I grew up in a world where people were happy that they had food to eat, and actually reminded the younger generations (=me) of the war times, where food was, actually, an issue. Obviously, people cooked their food themselves. What we call “going out” was, in mine and most families, a rare and very special event. People had to put food on the table and provide for the basic necessities. A restaurant was for those very special moment, and even a pizzeria had to be carefully justified.
Things changed as I grew older, and people like me could, in their early twenties, “go out” at least once a week. A luxury, this, that my parents never had at my age. Still, at that point everything was in the realm of the “normal”.
Things started to change later in my life, as I discovered that there were people who “ate out” very often, generally because they did not feel like cooking. This was – and still is – a totally outlandish thinking for me, raised with war tales of two full days at a time without food, and not really knowing how filling next week’s meals would be. It sounded to me like waste, laziness, arrogance. Yes, arrogance. “Waste not, want not”, and all that.
I moved to the UK, and as I was looking for a place I kept hearing the estate agents going on about all the “restaurants” nearby and how “convenient” it was to have them nearby. I was literally unable to understand the point, and I thought that the estate agents were simply pretending – to flatter me with the assumption of florid finances – that I would be so careless with my money that I would just go and eat my dinner out as a normal daily event. I was, of course, interested in where the supermarkets and other grocery stores were. Only in time – yours truly being rather slow at times – it dawned on me that those estate agents actually knew what they were doing, as it became slowly clear to me what a staggering amount of people actually either went out to eat directly, or went to a takeaway and took the food back home.
In the last years, I have seen the explosion of the last craze, as people now seem to be too lazy to even go and take the food they did not want to cook. Therefore, a food delivery service will bring the processed, sugary, utterly unhealthy food straight to them, their effort being now limited to the commute couch-door-couch.
Meanwhile, people get fatter and fatter. More and more people literally kill themselves of this couch to door disease. They are too lazy to care, likely too dumb to even understand, and all too eager to accept the excuses society makes for fatness, laziness, and general dumbness. Nobody judges anybody anymore. When the undertaker has put them six feet under at 48, their fat friends will swear what wonderful, tolerant, inclusive human beings they were.
This is how I see, around me, a nation getting more and more fat, more and more lazy, more and more entitled, and shockingly, shockingly spineless. A Country unable to prepare simple food is supposed to resist a Russian assault. Take it from me, the Russian will come with sugary drinks and pizzas in tow, and they’ll get the entire Country in no time.
Fat, lazy, entitled, spineless, and utterly emasculated young men roam around, and the Army struggles to find recruits that could be still, with substantial work, be put into the required shape. It’s like seeing the Decline of the Roman Empire in fast forward.
I see another big consequence of this laziness, entitlement, and utter lack of spine.
But that will be for another post.
I cannot avoid, as I advance in years and watch the world getting mad around me, making a comparison between the world I grew in and the world in which I live today.
If I think of those years, one thing appears evident: it was always one’s fault.
If one was fat, it was one’s fault. If one committed suicide, it was one’s fault. If one became an alcoholic (we had few), or a drug addict (we had many) it was one’s fault. If one was a thief, it was one’s fault. This was the way normal, sensible people reasoned.
Yes, there was the excuse crowd. But they were communists motivated by their own ideology, and not even they believed in their own tired “it’s society’s fault” trope. It was a kind of mini hand grenade thrown there without expecting that people believe it. In normal, daily life, it was personal responsibility all along.
How times have changed! Where I live now, the contrary is the case: it is never one’s fault. If one is fat, he has a “condition” forcing him to weight 300 pounds, with no one responsible but, in case, McDonald’s. If one commits suicide, the news that he was “battling with depression” is as assured as the Amen in the church. If one becomes an alcoholic, or a drug addict, something must have made him such, and so on.
Why this happens is very obvious. The old generation believed in God, in personal responsibility, in right and wrong, and in individual agency. The new generation believes (yes, it is a faith) in bogus “science”, which is used to make all kind of excuses for themselves and others.
