Turning A Page At The Beginning Of Lent

This week I wanted to say a few words about Lent, and about contemplation (to close our series on prayer); finally, I’d like to ask your opinions, about where to go from here.

The Lenten fast is the most important of the year, and the strictest. A Christianity is about incorporation into Christ, and restoring our likeness to Him by grace and imitation, the liturgical year immerses the faithful in the events of Christ’s life, and the Old Testament “types” thereof.

Lent is called in Latin “quadragesima,” which means “fortieth,” because the first Sunday of Lent falls on the fortieth day before Good Friday. The season recalls the forty years of the Hebrews’ wandering in the desert, the forty days of the Flood, and the forty days of the Lord’s fasting in the wilderness (cf. Luke 4). In our Lord’s forty days of fasting, the Fathers saw Christ healing human nature by prevailing, in human nature, over the temptations of the flesh, the world, and the devil; imitating Christ in His fasting is an imitation and participation in this.


Quadragesima Sunday is preceded by a further three weeks of “pre-Lent,” beginning with the Sunday of Septuagesima (Latin for “70th,” for it falls about 70 days before Easter); this recalls the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity. Septuagesima dwells on the theme of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise; from now to Easter, the Western Church will not sing ‘Alleluia,’ for the West’s tradition regards it as a celestial and paradisiacal word, which the banished and fallen man dares not utter (it contains part of God’s ineffable name); many places would even have a ceremony where a plaque with the word ‘Alleluia’ was buried, in remembrance of death entering the world after our banishment (though, contrarily, the Eastern Churches use the word more often during Lent, as a sign of longing for Paradise). This theme continues throughout Lent, as when the penitents are ejected from the Church on Ash Wednesday, and are strewn with dust and ashes with God’s words to Adam: “for dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return.”

Sexagesima (the next Sunday) focuses on the Great Flood, sign of the just desserts of sin, and of the Last Judgment yet to come; Christ, and His Body the Church, were always interpreted by the Fathers as being a fulfillment of Noah’s Ark – a great vessel of salvation, by which the remnant of the just are saved from the inundation of God’s wrath. These themes also recur in the Lenten liturgy. Quinquagesima (the next Sunday, again) focuses on the thwarted sacrifice of Isaac, when God foreshadowed that He would send His own Son, rather than actually ask Abraham to do the same; God also then sent a ram in his place, with its horns caught in a nearby bramble-bush, as a token of the saving Victim yet to come.


In union, therefore, with Adam and Even in their sorrow; with Noah in the Ark for forty days and nights; with the Hebrews wandering in the desert; with the Jews, exiled in Babylon; with Christ, in the desert; we can keep the period of Lent as a for candor about our spiritual desolation, bearing the bitterness of the period as we look forward to the moment of deliverance. The best of us feel, betimes, the sting of our failures and shortcomings; we feel the pain of exile – being confused about God, not knowing if we believe, or even if we want to believe. And, even if we believe, of not knowing how to approach Him, how to make a beginning.

We ought not to be contumelious towards Him about this; but, Lent is certainly a season when we can come to God and tell Him, in all candor: “I feel like an exile; I am at a loss before You; I don’t know whether to hold the idea of You in contempt, or whether I myself would be contemptible for failing to repent and return to You; and in any case, I wouldn’t know how to start.” It is a season of exile, of bitterness, of pain, of longing and confusion, that has heard only the rumor of some far-off liberation. We need not be embarrased of our own sense of exile, therefore; rather, embrace it and endure the hardships of the season, offering them as a sacrifice, with entreaties that our exile be brought to an end. As one of the Matins Responsories for the season says:

R. Let the season of the Fast open unto us the gates of Paradise; let us great the time, praying and beseeching, that on the day of Resurrection we may glory in the Lord. V. Behold, now is the acceptable season; now is the day of salvation: let us therefore commend ourselves to God in great longsuffering, that in the day of Resurrection we may glory in the Lord.


Now, I want to say a few words about contemplation, to conclude the series on prayer.

I debated how much to say about this, for the Church has always closely guarded the teaching on contemplation, and warns that serious, spiritual dangers lie in wait for the contemplative, that only experience and grace can resolve. I will therefore limit myself to some very brief remarks.

In Christian contemplation, the soul seeks to commune with God; while the Church does not in any way disavow the essential truthfulness and usefulness of her doctrines, she nevertheless admits that God, as He is in Himself, is ultimately beyond any and all things we may say about Him. This does not mean that “anything” describes God equally well, it just means that even the truest terms cannot define or exhaust Him, in His fulness. Christian contemplation seeks to behold God in the simple gaze of Faith and Charity, therefore, without any definite thought intervening.

In the first place, this means that a man should always mistrust and reject any visions, sounds, etc., that occur to him in contemplation; they may be harmful and, even at best, they are inferior to contemplation itself. The trick, is to focus the will upon God, while the intellect strives to be free from any definite concept. The great work called the Cloud of Unknowing, spoke metaphorically of a “cloud of forgetting,” by which the soul forgets everything it knows from the world of creatures, and a “cloud of unknowing,” the “divine and brilliant darkness” in which God dwells beyond the power of any human thought’s penetration. All the soul should experience, is an impulse of the will to flee sin, and to cleave to God.


Because it is difficult for the novice in this process to think “no thoughts” for a sustained period of time, a common form of training in prayer is to practice thinking only “one thought,” and from there to transition to “no thought.” One commonly does this by repeating a concise phrase, or even a single word, that crystallizes the aforementioned process, fixing the intent upon God and letting Him worry about understanding Himself.

I shared some prayers, and brief prayer rules, at Jedithun; but if, when praying with fixed prayers, one feels a particular connection to God, do not be afraid gently to remain present before Him, in this simplicity of intent, in silence. If you are moved to pour your heart out at such a time, do so, but do not make the mistake of seizing on such a moment to “milk” the prayer. Neither try to force it, nor be anxious about holding it; God is in charge of it. For me the purest moments of “normal” prayer, are these silences that come, and in themselves they are already a glimpse of the kind of contemplation I’ve been describing. Our formal prayers, in the best of times, will help prepare us for such moments; and such moments will impart greater depth to our formal prayers.

These glimpses also help us to undertand the goal of a more deliberate effort at contemplation. For those who wish to pursue it, I recommend the Cloud of Unknowing, and the writings of St. John of the Cross. A more systematic approach is also taken in Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s “Christian Perfection,” and “The Three Stages of the Interior Life.”


Finally, a question:

I wanted to give some basics on prayer, because this site is about self-improvement, and I wanted to this information for interested men. Now, those articles are up, for any men who become interested in the future. At this point, in keeping with the spirit of Lent (exile and repentance), I had been thinking of going into the crisis plaguing Western civilization for the past 500 years, and exploring the history of the ideology that has brought us to our present, absurd state of “social justice,” and all the rest… so that we, too, could repent and seek an end to our exile.

But I was a little bit surprised to find that some men think of (real) religion as “blue pill,” so I had thought of perhaps going through the basic arguments for God’s existence, aiming to show that rational, masculine men have always embraced God and, if anything, atheism is historically a phenomenon that patriarchy would associate more with immaturity or effeminacy, and a maladapted intellect.

But then, it occurred to me that perhaps the most helpful thing, would be a systematic introduction to philosophy in the Western Tradition, because if people haven’t learned to think clearly, there is no point introducing logical arguments. I am often surprised by how many men, who think of themselves as “smart” or “logical,” nevertheless fail to grasp even the first premises of their own arguments, to say nothing of clear thought more generally.

What do you men think? Which of these three, would it be best to do next?

Read More: Why Theology Is A Man’s Discipline

157 thoughts on “Turning A Page At The Beginning Of Lent”

  1. Nice ending to an informative series.
    I would like to know more about any Catholic-specific rituals, for instance I know there are differences from those shared in Protestantism.
    Anything about where rosaries and crossing oneself originated.
    Anything about the differences between Roman and Greek-Orthodox or the schism that took place there.
    Or anything about early formative Papacies and their relations not only to their congregations but also their countries/governments.

