Sunday, April 7, 2019

Living in a Messy World

Everywhere news is titillating; makes turning on the TV and reading the newspapers embarrassing. Money and power clash, greed and pleasure embrace. Truth and falsehood, rumor and speculation are all in the air. Sexuality is beautiful and precious. In the arms of love bright and warm, connected with money it gives birth to degradation and crime. With power, it will produce corruption and lawlessness. Catholic Peace Weekly in Word and Silence gives us these thoughts for Lent.

Money, Sex and Power meet at the table with liquor. Drugs and violence meet together with the clanging of glasses. Hospitality, bribes, gifts, entertainment, appeasement, and concealment appear. Famous entertainers, police officers, high ranking officials and business people present. Although there are many different situations they are essentially the same: pursuance of money, covetous of power, meeting under dark lighting. Desire and pleasure come together in hesitation.

"Look at him, pregnant with wickedness, conceiving Spite, he gives birth to Mishap"  (Ps 7:14).

Rumors abound, truth is drowned, distrust drives the Internet, suspicion seeps into the cell phone, lists appear and videos make the rounds. I'd rather look away. I want to block my eyes and ears. Embarrassed, flustered, I still can not take my eyes away. It stimulates curiosity and voyeurism—disgusting and ugly.

The world is muddy but we can't leave it. We live in it. Sodom and Gomorrah are not mythical cities. Present in the brilliant lights of the city and in our desires. Easy to scold others; difficult to do what we should. We often blame the world but the world is me and we are many. Stepping back a few steps we can see ourselves as we are, in need of sympathy and mercy. We make the turmoil and clamor grow by our attention and consumption.

Coming to the end of Lent we meditate on the Passion and Death of Jesus. I recall the ashes on my forehead and my return to dust. I fast and abstain going through Lent with repentance, prayer, and temperance.

Fasting is necessary. I want to cut myself off from sundry world news. I want to shake off my thoughts, words, and actions that conceive sin. I want to step away from pleasure and desire, run from wealth and power.

It's not aversion or escape or indifference to the absurdities of the world. It's not that I don't want to see what is unlawful, unjust, but rather to help in some little way to bring light and beauty to the world.

Silence is the answer when the world is noisy. It is no use crying out. The sound becomes another noise with echoes. It's  rather silence we need. Silence creates silence and the world becomes calm.

The world becomes joyous when we become joyous. You can brighten the world by becoming light. As we become light the world becomes brighter. The more I change and become concerned, darkness will decrease. As I become warm, the world will be filled with gentleness, peace, and warmth.

During Lent, I want to live the life of silence more intensely. I want to pray for a world that is floundering and staggering. I want to believe that the power to save the world is not in shouting but in the humble prayers of the silent ones.

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