Sunday, May 13, 2007

"To the Next Generation?"

6th Sunday of Easter +
One of the most striking things Gil Bailie, author, lecturer, prophetic voice has said is, "It only takes two or three generations of not adequately passing on the Tradition to our children for them to 'go to seed,' 'go native,'" or words to that effect. Bailie says in his work, "The Famished Craving,"
Here in this society, which is an anti-intellectual society, the young people -- the “new generation” -- not by any means all, but some -- are beginning to experiment with the Dionysian in a noticeably American way. That is to say, “Skip the Nietzsche, skip the Heidegger, and get straight to the crazy frenzy. Crank up the rock-and-roll, and see where it will take us.
Any attempt to answer the question of the purpose of human life was abandoned some time long ago in the twentieth century, as the prophetic Bailie knows. At the website of his Cornerstone Forum, he once quoted German theologian Max Picard who wrote:
"Christ came so directly from silence into the word . . . that the whole world between silence and language -- the world of mythology -- was exploded and bereft of its significance and value. The characters in the world of myth now became demons stealing language from man and using it to cast demonic spells. Until the birth of Christ they were the leaders of men, but now they became the mis-leaders, the seducers, of men." [Flight from God, 1934]
But the world has changed. The gods of the fallen and violent human psyche have once more taken ascendancy in the west. Like the elves who are leaving Middle Earth in J. R. R. Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, the influence of the Catholic Church in western civilization finds itself being beaten back on two fronts: the neo-pagan from among the west's own generations and the Saracen by means of immigration and explosive birth rates.

Against this forlorn historical backdrop come the words of the Psalmist, limning the alternative in stark contrast to what has taken place but might not have.
Attend, my people, to my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth:
I will open my mouth in story,
drawing lessons from of old.
We have heard them, we know them,
our ancestors have recited them to us.
We do not keep them from our children;
we recite them to the next generation.
The praiseworthy and mighty deeds of the LORD,
the wonders that he performed ...
What he commanded our ancestors,
they were to teach their children;
That the next generation might come to know,
children yet to be born.
In turn they were to recite them to their children,
that they too might put their trust in God.
And not forget the works of God,
keeping his commandments. [Ps 78, 1-7]
Over ten years ago, Bailie stated in his work on The Divine Comedy, "The genuine goal of my being ought to be the legitimate object of my longing." Who knows? Perhaps the strait jacket of Shariah is just what an impious and rebellious west needs in the eyes of the biblical God. Exile and punishment helped Israel shape up until and after Cyrus of Persia released them back to the Promised Land. Perhaps the west needs a taskmaster with a scimitar for a while.

Perhaps then the Gothic spire, the monastic bells, the guild, and the "source and summit of the Church" will look pretty good once again.
"Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." [Jn 14,23]

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