Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thoughts on Simplicity from The Art of Manliness



The Greatness of Simplicity

From Self Control, Its Kingship and Majesty by William George Jordan, 1905:

No character can be simple unless it is based on truth—unless it is lived in harmony with one’s own conscience and ideals. Simplicity is the pure white light of a life lived from within. It is destroyed by any attempt to live in harmony with public opinion. Public opinion is a conscience owned by a syndicate,—where the individual is merely a stockholder. But the individual has a conscience of which he is sole proprietor. Adjusting his life to his own ideals is the royal road to simplicity. Affectation is the confession of inferiority; it is an unnecessary proclamation that one is not living the life he pretends to live.

Simplicity is restful contempt for the non-essentials of life. It is restless hunger for the non-essentials that is the secret of most of the discontent of the world. It is constant striving to outshine others that kills simplicity and happiness.

Nature, in all her revelations, seeks to teach man the greatness of simplicity. Health is but the living of a physical life in harmony with a few simple, clearly defined laws. Simple food, simple exercise, simple precautions will work wonders. But man grows tired of the simple things, he yields to subtle temptations in eating and drinking, listens to his palate instead of to Nature, —and he suffers. He is then led into intimate acquaintance with dyspepsia, and he sits like a child at his own bounteous table, forced to limit his eating to simple food that he scorned.

There is a tonic strength, in the hour of sorrow and affliction, in escaping from the world and society and getting back to the simple duties and interests we have slighted and forgotten. Our world grows smaller, but it grows dearer and greater. Simple things have a new charm for us, and we suddenly realize that we have been renouncing all that is greatest and best, in our pursuit of some phantom.

Simplicity is the characteristic that is most difficult to simulate. The signature that is most difficult to imitate is the one that is most simple, most individual and most free from flourishes…

The longest Latin derivatives seem necessary to express the thoughts of young writers. The world’s great masters in literature can move mankind to tears, give light and life to thousands in darkness and doubt, or scourge a nation for its folly,—by words so simple as to be commonplace. But transfigured by the divinity of genius, there seems almost a miracle in words.

Life grows wondrously beautiful when we look at it as simple, when we can brush aside the trivial cares and sorrows and worries and failures and say: “They don’t count. They are not the real things of life; they are but interruptions. There is something within me, my individuality, that makes all these gnats of trouble seem too trifling for me to permit them to have any dominion over me.” Simplicity is a mental soil where artifice, lying, deceit, treachery and selfish, low ambition,— cannot grow.

The man whose character is simple looks truth and honesty so straight in the face that he has no consciousness of intrigue and corruption around him. He is deaf to the hints and whispers of wrongs that a suspicious nature would suspect even before they existed. He scorns to meet intrigue with intrigue, to hold power by bribery, to pay weak tribute to an inferior that has a temporary inning. To true simplicity, to perceive a truth is to begin to live it, to see a duty is to begin to do it. Nothing great can ever enter into the consciousness of a man of simplicity and remain but a theory. Simplicity in a character is like the needle of a compass,—it knows only one point, its North, its ideal.

Let us seek to cultivate this simplicity in all things in our life. The first step toward simplicity is ” simplifying.” The beginning of mental or moral progress or reform is always renunciation or sacrifice. It is rejection, surrender or destruction of separate phases of habit or life that have kept us from higher things. Reform your diet and you simplify it; make your speech truer and higher and you simplify it; reform your morals and you begin to cut off your immorals. The secret of all true greatness is simplicity. Make simplicity the keynote of your life and you will be great, no matter though your life be humble and your influence seem but little. Simple habits, simple manners, simple needs, simple words, simple faiths,—all are the pure manifestations of a mind and heart of simplicity.

Simplicity is never to be associated with weakness and ignorance. It means reducing tons of ore to nuggets of gold. It means the light of fullest knowledge; it means that the individual has seen the folly and the nothingness of those things that make up the sum of the life of others. He has lived down what others are blindly seeking to live up to. Simplicity is. . .the secret of any specific greatness in the life of the individual.


Read more: http://artofmanliness.com/2010/04/10/manvotional-the-greatness-of-simplicity/#ixzz17uEOQnUT

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Reflection after the recent expansion of federal power...


“A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of a native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one’s own homestead.” – George Eliot


Dear Friends,


+We would do well to reflect upon the traditions of Catholic social teaching, specifically in regards to the concept of Catholic Subsidiarity. This vital philosophy is critical to the back to the land movement and those seeking the homesteading lifestyle. I believe that it also holds the key to the return to limited government that we so desperately need here in the U.S.

