It would appear as though the next few years will require a reformulation of the very essence of our worldview—for ourselves and for others. With the transition from one administration to another, we also have a fundamental “change” in the value of life itself. Surely our progress down the slippery slope of the last several decades has accelerated of late, but at present there will be no brakes—real or imagined—anywhere in the halls of power. That leaves a restoration of the culture of life in the hands of the powerless—daunting, but not unprecedented.
We begin by removing ourselves from the immediacy of legislative concerns in order to pray for discernment. What exactly is the goal of our everyday life—the meaning behind our carpools, dance recitals and book clubs? How can we discover the heart of married life, the division of household chores and the drive to succeed at the office? What does national security mean if we live in a global community of expanding markets and international music downloads?
We begin at the end, which is appropriate during the month of the Holy Souls. Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell. We are not made for this world but work out our human drama in preparation for the next—and that is the backdrop of our worldview. Perhaps we’ve forgotten.
At the heart of the drama is love—love of God and love of neighbor. We are invited to mirror the Holy Trinity with our families, which breathe love and life unto the next generation. With all the distractions around us, we’ve erred in three fundamental ways.
Our stewardship of creation has devolved into utilitarianism that undermines the collaboration between God and man. Our gift of reason has devolved into a rationalism that deifies the intellect at the expense of piety. Finally, our legitimate emotions which should lead us to compassion have devolved into sentimentality—ebbing and flowing in the most random patterns according to the whimsical dictates of the mass media. How else could one explain the tears over minks and tabloid martyrs while ignoring the elderly in the nursing home down the road?
Considering the election, for which we rightly fasted and prayed, Gods answer was in the form of a metaphysical jolt. Now we must return to the core of our thinking, being called to “give a reason for the faith that is in us.” What is family? What is marriage? What is human life? How do we want to arrange our communities so that the next generation is formed in a way that allows them to understand their true end?
It doesn’t take the reins of power to read stories to our children that will solidify the notions of good and evil. It doesn’t take a congressional staff to redeploy a language imbedded with a vocabulary of virtue. One need not be appointed to a government post to remind our friends and family of the various chapters of Biblical and Church history in which God’s humble folk were tested by the wiles of mammon.
In fact, even the simplest woman in the home can embark on this project. A solitary factory worker can sow seeds on her lunch hour. A student in a dormitory can stand up for virtue and human dignity with charity and a smile—reminding those nearby of finer standards by which to live. Oppression is nothing new in Christian history, and if events on the horizon bring about our turn, let us share the dramatic outline with those we know and love, and remind them of the end of the tale.