This thinking seems charitable, but is, in reality, blasphemous. To say that the advancements in psychology allow us to “make excuses” for an awful lot of suicides is a denial of Christian values, because it clearly implies that Christianity had it wrong for 200 years, but now “science” finally got it right. The same reasoning can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to the rest of the behaviours I have mentioned.
Believing in God means putting personal responsibility first. Accepting the bogus “science” means putting one’s own well-being, or well-feeling, before Christ.
Truth does not change. Man does not change. The DNA – and the innate sinfulness – of Man will also never change.
Every time that you are tempted to think that (insert here your favourite excuse) when (insert here some issue or other) ask yourself what your grand-grand-grandmother would have thought of it, after a 10 hours day spent in the field.
No, she was not “ignorant”. She was wise, because she had a system of value informed by her religion.
Enough with the excuses.
It’s time to go back to basics.
And it came to pass Yours Truly was in Continental Europe again; or, you might say, in the belly of the EU beast.
There, yours truly kept noticing something observed increasingly more often observed in the last ten or so years. Allow me to expand.
Stupidity is engulfing Europe like a Tsunami. The forefront of this tsunami is undoubtedly England, but Continental Europe is only 20 years back, with the most southern Countries like Italy perhaps delayed another 10. As the years go by the tidal wave moves, inexorably.
When I was young, carrying long hair or an unkemp beard was the mark of rebellion. Purple hair and tattoos were basically non-existent. Very fat young women had children throwing stones at them. There were very, very few of those, though. It's not really pleasant to have children throw stones at you because you look like you have just escaped from the circus.
I got older and went to England, like so many of my generation, to study English. I noticed people with purple hair and tattoos, all of them very young. But this was still an extreme appearance. Later, as I moved to Germany, tattoos and purple hair were still taboo; apart from, say, some parts of Berlin and the then drug-district around Frankfurt main train station. The mass morbid obesity was still not there.
Fast forward to the United Kingdom in the Year of Our Lord 2016. When compared to my youth, two phenomena are immediately apparent: the huge number of people (many of them young or very young) who are obscenely obese, and the vast number of people with tattoos and purple hair. The epidemic of obesity just wasn't there the first time I visited the Country now around three decades ago, whilst – as already stated – the tattoos and pink hair where the preserve of very young people playing punk to satisfy their overflowing stupidity.
You would think they would develop to decent people one day. Many of them didn't.
In the UK it is now not uncommon to see old people, but particularly old women – 60 or older – with a tragic case of arrested development: still with purple hair, still dressing like stupid teens in their Sixties, still pretending they are some sort of rebel. You see them strolling around in yoga pants in Central London, and you wonder what the Obama is wrong with us. Rebels, very clearly, they aren't, unless you count looking like a clown at 60 “rebellion”. You also see an increasing number of young people – particularly women – so disgustingly obese in their teens or early twenties that they already have problems in carrying around their own deformity. Young people, I say, or very young people. You would want to cry seeing young lives on the sure path to emotional and, not too far down the line, physical self-destruction. But the madness will keep going.
A country that doesn't believe in anything does not judge anything. It will let these idiots die as crippled in an electric wheelchair, of heart attack and diabetes, in their fifties, forties and even thirties; after which there will be nice party in lieu of a funeral, to “celebrate their lives”.
But then you move to Continental Europe and start observing a new phenomenon: purple hair and tattoos in people of apparent age of 35 to 40. They weren't there twenty years ago, but they are there now. The same phenomenon is here at work, but in this case the mass arrested development clearly started later. Morbid obesity is not there, but it's clearly worse than in Italy, where the first signs of alarming overweight youth have appeared already. The tidal wave of stupidity marches on, north to south. In time, it will submerge everything.
