Thursday, January 23, 2020

Roger Scruton, 1944 - 2020



Roger Scruton, the English philosopher and writer, died on January 12, 2020.  Here are just a few pearls of wisdom from Sir Roger:

"When gifts are replaced by rights, so is gratitude replaced by claims. And claims breed resentment"

"Through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home, and in doing so we both amplify our joys and find consolation for our sorrows."

"It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since, as Swift says, it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought."




"It is not enough to be nice; you have to be good. We are attracted by nice people; but only on the assumption that their niceness is a sign of goodness."

"We should not value education as a means to prosperity, but prosperity as a means to education. Only then will our priorities be right. For education, unlike prosperity is an end in itself. .. power and influence come through the acquisition of useless knowledge. . . irrelevant subjects bring understanding of the human condition, by forcing the student to stand back from it."

"When art becomes merely shock value, our sense of humanity is slowly degraded."

"All of us need an identity which unites us with our neighbours, our countrymen, those people who are subject to the same rules and the same laws as us, those people with whom we might one day have to fight side by side to protect our inheritance, those people with whom we will suffer when attacked, those people whose destinies are in some way tied up with our own."

"Beauty is vanishing from our world because we live as though it does not matter."

"The two most potent post-war orthodoxies--socialist politics and modernist art--have at least one feature in common: they are both forms of snobbery, the anti-bourgeois snobbery of people convinced of their right to dictate to the common man in the name of the common man."

"Art once made a cult of beauty. Now we have a cult of ugliness instead. This has made art into an elaborate joke, one which by now has ceased to be funny."

"In place of the old beliefs of a civilization based on godliness, judgment and historical loyalty, young people are given the new beliefs of a society based on equality and inclusion, and are told that the judgment of other lifestyles is a crime. ... The 'non-judgmental' attitude towards other cultures goes hand-in-hand with a fierce denunciation of the culture that might have been one's own."

"Rational argument can get us just so far… It can help us to understand the real difference between a faith that commands us to forgive our enemies, and one that commands us to slaughter them. But the leap of faith itself — this placing of your life at God's service — is a leap over reason's edge. This does not make it irrational, any more than falling in love is irrational."


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"Embrace the Moment"

"Together, we will make our nations stronger, our countries safer, our culture richer, our people freer, and the world more beautiful than ever before."

-President Donald J. Trump





It is really quite amazing how the purveyors of fake news misrepresent everything that our President says and does. After perusing the snarky news reports of President Trump's address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, I tracked down the actual text of his speech...and of course it is nothing like what the "journalists" would have you believe:

Davos Congress Centre

Davos, Switzerland

11:47 A.M. CET

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much, Klaus. And a very special congratulations on your 50th year hosting the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum. A truly amazing achievement.

It’s an honor to address the distinguished members of this organization for the second time as President. When I spoke at this forum two years ago, I told you that we had launched the great American comeback. Today, I’m proud to declare that the United States is in the midst of an economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before.

We’ve regained our stride, we discovered our spirit and reawakened the powerful machinery of American enterprise. America is thriving, America is flourishing, and yes, America is winning again like never before.

Just last week alone, the United States concluded two extraordinary trade deals: the agreement with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — the two biggest trade deals ever made. They just happened to get done in the same week.

These agreements represent a new model of trade for the 21st century — agreements that are fair, reciprocal, and that prioritize the needs of workers and families. America’s economic turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular.

When I took office three years ago, America’s economy was in a rather dismal state. Under the previous administration, nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had vanished, wages were flat or falling, almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force than had gotten jobs, and more than 10 million people had been added to the food stamp rolls.

The experts predicted a decade of very, very slow growth — or even maybe negative growth — high unemployment, and a dwindling workforce, and very much a shrinking middle class. Millions of hardworking, ordinary citizens felt neglected, betrayed, forgotten. They were rapidly losing faith in the system.

