By Dr Carrie Gress
G.K. Chesterton was once asked, are there any strong arguments against Christianity? ‘Just one,’ he replied. ‘Christians.’
But the truth is that this works both ways. The strongest argument against the Faith can also be the strongest argument in its favor. People will want to become Catholics because they see something worth having in Catholics. This is the point is made eloquently by Carrie Gress in this article which first appeared in the National Catholic Register, here.
As she points out, Catholicism is the answer to the distractions of modern life that seem to be the cause of unhappiness. In truth, however, these distractions are the cause of our unhappiness. Our misuse of them is merely a symptom of the main problem. Us!
This point was once made to me by the man who brought me to the Church. He told me that the Church offered unbounded joy and gave me a small sticker. Put this on your shaving mirror so that you see it every morning, he told me. It said: You Are Now Looking At the Problem.
There is a tendency to look back and think, wrongly, that our times are uniquely bad and wish that we were back in the good old days. For those who feel like that I offer the following:
You find men complaining about the times they live in, saying that the times of our parents were good. What if they could be taken back to the times of their parents, and should then complain? That past times that you think are good, are good because they are not yours here and now.
That was St Augustine writing the 5th century… plus ca change! (Taken from the Office of Readings, Sept. 28th.)
However, when we do what Carrie Gress suggests, order our lives according to the Faith, not only do the distractions of modern life cease to be distractions, they can even become good things, transformed by us and directed for the good. I would contend that the internet, for example, is not bad itself, but it can become something very bad if misused. That is why I love not only the internet but also cell phones, laptops, microwaves, and streaming music on YouTube (after all, how else would I be able to learn those Gregorian propers for Sunday?) I’m even if favor of blogs and social media (it would be strange if I wasn’t!).
I’m even if favor of blogs and social media (given that I’m writing this here, it would be strange if I wasn’t!).
When we become people who are happily in the world, but not of it, then we become people who attract others to the Faith and draw on all resources for the greater glory of God. They do so by becoming instruments of light in our hands, and which our Christian joy is
Image – an icon of the feeding of the 5000 – what attracted them to Christ, do you think?