Thursday, September 28, 2017



QUESTION 
for the ILL, the OLD 
and the FRETFUL


Do you want to spend what time you may 
have left LIVING your life, 
or desperately trying 
to PRESERVE it?





The Gospel According to St. Matthew 
Chapter 6 (KJV - abridged)


When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, … shut thy door, pray to thy Father … in secret; and thy Father … shall reward thee openly.

Your Father knoweth what things ye need 
before ye ask him.

Therefore Pray: 

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

AMEN.

[I]f ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you …

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves 
break through and steal:

[Instead] lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be [pure], thy whole body shall be full of light.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body 
shall be full of darkness. … 

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? …

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; 
they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, … even Solomon in all his glory 
was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, … shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore [do not worry], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? …

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and [everything you need] shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: 
for the morrow shall take thought 
for the things of itself …

~ § ~






32 comments:

  1. A question NOT for only the "old and fretful". That was the question that Achilles himself wrestled with. And contrary to his mothers wishes, he did not hide out on Skyros so as to "live to a ripe old age". He chose to live up to his name, as a hero of grief and distress.

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    1. Yes, Thersites. MEETiNG our challenges, instead of trying to hide from them is the best way to live, even if it results in our early demise.

      "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the hero dies but once, "

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    2. ...but the coward is still alive };^)>

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    3. Yes, but we are supposed to believe that the coward's life is not WORTH living, aren't we?

      Explring the reasins for believing that might make a really interesting discussion.

      ];^}>

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  2. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (Luke 17:33)

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    1. I wonder how many truly understand this?

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    2. Yes, Elmer. That is St, Luke's way of expressing one of the same thoughts we find in the sixth chapter of the Gospel According to St. Matthew.

      And it was, of course, the basis for the question posed at the head of this particcuar post.

      I have to plead guilty to using a sneaky way to introduce Scripture to a political, largely secular blog,

      But then I also must plead guilty to harboring a passionate belief that UNLESS our secular activities are essentially INFORMED by SCRIPTURE, they are doomed to bring little joy or satisfaction to anyone.

      As long as we refrain from using "The Matthew Harrison Brady Approach" we see brilliantly depicted in Frederic March's performance in Inherit the Wind. ;-)

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    3. And to try to answer your question, Z:

      I'm not sure any of us could ever understand what "If you would have your life, first you must be willng to lose it really means.

      [Thank you, by the way, for visiting us, Z. It's lovely to see you in "my neighborhood" again.]

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  3. I am neither ill, nor old, nor fretful, but by my lights, you only get one life, so live it and try to be worthy of the breath God breathed into your nostrils.

    Hillel says, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

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  4. Why did you have to include that picture of Ducky?

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  5. I don't worry about the little things.

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    1. That gives you a good leg on game, Kid.

      "Don't sweat the small stuff." And, as I think you are well aware, "It's ALL smll stuff" –– when you look at it from the cosmic perspective./"

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  6. Do you want to spend what time you may have left LIVING your life, or desperately trying to PRESERVE it?

    It depends on the meaning of the word "desperately." In my view the definition thereof is individual.

    For my father, life meant "No nursing home. Ever!" I tend that way, too, but Mr. AOW doesn't. He doesn't mind group living, but I hate it.

    Coincidentally, right now I'm listening to the audiobook version of the bestseller When Breath Becomes Air. Much of the book addresses the definition of the word "living."

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    1. Every one of us sees life through an individual prism. Every one of us is unique –– and I believe precious. Because of this endless variation among the members of any same species it's impossible to craft legislation that properly applies equallyto every one of us as individuals.

      That, I suppose, is why i consider myself a libertarian.

      What I meant by using the word PRESERVE was to take what-I-might-call the hypochondriacal approach –– i.e. be overly concerned with every little ache, pain, set of sniffles, dyspepsia or vague feeling of unease that comes your way to the point where it blots out any chance of ENJOYING your experiencewhatever it may be.

      Now, I happen to be more like you than I am like Mr. AOW. But I have to say HE may have a distinct advantage over either of us in his ability to share time and space with others amiably without much fuss.

      The one thing I dread most would be losing my physical independence, and thus being at the mercy of hired help who may or may not appreciate myp character or understand and hopefully empathize with my particular needs.

      BUT I do make it a practice to count my blessings at the start of each day and to thank God formally for the many good things I have –– and have had –– in my life.

      I find this very helpful in maintaining a positive perspactive. I wish I have understood the vakue of this "lesson" much rarer, for it would have saved me –– and those closest to me –– a great deal of grief.

      That snd the uderstanding that though I do matter, I am no more i]mportant than anyone else in the Great Scheme.

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  7. You cannot preserve your life, you can only treat it with respect, taking care of life and body the best you can. When it's course has been run it has been run.

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    1. The Master of Platitudes has again spoken from his great height.

      Thank you, O Master, for conferring upon us poor mortals once again your Great Wisdom.