Before my presidency began, the outlook for many nations was bleak. Top economists warned of a protracted worldwide recession. The World Bank lowered its projections for global growth to a number that nobody wanted to even think about. Pessimism had taken root deep in the minds of leading thinkers, business leaders, and policymakers.

Yet despite all of the cynics, I had never been more confident in America’s future. I knew we were on the verge of a profound economic resurgence, if we did things right — one that would generate a historic wave of investment, wage growth, and job creation.

I knew that if we unleashed the potential of our people, if we cut taxes, slashed regulations — and we did that at a level that’s never been done before in the history of our country, in a short period of time — fixed broken trade deals and fully tapped American energy, that prosperity would come thundering back at a record speed. And that is exactly what we did, and that is exactly what happened.

Since my election, America has gained over 7 million jobs — a number unthinkable. I wouldn’t say it, I wouldn’t talk about it, but that was a number that I had in mind. The projection was 2 million; we did 7 [million] — more than three times the government’s own projections.

The unemployment rate is now less than 3, 4, and 5 percent. And at 3.5 percent, that’s a number that is the lowest in more than 50 years. The average unemployment rate for my administration is the lowest for any U.S. President in recorded history. We started off with reasonably high rate.

For the first time in decades, we are no longer simply concentrating wealth in the hands of a few. We’re concentrating and creating the most inclusive economy ever to exist. We are lifting up Americans of every race, color, religion, and creed.

Unemployment rates among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans have all reached record lows. African American youth unemployment has reached the lowest it’s ever been in the history of our country. African American poverty has plummeted to the lowest rate ever recorded. The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level since 1953. And women now comprise a majority of the American workforce; that’s for the first time.

The unemployment rate for veterans has dropped to a record low. The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time record low. Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in U.S. history. Wages are rising across the board. And those at the bottom of the income ladder are enjoying the percentage, by far, largest gains.

Workers’ wages are now growing faster than management wages. Earnings growth for the bottom 10 percent is outpacing the top 10 percent — something that has not happened. Paychecks for high school graduates are rising faster than for college graduates.

Young Americans just entering the workforce are also sharing in America’s extraordinary prosperity. Since I took office, more than 2 million millennials have gotten jobs, and their wages have grown by nearly 5 percent annually — a number that was unthinkable. Nobody would have ever thought it was possible three years ago. A record number of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are now working.

In the eight years before I took office, over 300,000 working-age people left the workforce. In just three years in my administration, 3.5 million people have joined the workforce. Ten million people have been lifted off welfare in less than three years. Celebrating the dignity of work is a fundamental pillar of our agenda.

This is a blue-collar boom. Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased by plus-47 percent — three times faster than the increase for the top 1 percent. Real median household income is at the highest level ever recorded.

The American Dream is back — bigger, better, and stronger than ever before. No one is benefitting more than America’s middle class.

We have created 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs — a number also unthinkable. After losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations — hard to believe when you hear “60,000 factories” — America has now gained, in a very short period of time, 12,000 new factories under my administration. And the number is going up rapidly. We’ll be beating the 60,000 number that we lost, except these will be bigger, newer, and the latest.

Years of economic stagnation have given way to a roaring geyser of opportunity. U.S. stock markets have soared by more than 50 percent since my election, adding more than $19 trillion to household wealth, and boosting 401(k)s, pensions, and college savings accounts for millions of hardworking families.
And these great numbers are many things, and it’s despite the fact that the Fed has raised rates too fast and lowered them too slowly. And even now, as the United States is by far the strongest economic power in the world, it’s not even close. It was going to be close, but a lot of good things happened to us, and some not-so-good things happened to certain other places.

They’re forced to compete, and we compete with nations that are getting negative rates — something very new — meaning, they get paid to borrow money. Something that I could get used to very quickly. Love that. Got to pay back your loan? Oh, how much am I getting?

