Daily Archives: May 20, 2014
Making The Last Weeks “Count”
One of the most distinctive traits of Anglo-Saxon societies – seen with the eyes of a Southerner – is the obsession with strange events and experiences.
Not only marriages must be celebrated in the stupidest places – on the beach, on aeroplanes, on bungee-jumping bridges, and the like – but apparently nowadays even marriage proposals must be the apex of an “experience” travel, or of some extraordinary event.
Nothing is sacred anymore. But everything must be exciting.
I will be, for once in my life, blunt and tell you that I find this entire attitude very superficial, a rather childish escape from reality, and far from the very serious business of what was, once, supposed to be a commitment for life. Which is on par with the fact that all too often it just isn’t.
This superficiality and cheap escapism is best seen in modern funerals. They are, nowadays, often not even called such; are very heavily slanted on the “celebration” of the wonderful, unique, utterly breathtaking qualities of the departed and, in a word, witness the huge effort of modern man to remove the thought of death even when he smashes his face against it.
It seems to me that this very same mentality is slowly but surely extending to terminally ill people. You read more and more often of the most childish, superficial events staged for people who are dying; as if for a person who has only weeks left such events were, or had the right to be, of any meaningful importance.
If a person is, say, a fan of the “Iron Man” movies, a smartphone message from Christian Bale will not really give him any satisfaction if he is older than, say, eight and a half years; and probably not even then.
I will be very counter-cultural here, and say that the last weeks of one’s life are made by God for one purpose: prayer, and preparation to death.
If God gives me the great blessing – wait, let me repeat it in bold: great blessing – of some weeks or months of preparation before I kick the bucket I truly, truly want to hope that I will not waste them in the stupid pursuit of some earthly goal now without any sensible importance, but as investment in the future life, and with the utmost, most moved gratitude for being allowed to prepare carefully for the most important, – nay: the only important; nay, the only! – real task of my life: salvation.
It is not only that I hope I would do this because of the infinite prize at stake – the gaining of Purgatory -; but it is also that I am fully persuaded that to dedicate the last weeks, or months, to intense prayer would give me an interior serenity, a confident hope, and a robust and joyful expectation of my future life vastly surpassing every fulfilment of some more or less childish, and now certainly irrelevant, desire I might experience when it does not really make any sense anymore.
“I always wanted to get an autograph of Iron Man/Christian Bale before I die”, says the ill man, and does not understand that perhaps it’s time to leave all these things behind, and focus on more important things. But then some friend or relative will go on Facebook and mount one of those emotional frenzies until someone gets to Christian Bale’s number, or he is informed via social media. What can the man do, but to please the mob? There comes the autographed photo, duly scanned, and the very warm video message. Countless girlies start screaming in excitement. Everyone feels good. Everyone’s a winner. The chap will be dead in a matter of week, but: boy, isn’t this exciting; and aren’t we a bunch of wonderful people, frantically removing our fear of death….
“But Mundabor” – you might say – “one can have the autograph and pray the prayers!”
Yes, he can. But one must seriously wonder where his priorities lie, if even in dying he is so attached to what now are no more than child’s whims. Similarly, all those who get excited for such exercises must wonder what their real attitude towards death and judgment is, with my take being: superficiality, self-centred feel-goodism, or utter denial. Possibly, no faith in eternal life, too.
Make the last weeks of a dying person count. Stay with him for as long as you can, pray with him, talk to him about the Great Prize, cry with him tears of love and consolation, accompany him on these important steps to the all-important aim. If he does not believe, pray twice and – in charity and with prudence – encourage, instruct, warn him, find him a priest, and in case a calm, patient, resolute priest! If you ask me, this is the real “moral support”, not the latest child’s toy before he dies.
Reflect whether anyone of you can imagine one of those severe grandmothers of old who, on their death bed, expressed a desire to get an autographed photo of Humphrey Bogart, or a private screening of Casablanca!
They knew the time of earthly caprices was up, and it was now time to prepare to heaven.
Modern generations think rather of what expensive toy they might get, or what strange experience they might have, before they die.
Self-Delusion As Positive Value
A remarkable trait of Anglo-Saxon societies is a sort of human right to self-deception, that is being pushed with increasing aggressiveness as these societies become more and more addicted to political correctness.