The following summary is borrowed from Wikipedia for your edification :

"The principle of subsidiarity was first developed by German theologian Oswald von Nell-Breuning.[2] His work shaped the social teaching of Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum and holds that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function. The principle is based upon the autonomy and dignity of the human individual, and holds that all other forms of society, from the family to the state and the international order, should be in the service of the human person. Subsidiarity assumes that these human persons are by their nature social beings, and emphasizes the importance of small and intermediate-sized communities or institutions, like the family, the church, and voluntary associations, as mediating structures which empower individual action and link the individual to society as a whole. "Positive subsidiarity", which is the ethical imperative for communal, institutional or governmental action to create the social conditions necessary to the full development of the individual, such as the right to work, decent housing, health care, etc., is another important aspect of the subsidiarity principle.

The principle of subsidiarity was developed in the encyclical Rerum Novarum of 1891 by Pope Leo XIII, as an attempt to articulate a middle course between laissez-faire capitalism on the one hand and the various forms of communism, which subordinate the individual to the state, on the other. The principle was further developed in Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quadragesimo Anno of 1931, and Economic Justice for All by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“ It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry. (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, 79) ”

Since its founding by Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Distributism, a third way economic philosophy based on Catholic Social teaching, upholds the importance of subsidiarity."

May Almighty God favor our undertaking!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Recommended Website

Dear Friends,

I pray the penitential season of Lent finds you well and growing ever closer to our dear Lord & His Blessed Mother!

Please check out the website of the Carmelites of Wyoming:

http://www.carmelitemonks.org/NewMountCarmel/Map_main.html

Their community and its planned expansion concretely embrace the beauty of simplicity and nature.

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Patron Saints of Catholic Rural Life



St. Isidore and St. Maria
Isidore and Maria led virtuous lives: commitment to family, love for the land, service to the poor and a deep spirituality. This simple couple worked their entire lives for a wealthy landowner in medieval Spain. St. Isidore was known for his piety, special love of the downtrodden and a respectful care for animals.

Piety calls for faithfulness to relationships among family, kin, community and society. Piety moves a person to venerate God with generosity and affection, humbly to others and to all of Creation.

Dear God, thank you for rural lives. Bless those who are formed by the rhythms of nature and church. Help us to rejoice in You and each other. Isidore and Maria, pray for us. Amen.

What's Your Mission?

-Do you have a pioneering and adventurous spirit?

-Can you "rough-it?"

-Do you desire to win souls to the one true Faith?

-Do the examples of the North American Martyrs and missionary saints inspire you?

-Do you desire to give your youth and your all to Christ through His Blessed Mother?

Then God may be calling you to convert America & serve the poor in the mountains with the Rosarians of the Poor Christ!

Ad Jesum per Mariam!

Two Wonderful & Inspirational Short Videos for You!

Faith of Our Fathers

Ora et Labora

Ora et Labora

A PRAYER FOR THE COUNTRY FAMILY

WE BELIEVE that:

Farming is a noble Christian occupation. The farm home is a most suitable place to rear a Christian family. The good earth is the greatest material gift of God to man.

WE KNOW that:
In this vocation we country people work closely with God in producingthe essential elements of life.

By making ourselves aware of the special graces and opportunities of thisway of life, and by cooperating with them, we and our families can mostreadily give glory to God and grow in holiness and happiness.

The earth returns greatest honor to God when through our care and labor,it brings forth an abundance for our family's needs and those of society, forthis generation and for those to come.

WE PROCLAIM that:

We will strive always to appreciate and hold fast to the spiritual values ofour vocation and to prevent the materialism of this age from blinding us tothem.

We will model our homes on that of Nazareth; by working, learning,playing, and especially praying together we will strengthen our faith inGod and our mutual love and unity; we will fulfill our obligation to be goodneighbors, faithful parishioners, loyal and active citizens.

We will regard our land as God's land; as stewards of His bounty we will conserve and improve it so that it will increasingly continue to give gloryto Him.

WE PRAY that:

Through God's grace we may have wisdom and strength to grow constantly in the virtues necessary for holy rural living: Faith, Hope firmly founded in knowledge of God's wisdom and providence, Love, Patience with the slow deliberate cycle of seasonsand years, Fortitude, Temperance, Compassion, Mercy, Zeal. Amen.

WE GIVE THANKS O GOD, source and giver of all things, who manifests Your infinite majesty, power and goodnessin the earth about us,we give You honor and glory.

For the sun and rain, for the manifold fruits of our fields,for the increase of our herds and flocks,we thank You.

For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace,we are grateful. Supreme Lord of the harvest, graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil, in union with Christ Your Son,as atonement for our sins, for the growth of Your Church, for peace and charity in our homes, for salvation to all. Amen.

PRAYER IN HONOR OF SAINT ISIDORE

O GOD, who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil,and who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, revealed yourself the husbandman of our souls, deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, so that, working the soil in the sweat of our brow, we may enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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