The short film below is an allegory of one young boy’s journey back to the light from the sad, dark world left to him by his mother and other elders of previous generations. I have seen this journey in the lives of many young adults in the Church today.
You might wish to view it first, but here is my summary:
The film opens with a mother (but it could be any elder) returning fearfully from the dark, tragic world she and others of her generation have made. It is noteworthy and emblematic that there is only a mother; no father is present nor is there any evidence of him. The mother has with her some “antiques” she has scavenged from the ruins outside. Her young son is anxious to see what she has found.
She tries to interest him in a flashlight and at first he is mesmerized. But then he hears the sounds coming from an old tape player she found and his eyes and heart light up (for faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God). The recording is one of a group of children playing. The voice of one child in the recording calls out, “Do you want to play with us?” Somehow the boy hears a call to come back to an old world, one where children still play and sing and dance (as Chesterton described in Orthodoxy).
The boy wants to look more closely at the tape player, but his mother will have none of it. For her, it is just something to sell in the dark world she and her generation have made. She puts it high up on a shelf out of reach and sends him to bed.
But he has heard a truth. His mind and heart have been touched. And so he makes a journey to the world he heard for just a brief moment. He leaves the dark, colorless world of poisoned cultural air and, listening to the tape (for faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God), enters a colorful world where children still play and can breathe the air without dying.
I have found this little story writ large and true in the lives of an increasing number of young adults in the Church. They have inherited from my generation (the Baby Boomers) a ruined world. Collectively speaking, we Baby Boomers are perhaps the most selfish, egotistical, spoiled, and destructive generation this planet has known. We launched a self-centered revolution and left in our wake a ruined culture, destroyed families, and great darkness; the very air of our culture is too poisonous to breathe.
But some younger adults have heard a Word of truth that calls them out of the ruins. Perhaps they wander into an older, untouched church built by a generation prior to the Baby Boomers. (The Baby Boomers built drab, deconstructionist, iconoclastic churches.) Perhaps they stumble upon a spiritual classic, attend a Latin Mass, or see a classic movie from before the revolution. Perhaps they hear a sermon by a priest or deacon who is “unreformed,” or who preaches solidly and unapologetically from Scripture and the Catechism.
Whatever it is, some young adults are rediscovering the wisdom that was cast off collectively by the Baby Boomers. I do not claim that most young adults are making this journey, just that there are enough to make the pattern noticeable. They come to Mass and to the bible studies and lectures I give. They want solid food; they want the truth, not some watered-down version of it. They do not want to make the mistake their parents made. They do not all go to the Latin Mass, but they seem to have an appreciation for the traditions that we Boomers cast aside.
There is something of this movement in the video below. A young boy hears a snippet of truth from a previous era. Unlike his mother, he is touched by it and makes a journey toward the truth he has heard.
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world” (Rom 10:15-18).