My forecast: these people will not develop anymore. In twenty years' time we will be confronted with 80 years old women – those who haven't eaten thrmselves to death, of course – sporting purple hair and wearing yoga pants (yes, you can start vomiting now), and showing their Dalai-lama t-shirts with amply wrinkled tattoos on their arms as they roll along in those electric wheelchairs, by then a common feature of Western society. By that time, you will see people of the same type in Germany and Belgium, but probably of age sixty. Give it another ten or fifteen years and Italy or Portugal will follow. They will become dumber, fatter, more tattooed, and more electric-wheel chaired as time goes by.
Am I being “judgmental”? You bet I am!
I have, confronted with these people, the same attitude and the same judgment our much wiser forefathers had in past times; in times, that is, when people not only recognised the idiot, but said so very clearly. Oh, blessed times of “judgmental” reasoning, and social control through elementary common sense!
We have forgotten the sense of sin, and have made excuses for gluttony. We have forgotten the sense of decency, and have made excuses for purple hair. We have forgotten the sacredness of our God-given body, and have made excuses for tattoos. We have forgotten the importance of social control, and do not shame anyone anymore. Not even perverts.
We have become godless, and stupid. This is why we sink in a pit of obscene obesity, obscene outward appearance, obscene sexual perversion, and obscene “we are the world” wannabe Dalai Lama platitudes.
I can see the tidal wave roll, slowly but surely, from the UK down to Mitteleuropa and, in time, to Southern Europe.
There is only one way to stop it.
It is the recovery of our religious identity and of the sanity that goes with it.
Enough with arrested development. Let's go back to the faith – and sanity – of our forefathers.
As they do every now and then, the sugar-Nazis have called for more taxation of sugary drinks. Because, they say, they make people fat.
I only drink whole milk, and sugared cola. I insist on whole milk yogurt. I reject every food that is the imitation of the original food. I am perfectly fine, because I eat in moderation. Like countless people before me, who lived and died for millennia and never knew there is something like, say, skimmed milk, or skimmed yogurt.
Nowadays, it seems that obesity just happens. Or pregnancy. Or abortion. The idea that one does not become obese (or pregnant, or the killer of his baby) without knowing what he is doing is just not there in the public consciousness. Obesity is just there. Why, no one asks. Nor seem people to ever ask why the obscenely obese colleague always seem to drink diet coke, and still has problems going through the doors at the venerable age of, say, 36.
I see two main causes for this: the loss of the sense of sin and his obligatory byproduct, the loss of the public shaming.
Christian society knew what is sin, and knew how to keep it in check. Both the sense of sin and the sense of shame were – would still be – extremely powerful deterrents against sins like gluttony , fornication, even abortion.
God has made everything in a wonderfully coherent way. Forget His way, and you will start to walk on a path of not only moral, but even physical self-destruction. Perverts don’t say this to you, but the list of their ailments – both physical and psychological, besides the obvious moral bankruptcy – is very long.
The atheist crowd does not get this simple truth. To them, sin does not exist. People weight 300 pounds because of “poor choices”, or “uninformed choices”, but mainly because of… sugary drinks, and it will be everyone’s fault but theirs. The same principle is applied everywhere else, because the enemy of Christ wants to destroy Christian morality in everything.
When the very concept of sluttishness is gone, it becomes far more difficult to create a barrier to pregnancy. When the pregnancy is there, but “just happened”, it seems “uncharitable” to “punish with a baby” the pregnant girl. A girl to whom it will be said that she has “reproductive rights”. Look! It has happened!
Then the excuse factory begins to work full time. The army of obscenely obese people in their twenties have some genetic factor no generation before them had, but has now suddenly exploded. The girl got pregnant because she was not given a condom; the abortion was then unpleasant, but necessary.
I insist often on this blog on the matter of obesity because I see a clear parallel between the deterioration of Christian feeling and the physical self-destruction of the West, as showed by the obvious “visual” change in my surrounding (the UK are now a Country not only extremely different from Italy, but from England a mere 20 or 30 years ago). In addition, I belong to the last generation who saw people accused of “gluttony”, because they ate too much. I actually still remember such reproaches, made by people who, in their Christian piety, sincerely believed them; and who will be now rolling in their grave at seeing how the West is eating itself to death, and can’t even begin to consider it sinful; but then debates about taxes on sugary drinks, as it a person with a such obvious lack of discipline would then suddenly start to see the like when the can or cola costs 13p more. The problem stares at us all the time, and we refuse to see it.