Nevertheless, we still have the best numbers that we’ve had in so many different areas. It’s a conservative approach, and we have a tremendous upside potential, when all of the trade deals and the massive deregulation starts kicking in — which will be during this year, especially toward the end of the year. Those trade deals are starting to kick in already. The regulations are kicking in right now.

And I see such tremendous potential for the future. We have not even started, because the numbers we’re talking about are massive.

The time for skepticism is over. People are flowing back into our country. Companies are coming back into our country. Many of you, who I know, are coming back in with your plants and your factories. Thank you very much. America’s newfound prosperity is undeniable, unprecedented, and unmatched anywhere in the world.

America achieved this stunning turnaround not by making minor changes to a handful of policies, but by adopting a whole new approach centered entirely on the wellbeing of the American worker.

Every decision we make — on taxes, trade, regulation, energy, immigration, education, and more — is focused on improving the lives of everyday Americans. We are determined to create the highest standard of living that anyone can imagine, and right now, that’s what we’re doing for our workers. The highest in the world. And we’re determined to ensure that the working and middle class reap the largest gains.

A nation’s highest duty is to its own citizens. Honoring this truth is the only way to build faith and confidence in the market system. Only when governments put their own citizens first will people be fully invested in their national futures. In the United States, we are building an economy that works for everyone, restoring the bonds of love and loyalty that unite citizens and powers nations.

Today, I hold up the American model as an example to the world of a working system of free enterprise that will produce the most benefits for the most people in the 21st century and beyond.

A pro-worker, pro-citizen, pro-family agenda demonstrates how a nation can thrive when its communities, its companies, its government, and its people work together for the good of the whole nation.

As part of this new vision, we passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. We doubled the child tax credit, benefitting 40 million American families and lifting 650,000 single mothers and their 1 million children out of poverty — and out of poverty quickly.

We passed the first-ever tax credit for employers who provide paid paternal leave for employees earning $72,000 less annually, and passed paid family leave for government employees as a model for the country.

We made childcare much more affordable and reduced or eliminated childcare waitlists all across the nation. Our childcare reforms are supporting working parents and ensuring their children have access to high-quality care and education, all of which they very much deserve.

We lowered our business tax from the highest in the developed world down to one that’s not only competitive, but one of the lower taxes.

We created nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones in distressed communities where capital gains on long-term investments are now taxed at zero, and tremendous wealth is pouring into areas that for a hundred years saw nothing.

The 35 million Americans who live in these areas have already seen their home values rise by more than $22 billion. My administration has also made historic investments in historically black colleges and universities. I saved HCBUs. We saved them. They were going out, and we saved them.

We’re removing roadblocks to success and rewarding businesses that invest in workers, families, and communities.

We’ve also launched the most ambitious campaign in history to reduce job-killing regulations. For every new regulation adopted, we are removing eight old regulations, which will save an average of American households about $3,100 per year. It was going to be, “for every one, we do two,” but we were able to lift that to eight, and we think that’s going to go quite a bit higher. We still have a way to go.

Today, I urge other nations to follow our example and liberate your citizens from the crushing weight of bureaucracy. With that, you have to run your own countries the way you want.

We’re also restoring the constitutional rule of law in America, which is essential to our economy, our liberty, and our future. And that’s why we’ve appointed over 190 federal judges — a record — to interpret the law as written. One hundred and ninety federal judges — think of that — and two Supreme Court judges.

As a result of our efforts, investment is pouring into our country. In the first half of 2019, the United States attracted nearly one-quarter of all foreign direct investment in the world — think of that. Twenty-five percent of all foreign investment all over the world came into the United States, and that number is increasing rapidly.

To every business looking for a place where they are free to invest, build, thrive, innovate, and succeed, there is no better place on Earth than the United States.

As a central part of our commitment to building an inclusive society, we established the National Council for the American Worker. We want every citizen, regardless of age or background, to have the cutting-edge skills to compete and succeed in tomorrow’s workplace. This includes critical industries like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and 5G.

