Saturday, May 02, 2009

Abide with Me

“When the philosophers abandon the metaphysical threshold, it falls to the poet to take upon himself the role of metaphysician: at such times it is poetry, not philosophy, that is revealed as the true ‘Daughter of Wonder’...” -- St.-John Perse

The United States government’s reaction to Mexican Swine Flu was, “We will not close off the borders.” That reaction is the exact opposite reaction of my neighbor: “We should close off the borders.” Why is there such a dichotomy? The dichotomy exists because the United States government is the official voice of Liberaldom. And in Liberaldom the death of individual white human beings is a consummation devoutly to be wished. The survival of the generic earth and generic humanity is the abstract good in which liberals believe. For this reason they will always be at odds with the Christian Everyman, who only respects, like his God, individual human beings.

The late Malcolm Muggeridge called liberalism a death wish. And it is, to a certain extent. The liberals wish for the death of individual white Christian Europeans, but they do not wish for their own deaths. Will the barbarians make the distinction between liberal and non-liberal white people? No, they will not, but the liberals think they will. The murder and torture of whites is taking place throughout liberaldom, and the white hierarchies of liberaldom rejoice at every murder. Nothing that happens to white people touches them.

The liberal’s death wish is a wish for thy death, not his own. In fact, the liberal fears death more than any man has ever feared death before. That is why he has built a world of abstractions where death can be abstracted out of existence. If there is no such thing as a God-Man, then there is no such thing as a divine element within human beings. In such a case then there are no individual personalities with unique individual souls. There is only humanity in the aggregate. And mere humanity, without a soul, can be anesthetized. If one does not fear the extinction of the personality, if one does not long for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still when a loved one dies, then there is only one reason left to fear death: pain.

And this is why science and the liberal are so inseparable. To a Christian the pain of death is caused by the extinction of a personality. The pain is lessened and then conquered through faith in the redeemer: “Death, where is thy sting?” The liberal has extinguished faith and lost his sense of the uniqueness of individual human beings. All he wants from God is a pain-free death and then oblivion. In return for a painless death, he worships the God called 'Science.' And that scientific God shows signs and wonders, in contrast to the Christian God who refused to show even His own Son one sign or wonder as He was dying on the cross. But the Europeans needed no outward sign or wonder, because He was that sign and wonder. The men of Europe need no scientific magic talisman; we need only His sacred heart.

The antique European is tempest toss’d. He needs a safe harbor, some place to recover from the slings and arrows of Liberaldom. Then, having recovered, he can gird up his loins, shout ‘Claymore,’ and return to the battle. The poets of Europe know where the safe harbor is. It is in the human heart, connected to His heart.

Since “super Gnostic” liberalism has become the reigning philosophy in church and society, the Europeans with hearts that still live have been banished to the hinterlands. And the end result of the triumph of the Gnostics has been the end of charity. The initial wellspring of feeling comes from the heart, and that feeling tells us that the secret of existence is not locked in a secret scroll, but in the sacred heart of the God-Man. If man is cut off from that initial feeling or sentiment, he is cut off from God, the source of his being. No matter what philosophy he espouses or how clever and intelligent a man is, if he has severed his head from his heart his faith will be “as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” because he has not charity. The desiccated brain alone cannot produce one infinitesimal impulse of charity from the soul of man.

The liberals have replaced the old faith in Christ with a new faith in science and abstract thought. We need to turn to the poets in order to see the old Europe that the liberal’s have forsaken, because in their works we see our true beginning and our end. The storytelling tradition of Europe is rooted in the marriage feast of Cana. At the feast, Christ, against the Gnostics, sanctified marriage and began his public mission by performing a miracle at a private and provincial party. The storytelling tradition of Europe is also joined, in spirit, to St. Paul and 1 Corinthians 13. All the great poets of Europe show us, in their visions, an image of Christ in His divinity and sacred humanity. Let me mention a few.

William Shakespeare
Shakespeare stands above all the other poets, not because of his rightly and often praised use of language, but because of his little credited and seldom lauded gentleness. At the heart of this magnificent poet is an unparalleled sympathy with human creatures that defies any rational explanation. From whence comes his incredible sympathy?

In one school where I taught, I showed some freshmen the Franco Zeffirelli version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Although the play is not one of my favorite Shakespearean drama, I still felt, as I followed the words and action of the play, as the two apostles had felt when they supped with Christ at the village of Emmaus: “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way...” My heart burned within me because I felt connected, through the sympathetic art of William Shakespeare, with the Divine Heart. Must not He feel that way toward His creatures? Could such a Heart ever fail to keep the appointment at the hour of our death? Melville asked the question, “Sentry, are you there?” Shakespeare gives us the answer.

Of course, the summit of all Shakespeare’s art, and of all art, is Lear holding Cordelia in his arms. One sees and feels at that moment of the play, with a certainty that transcends the imperfect rational certainty of apologetics, why and how the tragedy of the Crucifixion could be turned into a happy love story. For one blazing moment we see through that dark glass and understand why charity is the greatest of these, and we understand why He and only He gives us the hope that the fell sergeant Death will not have the final word.

Walter Scott
All the institutions of modern Satania are geared to turn man away from the affective, loving approach to God. When faith becomes a mind game, Satan always wins. Walter Scott can put us back on the path, away from the Gnostics, to the Man of Sorrows. He eschews the path of the illuminati poets and theologians who seek to shed external light on man’s existence. Instead, Scott gets to the divine heart through human hearts. And at the heart of Europe, Scott tells us through his heroes and heroines, is Christ’s animating spirit. It is not a little thing to have placed charity at the center of one’s work.

