To Be Happy

I was seated by a window in a local bar, writing what could be called, if definitions were stretched, an academic essay and drinking a rather tall glass of ale. It bears a distinct and vivid honey colour and from the bottom rise, at regular intervals of time, minuscule bubbles which fly upwards like raindrops through a golden sunrise.
Still seated by the selfsame window am I, no longer actively writing said essay – which should be clear as this is an entirely different piece of writing – for a break was needed from the musings of my mind on the question ‘What is Happiness?’

Some drinks seem to have been designed (or are simply regularly abused by a majority) to be drunk quickly, to exist merely for the kick of alcohol. An example of such is a rather vile-tasting, suspiciously-coloured whiskey I sampled earlier in the month. There was no good way to drink it except to slam it back and swallow. Its existence itself, while it must be said to be good, was unnatural in the state of ‘drink’. The nature of the liquid would have been better fulfilled as a rust remover.

This ale however would fail if turned to any use but the betterment of man as drink, a thing to be appreciated while it is within and without; to be contemplated and consumed by mind and body. It is perfected by man, and man by it; it becomes part of a being made to the Divine image, and the man receives an aid for leisure and clarity of mind – unless an excess is consumed. It seems that a virtuous man is needed to produce a good and beautiful drink, and virtue for the good and beautiful drink to not be abused by and destructive to the same.

Back to the essay I return soon; this may be expanded and revised someday when I decide to explain and expound more on the thoughts, as this is quite incomplete. Some of my reflections on the essay have passed into this brief work – Happiness lies somehow in Virtue, and Virtue is a communal thing. A mean between two extremes for one’s own good and the good of things related to him. Drinking because within reason it is good, a good received, and good for the things made for man to be used by him.
Such was the Divine decree to Adam.

The Red Star Stream

Deep flew refraction of ruddy light,
From the heart of the black-water stream,
Flashing, serenely mocking the stars,
Which coursed forever, cutting the earth.
Caps of whitened foam were beating across
Red silt and the shining of smooth-rounded rocks,
Polishing ever anew the fine grain,
Sending the sands above to engrave,
And feather the ancient faces of glass.
As blood over iron, so flew rivulets;
Black iron water and blood-red stones
Mingling, separate, together, alone,
Chanting of change, repeating the song,
For centuries’ incantation of washing clean wrong,
Purging anew the stones as they bled,
Sifting the silt and the slime as they fed
All trees which dipped fingers down to the cool,
The grasses a-resting upon the small pools,
Renewing, refreshing the freer of creatures
Singing of life, the unliving sang,
And ever in memory the symphony rang

To See Over the Mountains III

278 days. 76.2% of the year.
It’s been that long since I sat in the Denver airport, waiting for my flight which would leave 7 hours later, writing the first of these three posts.
I like counting time – always have – and was doing so before I even left that day. Have been counting ever since, despite not knowing when I would return. Maybe I think of Time too much. Impatience thrives on Time, as do other things.

It’s been a long time. I think the top of the mountain is visible now. What the beginning looked like is forgotten in part, and there are more climbs to make after this – that’s not to be discouraging though. We are in eternity already, called to travel ever onward and upward, further up and in until we hit that Furthest Light.

To See Over the Mountains II

Oh but it’s been a time so long,
Since I was carried – flown –
With nothing ahead but a mountain, a cloud
If we could have only known
Of the trials and reasons, the Love
That stole a thickening shroud,
To steep every soul in a song.

But if we had known it then,
Where would the surrender be?
In what would a sacrifice stand, or Hope
With what Trust could any soul see,
If obedience were chasing desire
And want of the better known end,
All lacking in blindness of men?

‘Tis three sets of seven days now,
If God’s Will it truly be,
Creation and Trinity –
The mountains will rise again
With a prayer of an ancient nation –
Through a mighty strength
Of the Creator of Creation.

A New Year

Another year spent, a new one come – I’m not starting it (or rather it’s not beginning with me in it) under Ideal Circumstances, but few things if any do. Fallen Reality never was perfectly ideal.

Quite a few happenings were of the Not Ideal sort when I reflect back on the now-finished year, but they are all to direct one towards the safest way to the final Goal.
Even with all its difficulties, 2019 was a good year in many ways: I think the most significant (and peaceful) memories I have of it are many Quiet and Starry Evenings spent with Another and God. That and many other things certainly made it worthwhile.

This year will bring some changes I’m sure – not only many trials and temptations to sin but also many joys and good changes.
Let us walk into it hopefully.

