I have only just begun to read news about The Ghastly Mrs. Pelosi’s machinations, or the single-mindedness of the president who flinches at the slightest criticism but seems not to care about the CIC part of his job, and the passing of the monster bill, and also about some of the troubling rumbles coming out of Europe. While reading, I had the overwhelming image of the shadow of a jackboot, poised just above our nation.
Socialism is an opportunistic infection of the body politic. It occurs when defenses are low.
Look, liberty is not lost in a day. It is lost in increments and inches. Today you will not smoke in a pub – or smoke at all – even though those in charge might. Tomorrow the government will set your house temperature for you, while keeping their own set to their comfort levels. They will tell you how much money you may fairly earn, while “they” are not quite so limited. Next year your son will be forced to participate in mandatory volunteerism, and so will your mother. Soon you will be advised to abandon your hate-filled intolerant church for the approved and correct one. Someday, you may be asked to bow before someone and you will have to say “yes” and then live with yourself, or say “no” and live with those consequences. The banality of slavery…it is almost a tedious thing.
– Me, here
We’d best prepare ourselves for an America we could not have imagined even 9 years ago, and a world besieged by an ideology that seems to be heading to a victorious ascendancy.
“Seems” being the operative word.
Remember what I said back in November; sometimes bad things have to happen, have to be allowed to happen, before something great can happen in response. This is one of the lessons of the crucifix. Sometimes wholly unjust and destructive things will happen, but it is never the end of the story. The resurrection would not have happened, had the crucifixion not been allowed; not just allowed, but surrendered to and embraced by Jesus.
This morning at mass, I made my thanksgiving, praying, “thank you, Lord, for coming into our world.” And in a moment I understood the silliness of that simple prayer, given the constant reality of Christ. I no sooner said the words than I was powerfully reminded that Christ has not “come into” our world, that He was in the world; through Him the world was made. He does not penetrate our world so much as draw us into His Divine Reality, which looks nothing like what we think we know.
Remember this, too:
“Everything” is about nothing.
Everything ended with the sacrifice of the Lamb.
All is consummated.
We are forever and always at the Last Supper, at the Crucifixion, at the Resurrection.
Time ended with the tearing of the veil and the rolling back of the stone.
The rest is illusion and catching up.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
Even that jackboot, whose shadow seems poised so directly over North America, it is an illusion, because it is a shadow of worldly, earthly power, which is fetid, transient and finite. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1
Or, as Buster so ably put it, in wide-eyed innocence, a few years back:
Christ gave himself to us – freely – of his own free will. A Gift freely given. If someone takes the Gift and spits on it or whatever – they’re only destroying what was given to them, they are destroying what is “theirs.” They don’t in any way destroy the Giver of the Gift, or lessen the Giver…OR the Gift. So they have no power over it, they can’t dominate it. All they can do is destroy themselves within themselves.”
We who are surrendered to Christ and thus exiled have already freely given ourselves over to the Constant Reality of Christ, therefore while we may suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” reflected -often painfully and frighteningly- in our material circumstances, we are nevertheless untouched in our deepest selves, which belong to God alone; it is there we exist in freedom and peace, and where we persevere. The very real power that comes from the interior life -from prayer, quiet and contemplation- is a most subversive and devastating weapon. It will, in the fullness of time, “awake the dawn.”
It begins like this: “In aeternum, Domine, verbum tuum constitutum est in caelo… firmasti terram, et permanet”. This refers to the solidity of the Word. It is solid, it is the true reality on which one must base one’s life. Let us remember the words of Jesus who continues the words of this Psalm: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”. Humanly speaking, the word, my human word, is almost nothing in reality, a breath. As soon as it is pronounced it disappears. It seems to be nothing. But already the human word has incredible power. Words create history, words form thoughts, the thoughts that create the word. It is the word that forms history, reality.
Furthermore, the Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realistic, we must rely upon this reality. We must change our idea that matter, solid things, things we can touch, are the more solid, the more certain reality. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one’s life: sand and rock. The one who builds on sand builds only on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will pass away. We can see this now with the fall of large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. The one who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is the one who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is the one who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent. Thus the first verses of the Psalm invite us to discover what reality is and how to find the foundation of our life, how to build life.
If you are feeling undone by recent events -and that is not unreasonable- do yourself a favor and read the whole message, which is not long, and then marvel at how well the Creator attends to his creation, providing the perfect teacher at the perfect time. Pray in thanksgiving, seeking wisdom.
Do not let a good crisis “go to waste;” put it through the wringer of faith, and see what comes.
And, in the words of the angels, and of Benedict’s holy predecessor: Do not be afraid.