Under Ivanka’s leadership — who is with us today — our Pledge to America’s Workers has become a full-blown national movement with over 400 companies committing to provide new job and training opportunities to already very close to 15 million American students and workers. Fifteen million.

America is making sweeping changes to place workers and their families at the center of our national agenda. Perhaps the most transformative change of all is on trade reform, where we’re addressing chronic problems that have been ignored, tolerated, or enabled for decades. Our leaders did nothing about what happened to us on trade.

Before I was elected, China’s predatory practices were undermining trade for everyone, but no one did anything about it, except allow it to keep getting worse and worse and worse. Under my leadership, America confronted the problem head on.

Under our new phase one agreement — phase two is starting negotiations very shortly — China has agreed to substantially do things that they would not have done: measures to protect intellectual property; stop forced technology transfers; remove trade barriers in agricultural goods and on agricultural goods, where we were treated so badly; open its financial sector totally — that’s done — and maintain a stable currency, all backed by very, very strong enforcement.

Our relationship with China, right now, has probably never been better. We went through a very rough patch, but it’s never, ever been better. My relationship with President Xi is an extraordinary one. He’s for China; I’m for the U.S. But other than that, we love each other.

Additionally, China will spend an additional $200 billion over two years on American services, agriculture, and energy, and manufactured goods. So we’ll be taking in an excess of $200 billion; could be closer to $300 billion when it finishes. But these achievements would not have been possible without the implementation of tariffs, which we had to use, and we’re using them on others too. And that is why most of our tariffs on China will remain in place during the phase two negotiations. For the most part, the tariffs have been left, and we’re being paid billions and billions of dollars a year as a country.

As I mentioned earlier, we ended the NAFTA disaster — one of the worst trade deals ever made; not even close — and replaced it with the incredible new trade deal, the USMCA — that’s Mexico and Canada.

In the nearly 25 years after NAFTA, the United States lost 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs, including nearly 1 in 4 vehicle-manufacturing jobs. It was an incentive to leave the country. The NAFTA agreement exemplified the decades-long failures of the international trading system. The agreement shifted wealth to the hands of a few, promoted massive outsourcing, drove down wages, and shuttered plants and factories by the thousands. The plants would leave our country, make the product, sell it into our country. We ended up with no jobs and no taxes; would buy other countries’ product. That doesn’t happen anymore.

This is the wreckage that I was elected to clean up. It’s probably the reason I ran for President, more than any other thing, because I couldn’t understand why we were losing all of these jobs to other countries at such a rapid rate. And it got worse and worse, and I think it’s probably the primary reason that I ran, but there are other reasons also. And to replace with a new system that puts workers before the special interests. And the special interests will do just fine, but the workers come first.

Our brand-new USMCA is the result of the broadest coalition ever assembled for a trade agreement. Manufacturing, agriculture, and labor all strongly endorsed the deal. And, as you know, it just passed in Congress overwhelmingly. It shows how to solve the 21st century challenge we all face: protecting intellectual property, expanding digital trade, re-shoring lost jobs, and ensuring rising wages and living standards.

The United States has also concluded a great new trade deal with Japan — approximately $40 billion — and completely renegotiated our deal with South Korea. We’re also negotiating many other transactions with many other countries. And we look forward to negotiating a tremendous new deal with the United Kingdom. They have a wonderful new Prime Minister and wants very much to make a deal, as they say.

To protect our security and our economy, we are also boldly embracing American energy independence. The United States is now, by far, the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, by far. It’s not even close.

While many European countries struggle with crippling energy costs, the American energy revolution is saving American families $2,500 every year in lowering electric bills and numbers that people said couldn’t happen, and also, very importantly, prices at the pump.

We’ve been so successful that the United States no longer needs to import energy from hostile nations. With an abundance of American natural gas now available, our European allies no longer have to be vulnerable to unfriendly energy suppliers either. We urge our friends in Europe to use America’s vast supply and achieve true energy security.