    1. Yes, it’s a shame that modern churches have no “meat” for men these days. Now wonder they’re all leaving. However, I’d highly recommend seeking out a Roman Catholic Church with the traditional Latin mass or an Eastern rite church. They are much more appropriately masculine.

    2. “Anything about where rosaries and crossing oneself originated.”
      Crossing oneself dates back to at least around 180 AD by which time, when mentioned in the Sub-Apostolic church writings, it is already seem to be considered a long established and universal practice.
      “Anything about the differences between Roman and Greek-Orthodox or the schism that took place there.”
      Fr. John discusses the spiritual decline of the Church in the West and the attempt to reform this degradation.
      Fr. John continues his exploration of the pivotal reign of Pope Leo IX
      and the way in which its reforms led toward a confrontation with the
      Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1054.
      In this conclusion to his account of the Great Schism, Fr. John reviews
      the leading controversies that aggravated relations between Rome and
      Constantinople during Pope Leo IX’s military confinement, and how they
      resulted in the latter’s posthumous act of excommunicating Patriarch
      Michael Cerularius in 1054.
      In the anecdotal introduction to a new reflection, Fr. John tells the
      story of the fall of Constantinople to the western crusaders in 1204,
      showing how this event, inspired in part by new claims of papal
      supremacy, resulted in the permanent separation of eastern and western
      In his conclusion to this reflection, Fr. John discusses the Roman
      Catholic theological principle of “doctrinal development,” and traces
      the origins of four new doctrines that arose in the west after the Great

      1. I agree with most of that except the Sack of Constantinople. The conquest itself wasn’t really the machination of the Pope at that time. I’ll give you the cliff notes version, but a few years before Greeks massacred some Italians living in Constantinople, this angered the Venetians (not enough to lead to an attack however). Unrest caused the Byzantine Emperor to ask for Venetian help, Venetian help came but the Emperor couldn’t follow up on his end because he was in jail. The man who had the Emperor jailed executed him soon after, and this same man (Alexios V) declared himself the new Emperor. When the Venetians got wind of this, they got angry and stacked the city. They also man have had helped from someone on the inside, but I’m not sure of his ethnicity. Basically Constantinople wasn’t the victim we Orthodox Christians sometimes portray it to be. You are right in the fact that it caused a larger riff between Catholics and Orthodox though. The final nail in the coffin was more than likely the 1484 Synod of Constantinople.

    3. I’d love to write about such things; I wonder if ROK is the place for it?
      I’m starting to think that there won’t be a good book written about the differences between the Orthodox and Catholics, until I write it. I’ve spent time in both Churches, I believed the doctrine of each very strongly while in them, so I can write about it from both perspectives, very sincerely. In the end, I think the Catholics are right, but this is obviously obscured by the present crisis in Catholicism, and some difficult historical/philosophical questions.

      1. If not ROK then where else?
        We are lucky to have a place provided to discuss such topics without censure, so why not make use of it? Not only about religion, fitness, women and current events, but on any matter we wish to bring. We are many voices, so let’s continue to hear them all.
        I have stated before, I am only now seeing how little I knew about Catholicism, I would like to know more. And as I enjoy theology would encourage others with knowledge to write on similar topics about other denominations and religions.
        As men we should always strive toward wisdom. And those who may contribute have an obligation to. So, please continue until you determine you are finished. That’s my two cents anyway.

        1. Well, I have to say I agree with every word you’ve said. Since I was offered a position as the ROK religion writer, I feel some obligation to keep to a broad-ish brush; but you’re quite right that ROK is such a valuable forum, precisely because it’s a place where men can talk about anything and everything as men.
          Perhaps I’ll space such articles out broadly, with lots of more generic material in between, or I’ll write them as “bonus” articles in addition to the usual column.

  2. Fasting is hard ! I find it way harder than celibacy.
    As for the two options at the end of the article, I would choose the second one.
    The study of early western philosophy, from what I know about it, gives powerful arguments in favor of our stance in the debate you’ve mentionned in the first one.
    Thus you would kill two birds with one stone.

    1. If you’re having trouble fasting, try first going on a low carb, high carb diet for a few weeks. Fasting after you’re body has adapted to burning fats makes the process a lot easier since you won’t have the issues with low sugar. I have fasted for up to 3 days a couple of times (absolutely no food for 72 hours). The first 24 hours is rough but after that it feels like electricity is coursing through every nerve. I’ve never been so mentally sharp.

      1. Yes, the ascetical fathers always mention this: the mind is sharper in a lean body. Or, as the Greek folk I knew used to say, “Fat priest is no priest.”

  3. I got an idea, let’s all slaughter a pig and call it a sacrifice to Wotan. It’s spiritual and masculine and, stuff.

    1. Hunting a wild animal, killing it and offering it to the gods, would indeed be more masculine than most men’s current pastimes.

  4. “But then, it occurred to me that perhaps the most helpful thing, would be a systematic introduction to philosophy in the Western Tradition” And all the roads will lead back to Plato. I’ve gotten to
    “Plato thought nature but a spume that plays
    Upon a ghostly paradigm of things”
    But alas is “the dry soul the wisest”?
    But often my soul is with with Baudelaire:
    “The unique and supreme voluptuousness of love lies in the certainty of committing evil. And men and women know from birth that in evil is found all sensual delight”
    And yet like good Catholics we can be like “The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep”

    1. I’ll follow up with wanting to know what distinguishes Aristotle from Plato and what Thomas Aquinas had to say about all of that. I know very little about this and have been wanting to find an introductory book to Aquinas ever since I read an article on strangenotions.com regarding the philosophical errors that were made 500 years ago.

      1. A lot to be simple. Aristotle, however adopted a form of logic that served us all completely from the ontological and metaphysical roots that separated the mind from the body, reducing the former into a receptacle of pure abstract cognition and the latter into a form of matter that was to be despised. The rest as they say, is history.

        1. Well, despising matter has more to do with Gnosticism, and perhaps Stoicism, than with Aristotle himself.

        2. Platonism also held a rather disparaging view of matter too, and Aristotle was a member of his academy.
          How do we know that Gnosticism is not a more correct depiction of the world we all know? It certainly accords more faithfully with the often sad and dismal state of affairs in this sorry world.

        3. Certainly there is much evil in the world; but there is evil amongst purely spiritual beings as well, such as the demons. Matter qua matter is not inherently evil.

        1. Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered The Last Superstition along with Feser’s beginner’s guide to Aquinas.

      1. managed to read it on the alternative browser on my phone. I may not always have such dedication

  5. Man, I have no idea what Aurelius talks about in his articles, mainly because I’m not Christian, and so I have no background in these religious texts and events, but his writing is so thorough and well-done I feel like he could get me to convert to Christianity if he tried.

      1. i’d recommend ecclesiastes too, regardless of your faith or lack thereof. one of the wisest texts ever written. if it doesn’t contain all of what a man needs to know to handle life properly, it contains most of it.

        1. cool, i’ll have to check out those two texts then
          Also, I heard there’s like an Old Testament and a New one; what’s the difference? Is the New Testament an add-on to the Bible, or just an entirely updated Bible 2.0?

        2. wikipedia is a great source for these questions, but basically the OT is the jewish bible, all the stuff before jesus. NT is from jesus to the time of the apostles.

        1. Do I think you believe in the Trinity? Yes. Do I think you believe in the Deity of Christ? Yes. Problem is you do not hold to the Gospel of the finished work of Christ. The Roman church hasn’t since 1564.

        2. I’m not sure what you mean by that, but, of course the Church believes the Gospel, of which she is the infallible custodian. The Catholic Faith holds that the forgiveness of sins is entirely accomplished in Christ, God having been propitiated by the merits of His Salvific Passion. All who are quickened in Christ have been forgiven their sins, translated from the servitude of slavery to the Law under Original Sin, and into the freedom of the sons of God, and are justified by grace through faith on account of no merits of their own (though we do say that, once they have been justified and quickened, and rendered capable of supernatural activity through the infusion of the Holy Ghost, they are capable of meriting eternal life and an increase in grace and glory by their cooperation with grace – but justification itself, was received by grace without any prior merit of their own).
          The real problem, is that heretics (“heresy” is from a Greek word meaning “pick/choose”) have substituted many merely human and fallible interpretations of their own picking and choosing, in the place of the Tradition preserved in the Church by infallible and Apostolic authority.

