Thursday, June 21, 2012

His Vengeance

An apocalyptic spirituality is valid in every age, but it is especially needed for our own brave new world. And the most important aspect of an apocalyptic spirituality is an emphasis on God's justice, wrath, and vengeance. If there is one teaching that must constantly be emphasized, central to the whole Christian life, it is Hell. We must keep one eye constantly on Heaven, and one eye constantly on Hell. 

But so often these days it seems Hell is forgotten or downplayed. But one who does not live in sincere terror of Hell at the core of their doomed to go there. The only true Love there can be is Holy Hatred of the World. Until we can say with absolutely conviction that we desire nothing more than to see Babylon burning, we are still much too attached to her, mother of all the harlots and abominations of the earth! Indeed, as Christ says, unless we hate our mother and our father and our brother and our sister and, yay, even our own lives...we are not worthy to be His disciples. 

This is the great Christian paradox: the love taught by the Gospel, the love of heaven, must needs be, relative to this world, what we would call hatred. And this is also why, most of all, I identify as a traditionalist. Yes, I love traditional liturgy, etc. But most of all because I think that the cozying up to the World that has gone on since Vatican II (whether you want to technically blame the magisterium itself or not)...has been a spiritual disaster. Catholicism is first and foremost about hating The World, not whoring around with it, not appeasing it, not thinking "Oh, it's not that bad."

[Leviticus 26:14] But if you will not hear me, nor do all my commandments, [15] If you despise my laws, and contemn my judgments so as not to do those things which are appointed by me, and to make void my covenant:

[16] I also will do these things to you: I will quickly visit you with poverty, and burning heat, which shall waste your eyes, and consume your lives. You shall sow your seed in vain, which shall be devoured by your enemies. [17] I will set my face against you, and you shall fall down before your enemies, and shall be made subject to them that hate you, you shall flee when no man pursueth you. [18] But if you will not yet for all this obey me: I will chastise you seven times more for your sins, [19] And I will break the pride of your stubbornness, and I will make to you the heaven above as iron, and the earth as brass: [20] Your labour shall be spent in vain, the ground shall not bring forth her increase, nor the trees yield their fruit.

[21] If you walk contrary to me, and will not hearken to me, I will bring seven times more plagues upon you for your sins: [22] And I will send in upon you the beasts of the held, to destroy you and your cattle, and make you few in number, and that your highways may be desolate. [23] And if even so you will not amend, but will walk contrary to me: [24] I also will walk contrary to you, and will strike you seven times for your sins. [25] And I will bring in upon you the sword that shall avenge my covenant. And when you shall flee into the cities, I will send the pestilence in the midst of you, and you shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies,

[26] After I shall have broken the staff of your bread: so that ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and give it out by weight: and you shall eat, and shall not be filled. [27] But if you will not for all this hearken to me, but will walk against me: [28] I will also go against you with opposite fury, and I will chastise you with seven plagues for your sins, [29] So that you shall eat the flesh of your sons and of your daughters. [30] I will destroy your high places, and break your idols. You shall fall among the ruins of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

[31] Insomuch that I will bring your cities to be a wilderness, and I will make your sanctuaries desolate, and will receive no more your sweet odours. [32] And I will destroy your land, and your enemies shall be astonished at it, when they shall be the inhabitants thereof. [33] And I will scatter you among the Gentiles, and I will draw out the sword after you, and your land shall be desert, and your cities destroyed. [34] Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths all the days of her desolation: when you shall be [35] In the enemy's land, she shall keep a sabbath, and rest in the sabbaths of her desolation, because she did not rest in your sabbaths when you dwelt therein.

