Today’s cry in the desert PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 13:52



Like St. John the Baptist whose call for repentance as preparation for the coming of the Redeemer was a lonely cry in the desert, the voice of God today as well as that of the Church or of any spiritual and moral Christian teaching is becoming a voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Present circumstances in the world point to a growing deafness and insensibility to truths of faith and morals. The prologue of St. John’s gospel already captures this phenomenon: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (1,11)

The Psalms have many references to the same predicament. For example, Ps 76 says: “How often they rebelled in the wilderness! / How often they grieved him in the desert! / Again and again they put God to the test / and provoked the Holy One of Israel. / They forgot his strength, they forgot the time / when he saved them from the oppressor’s power.”

I don´t refer so much to those who openly declare themselves as atheists or agnostics as to Christians themselves, some of whom flaunting their Christianity, who fail to be consistent to their beliefs. The former needs a lot of understanding and patience. The latter, some ¨spanking.¨

Yes, there is secularization, a deadly process of removing God from society and in people´s daily lives and affairs. But this, I believe, is not so much because of non-believers but rather of those who say they believe and yet behave as if they are not believers.

There are many cases of infidelities and disloyalties, disobedience and treachery within the Church. The worst enemies are not to be found outside the Church but inside, not those far from the Church but those supposedly near, not those who declare themselves nemeses but those who say they are friends and allies.

Worse than worst is when the enemy is one´s own self. This happens when one is complacent instead of ardent in his life of piety, when a priest or bishop, for example, talks more of politics and sociology and psychology instead of God, faith and morals.

In this way, preaching is emptied of the power of God, and the theologizing and philosophising do not go beyond pure intellectual exercises that do not spring from a vital contact with God.

It can have the form and the trappings, but not the substance. It can have shreds of truth, but without charity. Thus, the truths are often exploited to serve selfish ends. They fail to comply with the requirements of the common good. They lack depth and scope, and often stuck in the mind without any good act produced.

This kind of mind-frame ends up voiding the commandments of God and building up purely human ideologies, with ever weaker links to faith and ever stronger urges to be worldly.

Thus, there’s a tendency to politicize even sacred things, like the nature of marriage, or the Church itself, the sacraments, the doctrinal body of faith and morals, and even Christ himself. Some have divided Christ into a Christ of history and a Christ of faith, for example.

There are inconsistencies and gaping gaps in the lives of many so-called believers, especialy those in public office. Pretensions and hypocrisies abound, and while to a certain degree these are understandable given our fragile human condition, in many cases hardly anything is done to correct them.

Some so-called Christians even go against Christ´s teaching in their public functions. Their idea of governance barely goes beyond bureaucratic efficiency. Again it´s empty of its basic requirement of vital contact with God. It´s purely human, stuck with the criteria of practicality, convenience and the like, and nothing about fostering sanctity.

What can we do with this widespread scenario? I suppose we just have to do what St. John the Baptist did, and what other saints did, and finally what Christ did. We just have to pursue what we know is good and is God’s will, even if there’s no immediate social impact. The cry in the desert will have its fruits someday.

In the meantime, we have to patiently learn the doctrine, wage a continuous ascetical struggle developing virtues and convictions, then start to do personal apostolate, making use of whatever circumstance we have at the moment.

Of course, we should also try to aim higher and deeper, even going to public places to proclaim the good news in a world sunk in confusion, ignorance and error. All of these done always in charity, patience and hope.

Let’s remember this is God’s work more than ours.