Without diminishing our beliefs, we approach others with love rather than domination. We approach others with a desire to share what is important to us rather than make them feel insignificant or stupid. We approach others with a readiness to understand them rather than presuming that they should think like us. We approach others with respect, even reverence, creating an atmosphere of friendship rather than jumping into an argument we must win. We approach others, if need be, with a forgiving spirit rather than imposing feelings of guilt. We approach them with joy and hope rather than fear and suspicion.
If technology remained in the service of what is higher than itself — reason, man, God — it might indeed fulfill some of the functions that are now mythically attributed to it. But becoming autonomous, existing only for itself, it imposes upon man its own irrational demands, and threatens to destroy him. Let us hope it is not too late for man to regain control.
Currently the literature is awash with accounts of why Christians are more aligned with Republicans, or why Christians are more aligned with Democrats, but I must admit that I find both suggestions equally worrisome. To say that a Christian must be a Republican rather than Democrat, or a Democrat rather than Republican — while having some intellectual cogency with respect to the hierarchy of moral truths under consideration — seems also to be a sign of a very deep confusion worthy of reflection. It should signal a warning: the deepest commitments of Christians are being parceled out for other purposes, deformed and divided for political ends which undermine Christian faith.
~ C. C. Pecknold, Ph.D., “Thinking Well About Things (Other Than Politics),” Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future
Scripture tells us that those who are wise say little but communicate much. Those who talk too much often relay little. We experience this phenomenon in a new way through the Internet. This medium can be a great blessing. But it is sometimes used for messaging and emailing too much while communicating very little. The Internet makes the wisdom of the ages available with the click of a mouse or the tapping of touch pad. But with all this knowledge available, few actually learn wisdom. With all these words, we don’t communicate.
All of us experience firsthand the sad effects of this blind submission to pure consumerism: in the first place a crass materialism, and at the same time a radical dissatisfaction, because one quickly learns – unless one is shielded from the flood of publicity and the ceaseless and tempting offers of products – that the more one possesses the more one wants, while deeper aspirations remain unsatisfied and perhaps even stifled.
This is no longer a time of systematic ethical speculation, for such speculation implies time to reason, and the power to bring social and individual action under the concerted control of reasoned principles upon which most men agree.
There is no time to reason out, calmly and objectively, the moral implications of technical developments which are perhaps already superseded by the time one knows enough to reason about them.
Action is not governed by moral reason but by political expediency and the demands of technology — translated into the simple abstract formulas of propaganda. These formulas have nothing to do with reasoned moral action, even though they may appeal to apparent moral values — they simply condition the mass of men to react in a desired way to certain stimuli.
Men do not agree in moral reasoning. They concur in the emotional use of slogans and political formulas. There is no persuasion but that of power, of quantity, of pressure, of fear, of desire. Such is our present condition–and it is critical!
This openness to the Spirit in all that we do is itself a gift of the Spirit. It is not something we can attain by ourselves. But it is something that we can ask for and prepare ourselves for. Perhaps the best preparation is making ourselves aware of the reality of the Holy Spirit and of his action in our lives. Along with this awareness we must cultivate a desire to know God’s will. Prayer and recollection are essential for this.
In democratic ages every man is told to ‘think for himself.’ He is led to believe that the opinions he arrives at by the power of his own judgment are the supreme measure of truth in his world, with the end result that his opinions are formed almost entirely by voices emitting from his television set.
“One cannot imagine St. Francis of Assisi speaking of rights,” observed the French intellectual and mystic Simone Weil. Rights alone leach the fun out of everything. Rights alone — rights as an organizing principle, rights as a god — have led to a culture where the crowning glory of womanhood, the ability to give birth, is being reduced to a business transaction between two people who need never even touch.
To be both utterly clear-eyed and profoundly childlike is a paradox that can only be lived out by those with creative imaginations fired by a wildcard sense of joy.
St. Francis of Assisi was one such person. Writing of the pope’s namesake frolicking with his monks in freshly-fallen snow, G.K. Chesterton observed: “A man will not roll in the snow for a stream of tendency by which all things fulfill the law of their being. He will not go without food in the name of something, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness. He will do things like this, or pretty nearly like this, under quite a different impulse. He will do these things when he is in love.”
~ Heather King, “In Rome: The Synod on the Family”
The fraternity, summoned by the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name, is an aspect of penitential life that is both highly meaningful and irreplaceable. The brothers help each other to grow in the love of God through reciprocal love, encouragement, fraternal correction and so forth. Together they overcome difficulties, are freed from selfishness, and give witness of conversion to God.