[36] And as to them that shall remain of you I will send fear in their hearts in the countries of their enemies, the sound of a flying leaf shall terrify them, and they shall flee as it were from the sword: they shall fall, when no man pursueth them, [37] And they shall every one fall upon their brethren as fleeing from wars, none of you shall dare to resist your enemies. [38] You shall perish among the Gentiles, and an enemy's land shall consume you. [39] And if of them also some remain, they shall pine away in their iniquities, in the land of their enemies, and they shall be afflicted for the sins of their fathers, and their own: [40] Until they confess their iniquities and the iniquities of their ancestors, whereby they have transgressed me, and walked contrary unto me.
This is why, personally, I highly sympathize with the "radical" Muslim jihad against the West. Not that I think Islam is correct, or that it would be right for us to carry out such violence, but because in it we can see something of God's avenging wrath on our doomed civilization, like a (potential) instrument of chastisement, like the barbarian hordes He used in the Old Testament time and time again to punish the Jews for their harlotry and idolatry. And yet, today, where is more harlotry to be found than in the wasteland that was Christendom? (Neo)conservative Catholics who speak against the radical Muslims are so utterly wrong: we are commanded by Christ to love our enemy, for the very reason that he is the instrument of God's justice that we deserve! Yes, America is the Great Satan, the snake in the grass, and Zionist Israel the Little Satan. But more importantly even than that is the fact that it is Christians who are bringing wrath upon ourselves by our sin. The answer is no Crusade, no identity-politics, no culture war; it is only penance, penance, penance.

The following videos are from Protestant sources, and I so can't say I agree with either entirely. Obviously, I disagree with the Westboro folks' insensitive tactics in spreading their message, condemn their judgmental presumptuousness as regards the salvation of particular individual souls, and despise their use of the word "fag" as well their inordinate emphasis there as opposed to, say, the other three sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. That seems strange especially in the age of the mass murder which is abortion; I'd be more sympathetic to them as a group if their message was that our infanticide was the primary cause of God's wrath being poured out on our civilization (only then followed in priority by sexual immorality, capitalist economic greed, and the political corruption of liberal democracy.) But it's pretty hard to disagree with the spirit of the message itself. Babylon, "the World," will burn forever, with the Devil and the Flesh, and the proper response is actually just to sing joyfully and with good humor about it. God is not mocked, His victory against the World is already assured!

Look around! If it weren't for the greedy power of the State restraining them (for its own evil purposes), people would be devouring each other in the street. Look at all the laughing smiling faces next time you're out. There is hardly one among them (even among our own friends and loved ones) that aren't, behind the mask, nothing but an incoherent neural mass of lust and evil and rebellion and disobedience against God. Think of that next time you look at someone: in great likelihood you are looking at someone already "walking around in their own corpse," as I heard it put once. That's not to dehumanize: it's only the fact that they do posses human agency and the potential to glorify God that makes these monsters so terrible and so deserving of an eternity of pain. Now, look in the mirror too! Will you burn with them? Will you belong to the World? Or to God? That question is a constant source of terror for me personally...

I've realized that so much of my blogging and philosophizing is just decadent navel gazing. The one terrible truth at the root of all authentic spiritual experience, especially in our age, must be this: God is angry, God is extremely angry, He hates The World (in the theological sense of that term), and that World is going to Hell. We must cultivate this terror of Hell and this hatred of the World, the Devil, and the Flesh until we ourselves live filled with God's Wrath in every breath we take, in every beat of our heart, or we too will just be kindling for His great cosmic furnace. O the fewness of the saved! What self-serving folly I've been spewing until now. Until our love is purified by God's Wrath, we will only be engaging in self-love and selfishness, and will be complicit in the decadent corruption of the World and her hell-bound people. Go out from her!


Young Canadian RC Male said...


Man I think you've really gone overboard in your writings on this one.

The expression I believe is our greatest spiritual enemies is "The world, the flesh, and the devil." Furthermore, in your rant on here, you have left out an important fact about God and creation. All creation came from Him, and it was good in itself. And yes, God even loves Satan as a creation, though he's really pissed of at his rebellion and was it ever right for St. Michael to kick his arse back to Hell. If God hates anything about the world, it's our idiocy and concupicence, and what we do with our free will to destroy the world and make it evil. Not to mention if our God just hates the world, why would there be any merit to the monotheistic religions? Why even the ancient pagan religions of Greece and Rome had gods that used humans as playthings and made them do bad things 'just cause.' Those empires died out with their religions and they are just history (seriously I'd pay you $20 if someone actually still practiced ancient Greek/Roman paganism/polytheism today)

Your post seems very imbalanced and focuses on important things, but to the point of others and it comes off sounding like the "trads" that liberals use as examples to crap on the Extraordinary form and anything Traditionally Catholic. The key message in its seriousness could have been conveyed with better words. That's all I'm saying.

Hopefully there was a good, sound reasoning and intention behind the post that if you choose to, you could elaborate on. That or we can just chalk it up to our fiery youthful spirit as young trads :). Pax, YCRCM.