The concept of sin helps to create good habits. The practice of shaming helps to enforce them. Destroy the first part, and the second will never work. Destroy the second part, and the first will never be effective.
A world that has forgotten Christ has started to adore man. When you adore man, no one can ever be shamed, not even for his own good. The Brotherhood Of Reprobates is the new religion. Words like “glutton” get out, words like “fat phobic” get in. A change in religion causes a change in vocabulary: “fat phobic”, “homophobic”, “gender reassignment”, “byproduct of conception”, “marriage equality”. The list is long.
The Country where I live will very probably live a true Holocaust in the next ten to twenty years, due exclusively to… gluttony, and the religion of man. No one seems to care, or has the desire to say things as they are instead of thinking that sugar, not gluttony, makes people obese. Millions will die prematurely, in this country alone.
Oh well. We do not want to offend anyone.
Two events of the last days have thrown a rather funny light on the hypocrisy, hate and ugliness of the feminist crowds.
In the first episode, a bunch of leftist (or lesbian) exhibitionists gave life to a topless manifestation in New York, inviting (cough) modest girls fat, ugly, angry women at war with nature to show themselves in all their ugliness, manboobs (yes, feminists have manboobs; to call them everything else would be sexism…) and all.
If that was an unconscious desire to attract the attention (in the sense of “attraction”) of men, they certainly failed. An ugly feminist is transparent to a man when clothed, and utterly repulsive when bared. If the men’s gaze goes from going through them to going in the opposite direction, I am not sure this is an improvement.
I will spare you the pics. They look like an obscene parody of femininity. Actually, they look like an obscene parody of lesbianism. They reek of the desperation of very ugly sluts who would so like to be whoring around, if they only found the men to do it with. One solitary girl among them has a passable body. Methinks, an exhibitionist, or aspiring actress in search of publicity. She was put at the head of the crowd, in an attempt not to be ridiculed entirely. Again: one looks at the pics and, in a way, understands the perverted mechanics of lesbianism. Ugly, spiteful, hateful, and rejected by men. Oh, and perverted, too.
In the second episode a stunning beauty, the actress Sofia Vergara, is invited to stand on a rotating platform during a not-so-profound TV award ceremony watched by millions. She is elegant and, at least for most people, appropriately dressed. As the platform rotates, we are – all of us: men, and women – showed in a light-hearted, half-joking way the graceful, elegant, utterly un-provocative miracle that is female beauty, God’s Goodness at work. It is no coincidence that in Italy very beautiful women are called, joking on what people learnt in philosophy class, “proof of the existence of God”.
This particular beauty stands there, as the speaker talks about the ability of TV to fascinate the viewers and mixes in the usual tosh about “diversity”. The audience hear him speak but very few, I am sure, really listen to him, because the woman on the platform is, literally, a show-stopper. The platform rotates, allowing the viewers to observe her beauty from every angle, not differently from the way a viewer could walk around the statue of a beautiful woman, or a painter or photographer would observe the model in front of him.
There is nothing obscene in her. There is no baring of breasts, no twerking, perhaps the slightest accentuation of her beauty, but no meaningful provocation of any sort. Beauty is gratifying in itself, and true beauty can never be lewd, because lewdness itself would damage its beauty. Most of the time, the woman simply stands there.
Would you believe it? An army of tweeting feminists – the same ones who, you can bet your watch on it, would applaud nudity in public, and ugly nudity at that – complains Vergara has “objectified” herself. To which yours truly comments: nondum matura est.
Observe the feminist non-logic: a bunch of ugly bitches can expose their ugliness for all the world to see; and this is not disgusting and obscene, but actually good. Then, a very attractive woman stands in front of a camera in the most elegant of manners, and this is not a vision of harmony and a triumph of beauty; no, this is actually bad. They (the feminists) can be obscene, because they’re ugly. She (Vergara) can’t be decent, because she’s beautiful. Feminist non-logic at work. The new frontier of decency.
