When I saw the commercial below, I was somehow struck by a twinge of guilt. And the words of a poem by William Butler Yeats came to mind:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yes, something struck me. In the commercial, anarchy, destruction, injustice, violence, and pure chaos are shown. And yet, all the while our super hero, with the “Bat Phone” screeching in the background calling for help, is wholly distracted, flipping through the channels, unaware that the world around him is descending right into hell. He is turned inward, wholly focused on his own little world.
Is this us? Are we the super hero slouching on the couch as the world and western culture descended into a maelstrom: innocence lost, the blood-dimmed tide of the 20th Century, perhaps more 100 million put to death in war and for ideological purposes, moral anarchy swept in on the four horsemen of the apocalypse: relativism, secularism, individualism and the sexual revolution.
And all the while, with the wicked, marching with passionate intensity, the good were largely asleep, and lacking any intensity for the battle. All around us, divorce, abortion, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases skyrocketing, broken families, increasing lack of self control and discipline, school testing scores and graduation rates declining, the inability to live within our means, poverty rates for children climbing, drug and alcohol addiction rates on the rise, Church attendance plummeting, and the list could go on.
And where have we been as a Church, as Christians in a world gone mad? Where, for example was the Church in 1969, when the “no-fault divorce” laws began to be passed? It would seem we were inwardly focused, moving furniture in our sanctuaries, tuning up guitars, and having endless debates about liturgy, Church authority, why women can’t be ordained, etc. Not unimportant issues, but, being rather wholly focused on them and obsessed by them, we lost the culture.
Yes, it happened on our watch. I am now 50 and I cannot say it is all the fault of the previous generation. In my short span of a mere 50 years, the world as I knew it, has largely been swept away, especially in terms of family life. And now it is up to me to try and make a difference.
How about you? It will take courage, and an increasing conviction to live the Catholic faith, openly. No more of this undercover Catholic stuff, no more of the desire to fit in and be liked. It is long past midnight for our culture, for our families, for our children.
In the commercial, there is something very wrong with the picture, a superhero, ignoring the cries for help as the phone screeches.Time for our superhero to get off the couch, pick up the phone, re-engage, and get to work. It is interesting in that the movie he watches shows a wolf being set loose. Jesus says, Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matt 7:15). Indeed many wolves talking (false) tolerance and other pleasantries have badly misled and spread error, calling sin good and misrepresenting the Biblical tradition.
Well, fellow superheroes, the last time I checked, we are supposed to be salt and light for this world. It’s time, long past time, to bring Christ’s power back to this world. Time to get off the couch, pick up the phone, re-engage and get to work.
Don’t just watch culture, direct culture.