memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘religion’

An all-seeing God (1)

The idea behind the following little tale I shamelessly borrow from one of my heroes – Roald Dahl.

Once upon a time there lived in Austro-Hungary towards the end of the 19th century a family of five – father, mother and three children.

They lived in a country village near the German frontier, where the father worked as a customs official. The family was staying at an inn, the Gasthof Zum Pommer, with its pretty orchard of apple trees at the back. While the father went to work every day at the frontier post, the three children attended the local village school and the mother, who was very pious, busied herself around the village with good works and worshipped daily at Mass in the church.

HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY – PAINTING BY THOMAS MILNER

One day the mother found herself to be expecting another child.

In those days Society and the Catholic Church in general, and her authoritian husband in particular, all conspired against her to produce babies – a task to which she was neither physically nor temperamentally suited. She was a thin nervous woman and her previous two pregnancies had ended in miscarriages. She decided to visit her friend the priest at the church and confide her fears and doubts to him. She explained about her abusive husband and trembled lest the birth should be problematic.

–          Put your trust in God, my daughter and let us kneel down and pray for the safety of your unborn child.

So she and the priest knelt in the church and prayed fervently and she derived spiritual comfort therefrom. Before she left the priest blessed her and urged her to say a novena of her rosary each day.

(To be continued)

Opiate of the People

Towards the end of the 19th century (earth-time) a German Jew called Karl Marx, a political philosopher who was living in London, wrote Das Kapital which was to become one of the foundation stones of Communism. In this book which was basically an attack on Capitalism, one of the many quotable aphorisms is: Religion is the opiate of the People.

KARL MARX

KARL MARX

Now at the beginning of the 21st century might we suggest one changes this to: Football is the opiate of the People.

Football, in case anyone reading this is from another System in the Galaxy , is a game where twenty two grown men are paid mind-bogglingly huge sums of money to kick a ball around a field for ninety of their earth minutes.

I know, I know … go figure, there’s no accounting for taste, is there? But you will really fall out of your chairs when I inform your Excellencies that this, often unedifying spectacle of testosterone fuelled louts throwing tantrums when they lose, can be watched by up to a billion natives of this planet.

This inspection team is nearing completion of its assignment (there are just a couple of belief-systems we need to look at again in the eastern part of the planet) then we’re done here.

NASA-may-cut-planet-exploration-missions

Our recommendation is that the classification of this world should be downgraded

from C (promising) to C- (disappointing).

Sailing to Byzantium (1)

Another grim passage in the history of Christianity was the sacking of Constantinople, the rich centre of the Eastern Byzantine Empire by the Western armies in 1204 after a two-year siege during the 4th Crusade.

byzantium

The Crusaders mainly composed of Frankish and Venetian troops, looted, terrorized and vandalized Constantinople for three days, during which many ancient and medieval Roman and Greek works were either stolen or destroyed.

The famous bronze horses from the Hippodrome were sent back to adorn the facade of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, where they still remain.

TWO OF THE FAMOUS BRONZE HORSES IN BASILICA ST, MARK'S

As well as being stolen, works of immeasurable value were destroyed merely for their material value. One of the most precious works to suffer such a fate was a large bronze statue of Hercules, created by the legendary Lysippos, court sculptor of no lesser than Alexander the Great. Like so many other priceless artworks made of bronze, the statue was melted down for its content by the Crusaders whose greed blinded them.

The Library of Constantinople was destroyed.

Despite their oaths and the threat of excommunication, the Crusaders systematically violated the city’s holy sanctuaries, destroying or stealing all they could lay hands on.

Nothing was spared. The civilian population of Constantinople were subject to the Crusaders’ ruthless lust for spoils and glory.

Thousands of them were killed in cold blood.

Women, even nuns, were raped by the Crusader army, which also sacked churches, monasteries and convents. The very altars of these churches were smashed and torn to pieces for their gold and marble by the warriors who had sworn to fight in service of Christendom without question.

This was the final nail in the Great Schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

We can therefore build up a profile of the western Crusader knights.

They were cruel sociopaths whose value for human life was zero, whose belief-system was completely twisted and warped and whose lust and greed knew no limit. They were narrow-minded xenophobes with minimal aesthetic appreciation for Eastern art.

They were the profane destroyers of Temples and places of worship.

Thus was the sacking of the holy city of Byzantium.

HAGIASOPHIA - CHRIST

HAGIASOPHIA – CHRIST

Remember remember

Remember, remember, the 5th of November

Dateline London 5th November 1605

COUNTER-TERRORIST SQUAD FOILS PLOT TO BOMB PARLIAMENT

In the early hours of this morning units of the special anti-terrorist squad rounded up and arrested three men suspected to be connected in a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The three, Thomas Wintour, Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby are believed to belong to the notorious Al Guido network – Papist extremists with links to Al Vaticano in Rome. The police are searching their homes and more arrests are expected.

