November 9, 2015 10 Comments
Over at AATW today, Geoffrey Sales is talking about how we owe it to ourselves to attempt to live up to God’s standards, even if we don’t often (or ever, for that matter) meet them. We owe it to ourselves to try. This is the paramount curse of modernism, post-modernism, progressivism, and what we currently call liberalism, its willingness to abrogate all standards for the cheap (very cheap, indeed) thrill of feeling good about ourselves. What’s to feel good about doing any damned thing you want to at the moment? Here is what happens when we abandon that quest.
Way back in the day, and we’re talking centuries, Europe was a hotbed for the expansion of Christian ideas and philosophies. They were the foundations of European culture, government, and way of life. […]
The greatest empire the world had ever known, the British Empire, was built upon that foundation which stemmed back to the earliest days of Christendom. France, Spain, even Germany built legacies on top of the essential pillars of the faith.
Did they lose their way at times? Absolutely. But those foundations were there. They were fighting for something greater than people – they were fighting for identity, for country, for God, and for king. But, beginning late in the 20th century, those ideas were being tossed aside in favor of humanism.
Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing. It’s that it stands for shallow things, shallowly. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary.
What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things. Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart.
It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost the capacity for self-love,” a prominent German theologian noted about a decade ago. “All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.”
That’s Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Benedict XVI.
Ultimately, what makes Europe’s downfall so imminent is that it does not seem to recognize, as the Left here in America doesn’t, that its their own policies within this modern era that are killing them.
I have little to add, other than that I agree. It’s not a new thesis, though.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:24-27 King James Version (KJV)
And yet, and yet… Most of you know that Jessica and I often triggered posts in each other. I recapped one of those instances here, and I think it bears on the situation the post posits.
The image of the once and future king is a powerful one, and part of the Arthurian legend. If there was an Arthur, he was most likely to have been one of the last of the Romans, using Roman cavalry tactics to slow down the advance of the Saxons, and like so many of his kind, he retreated into the fastnesses of Wales where the remnants of the Britons kept their faith and their guard for the long years when their country was the prey of invaders. Arthur, real or not, represented the need to believe that the old civilisation had not gone down without a fight, and that all it had represented could rise again.
The Once and Future King. That is indeed a powerful image for all of us cousins, implying as it does that in the end all will be set right, and it also speaks to us as Christians as we remember that our murdered and Risen King will return in Glory. As Dame Julian said, “All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.
Jess’ word in italics, mine not. Perhaps we should end with what Jess said to end the post that one is drawn from:
Chesterton, in the most stirring of his poems, ‘The Ballad of the White Horse’ catches the spirit of that time so well, and remind us to have courage and not to despair. He has Our Blessed Lady tell the fugitive and fearful Alfred:
“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
“Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”
‘Faith without a hope’? Not whilst Mary’s Son calls us to Him.