I am thankful for many, many things. Each day, 365 days per year, I express my thanks and my gratitude for different aspects of and in my life during Lauds, Vespers, and during the Holy Mass itself. Because of this I do not feel the need to participate in the narcissistic, look-at-me-look-at-me exercises I witness every year at this time on Facebook or other social media. If you are on Facebook you know what I’m talking about. Here’s an idea: instead of waiting until the month of November and writing for a faceless internet audience about how much you care for someone or something, step away from the computer to phone and/or actually spend time during the entire year telling them personally.
Just a thought.
Speaking of Lauds, during this morning’s prayers the following passage from the Book of Tobit was used:
Do to no one what you yourself dislike. Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. Seek counsel from every wise man. At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans. – Tobit 4:15a, 16a, 18a, 19.
It’s a few days early, but within that passage I found my Friday Five. A warning: I’m in a mood so you may wish to just skip ahead to #4 or #5. I am just being honest by letting you know that below I am, well…being honest.
— 1 —
Do to no one what you yourself dislike.
Ever hear of the Golden Rule? It was in all the papers. Somewhere along the way we have stopped practicing this rule and have adopted one that goes along the lines of “Do as I tell you to do because I alone know what’s best for you and besides, it’s politically correct.” It’s bad enough that this has become the motto of our government but so many people seem to have adopted it too.
The Golden Rule vs. the Nanny State. A no-brainer as a decision if ever there was one.
— 2 —
Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing.
See above. It’s become apparent that not only does the government want to take more of what I’ve earned to pay for their entitlement society, but now they also want to tell me who I should be giving it to for the sake of their idea of social benevolence, no matter whether that particular “cause” violates my First Amendment rights or not.
And again, the majority of the American population is okay with this. Now I know why they stopped teaching history in public schools so many years ago. They knew that the way to control the population is to steal said population’s heritage. Well played, Democrat-controlled teacher’s unions. Well played.
— 3 —
Seek counsel from every wise man.
Shut off the television America. There is no wisdom there. It is not to be found on Desperate Housewives, The Voice, The Big Bang Theory or Glee. It definitely isn’t coming from Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. A wise, successful man once told me that you could tell a lot about a person by the music they listened to, the books they read and the friends they kept. In other words, what is put into a mind by association has a profound effect on a person. I have observed the same for fifteen years now after having studied this man’s methods. Rarely, if ever, has it failed me. And never before in the fifteen years I’ve practiced this method have wise men and women been so ignored in our land, but hey…the final season of Jersey Shore is on.
Funny ol’ world.
— 4 —
At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans.
Man is called to praise God without ceasing. It is what we were made to do. It is how I hope to spend eternity. I will admit that it wasn’t really until this past year or so that I grasped that concept and took it to heart. One cannot immerse him or herself in the psalms each day without discovering this. So we are to bless and praise Him. But we are also to petition Him. We do this in the great prayer, Our Father, when we ask “give us this day our daily bread.”
What also stands out in that last portion from Tobit is that we are to petition God to grant success to all our “endeavors and plans.” In other words: make a plan. Take action. Don’t just sit around waiting for something to happen. Get moving. Slowly, if you must, but move. My rule for taking action? I begin always by asking myself “Is it moral, legal and ethical?” If so, I begin to make plans to move in that direction. Ask God to bless that path before you begin as well as along the way.
So looking back we can see how this passage from Tobit is cyclical.
- Praise God.
- Make a plan. Ask God for His blessing.
- Practice the Golden Rule.
- Perform corporal works of mercy along the way.
- See the counsel of wise men to tweak your plan or for those times you veer off into the ditch.
- Repeat Step 1.
It’s cyclical and a preferred alternative to the one seeking to replace it.
- Praise the government and its leaders.
- Plan nothing. You can’t move forward without the government anyhow, so just don’t plan.
- Do what we tell you. Question nothing.
- Your money and property will be used as we deem fit for the good of The State whether it complies with your beliefs or not. Ignore that 237 year old piece of parchment known as the Constitution. It was written by old, dead white guys. Slaveholders. And they were atheists. It’s in our history books and we teach it to your children with or without your permission.
- Watch the state-run media. View always the shows on network tv, no matter whether they corrupt you or your children. The culture may be a sewer but it’s our sewer. Look at the monkey!
- Return to Step 1 and thank your leaders for the sewer they graciously provide us all to dwell within.
“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984
— 5 —
If you’re still reading I suppose I should offer my apology for being so sarcastic this morning. I’m sure I greatly diminished what is to be gleaned from Tobit and for that I’ve done it, and you, a grave disservice. But it is also where I am at this point in time. For in this passage I see not only tremendous wisdom and teaching, I see also a great contrast with what is going on in our society today. For while no one likes to admit it, we have lost our way as a collective whole. However, we can still live our lives rightly as individuals and affect real and lasting change in this manner. It starts with us and ripples out through our neighborhoods and communities. We still have a choice.
I can think of no greater example of this at the moment than Katie Davis. I’ve written before about Katie and Amazima Ministries. There is a link to the right of this blog that you can click upon in order to support her or learn more about her work. I still highly recommend her book, too.
Amazima released this video for Thanksgiving the other day. While I may have caused a little bile to gather in your throat, I hope this soothes the ol’ windpipe.
I wish each and every one of you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. Advent approaches soon after, and due to a couple of writing projects I’m endeavoring to complete I do not plan to be around as much through the end of the year. You’re probably thankful for that right about now. One is a large teaching project/lesson plan. The other is a work of fiction. I haven’t written fiction in a few years so this will be a challenge. I plan to practice the six steps outlined above.
The first set of six. Not the second set.
After all of that is finished I’ll go back to being the nice man with the quaint blog who won’t ruffle any feathers by challenging you to think.
Yeah right. Who am I kidding?