Our special Westminster correspondent takes up the story:

… Wintour introduced Fawkes to Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The plotters secured the lease to an undercroft beneath the House of Lords, and Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder they had stockpiled there. Prompted by the receipt of an anonymous letter, the authorities searched Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November, and found Fawkes guarding the explosives …

A government spokesman declared that the war on terrorism was not over and the public should maintain their vigilance …

It Beggars Belief

A bowl of soup, a glass of wine

And thou beside me,

Ranting in the wilderness.

All the teachings of the Inspired Scriptures

Are dwarfed by the immensity

Of the star-crossed cosmos.

Pascal’s wager need not apply.

Our vile bodies are consumed by fire

Urns of ashes towards sundown.

We therefore commit his body to the deep

In the certain hope that the sea will

Render him up on the Day of Judgment.

No sudden Epiphany brought me to this point,

Only the calm acceptance

That it beggars belief.

It beggars belief that we are all born

With the in-built virus of corruption,

Weighed down by some primordial guilt.

It beggars belief that our world,

Our wondrous awful world

Should blight our brief lives.

As flies to wanton boys

So are we to the gods;

They kill us for their sport.

WILLIAM BLAKE – THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT

 

An all-seeing God (1)

The idea behind the following little tale I shamelessly borrow from one of my heroes – Roald Dahl.

Once upon a time there lived in Austro-Hungary towards the end of the 19th century a family of five – father, mother and three children.

They lived in a country village near the German frontier, where the father worked as a customs official. The family was staying at an inn, the Gasthof Zum Pommer, with its pretty orchard of apple trees at the back. While the father went to work every day at the frontier post, the three children attended the local village school and the mother, who was very pious, busied herself around the village with good works and worshipped daily at Mass in the church.

HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY - PAINTING BY THOMAS MILNER

One day the mother found herself to be expecting another child.

In those days Society and the Catholic Church in general, and her authoritian husband in particular, all conspired against her to produce babies – a task to which she was neither physically nor temperamentally suited. She was a thin nervous woman and her previous two pregnancies had ended in miscarriages. She decided to visit her friend the priest at the church and confide her fears and doubts to him. She explained about her abusive husband and trembled lest the birth should be problematic.

–          Put your trust in God, my daughter and let us kneel down and pray for the safety of your unborn child.

So she and the priest knelt in the church and prayed fervently and she derived spiritual comfort therefrom. Before she left the priest blessed her and urged her to say a novena of her rosary each day.

(To be continued)

 

An all-seeing God

The idea behind the following little tale I shamelessly borrow from one of my heroes – Roald Dahl.

Once upon a time there lived in Austro-Hungary towards the end of the 19th century a family of five – father, mother and three children. They lived in a country village near the German frontier, where the father worked as a customs official. The family was staying at an inn, the Gasthof Zum Pommer, with its pretty orchard of apple trees at the back. While the father went to work every day at the frontier post, the three children attended the local village school and the mother, who was very pious, busied herself around the village with good works and worshipped daily at Mass in the church.

One day the mother found herself to be expecting another child.

In those days society and the Catholic Church in general, and her authoritarian husband in particular, all conspired against her to produce babies – a task to which she was neither physically nor temperamentally suited. She was a thin nervous woman and her previous two pregnancies had ended in miscarriages. She decided to visit her friend the priest at the church and confide her fears and doubts to him. She explained about her abusive husband and trembled lest the birth should be problematic.

–          Put your trust in God, my daughter and let us kneel down and pray for the safety of your unborn child.

So she and the priest knelt in the church and prayed fervently and she derived spiritual comfort there from. Before she left the priest blessed her and urged her to say a novena of her rosary each day.

The day of the confinement arrived. It was a dark threatening evening; distant thunder muttered in the mountains and lightening flickered silently over the plain. In the village, people hurried in out of the streets to their cozy fire-lit homes and drew their curtains against the dark stormy night.

At the inn the poor woman’s labour began, while her husband was below in the tap-room quaffing beer with his cronies. The birth was a long drawn-out agony and when the baby was eventually born he was sickly and not expected to survive the night. The mother lay back in her bed sweating and exhausted – effete. She clutched the priest’s hand and asked about her baby.

–          The poor wee mite is a bit poorly my daughter but with the Lord’s help he will live; don’t forget that He is all-knowing and all-seeing. Do not worry, place your trust in the wisdom of Our Lord and everything will come out alright in the end, Frau Hitler.

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