    1. Well, my next articles will look more seriously towards persuading men, at the very least, to abandon the incoherent secularism we’ve embraced. I want everyone to convert to the Faith, of course, but I try to avoid the temptation to turn ROK into my own private forum for holding altar-calls, as it were.

        1. I’m not Jewish. I’m a proud Catholic who has had fantasies of being taken by a priest for as long as I can remember.

        2. I have no idea what that smells like. I have to admit that I have tried motza ball soup and thought it was absolutely disgusting. I prefer real balls.

        3. Lol, I try not to “play” at Mass too much, though I do chant the main prayers and chants of the Mass from time to time, especially if I can’t get to Church on Sunday (I live an hour and an half from the nearest Catholic chapel). Did you used to serve at Mass?

      1. Before I pose an answer to your question, I would like to first say how much I enjoy your articles. My history is a Protestant upbringing, and yet, I find a good bit of your advice to be applicable in my own struggles with God, his nature, and the teachings of his Son. I look forward to many more articles from you. As to your question, I think you may best be served by exploring the history of Western Tradition philosophy. I feel that exploring this concept will add strength to any future discussion you engage in regarding evidence for and defense of God’s existence. However, you may have something of an interesting dilemma before you; do you explore Western Tradition philosophy and show how God’s presence is in keeping with that, or do you begin by asserting and defending God’s existence and use Western Tradition philosophy to do so?

        1. Thanks for your input; it seems most men are agreeing with my own inclination: start with some principles of clear thinking, establish the Western philosophical tradition, and then get into arguments about the difficult questions.

        2. You are welcome of course. By establishing a “starting point” from which to discuss the “difficult questions” you mentioned, you will actually help in facilitating more constructive conversation by getting readers on the same page. I.e. “Here are the principles of clear thinking” which would lead to “Genesis of Western philosophical tradition” leading to “Exploration of difficult question #1”.

      2. I started going church at the beginning of january with my two sons, we will be catholic soon.
        I’m in the RCIA now, was thinking about it for a long time before.
        Your articles helped.

        1. Glory to God! If you find that your local parish is insane, and you get confused and wonder what to do, drop me a line and I’ll try to be of further assistance.

  6. I’ve been fasting very modestly for lent: no alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, sweets, or butter. So how can I connect this fast to God? Am I supposed to think about Christ every time I find myself wanting one of the things I have given up?

    1. Thank your God for giving you the courage and strength to complete these fasts and dedicate these fasts to your God for in restraining yourself from your carnal needs and wants you strive to reach deeper into spirituality and closeness with your God.
      Your strategy would do wonders. For you are replacing the carnal wants and needs with spiritual ones which are far more beneficial, rewarding and everlasting.

    2. When pangs of cravings for such things come to mind, offer them to God as a sacrifice, asking Him to help you grow in grace and virtue, by His help. Use the opportunity to draw your mind to Him, to pray to Him, and to stay connected to Him throughout the day.

  7. I vote for ‘Basic arguments for God’s existence’. That would make an interesting article. The comment section derails into that every time anyways.

    1. There is a blog I read where a philosopher goes through numerous basic arguments for God’s existence. It’s called the Orthosphere.org and the posts are by Kristor.

  8. Very well written article. My opinion on your question would be to present the history as a narrative story with proper emphasis on empathy with the average man at the time. One could also use old doctrine to point out the obvious and egregious state of affairs today. I’d say just put it in common sense thinking and let people take away what they will.

  9. “I had been thinking of going into the crisis plaguing Western civilization for the past 500 years, and exploring the history of the ideology that has brought us to our present, absurd state of “social justice,” and all the rest… so that we, too, could repent and seek an end to our exile.”
    I think this would be the best path to pursue. I think many people would like to know how far back this ideology you speak of goes and how it has all come to a head in our present day.
    If I understand correctly, you would be writing about the crisis in todays Catholic Church post Vatican II? If it hadn’t been for you I’d still be assuming that there were no actual sane Catholics and that they were mostly interested in bringing down Western Civilization, along with the politicians, media, UN, EU, International bankers and Hedge fund managers etc, by openly agitating to bring in Muslim invaders. The very same Invaders that the church had been helping to fight off back in the day, but now seem to try to welcome them in to everyone’s own detriment.

    1. I was resisting this whole sedevacantist thing, but when Francis started bashing Trump this week, it seriously pissed me off. I do not get what he is doing. My ancestors kicked out the Ottomans’ asses centuries ago and nobody accused them of not being Christian.

      1. “I was resisting this whole sedevacantist thing, but when Francis started bashing Trump this week, I just gave up on him. I totally do not get what he is doing.”
        Pope = The Grand Inquisitor (of the Brothers Karamov):
        When the bishops of Rome were no longer content with being first among equals, leading by example, but rather wanted to be infallible and all powerful over both church and state, then the transformation had begun to becoming what many have always suspected the last man to be Pope will be, The False Prophet.

        1. You obviously don’t know your history, and prefer being a controversialist.
          You should read Vladimir Soloviev’s Russia and the Universal Church. Soloviev goes into the facts regarding the East’s schism and the truth of Peter’s being made Head, not first among equals, and the necessity of such a head in the Church.
          Soloviev remained Russian Orthodox, was received into the Catholic Church, but called himself an Orthodox Catholic – a true member of the Universal Church. It was based upon his work that the Russian Catholic Rite was founded by Pope Leo XIII. Read and understand.

        2. I used to be Orthodox. Precisely what converted me to Catholicism, was realizing that the pope was never a “first among equals,” but was universally owned as the supreme hierarch of the Church for the first seven centuries. The only opposition to this came from Constantinople, for the sake of her own ambitions – but even then, the letter from the Eastern Patriarchs to Pope St. Leo the Great over the elevation of the See of Constantinople, says everything about what they really thought of this. The controversy over the Filioque itself, was first introduced by the Monothelite heretic Paul IV of Constantinople, in a desperate attempt to resist the deposition levied against him by the pope. St. Maximos the Confessor defended both the primacy and the Latin Fathers’ teaching on the Filioque, and then suffered martyrdom with Pope St. Martin the Great.
          Study the real history of the Church; read the original sources in Greek and Latin. If you do, like me, you will see that the Latins have the right side of the argument – though, as I say, the Great Apostasy has begun, and one will not find the Catholic Faith amongst those who follow after all the novelties since Vatican II. You may find this site helpful:
          I’ve checked the vast majority of the quotes in the original Greek/Latin, and they are accurate. It’s a starting point, at least.

        3. Interesting. I became Eastern Catholic last year, as a sort of compromise between the only two truly apostolic faith traditions out there. It really came down to a few minor details, one being that I would have far easier access to Catholic churches and services where I reside and tend to travel and another being that there was just something, something to that whole “you are the Rock I will build my church upon” thing.
          I’d still be content with being Orthodox, taking Holy Communion, confessing regularly and taking part in the sacraments until I reached heaven. I do prefer the Divine Liturgy to the Roman Mass. I do not believe the Orthodox faithful are in any kind of real danger, a weakened spiritual state, or surrounded by heretical notions and ideas like Protestants are.
          Converting Protestants to the true apostolic Faith is very important. Uniting the Orthodox and Catholic churches once again is vital to so many things. I think we may very well see it happen in the next 20-30 years. The Holy Spirit is moving.

