16 September 2014

Praying & Fasting against the Great Unraveling

The Anchoress ruminates on a recent NYT piece by Roger Cohen, titled, The Great Unraveling.

The Anchoress writes, "It is, finally, perhaps a time of dawning realization that the centers are not holding; old orders are in extremis; new orders are in capricious adolescence.

The troubles briefly enumerated in this sobering op-ed are only the most obvious issues. They are the pebble tossed into the pond, rippling outward in ever-widening circles — expanding to include a unique “time” of global crisis: governments failing at every level, everywhere; churches are divided, their freedoms challenged; citizens are distracted, dissatisfied and distrustful, their election mechanisms in doubt; schools are losing sight of the primary mission of education; families are deconstructed and the whole concept ripe for dissolution; respect for human dignity is doled out in qualified measures; there is a lack of privacy; a lack of time to think, to process and to incarnate; a lack of silence.

It sounds terribly, terribly depressing, yes. Who wants to read that? Who wants to think about that?

For those among us who are Apocalypically Inclined -- in the Hollywood blockbuster movie sense of the term -- Cohen's piece will likely excite and terrify in equal measure. 

For Catholics, who take apocalypse in its original meaning -- a revelation, nothing Cohen writes is at all surprising. The Powers of This World are always clawing for more power, more prestige, more wealth, more death. 

The challenge for Catholics is: what do we do in the meantime -- the time between Now and The End? The Anchoress rightly suggests prayer and fasting for peace. These ancient ascetic practices make for a good start on our response. 

Insofar as prayer and fasting mark us out as witnesses to hope in Christ, prayer and fasting are necessary. I would add to the mix: preaching and teaching; that is, proclaiming the Good News and teaching all that Christ himself taught. 

The world needs as many priests, prophets, and kings as it can get. We cannot leave the salvation of creation to politicians, actors, media talking-heads, soldiers, and academics. 

Christ saves us all, and the world needs to hear this fundamental truth! 

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1 comment:

  1. I'm reminded of the anecdote often related about St. John Berchmans who was at recreation one day with his community when the question came up, "What would you do if you knew the world would end in half an hour?"
    Many of his comrades talked about going to Confession, or finding the Blessed Sacrament to adore, etc. The young saint was reported to have said, "I'd finish my game because if I'm living as I ought, I should always be prepared for the end of the world."

    I think, when push comes to shove, I'll keep doing what I'm already doing: raise my kids, assist at the Divine Liturgy, strive to know, love, and serve God in this life so that I may be with him forever in joy in the next.

    Where I find the "news of the day" a source of agitation, I see the diabolical. And try to remember the lilies of the field, striving to rest, as they do, in the total trust that the Lord and Lover of us all will, in His loving care for us, bring us to our proper end.