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My quote o’ the week comes from what may be the most important book I’ve read in years: The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West by Michael Walsh. Years ago I read Walsh very often as he would write for the National Review under the pseudonym David Kahane. His new book is, to put it lightly, simply outstanding. I’m only three chapters in and already plan on reading it at least 1-2 times more back-to-back, the second time with a highlighter. In time I hope to write a more thorough review but for right now all I could do is post a few snippets that, when taken out of context, may not make much sense. All I can say is that for me personally this book has been the catalyst to opening my eyes to something that I’ve always suspected was there, underneath the surface, and responsible for much of the head-shaking madness I’ve seen or read about in our world and our nation since the dawn of the 20th century. As I said, I’m not finished with my initial reading yet, but am close to designating this book as required reading.
Seduction, subversion, sedition—these are the tools of a creature we once called Satan, the Father of Lies, the loser of the Battle in Heaven. Yet he continues the fight here on earth with the only weapons at his disposal: man’s inherent weaknesses and zeal to be duped if the cause seems appealing enough. Chief among the weaknesses of Western man today are his fundamental lack of cultural self-confidence, his willingness to open his ears to the siren song of nihilism, a juvenile eagerness to believe the worst about himself and his society and to relish, on some level, his own prospective destruction. – page 6
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One more, from pages 24-25:
The roots of the intractable political conflict that currently plagues Western societies lie almost entirely in our rejection of myth, legend, and religion as “unscientific” and in our embrace of barren “process” to deliver solutions to the world’s ills. Whether it goes by the name of “global warming” or “climate change” or “social science,” this worldview claims to be all-encompassing, eternal, and grounded in “settled science,” which boasts remarkable successes in empirical, experimental endeavors. With these technological achievements as cover and camouflage, this ideology brooks no rivals to its monopoly of knowledge; it dogmatically excommunicates all competing truth claims. Nulla salus extra scientiam, it thunders. Outside science, there is no salvation.
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During Advent and Christmas one word seemed to leap off of the page each time I set aside time for prayer, reading or meditation: radiant. As in light. It began to appear so many times I considered highlighting or documenting through journaling each instance. I wish I had.
The light is always there no matter how dark our current moment in time appears. The darkness, while blanketing and trying to suffocate our hope cannot overcome or quench the light. That we succumb to believing the darkness is stronger is the Big Lie pedaled by the forces of that same darkness.
If you know me or have read me you know by now that at least once a week I go to the Pink Sisters (aka Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration) convent chapel here in Lincoln. Sometimes I bring my breviary. Sometimes a book designed for prayer time. Sometimes I bring nothing at all. The important thing is that we all find and frequent that place available to us where we can refresh our spiritual batteries and bathe in the Light of Christ.
I can’t imagine doing otherwise at this point in my life. I have memories of my early adulthood when I wallowed in the darkness and allowed it to wrap itself around me as some sort of perverted security blanket. It is alluring. It is comforting. It lacks warmth, though we convince ourselves otherwise as we wrap ourselves in it like a warped semblance of a security blanket.
In our society, so big on the concept of choice, I see a clear line between the only real choice that matters. The eternal choice.
Choose the Light. And when the darkness threatens to overwhelm you choose it once more.
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God our Father,
You conquer the darkness of ignorance
By the light of your Word.
Strengthen within our hearts
The faith you have given us;
Let not temptation ever quench the fire
That your love had kindled within us.
Morning Prayer for January 15, The Liturgy of the Hours
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I have added two menu tabs to the top of this blog: The Divine Comedy and The Screwtape Letters. It is my intent and hope to regularly post, two times each week, entries about these two seminal works. I’ll be starting with The Screwtape Letters next week and follow later this spring with The Divine Comedy. I’m not sure if I’ll post on Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday of each week. If I choose the latter there will be no more Friday Five entries (not necessarily a bad thing) but I do like to put these together on occasion. I guess I won’t know until I get started.
Stay tuned, and have a great week.