        4. I’m very glad for you. I am actually a convert to Catholicism from Orthodoxy. I would encourage you, on the one hand, to understand that there is massive crisis in the Catholic Church at present, especially in the Latin Rite, and that this has long since been prophesied. So, one must not feel obliged to pay any attention at all to the novelties coming from the impostors over there.
          On the other hand, I am glad you sense the importance of the primacy, as wielded by an actual, Catholic pope, and would encourage you really to study and understand it better. A good first step, would be the excellent quotes presented in the videos at this channel:

        5. Please, no one misconstrue my words when j say, this current pope along with the last several are the embodiment of the anti-Christ spirit (NOT THE anti-Christ); as there is written in scripture, many anti-Christ spirits. Even the name and title of the pope denotes such: Vicar = in stead of, anti = in stead of, replacement. Francis is a liberal blowhard who is allegedly a pagan mason who hangs around the archibisop of Canterbury who has been said to be a pagan Druid. Both him and the previous two popes have been accused of a child sex ritual ring tied to some satanic cabal. When the current pope jerks of Obama and vice versa, you know there’s a problem.

        6. You are in a good place. If you read Soloviev’s “Russia and the Universal Church” you will understand the politics of the Orthodox Church and why they don’t want to lose power and privilege to be under the pope.
          Soloviev gives the best argument for the necessity of the papacy that I have ever read.

      2. IMO, the current Pope is a fraud. Not a Catholic so it doesn’t matter either way but he is way too interested in politics and not enough in religion. If he’s going to practice what he preaches, I expect the walls surrounding the Vatican to be torn down in short order. If not, he can shut the hell up.

        1. “IMO, the current Pope is a fraud.”
          No, he is just the continuation of what the Roman Catholicism became at Vatican II when they embraced the pan-heresy of Universalism.
          Pope Paul VI in New York 1965
          by Eugene Rose [Fr. Seraphim]
          from The Orthodox Word issue #5, September 1965
          Perhaps no other event in recent history has been so clear a “sign of the times” as the visit to New York of Pope Paul VI, on Oct. 4 of this year, and his address there before the United Nations. For the world, first of all, it was a sign: the universal longing for “peace” has been given an unmistakable “religious” sanction and the age of “universal peace,” the dream of generations of Utopian thinkers has been brought almost within reach.
          But what, one wonders, have Utopian dreams to do with Christianity? Did not Paul VI come to speak for Christianity? An examination of his address reveals a singular fact: the purpose of the Church of Christ is not mentioned, and the name of Christ appears in it only once, in an ambiguous final sentence. It is perhaps assumed that the audience knows
          for what the Pope stands; he said, indeed, “you know our mission.” But later, when characterizing the “aspiration” of the Church of Rome, he said only that she wished to be “unique and universal” — in the spiritual field”!
          For a single moment only in his address did it seem that the Pope might be about to speak a word of genuine Christianity. Citing the commandment of our Lord to His Disciples to “go and bring the good news to all peoples,” the Pope announced that he indeed had a “happy message” for “all peoples” represented at the United Nations. For Christians, this can only mean one thing: the good news of salvation, of eternal life in God. The Pope, however, had a different, an astonishing message: “We might call our message … a solemn moral ratification of this lofty institution.” This is what Rome offers today in place of the Christian Gospel!
          Rome aspires to be “universal.” But there is one universality of the true Church of Christ, which is called to preach the Gospel of salvation to every creature; and there is quite another universality that springs from the world and seeks to conform itself to that world by preaching another more “acceptable” message. The very words of her Popes make it
          too clear which of these Rome has chosen. Paul VI very accurately presumed in his address “to interpret the sentiments of the world.” John XIII before him had even more ingenuously justified his own program of “adaptation” to the modern world: “The voice of the times is the voice of God.”
          Thus speaks the voice of Rome, today even more than in ages past, in its aspiration to a “spiritual authority” over the entire world — no longer over all Christians, but over men of every religion and of none. Paul VI in his address spoke no word of genuine Christianity; not once did his words rise above a merely worldly idealism. The Pope’s ideals come
          not from our Lord, not from the Apostles and Fathers of the Church of Christ, but rather from rationalistic dreamers of the modern age who have revived the ancient heresy of chiliasm — the dream of an ancient millenium. This heresy was explicit in the Pope’s evocation of the “new age” of humanity, and of a “new history — peaceful truly human history as promised by God to men of good will.” The Church of Christ has never taught this strange doctrine; it is, however, one of the cardinal doctrines of Freemasonry, of occultism and numerous related sects, and even [without mention of God] of Marxism. For adopting this sectarian fantasy into the body of Latin doctrine the Pope was acclaimed by the press as a “prophet.”
          Both the Pope’s manner and the content of his address reveal a man in the state called by Orthodox ascetic writers prelest: spiritual deception. [See Orthodox Word No.4p. 155]
          Addressing the nations of the world, which find themselves in a state near anarchy and total moral collapse precisely because they have abandoned or will not receive the Christian Gospel, the Pope spoke no word of reproach, made no call to repentance, said nothing of Christian faith, gave no hint of the Christian message of salvation; he utilized rather a skillful combination of Utopian idealism and — simple flattery. Addressing the unrepentant nations of the world — including many who are today persecuting and killing Christians — the Pope could only “praise” and “congratulate” them, offer them “gratitude,” “homage,”and “tribute,” and ended by giving them that which should be offered to God alone: “glory to you.”!
          Paul VI is not Antichrist; but in the whole “drama” in which he was the chief “actor” something of the seductiveness of the Antichrist is already present. To be sure, it is nothing original with him; it is rather the culmination of centuries of apostasy, just as the enthusiastic response of the world was the result of a spiritual blindness, owing to ignorance of the nature of Christianity, which has been growing ever since the separation from the Christian East.

        2. He is a fraud. He is not a Catholic, and therefore he is not the pope. God save him from himself.

        3. We are in the Great Apostasy. Many faithful Catholics understand that John XXIII was the first in a string of antipopes, predicted by the Blessed Theotokos at La Salette and Fatima. Vatican II was something done with a great deal of treachery (many even of the bishops who signed the documents, for example, had been given to understand that the documents they signed were non-binding, generic statements), and in any case was not held under a legitimate pontiff. It was not a valid council of the Catholic Church, and the mass apostasy of almost the entire hierarchy since that time is precisely as calamitous an event as one would imagine.

        4. To me, he is like the Obama of Popes.
          I don’t remember actively having any problem with previous Popes, they came (or gave a speech) every so often and inspired people who weren’t even Catholic (like myself) and that was that.
          Then we have this Francis fellow, and something about him has always struck (even me) wrong, like he’s a fraud or placeholder like Obama.

      3. He’s being a feckless, useless apostate with no sense of history or basic morality.
        I get that sedevacantism is a tough mental hurdle, at first. But, realistically, the whole “synod on the family” last year sums it up: those “cardinals” were not debating a point of Catholic doctrine. They were debating a point of natural law. It somebody had raised genuinely disputed points of Catholic doctrine at that synod (did the Virgin merit her role in the redemption condignly or congruously?), the cardinals probably wouldn’t have even understood the concepts involved. That synod revealed that these men were past debating Catholicism, and were now trying to see whether they would abandon even basic reason.
        To be a Catholic, one MUST be with the pope. But, likewise, to be Catholic, one should avoid anti-popes. There is nothing saying that every man in Rome with a white cassock is a pope. There have been admitted, acknowledged anti-popes before. This isn’t a new idea. It’s just that Vatican I, and the poor state of catechesis, have left most Catholics confused about even the first principles of their religion. One of the simplest, de fide doctrines of the Church, is that one must be a Catholic to be in the Church, and that public heretics are not in the Church. Thus, to be the pope, one must, first of all, be a Catholic. When it is clear that the man in front of you is publicly and noticeably not a Catholic, it is clear that he is not the pope. And it really is that simple.

        1. I had no doubts about JP2 and no doubts about Benedict XVI but I have doubts about this Peronist gentleman in the Vatican.

        2. I find myself in the same boat, being drawn to the historical and philosophical aspects of Catholicism but repulsed by Francis and the “official” Catholicism that I see in local parishes. So, do we read and study in isolation?