There seem to be a consensus according to which things are not what they are, but how you feel they are. This tragic self-delusion aliments itself in the most tragic ways.
At school, children are asked “what is God for you”, and the class listens to a bunch of little kiddies taught to shape after their own liking the most objective, unchangeable Reality there is. They learn to be confused, and to confuse their peers, at a very young age. When they are adults, they will simply export this mentality to their own adult religious convictions, shaping their own “religion” according to taste. The great season of “I am a Catholic, but… (insert here your own homemade decision)” is about to start.
Nor does this end in the religious sphere, as nowadays very many already think that one can define himself even ignoring the most elementary reality of their own being; like, say, having a willie. Again, reality will look at them in the face every second of their life, but if they feel they should ignore it, then this reality will have to be ignored by everyone around them; because facts, you see, are extremely intolerant.
Another manifestation of this collective madness is in the attempted redefinition of concepts like beauty, youth, or intelligence.
Beauty is a subjective concept only if looked at in a very narrow way, but it is a brutally objective concept when looked at it in its collective manifestation. Faced with photos of a young Monica Bellucci, most men will put her in the “extremely beautiful” category. The same men will, if tested in the same way, call your usual obese young woman painfully carrying around her immense backside in ways my female readers really don’t want to hear.
There’s nothing “subjective” in this. “Feelings” are neither here nor there. To say to the obese girl she is “wonderful as she is” is not only an insult to every sane man’s intelligence; it is also a positive encouragement to her to keep slowly killing herself, and to march toward a premature death of heart failure or diabetes. Ignoring reality is, rather often, very dangerous, be it at a red light or on the scale.
The same happens with the matter or winning and losing. When I was a child, expressions like “everyone has won” after, say, a race would have sounded not only stupid, but emasculating.
I have not won; but boy, I have given everything I had! In that I already saw in me, as a child, the budding man: learning to win and to lose, to try and to fail, to congratulate the winner, to admire those who could do better and to test my limits, as a boy should. It wasn’t an “injustice” that some were born innately more able than I was, not more than it would have been considered an “injustice” that some girls in the class were very beautiful, and others very ugly. Reality was accepted for what it was. No one ever asked me how I feel about God; actually I was told what I needed to know about him; and no one ever told me I had also won after I had lost. Facts are facts. To deny them is to pave the way for the madhouse.
Nowadays, born men – which is clearly seen at the rather unmistakeable apparatus they carry – demand to be allowed in the girls’ toilets; and they demand it as part of tangible and universal acceptance of the fact that they feel women, therefore they are it.
Two or three generations ago, it would have been the madhouse.
Today, even the Prime Minister is on the side of perverted and lunatics.
I am informed that the impending visit of the Bishop of Rome – together with his best friend the Rabbi, and the Muslim taken on board for reasons of political correctness – will, or could, include a Mass in the Cenacle.
I would think I am not the only one who feels not at ease with this.
It is certainly true every Priest celebrates the Mass as alter Christus, but it seems to my excitable sensitivity that in this case a disquieting symbolism is added.
Would you feel comfortable if Francis were to enter Jerusalem riding a colt? Or if he were to retire in prayer to the Garden of Getsemane after the Mass in the Cenacle? Of if he were to go on top of a hill and, from there, perform an “off-the-cuff” sermon?
The impression that the Mass in the Cenacle awakens in me is not the one of alter Christus, but, so to speak, of novus Christus: not successor of Peter, but successor of Christ. Or, if you prefer, not the Vicar of Christ, but rather his heir.
Mind, I would have such misgivings even if Benedict of St John Paul The-Koran-Kisser were to celebrate the same mass, and I in fact do not know as I write whether they actually did it when they themselves visited. But in the case of Francis the matter is, I think, more worrying still, as the BoR has showed such a shameless Presbyterian attitude that one actually has every reason to suspect he thinks the Holy Ghost Himself has asked him to make everything new.
Perhaps I am being oversensitive. Perhaps – just perhaps – if Benedict had been in Francis’ position the thought would not even have occurred to me.
But Benedict isn’t Pope anymore. Francis is. One can one not be worried?