I suggest that women stop en masse to be “objectified”. Models and mannequins will have to weight at least 100 kg, and look like Elena Kagan. TV ads will have to show rolls of fat very prominently, or not be aired. Feminist land whales will be allowed to stand on a rotating platform, half naked, whilst a presenter explains to the viewers how empowered, and therefore beautiful, they are. And woe to those who dissent, and say that facts are facts, beauty is beautiful, and feminists are ugly.
Actually, we can think this further: as long as a woman tries to remain attractive for her husband, how can she be sure he does not stay with her merely for her beauty – that is: for the “object” – rather than for her wonderful qualities of, say, emancipation, empowerment and constant bitching? Stop worrying about your weight, ladies! Stop the objectification of your beautiful self! Starting from today it’s crisps and muffins like there’s no tomorrow. Your husband will (have to) be grateful that you have forced him to see your “inner beauty”, and that he has been taught to stop “objectifying” you! Or else!
The ugliest among you will be allowed to strip half-naked on TV!
Hey: who is everyone to judge?
A remarkable trait of Anglo-Saxon societies is a sort of human right to self-deception, that is being pushed with increasing aggressiveness as these societies become more and more addicted to political correctness.
There seem to be a consensus according to which things are not what they are, but how you feel they are. This tragic self-delusion aliments itself in the most tragic ways.
At school, children are asked “what is God for you”, and the class listens to a bunch of little kiddies taught to shape after their own liking the most objective, unchangeable Reality there is. They learn to be confused, and to confuse their peers, at a very young age. When they are adults, they will simply export this mentality to their own adult religious convictions, shaping their own “religion” according to taste. The great season of “I am a Catholic, but… (insert here your own homemade decision)” is about to start.
Nor does this end in the religious sphere, as nowadays very many already think that one can define himself even ignoring the most elementary reality of their own being; like, say, having a willie. Again, reality will look at them in the face every second of their life, but if they feel they should ignore it, then this reality will have to be ignored by everyone around them; because facts, you see, are extremely intolerant.
Another manifestation of this collective madness is in the attempted redefinition of concepts like beauty, youth, or intelligence.
Beauty is a subjective concept only if looked at in a very narrow way, but it is a brutally objective concept when looked at it in its collective manifestation. Faced with photos of a young Monica Bellucci, most men will put her in the “extremely beautiful” category. The same men will, if tested in the same way, call your usual obese young woman painfully carrying around her immense backside in ways my female readers really don’t want to hear.
There’s nothing “subjective” in this. “Feelings” are neither here nor there. To say to the obese girl she is “wonderful as she is” is not only an insult to every sane man’s intelligence; it is also a positive encouragement to her to keep slowly killing herself, and to march toward a premature death of heart failure or diabetes. Ignoring reality is, rather often, very dangerous, be it at a red light or on the scale.
The same happens with the matter or winning and losing. When I was a child, expressions like “everyone has won” after, say, a race would have sounded not only stupid, but emasculating.
I have not won; but boy, I have given everything I had! In that I already saw in me, as a child, the budding man: learning to win and to lose, to try and to fail, to congratulate the winner, to admire those who could do better and to test my limits, as a boy should. It wasn’t an “injustice” that some were born innately more able than I was, not more than it would have been considered an “injustice” that some girls in the class were very beautiful, and others very ugly. Reality was accepted for what it was. No one ever asked me how I feel about God; actually I was told what I needed to know about him; and no one ever told me I had also won after I had lost. Facts are facts. To deny them is to pave the way for the madhouse.
Nowadays, born men – which is clearly seen at the rather unmistakeable apparatus they carry – demand to be allowed in the girls’ toilets; and they demand it as part of tangible and universal acceptance of the fact that they feel women, therefore they are it.
Two or three generations ago, it would have been the madhouse.
