Thursday, May 4, 2017

Disarming Beauty, by Julian Carron; Chapter 6: The Religious Sense, Verification of the Faith

So begins the chapter:
Is the event of Christ capable of reawakening the self from its numbness, from its invincible boredom?
Carron quotes Pope Benedict XVI:
The crisis in Christian preaching, which we have experienced in growing proportions for a century, is based, in no small part, on the fact that the Christian answers have ignored man's questions: they [the answers] were and remain right, but because they were not developed from and within the question, they remain ineffective.
This is the problem of contemporary Catholicism in a nutshell.   I grew up in the 1960's when this issue ignited and spread through society.

One of the buzz-words of the 1960's was the word relevant.  Leaders of the younger generation
regularly questioned whether the various traditional values, customs, and institutions of society were relevant.  The media regularly asked whether the churches and traditional religion were still relevant.  After all, science, technology, and big brother would take care of all our needs, and ultimately save us, I presume.

Thought leaders of the younger generation frequently accused the older generation of hypocrisy, Many used this as an excuse to reject the ways of their parents.   Most definitely, my parents were not hypocrites.  They were deeply devout and obedient Catholics who made every effort to practice what the church taught.

This was the time of the generation gap.  In the 1960's and 1970's people of my generation started saying that they didn't get anything out of going to Mass.  I'd be shocked if anyone from my parent's generation ever explicitly thought or said such a thing to others, much less their elders.  I recall hearing my oldest sister saying to our mother that she didn't get anything out of going to Mass.  I was shocked that she had the nerve to say that to her.  I'm not sure that I would have the nerve to, but neither could I truthfully say that I didn't get anything out of Mass.  Somehow, I knew that something was going on at Mass, something bigger and deeper than I could comprehend, but something mysterious that drew me in rather than left me in the cold.

Unlike many of my peers growing up, I heard sufficient Christian witness relevant to finding meaning, purpose, and direction in life, and that is why I have adhered to the faith.  But I'm not sure that I can give a witness from within the questions that contemporary men and women ask today.