With U.S. companies and researchers leading the way, we are on the threshold of virtually unlimited reserves of energy, including from traditional fuels, LNG, clean coal, next-generation nuclear power, and gas hydrate technologies.

At the same time, I’m proud to report the United States has among the cleanest air and drinking water on Earth — and we’re going to keep it that way. And we just came out with a report that, at this moment, it’s the cleanest it’s been in the last 40 years. We’re committed to conserving the majesty of God’s creation and the natural beauty of our world.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the United States will join One Trillion Trees Initiative being launched here at the World Economic Forum. One Trillion Trees. (Applause.) And in doing so, we will continue to show strong leadership in restoring, growing, and better managing our trees and our forests.

This is not a time for pessimism; this is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action.

But to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune-tellers — and I have them and you have them, and we all have them, and they want to see us do badly, but we don’t let that happen. They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the ’70s, and an end of oil in the 1990s. These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform, and control every aspect of our lives.

We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country, or eradicate our liberty. America will always be the proud, strong, and unyielding bastion of freedom.

In America, we understand what the pessimists refuse to see: that a growing and vibrant market economy focused on the future lifts the human spirit and excites creativity strong enough to overcome any challenge — any challenge by far.

The great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century — from penicillin, to high-yield wheat, to modern transportation, and breakthrough vaccines — have lifted living standards and saved billions of lives around the world. And we’re continuing to work on things that you’ll be hearing about in the near future that, even today, sitting here right now, you wouldn’t believe it’s possible that we have found the answers. You’ll be hearing about it. But we have found answers to things that people said would not be possible — certainly not in a very short period of time.

But the wonders of the last century will pale in comparison to what today’s young innovators will achieve because they are doing things that nobody thought even feasible to begin. We continue to embrace technology, not to shun it. When people are free to innovate, millions will live longer, happier, healthier lives.

For three years now, America has shown the world that the path to a prosperous future begins with putting workers first, choosing growth, and freeing entrepreneurs to bring their dreams to life.

For anyone who doubts what is possible in the future, we need only look at the towering achievements of the past. Only a few hundred miles from here are some of the great cities of Europe — teeming centers of commerce and culture. Each of them is full of reminders of what human drive and imagination can achieve.

Centuries ago, at the time of the Renaissance, skilled craftsmen and laborers looked upwards and built the structures that still touch the human heart. To this day, some of the greatest structures in the world have been built hundreds of years ago.

In Italy, the citizens once started construction on what would be a 140-year project, the Duomo of Florence. An incredible, incredible place. While the technology did not yet exist to complete their design, city fathers forged ahead anyway, certain that they would figure it out someday. These citizens of Florence did not accept limits to their high aspirations and so the Great Dome was finally built.

In France, another century-long project continues to hold such a grip on our hearts and our souls that, even 800 years after its construction, when the Cathedral of Notre Dame was engulfed in flames last year — such a sad sight to watch; unbelievable sight, especially for those of us that considered it one of the great, great monuments and representing so many different things — the whole world grieved.

Though her sanctuary now stands scorched and charred — and a sight that’s hard to believe; when you got used to it, to look at it now, hard to believe. But we know that Notre Dame will be restored — will be restored magnificently. The great bells will once again ring out for all to hear, giving glory to God and filling millions with wonder and awe.

The Cathedrals of Europe teach us to pursue big dreams, daring adventures, and unbridled ambitions. They urge us to consider not only what we build today, but what we will endure long after we are gone. They testify to the power of ordinary people to realize extraordinary achievements when united by a grand and noble purpose.

So, together, we must go forward with confidence, determination, and vision. We must not be timid, or meek, or fearful — but instead we must boldly seize the day and embrace the moment. We have so many great leaders in this room — not only business leaders, but leaders of nations — and some are doing such a fantastic job. We work together very closely. We will draw strength from the glories of the past, and we will make greatness our common mission for the future.

Together, we will make our nations stronger, our countries safer, our culture richer, our people freer, and the world more beautiful than ever before.

