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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Book Buyer Beware: You Can't Judge a Book by It's Orthodox-Looking Cover!

There used to be a palm reader on Jefferson Davis Hwy. in Alexandria. I couldn't avoid passing her place almost every day since she was on the route to Bishop Ireton, my sons' high school. Her window was filled with a miscellaneous assortment including statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Grace. I often wondered if any Catholics availed themselves of her "services."

Using God to dupe the foolish is not unique to spiritualists. Remember how Bill Clinton used to carry around his bible publicly while privately he was groping and sexually exploiting women? And isn't it interesting how Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and other morally bankrupt politicians continually remind us how "devout" they are while they vote to murder babies in the womb and even after birth? Nancy must ask the priest for an extra big cross of ashes on Ash Wednesday to advertise what a good Catholic she is. God and religion are just props to these folks to shore up their modern towers of Babel and fool the naive and unwary.

Other people, perhaps well-meaning, add Jesus and Mary to their list of "good people" like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Dag Hammarskjöld, Confucius, the Dali Lama, Greta Thunberg, you name it!

Hey, I'm okay, you're okay! And, really, all religions are just about the same. We all belong to the divine milieu spinning in a vortex that will suck us up into the Omega point where we are all united in the divine soup pot, blenderized to eliminate differences and dissolve all our divisions. Peace on earth and all that! Universal brotherhood and tolerance for....whatever floats your boat.

Makes sense, right? If we started in the primordial soup, of course we'll end up in the divine soup!

I thought of all this nonsense the other day when I started to read a book of devotionals from my Mary shelf, Mary's Vineyard: Daily Meditations, Readings and Revelations by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut. I thought this was going to be an edifying book of quotes about Mary.

Yikes!

What a revelation I was in for reading about the divine feminine and divine motherhood. It seems Mary is just one divine mother among many. Move over, Mary, and make room for all the mother goddesses of paganism. No wonder Pachamama got top billing at the Amazon Synod!

Durga, the Divine Mother of Hinduism
The book was a 1998 Christmas gift to a priest friend from the deacon at his church. Father, a whistle-blower about the homosexual priest problem in Arlington, was later spiritually assassinated by my former bishop, Paul Loverde, another story. He now lives in an RV, hence has no room for the boxes and boxes of books from his library. He gave them to me to keep or pass on. I doubt if he ever cracked the cover on this one,

It's a typical gift-type book with a daily reading about the Blessed Mother or a quote from an apparition (both approved and unapproved) for each day of the year. And, of course, it's on slick paper with artsy photographs. There are a few quotes from questionable sources like occultist poet/playwright William Butler Yeats, but most are from saints and apparitions.

But the truly alarming content of the book is in the introduction and the various month by month commentaries before the daily quotes.

So I did a little more research.

First, the book was published by the Theosophical Publishing House. What the heck is Theosophy you ask? Good question? Let me enlighten you as I did myself. Here's what I read on the Theosophical Society website:
Kwan Yin, the divine mother
of Buddhism
"The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society," written by H. P. Blavatsky in 1886, offers...this advice from a master (she does not specify which one): 
Theosophy must not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical Ethics epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical, and has, therefore, to be disencumbered of useless discussion . . . It has to find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life thoroughly impregnated with its spirit"the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity and love. (Blavatsky, Collected Writings, 7:169)
Thus the Theosophical Society (TS) can be said to be a vehicle that is to stand for Life and Light "truth, wisdom, compassion, and love "for unity and Universal Brotherhood, assisting individuals towards Self-realization, towards wholeness and oneness in discovering the divinity of their true nature. It is for Theosophists to build an"all-embracing code of life"an ethical mode of living"to be firmly anchored in their true spiritual nature rather than in the ignorance and delusion of socially conditioned thought and belief. Blavatsky underscores the need for independent and original thought:"Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought "Godward" he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth with 'an inspiration of his own' to solve the universal problems" (HPB Teaches, 56). 
So the great "work in progress" for members since its inception has been that of building a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood, which is an expression of natural law, and enabling each individual to break out of second-hand beliefs and perceptions of temporal identity. The TS was created to support individual self-enlightenment, to restore a connection to the divine that has been obscured by thought and belief, and thereby to restore our connection to the divine in each other.
Ah -- the age old message -- "You can be like unto gods" So I looked up Blavatsky (1831-1891), Theosophy's co-founder. Here's a snippet from the TS website:
Given Blavatsky's antipathy to religious dogma and any form of theocracy, it's not surprising that she was interested in, perhaps passionate about, what Garibaldi [an Italian general and nationalist politician] stood for. He also advocated free public education, equal rights for women, and the emancipation of slaves, and had been doing it well before the American Civil War. Like many others, HPB was aligned with Garibaldi's ideals. But there is another reason they shared common ground: Garibaldi was a Freemason. Since HPB had a lifelong interest in the spiritual principles of Freemasonry, it would have made them kindred spirits, if not good friends.
Garibaldi was also anti-Catholic and anti-papist. As for Blavatsky she was into the occult and claimed all kinds of paranormal abilities. She started a magazine called Lucifer.

