Friday, July 12, 2002

Yesterday, I outdid myself with the posting on Maria Goretti, so today I'll keep it fairly short...

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to live in a post-Christian world. I try to imagine a world in which the Incarnation never took place. Everything that we know, - the entire modern age, - is in some way premised on the Incarnation. I don't imagine that one could find any segment of the globe that has remained utterly untouched by the Christian ethic. Even Islam makes the claims that it is somehow descendent from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Obviously, all of the Far East Communist countries are at least partial heirs of post-Christian Western philosophers. The idea that we can somehow escape the ramifications of that moment is absurd.

Hilaire Belloc once said "When the gods of the New Paganism come they will not be merely insufficient, as were the gods of Greece, nor merely false; they will be evil. One might put it in a sentence, and say that the New Paganism, foolishly expecting satisfaction, will fall, before it knows where it is, into Satanism."

While this is probably true, there might come a moment between our turning from the true God and our turning toward the false Gods. There might be a moment when we are the reflection of neither God nor Satan. I have the half-memory of having read something to that effect. The idea was that society is a mirror of the supernatural and that we exist in that moment between the disappearance of God and the disappearance of His image in man. We are the man in the mirror when the room is empty and the lights go out and there is nothing to reflect but absence and darkness. Just for this single instance in history, we are left entirely to our own devices, reflecting our own pitiful nothingness... and confronting the only significant question. As William Blake notes: "Man must and will have some religion; if he has not the religion of Jesus, he will have the religion of Satan, and will erect the synagogue of Satan, calling the Prince of this World `God', and destroying all who do not worship Satan under the name of God."

"Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) had a prophetic vision of the coming century of sorrow and war. In this vision, God gave Satan the choice of one century in which to do his worst work. The devil chose this century. So moved was the Holy Father from this vision that he composed the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls." For many years, this prayer was recited at the end of Mass. About a year ago, our Holy Father at one of his Wednesday audiences made the strong suggestion that the recitation of the prayer be instituted at Mass once again given the great evils we see present in our world — the sins of abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, genocide, and the like."[courtesy of Fr. William Saunders, Arlington Catholic Herald]

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." Perhaps, now that the devil's century is over, we will again put our faith in God instead of men. It is time for us to recover, as the man said "one by one." Yet, as we turn from our hubris and come to our senses, which God will we choose and how will we know him?

"Every religion that preaches Vengeance for Sin is the religion of the Enemy and Avenger, and not of the Forgiver of Sin...The glory of Christianity is to conquer by Forgiveness." - William Blake

"The deeds you do today may be the only sermon some people will hear today." - St. Francis of Assisi

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