        3. Yes, this latest guy is a plant, for sure.
          I also had no suspicions of JPII and BXVI; BXVI, I think, may have had a genuine repentance at some point (in the past, he was quite open to the “resourcement,” and even admitted that some of the VII documents were specifically designed to over-turn the teaching of the prior Magisterium – he called Gaudium et Spes a “counter-syllabus”). But my comfort with JPII was entirely due to the fact that he was before my time (I was born in the early 80s, so most of his actions were well off of my radar) and, not being a Catholic, I wasn’t particularly aware of everything he did even as I got older.
          But anybody who really digs into his life and beliefs, will find a profoundly Modernist man who both performed and promoted numerous actions that are contrary to the Faith, heretical, and mortally sinful. A pope, he was not. He was charismatic, popular, charming, in his way; that’s what made him so ideal for solidifying the new religion.

    2. I would hit on the Vatican II Crisis, yes; but the Crisis of Vatican II is simply the penetration into the institutions of (former) Catholicism, of the apostasy that began 500 years prior. I would begin there, showing how the devolution has been an inevitable one, ever since the notion of competing truths and the consequent necessity of relativism and subjectivism, were enshrined at the center of Western values.

  10. Aurelius, when it comes to self-improvement through taking care of oneself (eg. working out, good diet, etc.), how does one draw the line between what is healthy and necessary and excessive narcissism or idolatry of the body. As Chrisitans, we are told that God should always be first. And the body is the equivalent of a hairshirt for the soul that is necessary for its sanctification but one day will be discarded with joy. This is corroborated by stories of saints who did penance and mortifications that would be considered insane today. How to find the right balance ?
    And in the same line of thought, when I am fasting, I feel guilty about pretending to do it for religious reasons when deep down I am also motivated by weight regulation and improved insulin sensitivity. I know it sounds crazy, but will God also accept such a penance when it is not done purely out of love for Him? I kinda feel cheap but since it is Lent, I better ask.

    1. I can’t speak for Br. Aurelius (nor am I Catholic), but when I fast (from food and/or water) for religious purposes, I typically combine it with a fast from an activity or pastime I enjoy to remind myself that I am supposed to be focusing on God, and not just myself (and spend that time in the Word or in mediation / prayer).

      1. Absolutely. During Lent we drastically limit our entertainments, and we also fast from sex (something monks do all the time, obviously; I mean the laity). When Western Civilization was still Catholic, public theatres and fairs were shut down through the period. I generally don’t watch any television, except perhaps a bit of news or whatever when I care for my grandmother two nights a week. But, I especially work to exclude such things, and to cut down on my most enjoyable leisure activities (listening to music and walking in the fields and deserts near our farm), the extra time gets taken up by the Office/Scripture (for a Catholic, essentially the same thing), which is longer in Lent, and additional, mental prayer.

        1. Of course. Masturbation is grave matter, meaning that whoever engages in it while knowing that it is grave matter, commits a mortal sin. Thus, one should never masturbate, in the same way that one should never fornicate or commit adultery. For men this can be an hard battle – “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But, hard battles are meant to be won, and gloriously so.
          For the man who is new to self-restraint, Lent is a good time to turn a new leaf, for sure.

    2. God would want you to be as healthy as you can in order to do his work on Earth. Get fit and look good and be a beacon of health to others. I have never seen a depiction of Christ with a beergut or double chin.

    3. I wouldn’t feel this way at all; there are several benefits of asceticism. The Christian, of course, gets to unite them with Christ, putting them to a supernatural end. There is, additionally, the training in discipline, which is good even on the natural level of the virtues. Finally, fasting also purifies the body and improves its function.
      I took up weight-lifting a year ago, because the past several years of my life have been sedentary (university, etc.); the first couple years of that, were also spent in a monastery where the abbot kept us on a very poor diet. I’ve gotten stronger, but I haven’t lost much of my excess weight (this is something I’ve heard can happen often with guys who were never really athletic or muscular before; the advice I’ve gotten, says that you need to drop the weight first with a good diet, focus on strength training with the resistance of your body weight, and then you’ll derive more benefit from weight-lifting).
      So, long story short: this Lent, I’m actually bending the rules a bit, to make sure I get a lower-carb, higher fat, and good protein intake. I will eat no meat, still. I am allowing myself to eat eggs and cheese, and to cook with butter or the left-over bacon grease from before Lent. But: I still abstain from all of that on Wednesdays/Fridays, I eat the eggs and cheese in a way that’s not particularly appetizing to me (only hard-boiled eggs, and the cheese just cold and plain), I still fast until 3:00 every day (but Sundays/Feasts), etc.
      Thus, I offer the parts of this that are most difficult to God as a penance (fasting ’til 3, no sugar/bread, preparing the food in boring and unappetizing ways); the rest of it, I view as natural discipline, and good health, knowing that these are also pleasing to God so long as they are kept subordinate to the love of Him, and the sacrifices involved in them can also be a part of our repentance and growth in virtue. All three can exist together; just make sure that God is tops – chiefly by making sure that prayer is increased substantially during Lent.

    1. I wandered over to my mate’s house yesterday and we pulled on each others ding dongs for a while.

  11. I would go with an exposition of western philosophy first. I imagine you would start with the ontological argument or the quinque viae as an introduction to theistic arguments, but in my experience modern men misunderstand them at the most basic level, sometimes willfully so.
    So I say start with the Greeks and just go from there. Whether or not you think Socrates or the pre-Socratics is the best place to begin is up to you. But may I suggest Homer as a good introduction to European philosophy? It always makes me happy to know that our civilization began with a war.
    Of course, an entire library of books and several lifetimes of study could be dedicated to any of these topics, so good luck!

    1. I’ll actually probably do a (somewhat simplified) walk-through of manual of scholastic philosophy, intended for seminarians entering the great Seminary of Louvain, last century. He hits all the historical points, of course, but presents the growth of philosophy in a more systematic way. Of course, that could easily be a five-year project…

  12. One aspect I think it would be prudent to discuss further would be points on basic asceticism and what steps the average man can take to employ such principles in his daily life. A large part of the spiritual oppression in our civilization is based around the dereliction of a spiritual lifestyle. This methodology allows for a higher spirituality to enter men through their hearts as opposed to their heads, which is far more effective in introducing men to the Kingdom of Heaven. This suggestion is doubly potent in that atheists and other apostates will feel most likely not feel inclined to attack, say, the Heavenly Virtues or the Deadly Sins. This aspect can tie in easily with philosophy in Western Tradition as you mentioned in the article.
    As a monk, I’m sure you feel the power and the effect on your constitution that ascetic principles have. Let men feel that as well. As I’m sure you know, the average man has been brainwashed heavily into believing that religion is stupid and useless. While the other die- hard Moner fans and I can appreciate the last several articles, I can see how many men might feel that praying could be “awkward” if they don’t feel the connection initially. I find my prayer sessions to be most intense when I have attended closely to an hermetic lifestyle.
    Otherwise, I found “Fountain of Patriarchy” to be your most powerful article. The article nicely juxtaposed Biblical principles with modern degeneracy and made a potent argument on behalf of Christianity. More work along these lines would be most useful for the men on this website.

    1. Thanks for these helpful thoughts.
      I suppose it hadn’t occurred to me that atheists and others who think of religion as “blue pill,” would even be interested in attempting ascetical methods. Though, I did many such things naturally when I was a teenager (i.e., still young, dumb and full of atheism), so I suppose it should resonate with men on a natural level.

      1. A lot of men, of all ages, are trying new diets, going paleo, doing fasts, getting ripped, and seeing the very real benefits of discipline, restrictions on one’s impulses, and simpler lifestyles. One huge step forward in my spiritual life was when i went paleo. I experienced the very powerful connection between the physical and the mental and spiritual. It’s far, far easier to fight off demons and negativity, to be productive in a godly way, when you wake up full of energy, when you’ve quit drinking and smoking, when you’ve cut carbs and sugar.
        Many are seeing and feeling the connection.

  13. Sitting at the head of the Ganga today, many holy men, many temples, God fingers through the clouds.
    Even with an amazing spiritual/philosophical tradition spanning 5000 yrs, still got nothing on real Christendom or the Ancients, because…..matriarchy, Brahmans, no culture of individual brilliance or excellence, so no progress.
    Shit is brutal and beautiful at the same time.