A Sinner said...

"Man I think you've really gone overboard in your writings on this one."

Well, I think I can be forgiven for "over" emphasizing Hell and Hatred of The World in one post given how it has been UNDER emphasized for at least 50 years...

"All creation came from Him, and it was good in itself."

Right. It's not a theological metaphysical point, it's a spiritual point. "The World" here doesn't mean all material creation. "The World" here is to be identified with Babylon.

"The key message in its seriousness could have been conveyed with better words. That's all I'm saying."

Other sorts of speaking don't seem to SCARE people enough, or make them as UNCOMFORTABLE as they should be.

There's a time for "cold" theological theorizing, maybe, but there is also a time for fire and brimstone. In the end, only the latter really MOVES people.

I'm not saying the "Savanarola" approach necessarily gets people to convert, but it at least draws out the fact that they aren't really that serious about Faith, and gets them to admit that they've just been wolves in sheeps' clothing all along, sitting around using religion as their own intellectual plaything or source of comfort without really committing to the terrifying truths and obligations it implies.

dominic1955 said...

While this is something I take to heart and find extremely important (the fewness of those to be saved, the Four Last Things, etc.), "fire 'n brimstone" usually have the opposite effect on people. I don't think I've ever seen anyone who wasn't already a true believer walk away from "hell talk" scared. Bemused, yes. Ridiculing, yes, but not scared or even puzzled. Some folks, after hellfire n' brimstone sermon after sermon simply grow apathetic to religion.

Of course, this is all completely illogical (as if ignoring or deriding the reality of hell and other uncomfortable things is going to somehow protect you from it) but that's all I see.

A Sinner said...

Well, as I said in my prior comment, "I'm not saying the 'Savanarola' approach necessarily gets people to convert, but it at least draws out the fact that they aren't really that serious about Faith, and gets them to admit that they've just been wolves in sheeps' clothing all along, sitting around using religion as their own intellectual plaything or source of comfort without really committing to the terrifying truths and obligations it implies."

This is another thing I find sympathetic in the Westboro folk's approach: they don't claim to be converting anyone or saving souls. For them, it is about making explicit and manifest what is already true. About calling people out and getting them to expose their rebellious spirits by their response.

We know already that God will harden the hearts of the reprobate. So the point of these sorts of things can't be to try to actually win anyone over.

I mean, did Christ really expect the Pharisees to convert when He was chewing them out? No. Sometimes you've just got to tell it like it is.

dominic1955 said...

Well, then, in that case there isn't a whole lot of point to even telling the reprobate anything as they are just going to hell anyway.

I think of it along the lines of a dictum attributed to St. Augustine, pray like everything is dependent on God and work like everything is dependent on you. I think it is best to approach people as if they were the future Elect and not the future reprobate. It would seem, from the lives of the Saints, that God expects a more balanced approach. You'd be hard pressed to find any saints who preached Hell primarily.

Anonymous said...

Welp, it appears that somone has had a flame lit beneath his arse.

Michael Lechowicz said...

You know, you can go to hell for preaching about hell too much too. Let's not terrify good people who, out of ignorance of Catholic teachings begin to JUDGE and CONDEMN themselves to hell, even though they have every right to contemplate Heaven. The concept of Hell is naturally opposite to that of Heaven and you can make people fear Hell a lot more if you tell them the heavenly goodness and love they fall short of every time they sin. Equally just, equally vengeful of "the World."

A Sinner said...

So, in 750 blog posts, ONE time preaching about Hell is "too much"??

See, this is why The World and All Her People are going straight to Hell.

And the only way to avoid it is to fill ourselves with God's Holy Hatred.

Michael Lechowicz said...

My sentiments are shared by many of the saints; preaching about hell in a way that unduly terrifies does more harm than good -- even if it is just "one time." You could focus on the divine figure of Jesus and God's unrelenting love and desire to save all sinners (while there is still time) than on "God's Holy Hatred." Fideistic Islam (or the Christian Crusader spirit) KILLS in the name of God and "His Holy Hatred." It is not something I would fill myself with.

I agree with your message about Hell overall as something to be constantly feared, but the "vengeance" part is the stuff of videogames:

I fear Christ the Judge, but I adore Christ the Merciful.

Michael Lechowicz said...

I wrote a longer response to your post on my blog, NominallyCatholic. You can find it here.