moderates were, and remain, destroyers still. Woe then to churchmen of today who would try to blend with these “moderates”! They risk adding themselves on to the end of a 500-year list of hypocritical traitors, however well-meaning!

Kyrie eleison.