Such is our present condition (Thomas Merton writing in 1965)

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time to reason out, calmly and objectively, the moral implications of technical developments which are perhaps already superseded by the time one knows enough to reason about them.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!

~ Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Our task

Our age is marked by increased globalization and commercialization. Today those things of the “life without,” money, power and status for example, are even more pervasive in all parts of our globe. Francis provides us with a succinct reminder of what should be our forma vitae: the life of the Spirit. Our task then is to constantly recall that our life should be the Gospel of Christ and not the propaganda of the world. When distracted by the trappings of the worldly life, we need to redirect our view to the Spirit.