Spirituality for Today – Spring 2019 – Volume 23, Issue 3

The Unseeing Eye

Rev. Raymond Petrucci

Pope John Paul II warns the world about the emergence of a Culture of Death and the warning is received with general indifference. Years pass and senseless killings happen with unnerving frequency. With each ensuing slaughter of the unsuspecting, the media continues to ask how and why these things happen. The answers are as complex as are the motives of the perpetrators. Since Roe v. Wade, society's understanding of the value of human life has been become muddled and indeterminate. In practice, one person can decide that another person is unworthy of life. Godless secularism places pragmatism superior to moral obligation. If you have the political, financial, or even physical power in any situation, you dominate the resolution of that circumstance in your favor. In our culture, attitudes of self-esteem, self-determination, and self-confidence has lent itself to twisted notions of narcissism reaching a level that affirms one as so superior to others that any criticism or negation of one's passions or goals are unacceptable: How dare you tell me my work is no good? What do you mean that I am fired? Why do you think that you could just leave me? In a culture where you should not take "no" for an answer and should not heed any judgment on anything you do, life's disappointments or rejections are met with hostile and revengeful feelings – and sometimes actions – toward those who had the temerity to hold you to any norms other than your own hubris laden measurements of achievement.

The task is to reinvigorate a Christian morality that affirms the sacredness of life in all its stages. Once being alive incorporates the moral requirement of love, then, we are motivated to learn from the trying experiences of life and to discover what positive gifts are hidden within them rather than give in to despair and ill-feelings. God's love becomes the source of our worth, esteem, and personal ambition. Everything becomes an opportunity to provide service to God and to others. Our own well-being is founded in the loving relationship between God and our self and this confidence and assurance allows us to be joyful in the good things in our lives and to be steadfast in bringing a righteous response to those who would lead you into sin.

I almost can hear you saying, "That is not reality." Attesting that the real world will never accept these moral norms is a realistic assessment of humanity and it has been that way since the time of Christ. That is the issue. Jesus came into a sinful (realistic) world to save all that accepted his teaching.

With this understanding, we can look squarely at the challenge before us. The battle is for souls and these souls are living in a battle zone between the King of the Universe and the Prince of this world. Although this description reminds us of action heroes and villains, any images that reach our ability to understand of what is at stake is appreciated. God's truth must pierce the fog of moral relativism and spiritual indifference. The preacher, Billy Sunday, held people to account for treating sin as if it were a "creampuff" instead of a "rattlesnake." He stand is valid and certainly a fit warning for any age. For our purposes, I would like to go to an even earlier century and recall a letter written by the wife of our second president, Abigail Adams, in which she said to her son, John Quincy, "Great necessities call out great virtue." These are times of great necessities and they call forth men and women of great virtue to rise and to be heard. If the culture is to change for the better in the eyes of God, it depends on the actions of his disciples to manifest what the People of God offers to all humanity. Yes, there are countless believers doing just that, but there are too many of us who are willing to float down the stream of our lives hardly making a ripple in the water. I do not mean that we try to be what we are not, but sincerely to recognize the gifts of the Holy Spirit that operate well in our personalities and let them be seen more readily. William James once opined that virtue finds an active role within us in the way that makes us feel who we "really are." We know that we are to be messengers of Christ and that we are to look for Christ in others. We need to be more attentive to this work in all of our daily experiences.

Many television news anchors have a receiver near their ear by which the producer can inform them of what they need to know to keep the show running smoothly. Perhaps, what we need to do spiritually for ourselves is to be receptive to God's grace reminding us how to handle the real world in a way that may make it a faithful world.