God’s Good Servant, But Me First: Reflections On Our Times.
The video above, which I saw some days ago, moved me to some rather sad reflections about the mentality prevailing in our days.
It is not only the saintly ways of the young man – botht in life and in dying – that struck me. It is the entirely different way in which the death of a 15 years old boy would be taken today, even by people who profess to be Catholics, compared to those times.
The dream of Saint John Bosco (which took place some 20 years after Saint Domenico Savio’s canonisation) describes a multitude of boys who clearly died at a young age, and were all, very clearly, happy in heaven and absorbed in such a total, all-encompassing glory even the total glory that was given to dream to Saint John Bosco was only a pale reflection of their real joy.
Every XIX Century reader of Don Bosco would, I am sure, instinctively understand the death of so many young boys as one of the ways a Provident God arranges everything in a wonderful way, though the beauty of it might not disclose itself to the reader in all its fulness until he dies.
Not so today. Today, many among even church-going Catholics would naturally understand – and, no doubt, Francis would encourage them in this – such an event as one that gives them the right to be angry at God, doubt Him, even antagonise or condemn Him.
Your typical Francis, as the one on record with saying that perhaps the Blessed Virgin felt herself cheated at the foot of the Cross, would likely approve of such feelings of rebellion, justify them, and consider them quite the healthy reaction. This is, also, quite in tune with the common “feeling” among lukewarm, wannabe, and hearsay Christians.
They all know, and have always known, that many children die. However, this knowledge never inspired them to doubt, or rebel to, God. But when it happens to their own child, clearly God must either have made a big, big mistake, or He cannot exist at all, because if He existed, He would never allow their own child to die; only the children of other, preferably African, certainly far away people!
This thinking, which is clearly absurd, is – I assure you – standard fare here in the UK, most assuredly among many, if not most, Catholics. It is, I think, the result of that most typical unspoken mantra of the V II Church: God’s good servant, but Me first.
We see this everywhere: in the soppy, man-made liturgy; in the deep involvement with the world; in the self-centredness; in the eagerness to absolve, nay, canonise ourselves and those dear to us no matter what their failings.
I wonder what their reaction would be, upon knowing that even among Don Bosco’s youth, many got lost!
But what I am saying… they would think it exaggeration, or even superstition.
They are so good after all.
Likely better than God, Who is so uncharitable and hoo-moo-phoo-beec.