Above all else, we will forever be loyal to our workers, our citizens, and our families — the men and women who are the backbone of our economies, the heart of our communities, and the soul of our countries. Let us bring light to their lives one by one and empower them to light up the world.

Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless your countries. And God bless America. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Two Songs, Hannah and Mary


Two songs, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, draw comparisons - with good reason.  “Hannah’s Song” appeared in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, and is regarded in Judaism as the prime model for how to pray.  A thousand years later, “Mary’s Song of Praise” was preserved in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55).



Hannah giving her son Samuel to the priest by Jan Victors, 1645. According to the biblical account, Hannah sang her song when she presented Samuel to Eli the priest. 

Hannah’s Song

1 Samuel 2:1-10 (KJV)

And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them.

He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Mary’s Song


Madonna del Magnificat, is a painting of circular or tondo form by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510). It is now in the galleries of the Uffizi, in Florence.  The work portrays the Virgin Mary crowned by two angels. She is writing the opening of the Magnificat on the right-hand page of a book; on the left page is part of the Benedictus. In her left hand she holds a pomegranate.

This version of the Magnificat, adapted from Luke’s Gospel, appears in the Book of Common Prayer:

My soul doth magnify the Lord.

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden: For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.

He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel:

As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. 

Amen.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Celebrating Saint Anastasia, the Deliverer from Potions


Today is the day of celebration for the life and service of Saint Anastasia, the “Deliverer from Potions.”




The holy and most brave martyr Anastasia lived in Rome at the time of the Emperor Diocletian (284-305). She was the daughter of a pagan, by the name of Praetextatus. Her mother, however, whose name was Fausta, was a Christian and so Anastasia was taught the faith in Christ by her. And, moreover, Fausta gave her daughter into the care of Chrysogonos, a godly and devout man, who taught her the Scriptures.

Anastasia married a pagan called Puplius though she felt no uxorial love for him, because he did not believe in Christ. And so she would not agree to conjugal relations with him, but rather pretended to be constantly ill. He did not realize, but Anastasia was secretly doing tasks which were pleasing to God: she wore a tunic that was simple and cheap, would meet with women who had various needs and provide them with all possible assistance. Moreover, accompanied by a single servant, she would go to prisons where Christians were being held, suffering for Christ, and would bring them great relief: she would undo their chains, anoint their wounds and gently sponge away the blood; she would also provide them with appropriate and necessary food.

One day, however, her husband Puplius was told about all this and he had his wife imprisoned. Anastasia was very sad about this, because it interrupted her God-pleasing efforts. Later, however, as Puplius was on a voyage somewhere, his ship foundered and he was drowned during a mighty storm. Free now of all hindrance, Anastasia first of all distributed her belongings among the poor. Then, less fearful than she had been, she offered her services to those who were suffering for Christ: she collected the holy relics of those who had been killed and gave them an orderly burial; she strengthened many in the faith; and she prepared them for martyrdom for Christ.

Because of these activities and her faith in Christ, Anastasia was arrested by the pagans and, after being interrogated and tortured by various local leaders, was thrown into the sea, together with other women. But by the miraculous intervention of God, she was saved and washed up on the coast. The governor who had given the order for her to be drowned was furious when he learned that the saint had come to no harm. He therefore instructed the executioners to tie her to wooden stakes and light a fire all around her, to burn her, an order they carried out to the letter. And so the holy martyr Anastasia ended her life and was crowned by the Lord with the unfading garland of martyrdom.

Dismissal Hymn:

Your lamb cries out to You Jesus in a loud voice: “I long for You, my Bridegroom, and seeking You, I struggle. I am crucified and buried with You in Your baptism. I suffer for You, that I may reign with You and I die for You that I may live in You. Accept me, who am offered to You with longing, as a spotless sacrifice to You”. Through her intercessions, save our souls, by Your mercy.