Today, even the Prime Minister is on the side of perverted and lunatics.
Having had the privilege of living in what can be called as different cultures, I can give my readers a perspective – a subjective one of course, but I think a widely shared one – about the issue of gluttony.
In Italy, gluttony as a concept is still alive and kicking. When I was at school, the teachers did not hesitate in publicly scolding overweight children – children who in today’s britain would not even be called fat – as “gluttons”, and there was an icy atmosphere in the class as an eight-year-old girl was ruthlessly exposed as an example of wrong behaviour, or a nine-years-old boy as a menace to his own happiness.I remember very, very clearly no one in the same class would have ever thought of branding such scoldings as “insensitive”. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knew they were made out of sincere interest for the health – moral or physical, according to the single teacher – of the young pupil.Social control worked – and still works – rather well.
The same mentality you would encounter outside the classroom. In Italy there is a certain way of thinking, by which a moderate amount of fat is still considered OK. The “fat” southern Italian mamma was never considered an example of gluttony, and the well-rounded man a’ la Peppone in the Don Camillo movies a universally accepted figure. Still, they would both be called, if not gluttons, certainly fat.
The line was drawn when the fat began to be an impairment, or eating a clear priority in one’s life. People started to be called obese far before they reached the extreme I see here in Blighty, whilst the latter example (people literally unable to walk and moving around in electric chairs, or fat to the point of circus attraction deformity) were basically non-existent.
The situation was not much different in Germany, a country still largely dominated – in those times at least, that was before Merkel and so-called same-sex marriages – by a broadly intended Christian thinking. Whilst the point at which one is considered fat was somewhat shifted, the thinking was largely the same. In both countries excessive, deformity-inducing fatness – which one could see over there every now and then, though it was rather seldom – was considered a sure sign of an uncontrolled character, an immoderate lack of every discipline and, in general, a sign of gravely immature character to say the least.
Then I moved to England. Together with the great shock of noticing Christianity was an option, rather than a standard (which is, in short, what prompted this very poorly instructed, non-practising, confused Catholic to start deepening Catholicism and, in time, to start going to Church again, greatly encouraged by the presence, in this country, of those assertive, orthodox Catholics I had never found in Germany), I noticed a different attitude to a lot of things; very notable among them, gluttony.
Gluttony as a concept is, in this country, non-existent at the level of the general population, and I wonder how present it is even among Catholics, and among church-going Catholics. The general idea seems to be that whilst obesity is a health problem, the culprits for the problem are to be largely looked everywhere but in the obese people themselves. From McDonald to Coca-Cola, from consumerism to TV advertisements, to lack of proper education pretty much everyone and everything is made responsible for the (very evident) problem of obesity, but gluttony.
The problem is made worse by the omnipresent culture of understanding for pretty much everything under the sun – a country who doesn’t have the guts to condemn sodomy will never have the guts to tackle gluttony -, engendering a mentality where an immoderately obese person can think he is entitled to various benefits (from those ridiculous electric vehicles to surgical operations when they massacre their knees with beautiful regularity) without anyone questioning the wisdom of such mentality. When the national health service decided a person weighing 180 Kg would have to get down to 140 Kg before being entitled to a knee operation, there was a socialist uproar. Gluttony was, of course, nowhere to be heard in the debate.
And so it happens that a country throwing away every Christian concept – which are not only divinely ordained, but conducive to a healthier and happier life – then throws money at the problems this abandonment has created, and cannot notice the cul-de-sac in which it has put itself. As I write, gluttony is never seen as such; you have rather two opposed fractions of nannies opposing each other: the health nazis who want to kill every joy in life and see obese people as a public enemy; and the socialist fraction obviously patronising them and giving the responsibility for their deformity to everyone who is not the obese people themselves.
In all this, Christianity is not to be seen. Absolutely nowhere, not even in the stance of the Church who would, once, have acknowledged the existence of such a sin as gluttony and has, today, all but forgotten it.
