Monday, October 24, 2011


Le Cantique des Cantiques I, 1960 Huile sur papier marouflé sur toile musée national Message Biblique Marc Chagall

On Wednesday morning Oct, 19, 2011
Today I felt again, reflecting after communion {on my friend’s accident, Mom’s death, my wife and family, an end to war}, the warm loving hand of God on my shoulder—a pleasant gentle flutter about head and shoulders momentary brush of wings of Holy Spirit, a physical lifting with Jesus all around, a union like the deep sexual love that comes also at times with my forever beautiful Ande married one—an eternal moment of complete trust lasting only minutes promising everything.  These times, scattered through life, arrive as profound surprises whether in bedroom, church, mountaintop, at lake sunset, or from the handshake of an at first repulsive beggar giving back to you what you did not earn. 
Praying Hands  by Albrecht Durer

They rise from mundane acts of kindness, or just in perseverance without rancor to necessary tasks.  They are prayers initiated by God, when you are open, that capture you.  You must know the feeling of which I speak.  They shake you body and soul more like levitation than down to the toes as in lovemaking.  Centered on face and shoulders, more gentle, like a kiss from God.  Knowing that you are in the right place the present moment, and that you are loved and cared for even when you’re not experiencing it.  Union with God, my wife, family, friends, enemies, the earth, and all the community of the faithful at once.  Mindful right now of Eucharist.  Thank you God.
It’s like a shudder sudden takes your breath away for a minute while all creation breathes for you.  Complete assurance that All is well and will be well and the gates of hell cannot prevail against.

If you commune often enough, God does come, in all glory body and soul, while transfigured only for a brief moment in your time.  Those times God chooses to knock your socks off—sometimes tragic and humbling, often the incomprehensible pleasure of divine assurance.
From scripture scholar John Pilch's webpage dedicated to Jean Peters Pilch---Song of Solomon 6-3, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine"-- Illustration by Raban-1930

Monday, October 17, 2011


Headline of most recent Candice Miller E-Newsletter--
"Rep. Miller: October 16th - Marks 900 Days Since U.S. Senate has Passed a Budget." She follows with a biting critique of how the other body of Congress blocks all attempts at "fiscal sanity." * Her outrage is almost always directed at the other guys, while her group went on a spending rampage of {rightly named in the Wall St. Journal} "big government conservatism" the past decade. Now they put on the costume of debt crusaders, and hold the rest of the country hostage, vetoing every piece of legislation designed to correct the problem--by requiring Wall Street to be more at the service of Main Street. Here is my letter of response sent yesterday.

[And yes, far too many of us have been pigs in hoarding debt-wealth for ourselves. Today's daily mass Gospel is instructive for all of us rich, poor & in-between. Lk 12: 13-21 -- Verse 15 has, "Then Jesus said to the crowd, 'Avoid greed in all its forms.  A man may be wealthy, but his possessions do not guarantee him life.'"  There follows the parable of the rich man's double barn mistake.]

Dear Representative Candice Miller,
You and so many of your colleagues, Republicans & Democrats, are responsible for this debt debacle--ten years & more of irresponsible war-debt-based economy. Please consider moving towards the non-partisan good of the country, and introduce and support the American Jobs Act in the House. If we don't invest in American jobs, we relegate ourselves to second class citizenship, instead of world leadership. Maintaining the power of the 1% richest in this country is no way to create jobs. Most of them have proven they just keep the cash for themselves.

You could do so much to turn our nation back to creative, productive equality of opportunity and education. The people you represent in Michigan desperately need this kind of leadership. The American Jobs Act. So what if its Obama's legislation? Break the party politics mold! It’s good for Michigan and the country.

The national debt we will always have with us, for many generations, no matter what Congress does. Ronald Reagan voted up the national debt ceiling 17 times during his presidency. Continuing to give first fruits to the military/security industry is certain to only put us deeper in debt, and concentrate money in the hands of the few. Lead us instead to a more creative equitable distribution of wealth--put everyone to work, using responsible self-sacrifice for the common good. This is the true conservative trickle down morality we need from the top. Thanks for your consideration.

Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy PA-C
Faith Perspective on War & Peace

Find Candice Miller E-Newletter at--

Temptation of Christ by Duccio
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”  Mt  4: 8-10

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Dante poised between city of Florence and Purgatory [a seven story mountain in his Divine Comedy]--painting by Domenico di Michelino
When Bankers Rule

Modern society has made the bank account
the standard of values.
When the bank account
becomes the standard of values
the banker has the power.
When the banker has the power
the technician has to supervise
the making of profits.
When the banker has the power the politician
has to assure law and order
in the profit-making system.

When the banker has the power
the educator trains students
in the technique of profit making.
When the banker has the power
the clergyman is expected
to bless the profit-making system
or to join the unemployed.
When the banker has the power
the Sermon on the Mount
is declared unpractical.
When the banker has the power
we have an acquisitive, not a functional society. – Peter Maurin, The Catholic Worker, ~1932

 “Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.”
Thomas Merton

We will take these steps to Wall Street and to the Occupy Wall Street movement in NYC, in hopes of practical personal conversions leading to deep societal change.

What does America want and need for a peace that reaches even unto Wall Street, and a prosperity that dwells in every hometown?  
·         We need a surplus of creative jobs.  Congress should immediately pass the American Jobs Act, and Wall Street needs to embrace Socially Responsible Investment.    Having a moral code for investment keeps many more jobs at home, and less exploitation of the poor abroad.

