Friday, August 26, 2005

Oh for a muse of fire...

There is an attitude among many Catholics, the sort of upstart attitude that would get an adolescent sent to bed without supper and a dearthful of chores to boot, that many good Catholics share. It is the paradoxical defeatist-triumphalist attitude of which I speak - specifically as regards the cesspools of this world and Catholic higher education.

One of my friends was vehemently against my applying to Notre Dame because it seemed to be falling away from Catholicism. Another friend declared he would never live in the Bay Area because of all the sins that were going on. I do not love them less for their words, as foolish as they are. And why are the foolish? Did Christ come to save the sinners or the righteous? Did Christ eat with the tax-payers or the Pharisees? In what situation has the grace of God been unequal to the stain of sin?

If some Catholic university is falling then it must needs be supplanted by good Catholic youth - instead of abandoned. If all our posts were abandoned, then where would we be? In some corner, like a rat, trembling whenever the word "modern" was heard. When Jesus gave the command to the apostles to go out and preach to all the nations, it seems rather unlikely that He (blessed be!) meant retreat like silly nincompoops to some Catholic utopia where you can sit and fester, gaining no understanding or sympathy for human nature, for sin, and so enter into sin through the portals of apparent grace. Which isn't to say that prayer and quiet contemplation do not aid humanity. Indeed, to quote someone who was quoting someone and I can't remember the quoteee or the quoted, "it is the prayers of nuns that keep the world afloat."

But for those who are called to live in the world, ora et labora. Pray and work, don't just twiddle your thumbs. In my wanderings, I have met quite a few people who are sincerely concerned with the truth - but where are the Catholics to aid them? Away with your utopias, away with your fantasies, away with your ifs --- and come - you, tools of Christ. You are your brothers keeper, remember you were made in the ikon and homoyosis of God!

The triumphalist attitude is the rather genteel - sit back and let everything be - the gates of Hell will not triumph, &c. &c. We'll just. . . sit here, and leave everything to God, ne? k? K! Aha, though, for faith without works is dead. Charity should so inflame the heart that it reaches out towards others, seeking to make known and illuminate the world, rather than sitting quietly. 'cause we all know what happened to that one servant who buried his master's talents of gold and did not multiply it.

Here is an adequate representation of how I feel when I hear the words "Cesspool of sin."


JHP said...

Something could be said for those who don't believe they have the moral strength to withstand the sudden immersion into a more or less degraded society. (Not that ND is, but many nominally Catholic colleges, Holy Cross for example, actively fight orthodoxy.)

To a certain extent we are responsible for our own souls first. "take the log out of your own eye..."

I suspect that many teenagers/young adults do not have the foundation to go off evangelizing. In other words, perhaps the youth are to precious to throw to the lions.

Deirdre said...

Perhaps pearls before swine might be better? Lions have the more glorious connotation of martyrdom rather than massacre (as you imply might be the case).

I think you misunderstood me just a teeny tiny bit. I am referring more to a mindset that recoils from the world - not because one fears to fall in it, but because one finds it so disgusting that they do not wish to be a part of it and would rather go off and start a solely Catholic nation. Hence, defeatist: it is viewed as irredeemable. Such an attitude, you will grant, is not exactly healthy. I think it rather morbid.

I am not referring to those who remove themselves from the world as some might remove themselves from an occasion of near-sin. Distinguo!

Your point shall be addressed tomorrow, though, which does tie in with this issue.