Guess whether they will manage to solve the problem with the same un-PC efficiency the Italians do.
In former times, generations of little Italians (and, no doubt, little boys and girls everywhere) grew up with this simple concept constantly hammered into their heads. The idea was that without self-control one would merely drift through life instead of living, and that life would soon give the boys and girls ample occasions to use the skills thus acquired.
This concept applied, once, to pretty much everything, and to the spiritual life too. And in fact, it is very clear to see how physical and mental discipline is a fundamental component of the spiritual one. We can, today, safely say that when the concept of physical and mental discipline went to the dogs with the non-repressive, softly-softly approach of the last decades, spiritual discipline rapidly followed in its decay.
It is part of the now almost forgotten wisdom of ages past that you need to strenghten your body if you want to strenghten your spirit. This is where penance comes into play. Penance is not only our willed suffering (more or less acute, I must say; very often, not really so acute) for Jesus, so that we may share in His Passion. Penance is, in his daily working, the way we force our body to discipline, so that our spiritual life may more easily bear fruits.
How can I really understand the Passion, if I can’t even stay without chocolate for a month or so? How can I give a tangible value to Jesus’ sacrifice, if in my daily life I cannot even bear to sacrifice meat on a friday? How can I keep Satan out of the most dangerous, darkest corners of my mind if I can’t say “no” even to very small gratifications of my appetite?
Nella vita nulla si ottiene senza sacrificio. In life you can’t obtain anything without sacrifice. This simple truth was planted into the head of countless generations of young Italians, and helped them to go through the challenges of their early life with the right spirit, and through the even bigger challenges of the adult life with a well steeled armour.
The newer generations seem to think differently, and to suffer accordingly. They are taught that in life, nothing will have to be obtained with sacrifice. They don’t learn by rote anymore and as a result many of them can’t even write. They refuse the idea of discipline and serious application and as a result US stipends go in growing numbers to Asian applicants. And they refuse the idea that spiritual progress involves bodily sacrifice and as a result, their spiritual life suffers and decays more and more into a meaningless collage of easy platitudes not requiring any discomfort.
Please compare this with the lesson of this very day, a day under the sign of sufferance, and of discipline to the utmost thinkable degree. Look whether Jesus chose the fuzzy, “let us embrace each other”, “let us clap our hands and celebrate” way. Look whether He – He Who could choose, which we can not! – decided to wash away our sins through a “march for peace”, or a “rock concert redemption celebration” or, instead, through an extremely painful torture followed by one of the most atrocious deaths imaginable (I know of worse ways to execute people of course; but the Romans weren’t savages like, say, the Comanches; nor were they refined bastards like the Chinese).
Discipline is not there anymore, which is why penance is, nowadays, difficult to understand. But penance is not a masochistic exercise in self-punishment. Penance is at the same time offering and training.
It beggars beliefs that people who get up very early in the morning to “hit the gym” at 6:30 or 7:00 am (a praxis, I am told, not so infrequent in the dear U S of A) don’t understand that the very same principles they are applying to their physical health applies to their spiritual one too.
At the same time, it doesn’t surprise that lack of discipline in everything should lead to the explosion of obesity so clearly observed everywhere in the fat and lazy Western societies and more so – obviously – among the younger generations now completely detached from the most elementary concept of……. discipline. Instead, we prefer to fabricate excuses, like inventing improbable and utterly ridiculous “genetic conditions” (what? Were those not there only one or two generations ago? Are those miraculously not present in Italy, France, Spain, Greece, but mysteriously appear among US Americans of Italian, French, Spanish, Irish origin? Are they miraculously present in prevalence among the poor and lazy, but not present among the healthy, active middle-class, those who hit the gym at 7 am?).
Penance and discipline go hand in hand. Penance trains you to discipline, and this discipline will greatly help you in your spiritual growth. Penance is passion at a very, very small level, but it is training to ascend to higher levels of spiritual life.
Penance is gym for the soul.
In life, nothing can be obtained without sacrifice. As this very day clearly shows.