·         Recent excessive profits {by the few at the expense of the many} require a system of taxation and philanthropy that redirects money for the common good.  This is complicated.  But capitalism has a proven capacity for unlimited greed wherein money does become the root of all evil.   Corporations are not people—they have no soul.  We need a balance which protects the over-avaricious from themselves, promoting investment in real long-term community needs, and drastically reduces speculation for momentary maximized profits.   Start with a return to pre Bush administration tax rates for those making more than $250,000 per year, and remove the Social Security cap that limits the contributions to the system by the wealthy.   The “Buffett rule” moves in this direction, and the responsible rich see benefit to the whole society from such measures.  “Clawbacks”, or better “paybacks,” should be implemented for those making excessive market gains over this past decade, while so many lost retirement fund investments.  Perhaps a special 15% flat tax IRS assessment on speculative investments for all who made more than one million per yr.   The devil is in these details, but we must struggle for more fairness--noblese oblige.

 ·         Specifically for young people we need to re-establish hope, service, and opportunity.  The Peace Corps should be brought quickly up to the 100,000 members envisioned in the early 1960’s [languishing since at 7000 or less]   This program has to have full staff and logistic support to equal the military’s.  AmeriCorps has to be similarly expanded.  National service in these, military, or competent community or faith-based  organizations needs to be a requirement of citizenship, for at least 2 years, for everyone at some point between 18 to 30 years old, and encouraged for older ages as well.   Then those so serving should receive full support for college education, as in the post WWII GI bill.  Forgiveness of student loans for those serving after  college also applies.

 ·         Teachers should become among the most competent, inspired, well-paid, honored members of our work force.   Standards should be high.  They should have been leaders in the above national service, and then receive the utmost encouragement from local, state, and national government.  There should be interchange between their teaching career, and creative business, research & development endeavors.

·         Re-establish the fairness doctrine for all large media corporations.  Both sides of each issue should be guaranteed a fair hearing.  In addition, the connection between politics and democracy has to be protected.  The first step among many, all national elections should be completely publicly financed.

·         End our wars of choice in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, all troops and military hardware to be returned within one calendar year.   Stand down the standing army overseen by the military industrial complex.  Return our army to its duty of defending U.S. territory, and not the business of protecting international oil & other corporations.   A savings of 25% of our record military industry spending should be realized within 3 years [more later], and this re-invested in a creative local economy which provides for energy, education, health, food, clothing, housing, service, and national service needs with a new ecological focus.   Our improved self-sufficiency, yet recognized interdependence with the rest of the world, will lead to the best national security possible.

·         A pro-choice for war society will be a pro-choice for abortion and capital punishment society.  Violence becomes intrinsic and pervasive.  We are a much better people than this.  It’s difficult to work out in policy, but we must all begin to choose life, consistently, no matter what our backgrounds or political convictions.  God bless us, and grant us the grace to fully face our social issues, with the inspiration of God’s justice and mercy.

 “Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.”
Thomas Merton

“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. ”
Thomas Merton

Monday, October 3, 2011


Photo--Christopher Griffin, via Reuters---from As the West Celebrates a Cleric’s Death, the Mideast Shrugs” NYT 10-1-11
Alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, touted as the prime English-speaking Al Qaeda recruiter, is killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, and the media proclaims another War on Terrorism victory.  The spiritual reality is that the U.S. moral fiber has taken another body blow.

wlaki was a U.S. born radical Muslim cleric who did advocate violent jihad.  There is no proof any of his alleged plots against us ever resulted in murder of U.S. citizens.  He was never charged with any crime.  He was an avowed enemy.   But killing by drone is an extrajudicial killing, an assassination, against our own & international law, without benefit of even a hanging judge, done from hiding by a killing machine.  Even Ronald Reagan, in his Western movies persona, would have been disgusted by such shots-in-the-back.  The vast majority of the Middle East’s peoples, and most law abiding counties of the world are dismayed by these tactical murders.  These acts recruit more terrorists, by announcing that our righteous USA has adopted the methods of its most evil opponents.
Though some certain few of those who oppose us have done terrible deeds, my Republican father has always taught me, two wrongs do not make a right.  We are always left with the deeper abyss, of two wrongs.   As a Christian with a personal relationship with Jesus, I find only mercy and love of enemy in his person and message, conquering evil with good.   His kingdom is not of this world’s, which do so routinely kill to preserve survival, power, and privilege.

Jesus and Judas--The Taking of Christ, by Caravaggio
We are called to encounter the enemy, feet on the ground {not hovering above watching from remote death machines}, pursuing a practical path that comes to recognize their language and culture.  May we pray for the grace to follow the narrow way of Jesus---and not Caesar, Pilate, and Awlaki’s wide violent highway to perdition.

A footnote on the efficacy of our latest tactical” success” from “As the West Celebrates a Cleric’s Death, the Mideast Shrugs”  NYT 10-1-11
“I don’t think your average Middle Easterner knows who Anwar al-Awlaki is,” said Emad Shahin, a scholar of political Islam at Notre Dame University. …   [Arabs] don’t care about Awlaki. … many saw Mr. Awlaki’s death as an essentially American story: here was a man that American attention helped create, and its Hellfire missiles killed, in a campaign born out of American fears of homegrown militancy. 

Illumination by Kathy Brahney