  14. Decided to give up alcohol for 40 days over Lent. Started a week early on the 3rd. Going pretty well now and getting out of the habit of reaching for booze. It seems to have worn off. Going to try and keep up until Easter Saturday. In Australia, booze isn’t traditionally sold on Good Friday so I will avoid it until then. Then a few beers for the start of the AFL season (my other weakness).
    One thing though – I thought Lent was 40 days. But Feb 10 – Mar 26 is 46 days. Is Jesus moving the goalposts now or what??
    Now heres to my cup of tea and a Sunday tomorrow with no hangover.

    1. Sundays are generally regarded as mini-easters allowing people to indulge in what they’re fasting from.

      1. Yes, or in the older custom, which I encourage: we still abstain on Sundays (i.e., no meat/dairy/eggs, or whatever you’re giving up), but we do not fast (i.e., unlike other weekdays, you can eat at whatever time of day on Sunday).

    2. Sundays are always the “Day of Resurrection,” and fasting is forbidden. There are six Sundays from Quadragesima to Palm Sunday (inclusive), so there are six extra days added to bring the total of fasting days to forty.
      And you thought there was no good reason!
      Enjoy your time of sobriety; if you’ll take my advice, I’d say: have a drink on Easter Sunday and enjoy it, but please, for the love of God, don’t get hammered on Easter Sunday.

      1. Thanks for the reply. Of course i knew there was a reason for it, just didn’t know what it was.
        I will be careful on Easter Sunday. After 7 weeks of sobriety, I am sure my tolerance will have waned.

  15. I have been deprived of a classical education. So it is with awe that I read about the thoughts and arguments of the past only to find that the human condition has not changed. Any of your topics would be of great interest. Thank you for this work.

  16. Both your suggestions sound good. I’m sure you do already, but ask God for inspiration, he will put it in your heart.

  17. I can’t see any text for some reason, can anyone help? Same with other articles on here, just the main text is missing.

  18. I find that most non-believers don’t just disbelieve in God, they actually don’t want to believe in God, therefore any arguments presented for the existence of God will be rejected even if they are sound. Rather than trying to convince them to believe in something that they don’t want to believe in, we should provide them with what is neccessary for them to come to the knowledge of the truth on their own, a classical education could do just that. But whatever you decide is welcomed.
    I’m rather new to this site, but i am very pleased by what i’m reading, these articles in particular are exactly the sort of thing that interests me.

    1. A god doesn’t necessarily solve the problems that traditional theists want it to solve. A logically possible god could have created humanity without any meaning, purpose, moral guidance, an afterlife or a guarantee of ultimate justice. Humans just imagined this wish list for themselves and projected it onto their idea about god for basically selfish reasons.

      1. True, deism is a far more logical explaination than atheism, however the ‘wish list’ of Christianity can be known intuitively through contemplation. Is wasn’t added to the idea about God, it was discovered intuitively by the spiritually proficient.

    2. I agree; when I was an atheist, I knew all along that I was lying to myself. But I felt like atheism was the “tough-minded” way to live, and that this sense of doubt was simply the weak and emotional part of me trying to intrude upon what was rational.
      In the end, of course, I came to see that it was more rational to be a Christian, than not. I immersed myself in a lot of critical, apologetic and philosophical literature, and this bolstered that, sharpening my ability to think and discriminate more acutely. But, when all is said and done, it was the decision to quit lying to myself, that really allowed that to happen; in hindsight I see how this was the result of the grace of God. And, obviously, I’m not capable of handing every man on the forum a bit of the grace of God. Still, God is pleased to act through secondary causes, so I’ll do what I can, and trust Him to do what He can.

  19. Prayer always gave me the creeps. I felt that way about it even as a child. It looks like behavior you’d see in an mental institution.

    1. Interestingly, the people who end up in mental institutions are disproportionately irreligious. To me, perpetual denial of a connection with the transcendent, is the sociopathic and creepy form of behavior.

  20. I’d like to suggest that you focus on masculine Christianity, with muscle, a desire to defend itself and if necessary go on the offensive against degeneracy in the age, including militarily against threats such as ISIS. The reason why Christianity is often seen as blue pill is that too often in today’s church it is forgotten that God is a warrior. I’d like to hear your thoughts and teachings on that, even if you completely disagree, especially so. An article or series of articles on this is, I feel, sorely needed.

    1. I agree, overall; but some men seem to want it both ways. Any time I present the aggressive form of Christianity, there are complaints that God is unjust, that being subject to an unquestioned superior for eternity is “terrifying” and womanish, etc. It seems to me that it’s necessary to establish the essential justice of God, even at His most authoritative and punitive, before that would be likely to meet with much success.

      1. God is our Father (in a figurative rather than a literal sense). When a human father sees his children fighting and sinning against each other, his love for his children and his anger against them co-exist. Without the love, there would be no anger about what they are doing to each other. The Father’s anger is powered by His love. A non-angry god would be a non-loving god because that god wouldn’t care.

      2. I take your point. Justice comes from strength, and I do feel like I understand Christianity clearer when I view it through that lens.

    2. check out the Shoebats for that. They have done amazing work detailing and arguing for a militant and masculine Christianity.

      1. I’m aware of them, Ted seems to have been kicked off of youtube, and I struggle to find his videos on his website. Perhaps I’m not looking hard enough?

    3. Today I sat through simpering love songs to Jesus. I would go elsewhere but there is no elsewhere. It’s where Christianity is ‘at’ these days.

      1. The church goes underground at times like these….. house groups are the way to do this, we need to start meeting in groups away from prying eyes and build networks.

      2. There are other options.
        Here’s about as girly as it gets in a traditional Catholic Church:

        Or, an old-fashioned “praise and worship” song, with a manlier bent:

    4. What is a bigger threat to the ideas of the church, feminism, democracy, liberalism, or Islam? Other than the notion that the church wants to maintain its monopoly on faith and theism, the answer is clear to me.

      1. At the minute I’d say Islam, due to it’s unwillingness to compromise on anything, the support it has from government, leftists, multiculturalism etc. The church isn’t helped in facing this threat as it is weakened from within.

        1. I suppose the church has an age – old beef with Islam (and Judaism) and isn’t about to cede any ground to them as a matter of principle and ceding market share. But if you look at a broader context of what the church believes in and what its institutions are established to do, and really, what the purpose of marriage is (regulation of sex and support of the family) then Islam has the same end goal as Christianity and they are both swimming upstream against the forces of democracy, feminism, and multiculturalism.
          Why should strong, true, proven ideologies such as patriarchy, traditional marriage, virginity, be compromised? Is that a bad thing? I say, if there is a philosophy or a religion or a movement that brings about patriarchy and stability, even if I’m not a member of it, or have even heard of it yet, then I wholeheartedly welcome it.

        2. All patriarchy will wield a sword’s point. But, I agree that perhaps there is more compulsion than there is reason and principle, in much of the Islamic world.

        3. I view it as basically a past incarnation of Christianity. Islam of 2016 is basically Christianity of 1516. Not a whole lot different from the Inquisition era.

  21. Let’s cut the bullshit. It doesn’t matter if he knows how to reach out to us Anyone with good people skills can pull that off. Let’s take a red pill perspective on his situation. He’s posting Catholic Prayer articles on a website where over half the articles are about how to get laid. Forget about him trying to reach out to us. Catholicism is a cult that condones kid-fucking, and it always has been. When you take the red pill you’re supposed see through bullshit like this, rather than searching for the very few positive aspects of it. Every single mental/spiritual benefit you get from religion can be obtained through various forms of meditation and exercise. Taking the latter route also removes all the guilt and fear in addition to promoting physical benefits. The former involves praying to a psychopathic deity and begging him to forgive you for being a human being. Is there some good information in the Bible? Yes! However there are hundreds of self improvement books more relevant to modern times that can give you that info without the cloud of bullshit. If you want Red pill advice on how to be successful in the Modern world and keep a sane mind don’t listen to some guy who’s not allowed to have sex(unless done secretly with 10 year old boys)and uses a 2000 year old book as his guide for life. Ask yourself what you want with your life. It’s very unlikely that a monk has sound advice on how to start a business, attract women, or optimize your health. Let’s all disconnect from the collective consciousness and stop making excuses to defend these outdated ideologies.

