I’ve received comments in the past regarding this blog that have me concerned. It seems that some are getting the impression that the purpose of this blog is to show all that is wrong with the world, in order to depress people or make them disappointed in the world, as if disappointment were an end in itself. The point of my blog is not to disappoint or depress – it is to give people notice of what is going on so they know to change it to match what the Church’s ideal is.
The main reason things don’t change is because people are unaware of the slippery slope to begin with. Essentially, evil triumphs when good people do nothing. The basis of our form of government is that the people (not just the politicians, businessmen, scientists, and entertainers) have the power. The government that governs best is the one that governs least. That’s why we have 2 parties, 2 chambers of Congress, and 3 branches of the government – so that they will fight among themselves, thereby accomplishing nothing, so the ordinary people can rule their own lives. G. K. Chesterton said, "It is a good sign in a nation when things are done badly. It shows that all the people are doing them. And it is bad sign in a nation when such things are done very well, for it shows that only a few experts and eccentrics are doing them, and that the nation is merely looking on." He also said, "All government is an ugly necessity."
It is only when people are uninformed (or worse, ill-informed) and subjugate to others authority over their own lives that the problems start. One of the principle underpinnings of a democratic form of government is an educated and informed populace. We must curious enough to get the truth and be intelligent enough to understand it. (A form of that from our faith is that we must "be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" – Matt 10:16.) Again, Chesterton (from What’s Wrong with the World, which was written in 1910): "Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern." According to Dale Alquist:
Chesterton consistently defended the amateur against the professional, or the "generalist" against the specialist, especially when it came to "the things worth doing." There are things like playing the organ or discovering the North Pole, or being Astronomer Royal, which we do not want a person to do at all unless he does them well. But those are not the most important things in life. When it comes to writing one’s own love letters and blowing one’s own nose, "these things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly." This, argues Chesterton (in Orthodoxy) is "the democratic faith: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves – the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state."
So you see, my blog is not an attempt to say, "look how horrible life is" – it is more "look how bad things might get if we don’t do something about it now." I also write positive things on my blog (such as the article I’m about to post, which talks about a new discovery of stem cells in amniotic fluid, which are as potent as embryonic stem cells, but without the controversy of cloning and killing embryos), because life is good, or as Archbishop Fulton Sheen would say, "Life is worth living." The world is good – just broken. God created the world and found it good. Unfortunately, sinful man found it and broke it with sin. If something is bad (like a rotted apple), we throw it out; but if something is merely broken (like a toaster), we fix it to make it good again.
People are the same way: good, but broken. The remedy to fixing them is not always to offend them. (In fact, offending is rarely the best solution.) The primary solution to fixing people is with love, because love is enlightening and life-giving, and "this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5) Yes, people will disappoint you – that’s because they’re human (just like you and me), not perfect, which is why we do not put our trust or faith in any human being, except the Perfect One. It doesn’t mean we are to love them any less – it means we are to pray for them even more, especially when we are tempted to "tell them off." By your life, they will know what you believe, because actions speak louder than words. If your life truly reflects high morals, no words are necessary. Hence the words of St. Francis: "Always, always, always preach the Gospel… and when necessary, use words."
If, then, people are still offended, it is their own conscience which is offended by your example, not their heart or mind offended by your words (see James 3:13-18). One more time from Chesterton: "Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of ‘touching’ a man’s heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." Words, when they are "logical" or "teaching a lesson" are often more harsh than a whip. Compassionate words, though, are tender, loving, and healing. This is the reason that instructing is called a "work of mercy" (CCC 2447), not a work of justice or punishment.
There is no "logical" reason for forgiveness and mercy – you can think of a thousand "reasons" to continue to hold a grudge, and you can rationalize for all eternity why you were right and they were wrong. Logic is used in arguments and debates, and reason is best used to figure out your own best course of action. Love (mercy and forgiveness), on the other hand, sweeps away the entire argument and allows you (and your "opponent") to move on to other things. This is why love is a commandment; because it is not a natural reaction, but a super-natural decision. It doesn’t necessarily solve by concluding; it solves by erasing. And this is the same love that The Father shows us.
Therefore, make sure your own life is as blameless and spotless as possible: "remove the log from your own eye, then remove the speck in your neighbor’s eye" (Luke 6:41-42; Matt 7:3-5) And we now come full circle to our government again. We have no right to "blame society" or "blame the government" or "blame the culture" if we have done nothing to attempt to change things; because in this country, WE are the government; in all countries, WE are "society" and "the culture". If society is bad, it is because we have allowed it to be bad. If the culture is bad, it is because we support it with our "dollar votes" and "eyeball votes". If the government is bad, it is because we get the government we deserve.
The flipside of it is this: if we are endeavoring to "be perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48) and we are spreading God’s perfection by "make deisciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:19), then we have the hope of changing this world for the better. Our government of, by, and for the people will be better because the people are better. Likewise, the culture and society will also reflect the light of Christ.
But charity begins at home, and peace on earth begins with me.