The Singing Nurse, Jared Axen

The Singing Nurse, Jared Axen

Life is short. Be not afraid.

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Chastity

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Inequality and The Clerisy

Note NYC, San Francisco, and Washington DC, all homes to the Clerisy.

Mean Household Income 2007 to 2010, by Richard Morrill

Data on incomes of households for US counties allow us to see the geographic patterns of poorer, average and richer households. Covering the numbers of households and shares of households that are relatively poor to rich, we get a fascinating picture of American economic diversity.
. . .
It doesn’t take much of a cynic to conclude that the way to get rich is to be around Wall Street (the pinnacle of capital) or around the U.S. Congress, the pinnacle of government largess (including lobbyists for Wall Street).

The Geography of Lower, Middle and Higher Income Households in the United States, by Richard Morrill

Continue reading ‘Inequality and The Clerisy’ »

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Hallelujah Christmas

Hallelujah Christmas, by Cloverton

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

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Karol Wojtyla sings Ave Maria

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Do Not Despair

The Chimes tells the story of Trotty Veck, a street porter who scrapes together a poor-but-honest living delivering messages through the streets of London. Trotty is a small-business owner who “loved to earn his money. He delighted to believe … that he was worth his salt. With a … message or small parcel in hand, his courage, always high, rose higher.” On New Year’s Eve, Trotty is driven to despair by the evils of the world. That night, the ringing of the chimes in the church tower awakens him. Drawn to their sound, he finds himself called to account for his despair by the bells and their goblin attendants. They show him visions of a future that awaits if he gives in to his despair, and in the morning, he wakes to find himself at home, surrounded by family and good will.

The bells and the goblins accuse Trotty of falling into three specific errors in his moments of despair. First, he is guilty of dreaming of a romanticized past at the cost of neglecting the opportunity to improve the present. Second, he is guilty of assuming that the plans of the poor are of no importance to anyone. Third, he is guilty of a misanthropy that condemns humanity as evil and not worth saving.

I couldn’t help wondering, while reading The Chimes, whether Trotty’s errors were meant to replicate the errors often committed by readers of A Christmas Carol.
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Depriving the poor of their choices and invading their lives with paternalistic plans for improvement that destroy the fragile plans they have built themselves is no way to aid them.
. . .
When we talk about A Christmas Carol, we fail to give Scrooge credit for transforming. We “abandon him as vile” and “turn our back upon the fallen.” The Chimes won’t let us do that. It is not enough to urge Scrooge to be good to others. We have to remember to be good to Scrooge. Otherwise, we haven’t learned a thing.

As a work of art, The Chimes will never replace A Christmas Carol. It’s simply not as memorable. But as a moral lesson, it is a fine corrective to some of the ways in which our dreams of the past, our desires to help in the present, and our fears about the future of humanity can lead us astray.

A Tale of Two Stories: It is not enough to urge Scrooge to be good to others, by Sarah Skwire

The Chimes (Wikipedia)

Despair

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“Pro-Business” is NOT Pro-Market

Instead of being “pro-business,” policy makers should aspire to be “pro-market,” eschewing both targeted punishment and targeted privilege.

‘Pro-Business’ Is Bad Business for the Middle Class, by Matthew Mitchell

Being “pro-business” is crony capitalism in disguise and rewards the Clerisy and the political class. Free markets are all about voluntary cooperation.

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Gaudete Sunday

Gaudete Carol

Gaudete Sunday

First, collect experiences, not things.
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Second, steer clear of excessive usefulness.
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And finally, get to the center of the wheel.
. . .
But as the Catholic theologian Robert Barron writes, the early church answered this existential puzzle by placing Jesus at the center of the wheel. Worldly things occupy the wheel’s rim. These objects of attachment spin ceaselessly and mercilessly. Fixed at the center was the focal point of faith, the lodestar for transcending health, wealth, power, pleasure and fame — for moving beyond mortal abundance. The least practical thing in life was thus the most important and enduring.
. . .
The frustration and emptiness so many people feel at this time of year is not an objection to the abundance per se, nor should it be. It is a healthy hunger for nonattachment. This season, don’t rail against the crowds of shoppers on Fifth Avenue or become some sort of anti-gift misanthrope. Celebrate the bounty that has pulled millions out of poverty worldwide. But then, ponder the three practices above. Move beyond attachment by collecting experiences, avoid excessive usefulness, and get to the center of your wheel. It might just turn out to be a happy holiday after all.

Abundance Without Attachment, by Arthur Brooks

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“A Light in the Darkness” Sunday, December 7, 2014, 7pm

“A Light in the Darkness” — an Ignatian meditation on Advent and Christmas, with the Ignatian Schola

Sunday, December 7, 2014, 7pm
Church of St. Francis Xavier
46 W 16th St, New York, NY

“Comfort, Comfort, O My People” by The Ignatian Schola

“Comfort, comfort O my people;
speak of peace!” Now says our God.
“Comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load.
Seek unto Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them!
Tell of all the sins I cover,
and that warfare now is over.”

Hark the voice of one who’s crying
in the desert far and near,
bidding all to full repentance,
since the Kingdom now is here.
O, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
and the hills bow down to greet Him.

O make straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
now o’er earth is shed abroad,
and the flesh shall see the token
that His word is never broken.

Ignatian Schola YouTube

“to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”

George Washington’s “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport RI”

Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City

Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, from George Washington, August 18, 1790:

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

Source: George Washington: A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1988)

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