Friday, June 12, 2020

Embracing Virtue and Saving Civilization

Rutler, George W.  
Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving Civilization 
EWTN Publishing, Inc. 2018. Kindle Edition. 

    Here's a great little book, that will pick up your spirits. It gave me pause to think once again about the world in which we find ourselves. My two favorite parts among Father's twenty steps toward civilization are those treating the contrast between good and evil in terms of truth and lies and of innocence and naivete. While leaving you to discover this finely crafted collection of a series of Father Rutler's appearances on EWTN, I would like to share a thought or two of my own on that part of this almost dialectic between truth and lies as it plays out in our world.

    Let this quote stand for the whole of Father's presentation: "Other ages have spread misinformation, but the twentieth century specialized in disinformation — the intentional dissemination of lies — and that is far worse. There is something diabolical in the very word “disinformation.” It really is a twin to moral death. For when the intellect turns on itself and uses its perception to contradict its purpose — namely, the spreading of truth — it becomes suicidal. The twentieth century, with all its achievements, nevertheless ended up confused and disappointed because it was still living the lie of Adam." (p. 16). 

    Living the lie of Adam! We know it in what many people naively seem ready to tolerate in their neighbor's or some university authority's insistence that there is your truth and my truth, but no objective standard representing the truth. It goes great for the world of appearances, sometimes known as Hollywood or a film industry labeled "the dream machine". But it is a lie and sane people all know that. There is an objective truth which comes to us from God, our Creator, who after Adam's lie, Adam's refusal to give God his due, sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, in the fullness of time. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Public discourse these days is supercharged simply because the general mismanagement of the pandemic visited upon our world was not confronted as it should have been. The "buck-thorns" of our society seized for themselves the mandate to wave over the trees, to use an Old Testament metaphor from the Book of Judges. 

Here's where I could move from "Introduction" to a book-length harangue, but I won't, because it would probably do little to better public discourse. In a world caught up in living the lie of Adam, reasoned argument is usually countered with insult, dismissive comments, and character assassination attempts. So instead, rather unpretentiously, I will express the desire that people seek to return to that bedrock which is the truth which comes from God.

As a Church, we urgently need to reclaim our sacred space and return to prayer as well as divine worship in spirit and in truth. The sacrilegious use of masks and gloves, even tweezers for distributing Communion, have so disfigured the face of the Novus Ordo, that it may have to be abandoned with a certain urgency for the sake of faithfulness.

Look around at the countless examples of our world foundering under the dictates of relativism and try to tell me this is not a just punishment for our abandonment of the truth which comes to us from the God Who loves us and would save us, claiming us as His very own and for always.


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