      Delete
  8. LIVING...if I can preserve it by healthy living whose attributes I like (not quitting a cocktail or having to exercise into oblivion!), lucky me. LIFE is different when you are a person of faith, isn't it? When there's a promise of an eternity of grace and love, it helps!
    I like Silverfiddle's point of being worthy of our life, too.
    AND, seeing the picture of that elderly couple on your post brings up happiness...with Mr Z gone, I don't feel AS attached to this life, frankly.

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    1. Z,
      with Mr Z gone, I don't feel AS attached to this life, frankly.

      That's as accurate a definition of grief as has ever been stated.

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    2. I'm not sure we could ever be truly WORTHY of Gods Gift of Life, Z, but it helps if we cultivate GRATITUDE for being alive come what may.

      There have been times, –– when I was a great deal younger ––, when I wished I would never wake up from my sleep. I managed to live through those dismal episodes, thank God, and I have experienced the very best years of my life in mddle age and beyond.

      Maybe some of us turn to God only out of a sense of desperation when everything seems to be going wrong, but I can assure you that life really BEGINS ANEW when we reach that point.

      I like these words from Thoreau:

      "Love your life, poor as it is. You may, perhaps, have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected as brightly from the windows of an almshouse as from a rich man's abode."

      ~ Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

      I'm not all sure Thoreau was thinking about the Gospel consciously when that thought occurred to him, but it certainly seems in accord with the spirit of what Our Lord told us in the gospels,–– or don't you agree?

      Again, I want to say how good it is to see you here. Please visit us again soon, Z.

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    3. And AOW, if Grief brings us closer to reliance on God, it may have fu,lfilled its highest purpose.

      I try to believe there is something positive and good we could learn from everything.

      Even though aggressive atheism and increasing secularization darkened our world, and dragged us down to abysmal levels in a few short years, we MUST believe that God is continuing to work His Purpose out regardless of how it may look to us here on the ground. It's just not given to us to see things from God's Perspective.

      "For now we see through a glass darkly ..."

      The essence of faith, I believe may be found in this bit of Scripture:

      "Even though He SLAY me, yet will I trust in Him."

      If anyone could tell me where that may be found in the Bible, I'd be much obliged.

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    4. FT,
      Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him...
      -- Job 13:15a

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    5. Thank you very much for citing the book of Job, and for those helpful links, AOW.

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  9. What I meant to say above is, a life lived only for itself is no life at all.

    Jesus told the story of the the three servants, each entrusted with a bag of silver. He also told of the unjust steward.

    In popular literature, going back to the time mankind started writing stories down or passing them along orally, a common theme is "use it or lose it."

    Those who try to hide and preserve to themselves a precious gift end up destroying themselves and/or losing the gift.

    Those who use their gifts (don't hide the lamp under a bushel) are rewarded. It is interesting how secular literature and ancient stories echo themes found in Sacred Scripture, but that is a whole field of study of its own.

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    1. It is a Big Subject, but I come to understand afgter decades of wrestling with life that ALL wholesome, positive, encouraging, delightful, helpful, kind, generous things ARE godly, and therefore in accord with our Bible and our Christian faith, even if they are not officiallyrecognized as such by ecclesiastical authorities,

      I often say to my atheistic, agnostic, skecptical friends who honestly strive to do right by others and do live decent lives, "You are more a true Christian than many ardent churchgoers I have known who wear the stain of arrogant self-righteousness with Pride."

      I guess that mkes me a "heretic" in the eyes of many, but at least I make every effort to be honest about what I believe.

      Everything starts to fall to pieces whenever we start JUDGING each other.

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  10. FreeThinke, the italicized segment of your comment is absolutely spot on.

    And no, you are not a heretic, regardless what some in the church may think.

    Unfortunately it seems to be part of human nature to judge. That, and often we are forced into judgement.

    I've always thought these words exemplify how people should respond... Seek first to understand, then to be understood. I believe those are the words of Steven Covey. If everyone, myself included, always followed his advice most of what gives us problems would fade.

    I could be wrong FreeThinke but I think Mr. Covey's words are much in the same vein as your own.

    Peace.

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    1. Thank you very much. The Truth is true regardless of who expresses it or in what language.

      Mr. Covey echoes both Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi –– and probably a good many others as well.

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    2. I have to correct you in one point. The italcized portiins of the text are hardlymy own. They belong to Jesus Christ, as recorded in The Gospel According to St, Matthew in the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

      There are many translations of the Bible inevery language. It might be revealing to be able to read these words as they appeared in the original manuscripts, but only great scholars who've spent years learning ancient versions of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic could possibly do that.

      I, personally, have found it very helpful in my own quest to understand to make my OWN paraphrase of any passage that interests or puzzles me.

      BUT, we must rremember that even simple-mnded, barely-literate charwomen and their like have been able to exhibit great faith and exemplify scriptural ideals as well or better than most.

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  11. Oliver Chastain Brandt said

    The Tragic View is the Satanic View.

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