The New Revolution Against Relativism, Brutalism and Narcissism

The New Revolution Against Relativism, Brutalism and Narcissism

The Chicken and the Egg

One day a prairie chicken found an egg and sat on it until it hatched.

Although the prairie chicken didn’t know it, the egg was an eagle egg, abandoned for some reason.

That’s how an eagle came to be born into a family of prairie chickens.

  • While the eagle is the greatest of all birds, soaring above the heights with grace and ease, the prairie chicken doesn’t even know how to fly.
  • In fact, prairie chickens are so lowly that they eat garbage.
  • As you can imagine, the little eagle, being raised in a family of prairie chickens, thought it was a prairie chicken.
  • It walked around, ate garbage, and clucked like a prairie chicken.
  • One day it looked up to see a majestic bald eagle soar through the air, dipping and turning.
  • When it asked its family what it was, they responded, “It’s an eagle. But you could never be like that because you are just a prairie chicken.”
  • Then they returned to pecking the garbage.
  • The misplaced eagle spent its whole life looking up at eagles, longing to soar with them.
  • It never once occurred to it to lift its wings and try to fly.
  • The little eagle died thinking it was just a prairie chicken.

We live in a fallen world, a world that tells us that our happiness consists of material pleasures, monetary success, and popularity.

But in reality, those things are just little bits of spiritual garbage.

We are meant for greater things, because we are God’s own children, created in his image and likeness and redeemed by his own eternal Son, Jesus Christ.

 

The Old Revolution

In our times, perhaps more than any other age, we have been ravaged by an assault on the very essence of who we are as “children of your heavenly Father,” as Jesus calls us in today’s Gospel.

Relativism is, in essence, the belief that there are no universal truths … no Divine Revelation we are meant to follow. Relativism holds that each one of us can create and adhere to whatever “we” hold as true. So, you have your idea of what is true, and I have mine. As long as we don’t offend anyone, we are free to invent our own set of truths.

Within the Church, relativism is found in the rise of “Cafeteria Catholicism” (choosing which Church teachings we want to follow), which has been rarely challenged by a weak clergy of our times. The unfortunate laxity of discipline has permitted confusion and strife where there should be clarity and harmony, an authentic unity based on the truth. As a result, the modern trend among those who believe and teach falsehoods that directly contradict the Church’s teaching is to consider these pockets of dissent as merely “differing tribes” within the Catholic Church.

Brutalism is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. Literally, it was revolt against beauty. In the Church, it was revolt against “sacred beauty,” as churches around the planet were gutted out and turned into conference centers or, worse yet, types of bunkers or bomb shelters. As the name admits, it is a rupture from any Divine connection as we are brought down to our “brute nature” as merely another animal species.

Narcissism exploded in the 1960s with the sexual revolution. As Jeffrey Kuhner wrote, “For the past 50 years, every major institution has been captured by the radical secular left. The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature — they relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism. Conservatives have ceded the culture to the enemy. Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered; illegitimacy rates have soared; divorce has skyrocketed; pornography is rampant; drug use has exploded; sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have killed millions; birth control is a way of life; sex outside of wedlock has become the norm; countless children have been permanently damaged — their innocence lost forever — because of the proliferation of broken homes; and sodomy and homosexuality are celebrated openly. America has become the new Babylon.”

However, there is an amazing and beautiful revolution rising up against “Relativism, Brutalism and Narcissism.” And, it is being led, primarily, by the young people of our times.

 

The New Revolution

During Sunday Mass, over the past month, we have been treated to the greatest sermon ever proclaimed – “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew, chapters 5-7). Recently, I half-joked that Jesus is my personal trainer. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to a “new normal” or a “high life.”

While, all around us, the prairie chickens of the media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, and literature are constantly trying to say we, too, are nothing more than the hedonistic and barbarous models and examples they portray … that “this is normal,” Jesus is telling us to leave the prairie chickens behind and set our wings and fly as the “children of your heavenly Father” we are.

Countering relativism, brutalism and narcissism are “Truth, Beauty and Goodness” – These three elements are often understood as being among the transcendentals. Transcendentals are the timeless and universal attributes of being. They are the properties of all beings. They reflect the divine origin of all things and the unity of all truth and reality in God. These elements are among the deepest realities.

Many today – particularly young people – are discovering what it means to fly. They are sick and tired of the “spiritual garbage” they have been force fed for 50+ years, and they are embracing these “transcendentals” as the way for us to fly high as children of God.

Truth brings a sense of meaning and purpose to life. Knowing there essential truths of right and wrong, good and bad, leads them to “aspire” and strive” … to set their wings and fly as beautiful eagles transcending the barbarity of our “prairie chicken” times. Coach Vince Lombardi was a daily Mass goer, and often served the Traditional Latin Mass in the morning while winning Super Bowls in the afternoon. Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

Beauty … in particular, “sacred beauty,” elevates the soul. Young people want to walk into a church and be led to understand “God is there.” Whether it is architecture, art, music or liturgy, they know this sacred beauty is due God, and that it assists them in their belief. They want to be moved to whisper and fall to their knees when they enter that “sacred place.” They want to encounter the awe of His presence.

Goodness comes naturally to one who has died to themselves and rose to a new life as a child of God. This is the essence of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is saying it is not about following a rule book but about “just being” that person. In my 28 years of priesthood, I can attest to the fact that it is the truly “devout” Catholic who “can’t not” take care of need when they see it. Like the Good Samaritan, they can simply find no excuse to walk by someone needing to be lifted up.

“The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin … But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted” (Pope Leo XIII).

Join the “New Revolution” and fly high as a child of God!

(This was my homily this weekend)

 

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