C. S. Lewis
There is much that I find uninspiring in C. S. Lewis’s work. In a good deal of it I see too much of the English don and not enough of the man underneath the don’s mask, but still I admire the man immensely because he was an Oxford don who managed to throw off a good deal of his donnishness. Born with a propensity for the Gnostic heresy, he conquers it in his greatest work, The Chronicles of Narnia. In that work, he, like Shakespeare and Scott, eschews the cosmic approach to God. Building on the ‘least of these thy brethren,’ he brings us into His presence. With the marvelous image of the wardrobe that is the passage to Narnia, Lewis makes us feel as the great saints feel. We feel that there is no great dichotomy between this world and the next; they are both part of eternity which is sustained by a Personality. And our permanent place in that eternity rests on the personal assurances of Him.

Lewis had a mind that could have created a complicated system of esoteric formulas leading to the Promised Land. And he might have even thrown Christ, in a Chardinian fashion, somewhere into the mix. But he chose to stress the personal and the sentimental way, which places a personal God at the center rather than on the periphery of human experience. The religious Gnostic and the secular Gnostic will talk about humanity, but it is always the impersonal and the esoteric that they stress. Lewis walked among those Gnostics without being of them. Therein lies his greatness.

Much has been written of Lewis’s failure to convert to Catholicism. His Ulster, anti-Catholic background is usually cited as the reason. But a man who could conquer his extreme Gnostic tendencies could certainly have overcome the effects of an Ulster upbringing. I would suggest another reason: Lewis intuited a submission to Rome might have caused him to succumb to the Gnosticism against which he had been fighting all his life. The reigning philosophy in the Catholic Church during Lewis’s lifetime was Thomism. Lewis was a very sociable fellow; he naturally, had he become a Catholic, would have sought out the company of other Catholics. Excessive contact with the Thomists could well have plunged him into the despair that plagued Allen Tate and Evelyn Waugh after their conversions. I think Lewis worried more about getting things right with Him than he did about fitting in with one particular branch of the Church.

Walt Disney
I grew up with watered-down, liberal, American Christianity on Sundays and public school filth on weekdays. My only exposure to the essential Europe came from the Walt Disney films I saw at the local theater in the 1960s. My later conversion to genuine Christianity was greatly aided by what I learned about the workings of the human heart from that great storyteller, Mr. Walt Disney.

Let there be no doubt who was the heart and soul of the studio who gave us Snow White, Peter Pan, Fantasia, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Zorro, Swiss Family Robinson, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and so on. Walt Disney was the heart and soul. He was the master storyteller who put it all together. Witness how quickly the studio deteriorated after Walt’s death. The men with the technical abilities were still there, but without Walt, the soul was gone. The Walt Disney Company is now a major force for race-mixing, degeneracy, and Gnosticism.

Walt Disney’s accomplishment was incredible. In an age when genuine human feeling was becoming extinct, Disney placed stories from the heart of the European tradition onto the screen. Which is why the anti-human highbrows in the liberal and the ‘just-the-facts’ conservative and traditionalist camps love to sneer at Disney. Disney knew they were sneering, but he persevered. He kept the faith in the fairy tale alive. And his faith was an organic faith. He didn’t think fairy tales were something to be studied and dissected, he thought they should be loved and lived.

Although I love the image of the pilgrims with lighted candles singing ‘Ave Maria’ and so many other marvelous images that Disney brought to the screen, Mickey Mouse stands out for me as Disney’s supreme creation. He is the ancient medieval knight, sallying forth against the forces of modernity. The outward costume has changed, but the chivalrous heart is still there. As the gallant tailor or as the mail pilot, Mickey goes forth, as Walt Disney did, against the forces of modernity, with only an intrepid heart and his faith in his Dulcinea, to sustain him.

Annette Funicello once told of her astonishment when she received a birthday present from Walt Disney when he was dying of cancer. There was no mention of his own health in the accompanying note, just a ‘Happy Birthday’ greeting for her.

Again, what did St. Paul say about charity: “Beareth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Disney’s vision came from his great heart. It is a vision in line with Lewis, Scott, Shakespeare, St. Paul, and Him. I love the man.

Dostoevsky’s vision is so wonderfully anti-Gnostic. He is centered on man’s heart and its connecting link to the divine Heart. His life-long battle against the cosmic and materialist ideologies that reduce individual men and women to insignificant atoms comes to a final conclusion in a classic confrontation between Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov.
“Rebellion? I wish you hadn’t used that word,” Ivan said feelingly. “I don’t believe it’s possible to live in rebellion, and I want to live! Tell me yourself—I challenge you: let’s assume that you were called upon to build the edifice of human destiny so that men would finally be happy and would find peace and tranquility. If you knew that, in order to attain this, you would have to torture just one single creature, let’s say the little girl who beat her chest so desperately in the outhouse, and that on her unavenged tears you could build that edifice, would you agree to do it? Tell me and don’t lie!”

“No, I would not,” Alyosha said softly.
The Swine Flu may or may not be a serious problem. If it is not there will be other plagues, in the form of viruses or of invading barbarians. White Europeans can expect no help from liberals against plagues or barbarians. I never recommend surrender, but while we are doing what we can against the slings and arrows of the liberals, it is comforting to be in union with antique Europeans such as the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte who believed in someone of this world, and above this world.
Abide with Me
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord--
Familiar, condescending, patient, free--
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me!

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing on Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea;
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me!

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me!

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me!

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me. +

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