    1. It’s the year zero! All of these traditional institutions exist only to oppress women and minorities! Destroy them all! Help bring about the progressive utopia!

    2. “Catholicism is a cult that condones kid-f*cking, and it always has been.
      When you take the red pill you’re supposed see through bullshit like
      You talk of red-pill and yet you can’t even differentiate between a minority and a majority. ‘kid-f*cking’ is not part of church teaching, in fact it’s the complete opposite. The church was infiltrated by people who used it’s position as a means to fulfill their own depraved desires, this doesn’t just happen in churches, it can happen in schools, hospitals, boy scouts, and any other organisation that is exposed to young people. While it’s true that the church failed to properly act against the individuals involved, that certainly doesn’t mean every Catholic priest is a paedophile or every Catholic, or that it’s a part of church teaching.
      “there are hundreds of self improvement books more relevant to modern times”
      Do these ‘self improvement’ books teach humilty as the foundation of all virtue? Do they teach unconditional love as the key to eternal life? Sounds like they tell you everything you want to hear, but not what you need to hear.

      1. I always remind people, because nobody else does, that the abuse rate amongst ostensible Catholics was still only 1/5 the rate of abuse in other organizations, such as public schools and the BSA. Why does only the Church get run into the ground for it? We all know why; because it lets us all off the hook, and provides an easy rationale for our dissent.

    3. “Every single mental/spiritual benefit you get from religion can be obtained through various forms of meditation and exercise.”
      Well, except for going to heaven after you die.

      1. So I should join a bizarre Neo-Judaic zombie god cult in the hope that some Stalinesque deity won’t torture me forever for not submitting to him? Sounds like a great deal. Where do I sign up?

  22. Why doesn’t the power of prayer heal amputees? Why does God indiscriminately heal people with disease and illness, but continue to neglect amputees?

    1. Some amputees have been healed in the past; just for starters, the ear of the high priest’s servant, which St. Peter hacked off with a sword.
      Miracles and healings are done with a purpose – not “just to be nice,” so to speak. This generation has been marked for judgment, in my opinion, and are far from salvation. Thus, the whole point of miracles is obviated for such persons, at present.

  23. A primer on philosophy in the Western Tradition would be best, in this irreligious (though not necessarily atheist) man’s opinion.

    1. Agreed. I see religion as primarily a tool for instilling philosophical values in society. Therefore, philosophical thought is a necessary building block from which to start.

  24. Good article. I just wish I could do Lent. I go to church about 2-3 times a month. Always go on Saturday night as I want to keep Sunday for me.
    But today, after working in my garden, just came in. Ate a delicious meal my wife made. Drank 3 glasses of wine.
    Hope Lent has not started yet. I have already messed it up.
    Orthodox so rigorous. Grew up presbyterian, and we did not do anything for Lent. Except say it was Lent.
    I just am not used to going without a good meal washed down with red wine. Had 3 glasses tonight for dindin.

  25. On your final paragraph: yes, I think a series on philosophical theology (my own major in theological college) would be excellent.
    I want to talk about blue pilliness in modern Christianity. I attend a mainstream Catholic cathedral congregation. The clergy are, obviously, men, but the administrator is a feminist lady of a certain age, and she uses her position to control who does what in the cathedral. She openly says that she ‘balances out’ the ‘sexism’ of having male clergy by always having female readers, a woman to lead the Prayers of the People, etc etc. She has inveigled her way into a position of power in the congregation where she is the effective authority and the clergy just come to play their liturgical part. She is able to do this because the clergy come and go while she remains in place and has done so for many years. The result is that there is always a very feminine feel to the services. The current main priest is rather feminised himself. There are ‘third world’ priests attached to the parish but they are not in positions of authority, although they are rather more patriarchal in outlook.
    I would love to be part of a strongly masculine, patriarchal congregation, but the nearest is an Arabic Antiochian Orthodox parish that is 2 hours’ drive away and I am not of that cultural community. It would feel strange to worship with them.
    As a microcosm of society, the Church is very much blue pill and feminised.
    I don’t have any answers …

    1. I sympathize. Of course, it is completely against the Tradition for women to have any kind of leadership role in the worship of the Church; indeed, the Scriptures and Tradition command their silence, and exclude them from the altar area. The priest should simply assert his own authority over her, and tell her that her services are no longer required. I have a feeling that, in a mainstream congregation, you’ll be waiting a long time before this happens. Of course, in the Latin Mass, it’s all quite clear: women are not permitted to serve or read, or participate in any way in an active litrugical role.
      The Orthodox are also succumbing, in accordance with their exposure to the same, modernist mindset. I was furious with a priest at my last Greek Orthodox parish, because he forced this older Greek lady to read the epistle. She actually was in tears, and insisted that women must not do such things, and he told her this was all “sexist rubbish” from “the past.” And, in the Antiochian Archdiocese, women are routinely in positions of liturgical authority – they even banded together at the Archdiocesan conference several years back and insisted that the service for the Churching of Women (a rite of purification after childbirth) be changed, because it implied all kinds of “offensive” things, such as that women were unclean for their “bodily functions.” Of course, nobody mentions that the Tradition treats men as unclean in certain circumstances, as well. As usual, with the intense vanity of many such women, there must be no implication that women are ever anything but wonderful.
      The simple answer to all of this: men must insist on male authority. Priests should be dismissing women from any kind of leadership role in the Liturgy; no matter how strapped they are for volunteers, they must not accept offers from women to lead parish projects, unless perhaps an altar guild or domestic ministries. Indeed, part of the reason they have so few volunteers, is because men don’t want to put up with the foolishness of any woman, and the women themselves are often loath to volunteer when some queen bee has already set herself up on her throne over any late-comers. My experience in parishes where only men were in leadership roles, was that there was never a shortage of (male and female) volunteers in complimentary roles; when it came to altar servers, the problem was that there were usually too many men and boys willing to serve. And when it comes to the thousand other matters that women will come and complain about, the priest should have a simple reply: I am a priest, and I am busy, and I try to limit my contact with women. Tell your complaints to whatever man is in charge of you, or is best suited to represent you, and let him come to me with anything he thinks is sufficiently important.
      So many problems are solved, when the culture of male camaraderie, honor and accountability prevails. I think Western society had risen to such a high level, and had elevated women along with it, that the people simply forgot what a pain women tend to be when they are unleashed. It has only taken two generations, to remind us. When women are restrained to their proper sphere, they contribute so much beauty and comfort to civilization; when they are free to interact directly with society, without a male to represent them and be accountable for them, they simply turn everything into an irksome chore.
      I speak in generalities, of course; any lovely women out there doing their best to be smart, loyal, industrious companions to their husbands – God bless you.

      1. So often an answer is simple but not easy. To insist on male authority is one thing; to find it, and furthermore, not find it lacking, is another.
        I believe many are crying out for strong male authority, women included.
        However, there are few men who are strong enough to step up because it means opposing the Narrative.

        1. That, and they will immediately be crushed by effeminate, Marxist bishops, or other superiors. This is one of the main reasons why I believe the Catholic Church is to be found elsewhere. The Church can have problems, and she always had; but the Church cannot uniformly suppress truth and promote error, as the Novus Ordo/Conciliar religion does. Men need to go to the SSPX, and to the Sedevacantists (and to the Eastern Rite), if they hope to find the Faith preached and practiced in a masculine way.

  26. I think the lapse in people ability to grasp basic logic is a massive deficit. We can’t first
    get anywhere if we cannot retain concepts. Wright an article on logic. Today people have a knee jerk reaction to throw their emotions into their arguments first without any reflection or acknowledgment of truth or at the very least a cherry picked truth. People cling to emotionalism and egoism more than truth today.

  27. Begin by introducing the Western Canon. One of my great challenges was all of the associations which “God” and “Religion” connect to – some of them justified by the atrocious record of churches in recent years (effeminacy, self-righetousness, appeasement) – while others come from an indeterminate source, sucked up like mother’s milk into the consciousness.
    In understanding the Western Canon, one begins to perceive how modern, godless philosophies are ultimately juvenile, nothing but rationalizations for pursuing childish delights. From recognizing the virtue and virility of past generations, one can come to understand what religion truly is.