Rather in the same way as the Dismissal Hymn for Saint Nicholas is used for a number of other hierarchs, this apolytikio is sung for many female martyrs.

It is likely that she was actually martyred in Sirmium, a prosperous imperial city in Serbia (today Sremska Mitrovica in Vojvodina) where she had gone, possibly with her mother, to comfort Christians there. This is entirely probable: between 251 and 285, eight Roman emperors were born in the city or in the surrounding district, and Diocletian himself was from neighbouring Dalmatia. It seems that she went to Sirmium from Aquileia, where she left her mentor Chrysogonos, who was later martyred there.

By a curious coincidence “Sirmium” is derived from the verb “to flow” and means something like “wetlands”; Aquileia was a town at the head of the Adriatic, near lagoons. Some time between 458 and 471, her relics were transferred to a church in Constantinople dedicated to the Resurrection (Anastasis) of Christ, which was then renamed for Saint Anastasia. Later the head and a foot were sent to the Patriarchal Monastery of Saint Anastasia, at Vasilika, near Thessaloniki. On the night of 23 April, 2012, however, they were stolen in a well-planned raid. Some of the miscreants were brought to trial in Thessaloniki in July 2013 and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, but the relics have yet to be recovered. Her name “Deliverer from Potions” is connected to her protection from poisons and other harmful substances

Apolytikion of Great Martyr Anastasia of Rome in the Fourth Tone

O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion of Great Martyr Anastasia of Rome in the Second Tone

When they that are found in trials and adversities flee unto thy church O Anastasia, they receive the august and wondrous gifts of divine grace which doth abide in thee; for at all times, O Saint of God, thou pourest forth streams of healings for the world.



A writer for the Orthodox Church in America https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/1999/12/22/103609-greatmartyr-anastasia-the-deliverer-from-potions-her-teacher-mar gives another account of her life:

The Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions, a Roman by birth, suffered for Christ at the time of Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. Her father was a pagan, but her mother was secretly a Christian. Saint Anastasia’s teacher in her youth was an educated and pious Christian named Chrysogonus. After the death of her mother, her father gave Saint Anastasia in marriage to a pagan named Publius, but feigning illness, she preserved her virginity.

Clothing herself in the garb of a beggar, and accompanied by only one servant, she visited the prisons. She fed, doctored and often ransomed captives who were suffering for their faith in Christ. 

When her servant told Publius about everything, he subjected his wife to a beating and locked her up at home. Saint Anastasia then began to correspond secretly with Chrysogonus, who told the saint to be patient, to cleave to the Cross of Christ, and to accept the Lord’s will. He also foretold the impending death of Publius in the sea. After a certain while Publius did indeed drown, as he was setting out with a delegation to Persia. After the death of her husband, Saint Anastasia began to distribute her property to the poor and suffering.

Diocletian was informed that the Christians who filled the prisons of Rome stoically endured tortures. He gave orders to kill them all in a single night, and for Chrysogonus to be sent to him at Aquileia. Saint Anastasia followed her teacher at a distance.

The emperor interrogated Chrysogonus personally, but could not make him renounce his faith. Therefore, he commanded that he be beheaded and thrown into the sea. The body and severed head of the holy martyr were carried to shore by the waves. There by divine Providence, the relics were found by a presbyter named Zoilus who placed them in a coffer, and concealed them at his home.

Saint Chrysogonus appeared to Zoilus and informed him that martyrdom was at hand for Agape, Chione and Irene (April 16), three sisters who lived nearby. He told him to send Saint Anastasia to them to encourage them. Saint Chrysogonus foretold that Zoilus would also die on the same day. Nine days later, the words of Saint Chrysogonus were fulfilled. Zoilus fell asleep in the Lord, and Saint Anastasia visited the three maidens before their tortures. When these three martyrs gave up their souls to the Lord, she buried them.