Astarte, mother goddess
of the Phoenicians
But on to the book's contents. Let's check out just a few quotes from the appalling commentary:
Kali and Saraswati, Isis and Astarte, and the great Goddesses of South America and Africa are all marvelous cosmic revelations of the Mother. Mary has the power and range of all of these, but being also once human, it is clear to anyone devoted to her that she has a very personal interest in the world....Mary's message is a simple one: "Realize the essential unity in my Sacred Heart of everything that lives"....All the old barriers between faiths, peoples, sexualities, castes must now be dissolved, for differences create division, and there is no more time left for the dubious luxury of divisiveness.
Talk about syncretism!  All the "divine mothers" are one and equally to be revered in Mary. The section on "Mary in the Scriptures" offers this gem:
The practice that I would like you to do this month is one that I first learned from a Hindu devotee of the Divine Mother in Benares. He told me, "Do it with any image of the Mother you want, and it will bring the same blessing."...[I]magine her surrounded by white light...Let the light fill your head, praying for your powers of vision and understanding to be awakened. Sometimes, you may feel a tickling between the eyebrows,; this is the light starting to awaken what in mystical traditions is called the Third Eye....[T]ake the light down into the heart center. The heart center is the core and guide of your divine human being....[T]ake the light down, first into your belly, allowing it to become "pregnant" with the light's full sweetness, and then, without any shame whatsoever, down into your genital area.....
Shall I go on? It sounds like something from the Amazon Synod. Hey worshiping pagan statues is still worship, right?

But this book was published almost 25 years ago -- which just goes to show that this divine mother, Pachamama, Gaia, earth worship is nothing new at all. And of course we should know that from Donna Steichen's book Ungodly Rage about feminism in the Church. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has been spouting this for years. Next thing we know this book and others like it will be passed out at Catholic retreats by Jesuit retreat masters -- or Franciscans.

Despite all the saint quotes, I found this book just plain creepy. The "third eye" is a new age concept arising from Eastern mysticism which has to do with activating the main energy center in your body and achieving special insight, a gnostic principle.  It has no place in Christianity, but is connected to psychic power and the occult, another element of theosophy, freemasonry, and gnosticism.

I could give other examples from the book, but I'll close with a few comments about the author, Andrew Harvey, and the photographer, Eryk Hanut. According to Hanut's web page:
Eryk Hanut is a writer and photographer. His latest books are "The Road to Guadalupe" (Tarcher-Putnam 2001) and the very recently published "The Blessings of Guadalupe" (Council Oak books- 2002). He is currently working on a memoir. He lives in Nevada with his husband Andrew Harvey and his two cats Puli and Princey. 
So we have a book, ostensibly about the Virgin Mary, our model of chastity, written by a same-sex couple and published by an institution connected to the occult. Harvey founded the Institute of Sacred Activism:
to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability. Sacred Activism is a transforming force of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual knowledge, courage, love, and passion, with wise radical action in the world.
Remember that "sustainability" is a buzz word for population control and abortion and that the "change" these folks usually generally involves discriminating against religious people. Harvey also has connections to Matthew Fox's Creation Spirituality Institute. Fox was a Catholic priest, expelled from the Dominicans for his heterodox beliefs, who shifted to the Episcopal Church. He is a consummate new ager who wrote some of the most unreadable drivel ever printed.

Not everyone in a roman collar or wearing a pectoral cross is telling you the truth!
To sum up, the admonition that you can't judge a book by its cover surely proved true with this horrible volume. I wonder how many unwary religious people bought the book as a gift (like the deacon) after a few minutes browsing the quotes. The book surely illustrates how the devil, the prince of lies, uses truth to deceive and confuse.

So buyer beware. It's always a good idea to pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit when you go to a bookstore (or the library) these days. The devil loves to appear as an angel of light. And what fun it must be for him when he can use the Mother of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary to spread his lies!

Our Lady, Mother of God and Queen of the Universe, pray for us.

1 comment:

Chriss Rainey said...

Brilliant Mary Ann. I personally am skeptical of nearly all mysticism because I fear being tricked or fooled by it and drawn off course into the dark realm of the occult.