A Midnight Thought

Good evening!
Yes, it is rather late and close to tomorrow, but sleep is a thing that happens when there is nothing else to do or one becomes too tired to stay awake.
There are too many things to think about right now: So many ways to improve as a man, not enough time in a life to do it properly. Different and many little steps to take in making sure I get where I need to go for the next 12 months, which will lead me to where I should be for the next however-many-years I have in life, which will hopefully get me to the eternity I was created for.
That’s only a couple things, and plenty to occupy me for now. Does it not distract from the purpose of being in bed? Sure it does! And well it might, there’s little I can do about it unless you wish me to manually stop the process of thinking. That could be arranged but I’d not be fit for much after (not that it would be anything radically new).

In the recent months, peace of soul has been elusive. Changes, mistakes, consequences of the fallen state of my human nature; it’s been a lengthy class in Surviving and Recovering from Life – or just a taste of it really.

How does one cling on to some fragment of spiritual peace?
I say ‘Go to Mass’, and ‘Visit Christ often.’ In a world so focused on always the next thing, never a time to rest, the unchanging God waits for us. If so distracted, how does one even remember to try to do this?
Well, find a friend, and a good one. A friend that will remind you to get up and go to Mass; a friend who (somehow) tolerates your mild insanity, repeated mistakes and mindless flaws and helps you correct them.
The best of friendships are based on Virtue – if you have someone who has the will to be more like Christ, keep that person as a treasure from God – he or she will help you closer to Him if you so allow.

In a mysterious way, she could be a moral shield in those (seemingly random) moments of trial, a little light in the sanctuary who reminds you of the presence of God . . . more to come on that next time.

Good Friday

With slow, heavy steps, a man walks from the Holy City towards a hill, blood dripping, marking his path. He carries a burden that all men should have borne save this one – the weight of which would crush humanity to unending fire. He has been roughly treated all night, taken from governor to king and back, beaten relentlessly with heavy whips, mocked and insulted, and now he has forced on him the instrument of his death, a cross.

Why did we send our King to die? He lived His life in perfection and now goes to die for the crimes of humanity – innumerable sins, sins of blood, sins of the flesh, black souls with their midnight minds, curses of damnation, those that were, and each one that has not been yet, all heaped in a mountain so fell and grievous that only God could overcome it.

He reaches the top and there offers Himself on the altar of the Cross to His Father.
Cold iron driven through hands and feet, muscles and bone racked and stretched, splinters buried in wounds made fresh again when the clothes were pulled from clotting blood, hard dead thorns beaten into the head.

Do we weep for the suffering Christ or our sins which made Him so?
We ask: What have we done? but do we question ‘What are we doing?’
In the millennia since this moment, have we changed? Are we going to change, or continue to strike God with ingratitude?

In all this infinite injustice He prays for us still, “Father, forgive them . . .”

Do not let this Death be for nothing. When someone sacrifices for us we take notice, but how long will Christ be ignored?
There He stands, a mediator between Heaven and Earth, suspended by the sins of men, praying for us all – the Priest, the Sacrifice. A worse crime can never be conceived, no better act imagined. By a death of Love, unending death ceases unless we make it again.

And now, when ‘it is finished’, He willingly dies.

The sky which darkened in anger swells, the earth, baptized in Blood groans with pain and writhes, crying out for vengeance, tombs are shivered and dead men rise against Creation’s darkest moment – but this is the Hour of Mercy. Justice has been satisfied and the Cross stands dark, drunk with blood against the seething heavens. The murderers’ hatred is full. They go now, back to their idol, not knowing what they have done.

Silence falls with the tears of the few who loved Him enough to bear the moment. No heart can break more than our Lady’s did this day. She followed her Son, saw His pain and shared it; counted the bloody steps, heard the iron on iron through flesh. Her child, whom she once gave birth to, cared for with all the love a mother can have – she watched helplessly all the offenses hurled at Him, unable to protect or console Him. All she could do was surrender to the sword of flame that was thrust into her Immaculate Heart, and weep for the sins of her children.
Forgive us, dear Lady, for what we have done.

Evening is growing and a wave of darkness encroaches on the horizon of tomorrow’s sun. The Church has nothing left to say. Christ is dead.

We bury Him now in the heart of the earth, and turn away.

Where to go . . . how can one hide from the pain, the sorrow?
The only Love is dead, the Heart broken, the body exhausted from weeping.

No, there is no place to run, to hide. There is only an empty soul wanting for God.

And this is why we were given a Mother. Mary, the Morning Star – follow her now, in sorrow, in peace. Follow her, go to her as you would your mother. Fall into her arms and let her comfort you as she would have Christ in His agony – yes, weep for your sins and ask her to forgive you for wounding her, to pray for you to her Son that He have mercy on you.

We depart from the tomb now, and wait for the Rising.

Saviour of the world,
Give to me the strength
To carry my cross with you,
And the courage to embrace it to the end.
Let me die with you,
So that I may rise with you to life.

Have mercy on us and on the whole world, O Lord, and remember me when You enter into Your Kingdom.