    1. Excellent thoughts; I wholeheartedly agree, and this was essentially my progression, as well.

  28. I’m really looking forward to the future Christian apologetics articles. I hope that you will critique militant atheism (e.g. delving into the Soviet atrocities of the League of Militant Atheists) and defend Christianity using rational principles (e.g. William Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument).

    1. Yes, I know many of the broad strokes, but will have to bone up on details. Send me any historical points/sites you think I should be sure to cover. I have a gmail address at this handle.

  29. Brother Moner, to answer the question you posed, I would recommend you do all three, but I would do the second, show God’s existence, first, backed up by some of the third’s philosophy as needed, then, later, do the first. You, and now I as well, have a weekly gig here, so the platform, and the time, is there to do it well.
    If I may make a secular analogy, and may the readers and the Lord forgive me if necessary. Ultimately, one of my goals in my writings here is to advise the American men on the best way to select and kit out One Rifle for their ownership. While it is true that some people will own many guns, there are far more people that will own just one. But, in order to advise them on how to select features on a rifle (one article), they first have to know what that type of rifle is (another), so they need to know about assault rifles and intermediate cartridges (a third), but they need to know about battle rifles and full power cartridges (a fourth), and before that, modern rifles in general (a fifth), and even the history of the rifle (a sixth) and that history piece I just finished a draft of, so I’m a long ways off, and I like to write on other things, too, so this is a few months effort.
    My advice is to not sacrifice the expert detail and knowledge which you can provide, but to also realize that introductions, maybe even multiple levels of them, may be required for us to follow you.

    1. Thanks for your input, here.
      As it happens, I am looking to buy just one rifle, and so I will read your writing with interest!
      Your point is well-taken, that one should move at a pace that neither sacrifices detail, nor overwhelms the reader.

  30. I’m glad that you write these articles with a broad brush. Being about Pre-Lent (which Anglicans and Methodists refer to as Shrovetide) and Lent, the concepts you speak of are applicable to all of the major liturgical denominations of Western Christianity.

    1. I do try to do that. Shrovetide is also the Catholic term for it, at least for the week before Ash Wednesday, amongst the English (prior to that, it is Septuagesimatide). It comes from the Old English word scrifan, which meant “to prescribe, to decree, to impose a penance,” whence also comes the word “shrift.” Shrive is the present tense, where shrove is the past. Or, maybe you already know all that.

  31. Father,
    Your writing is incredibly deep and beneficial. I grew up in a Protestant faith and never really learned how to pray. I enjoy reading all of your work very much, and find it applicable and complex at the same time.
    I would like to suggest a combination of all 3: incorporating a history of the western philosophy canon, along with the “red pill” traditional masculine teachings of the church, assisting in a deconstruction of the current milieu we find ourselves in.
    God Bless You

    1. Thank you for the kind words, and your input. I’ll certainly get around to all three; I’ll be beginning with philosophy and the basics of “how to think.”

  32. Brother Aurelius, you wrote:
    “Because it is difficult for the novice in this process to think “no thoughts” for a sustained period of time, a common form of training in prayer is to practice thinking only “one thought,” and from there to transition to “no thought.” One commonly does this by repeating a concise phrase, or even a single word, that crystallizes the aforementioned process, fixing the intent upon God and letting Him worry about understanding Himself.”
    This is the exact process of Raja Yoga (meditation) used to attain God realization (in Christianity, the Beatific Vision).
    Other traditions use the same method, together with entheogens (peyote, magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, etc) to boost mental focus which aids the whole process.

    1. Yes, this process is an element of natural religion – i.e., contemplation is an innate ability of man compatible with his natural end, and so men of all religions have found this technique. Some of the most advanced Christian contemplatives have warned, however, that many pagan contemplators think they have found God, but in reality they have simply come to the point where they are able to see the image of God in their own souls.
      In Christianity, the lumen gloriae comes in addition to the fruits of this natural contemplation. And, the use of mind-altering substances is forbidden.

      1. Brother Aurelius, thanks for the response!
        I was unaware that Christianity had a mystical/contemplative tradition.
        It appears to me that the modern church doesn´t even try to raise awareness for these practices (either that or she simply tries to hide them).
        As far as I knew, Indian Yoga had the most detailed and systematic body of contemplative techniques.
        Would you please explain why the use of mind altering substances is forbidden by Christianity?
        This is a very relevant question to me, because I have used psilocybe mushrooms and DMT containing ayahuasca for meditative purposes and have found them to be very effective and very safe perception enhancers (when used with proper preparation and respect), with no hamrful side effects whatsoever.
        The fact is entheogens have been used safely by many different cultures for millenia, and their safety is proven by many scientific studies. I also suspect that they are very anti-establishment, because their proper use estimulates a religious state of mind which naturally directs the mind to God and leads one to question the current materialistic values of society.
        I have some experience with water fasting (although I´ve only done them for 3 days at the max) and I suspect that the effects of entheogens as perception enhancers would be equal to that of fasting for several days on water only.
        A big thanks for the illuminating articles and for having the patience to answer the comments!

        1. Oh, yes, the Church certainly has a very profound and well-developed mystical Tradition. Some of the earliest writings will be found in St. Dionysius the Areopagite’s works, and the Desert Fathers. The Conferences of St. John Cassian also go into it.
          It is developed with greatest precision and profundity by St. John of the Cross; St. Teresa of Avila is also a great.
          A systematic exposition of the contemplative Tradition is found in Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s Christian Perfection, and Three Stages of the Interior Life.
          The Christian Tradition warns that there is an intense danger of delusion and error in contemplative prayer. Man is designed for contemplation and connection with the spiritual, but fallen man understands little of the world he is entering when he does so. Satan masquerades as an “angel of light,” and offers many seeming benefits and good experiences to practitioners, that have the result of leading them into doctrinal error, spiritual vices, and delusion (a state of spiritual blindness). Thus, the use of objects which tweak or manipulate a man’s natural functioning in contemplation, are strongly discouraged. In the case of substances that merely focus the mind, if the effect is a mild one, that may not be out of the question, though there is absolutely no record of the Saints doing this, and they are our models. (I.e., I’m not saying it would be horrible to have some tea or coffee beforehand, but I wouldn’t even do this for the purpose of contemplating.
          In the case of substances that actually overthrow the mind’s sovereignty with hallucinations or altered states of consciousness, these are forbidden because they neuter a man’s spiritual sovereignty in the act of contemplation, and leave him exposed and passive to manipulations of the demonic. One must remember that the demonic usually prefer to tempt contemplatives with pleasant appearances and illusions.

        2. Brother Aurelius, thanks again for the reply.
          In the case of psychedelics, I don´t agree with the opinion of the Church because I think it is not in accordance with truth.
          These substances in no way overthrow the mind´s sovereignty, but are instead perception boosters.
          I will be the first to admit that their proper use requires training and preparation, but they are great tools for contemplation, and I speak not only after studying other people´s accounts, but from personal experience.
          In my view, the opinion of the Church would hold real weight after proper study and experimentation of these substances.

        3. By “the sovereignty of the mind,” I mean the mind’s ability to see reality, discern the good, and choose without undue influence. The use of substances that alter the mind’s functionality means that man’s mind is not capable of acting without the undue influence of these foreign forces.
          And, as I said: obviously people get good experiences from these things, and think they are getting “superior” performance and perception from them. But in millennia of experience, the Church has judged (rightly, I believe) that “the devil masquerades as an angel of light;” one’s subjective perception is not the criterion of truth, and many a mind has been led to its ultimate ruination and spiritual calamity, by experiences which seemed good and magnificatory. Those who do not learn from the millennia of past experience of others, are doomed to repeat those mistakes. The Christian contemplative tradition is very rich and detailed, and it is replete with the stories of those who have deluded themselves, not watching over the mind and heart, by trusting to experiences that seemed positive. Walk with caution, my friend.

Comments are closed.