Having carried out her teacher’s request, the saint went from city to city ministering to Christian prisoners. Proficient in the medical arts of the time, she zealously cared for captives far and wide, healing their wounds and relieving their suffering. Because of her labors, Saint Anastasia received the name Deliverer from Potions (Pharmakolytria), since by her intercessions she has healed many from the effects of potions, poisons, and other harmful substances.

She made the acquaintance of the pious young widow Theodota, finding in her a faithful helper. Theodota was taken for questioning when it was learned that she was a Christian. Meanwhile, Saint Anastasia was arrested in Illyricum. This occurred just after all the Christian captives there had been murdered in a single night by order of Diocletian. Saint Anastasia had come to one of the prisons, and finding no one there, she began to weep loudly. The jailers realized that she was a Christian and took her to the prefect of the district, who tried to persuade her to deny Christ by threatening her with torture. After his unsuccessful attempts to persuade Saint Anastasia to offer sacrifice to idols, he handed her over to the pagan priest Ulpian in Rome.

The cunning pagan offered Saint Anastasia the choice between luxury and riches, or grievous sufferings. He set before her gold, precious stones and fine clothing, and also fearsome instruments of torture. The crafty man was put to shame by the bride of Christ. Saint Anastasia refused the riches and chose the tools of torture.

But the Lord prolonged the earthly life of the saint, and Ulpian gave her three days to reconsider. Charmed by Anastasia’s beauty, the pagan priest decided to defile her purity. However, when he tried to touch her he suddenly became blind. His head began to ache so severely that he screamed like a madman. He asked to be taken to a pagan temple to appeal to the idols for help, but on the way he fell down and died.

Saint Anastasia was set free and she and Theodota again devoted themselves to the care of imprisoned Christians. Before long, Saint Theodota and her three sons accepted a martyrdom. Her eldest son, Evodus, stood bravely before the judge and endured beatings without protest. After lengthy torture, they were all thrown into a red-hot oven.

Saint Anastasia was caught again and condemned to death by starvation. She remained in prison without food for sixty days. Saint Theodota appeared to the martyr every night and gave her courage. Seeing that hunger caused Saint Anastasia no harm whatsoever, the judge sentenced her to drowning together with other prisoners. Among them was Eutychianus, who was condemned for his Christian faith.

The prisoners were put into a boat which went out into the open sea. The soldiers bored holes in the boat and got into a galley. Saint Theodota appeared to the captives and steered the ship to shore. When they reached dry land, 120 men believed in Christ and were baptized by Saints Anastasia and Eutychianus. All were captured and received a martyr’s crown. Saint Anastasia was stretched between four pillars and burned alive. A certain pious woman named Apollinaria buried her body, which was unharmed by the fire, in the garden outside her house.

In the fifth century the relics of Saint Anastasia were transferred to Constantinople, where a church was built and dedicated to her. Later the head and a hand of the Great Martyr were transferred to the monastery of Saint Anastasia [Deliverer from Potions], near Mount Athos.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Leftist Utopia Foretold

Drag Queen "Story Hour" at the public library

His crystal ball was working pretty well when Paul Harvey prepared his 1966 commentary, "If I Were the Devil."  And half of America thinks it is just dandy:

If I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness. I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — thee.

So, I would set about however necessary to take over the United States.

I’d subvert the churches first, and I would begin with a campaign of whispers.

With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”

To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince the children that man created God instead of the other way around. I’d confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is square.

And the old, I would teach to pray after me, “Our Father, which are in Washington …”

Then, I’d get organized, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting.

I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves and nations at war with themselves until each, in its turn, was consumed.

And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellect but neglect to discipline emotions.

I’d tell teachers to let those students run wild. And before you knew it, you’d have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

With a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing and judges promoting pornography. Soon, I would evict God from the courthouse and the schoolhouse and them from the houses of Congress.

In his own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I’d lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.

What’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?

I’d convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun and that what you see on television is the way to be.

And thus, I could undress you in public and lure you into bed with diseases for which there are no cures.

In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.