If I have imparted anything to you over the past year, I hope it is an understanding that your Patient must view this world as the only one that exists.
It is the worldview that allows all of our tempting to work and whose absence would deprive us of some of our most signature moments. Would Donald Sterling, for example, be a household name without a girlfriend who saw him primarily as something to exploit instead of to love?
Would Monica Lewinsky have been discarded so casually and cruelly by everyone – the Clintons, the media, left and right, if meeting her in heaven was on their mind? One comment at the time of her affair with then-President Bill Clinton from a mainstream feminist said it all to me: “It will be a great pity if the Democratic Party is damaged by this” – as if the young woman’s life only mattered in relation to how it impacted one of the woman’s favorite causes. Ms. Lewinsky was on the top of my mind because of her recent essay in Vanity Fair.
But there are so many other examples. I talked about how one’s brand has replaced oneself in last week’s letter. That is a perfect example of how we have succeeded in helping people focus their limited time on something they can’t take with them. And I have written here, here and here about how to take advantage of flaws in your Patient that obscure even a whiff of heaven.
And what about the modern obsession with progress, a movement to create a heaven on earth – the only kind that can exist for so many educated to scorn faith and the idea of a transcendent realm.
And take that song everyone is listening to right now: “Happy.” Could there be a better explanation of our philosophy than the line: “Happiness is the truth”? It’s got a very catchy tune, too. I don’t like that one of the side effects of listening to it is smiling, clapping and good moods, but the philosophy is spot on as it mocks the concept of truth by diminishing it to an emotion – and roots it firmly on earth.
The good news is the sentiment of the song is not new, it’s just a particularly good expression of it that will have millions of Americans repeating the lyrics over and over again.
The fact is, culture is on our side. Except for the occasional breakout event like the movie “Heaven is for Real” or the TV show “Duck Dynasty,” people don’t frequently have an opportunity to see others whose lives are informed and animated by heaven.
It is our job to ensure it stays that way because the stakes are too high. We would not, under any circumstances, want millions to think, like one of Our Father’s great enemies of recent history, “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.”
Can you imagine if everyone treated their family, neighbors and acquaintances as if they were capable of sharing eternity with them? How disgusting. It would mean everyone could see us plainly, for starters. And as you know, we can only achieve greatness in disguise. Second, it very likely means people would start acting as if what they did on earth mattered in a way they could not have imagined before. Expectations would be raised, potential would be achieved and on and on in a downward spiral for us.
I am not too worried about that scenario, though. So long as the Enemy continues to let humans choose their own path, we win.
But you must stay vigilant. Once detected, the scent of heaven is intoxicating.
Your affectionate aunt,