Conversion is like stepping across the chimney piece out of a Looking-Glass world, where everything is an absurd caricature, into the real world God made; and then begins the delicious process of exploring it limitlessly.
—– Evelyn Waugh
Waugh’s words seem especially fitting this week of all weeks – they cut to the heart of the matter so beautifully even though they were written decades ago. I see many parallels to today’s America: our own “absurd caricature” in which no one’s happiness is supposed to be hindered in any way, a world of health and youth and endless pleasure, with limitless entertainment pumped right into our homes, where it is believed that suffering has no value and can and should be completely eliminated, with many good minds actively promoting this philosophy in our colleges and universities. A world where men can marry men, and women can marry women, and anyone with the aid of science can defy nature and produce children. We don’t need God, for, with all these man-made glories, with the heights we have reached in the past 50 years, God has finally been found redundant. A post-Christian America begins.
I’ve said the following words, only in my mind, to a particular lapsed Catholic I know:
There is this whole other world that exists without your knowledge, one which you have no access to. A world of perfect love and mercy is totally unavailabe to you. You ignore transcendence and in that act miss the best part of life: the strengh and subtle beauties that faith brings and that have bound humanity for two thousand years. You think you have it all, that you are a deep thinker, that you are sophisticated, intellectual, witty, educated, culturally and morally open-minded – and you are most of those things. You believe that you and your companions enjoy all the best that life has to offer: that you have moved beyond us peasants still mired in the past, bogged down as we are by an outdated religion that renders us quaint, unsophisticated cretins. And here is where you go wrong. You miss the fact that it is we who have moved beyond you. We have lived your life and given it up for it’s emptiness and superficiality. You live only on the surface of life, never plumbing the depths. In your inability to open your mind and heart and soul to God’s grace, you’re missing the best part of life. The absence of spiritual depth in your life contradicts your naive assumption that you live your life to the fullest. The door remains closed. And that is a travesty.