Saturday, January 17, 2009
Living and Loving in the Old West
In the present barometric atmosphere, displaying oneself to be a Christian in social settings of educated classes - not merely an ethnic Christian or one who cherishes memories of being taken to church long ago, but a practicing Christian - is reaching, if you will pardon the cliché, a tipping point. But, in my opinion, a good tipping point.
Not so long ago, even among the WaPo and NYT crowds, being a practicing Christian and saying so was similar to saying, "Of course NASA staged the moon landings in a hanger." But now, being a Christian - a steady-eyed, Ten Commandment practicing, Magisterium affirming, treat others the way you want to be treated Christian - is becoming something not of social opprobrium, but of curiosity and interest, at least here in the United States.
We have seen that Pope Benedict is correct: from Wall Street to Main Street, from the halls of our schools to the streets and highways, the vacuity of faith and morals has created a society-wide vortex of self-centered, bestial unconcern for the common good. The so-called smartest guys in the room were just the beginning; the bottom of the maelstrom is not yet even visible.
The worship of instincts and desire, too, continues its downward spiral with growing legal clout and arm-twisting enforcement of despising future generations of human life. The Christian faith and moral teachings about lifelong, faithful marriage between husband and wife, family as "domestic church" in which children are born and raised in love to become loving husband and wives and parents themselves seems under siege and under attack from every side.
Just as Christian life and teachings are two or three generations away from supposed viability, with many a sidelong glance, they are becoming something not stupid and outdated, but an alternative at least to be looked at once again.
So, when you go to Mass, follow the Golden Rule, work hard and well for your employer, practice chivalry, know that you are probably going to seem as quaint and old-timey as an Amish family strolling in Times Square. But know too that you are becoming an absolutely necessary witness for hurting and lost souls who are beginning to realize that fact about themselves.
We aren't here to be triumphalist. We're here to live and love in the ruins of the West as members of Christ's Body, the Church. And maybe, just maybe, help a few back to civility, sanity, and, yes, even salvation.