The Bible warns us not to be consumed by anger, but to master it. Anger has many causes and many effects. It can lead us to despair, to unkind words, or even to violence. The cold anger that fuels Pharisaism can exacerbate that prideful tendency to look down on one’s fellowman.
Herein lies the problem: our quest for Truth, righteousness, and love will lead us to anger. How can one not feel anger at bad things done to family and friends or at the decline of one’s country or at the promulgation of lies? The answer cannot be to stop caring. A person who ceases to be connected to life, to those around him, has ceased to meet the social call of our human nature. Even monks participate in a communal life shared with their brethren, be it working on farmland, teaching in a school, serving the sick and destitute, or singing Mass in chapel.
But the world system is what it is. We can strive to limit it by the spread of the Gospel, but the Bible tells us that it is Christ Himself who will destroy the Beast and, by means of the Beast, Babylon. We may lift up our prayers to that end, but we cannot force God’s hand. Patience is required – and strong doses of compassion and humility.
Both of the latter I am increasingly finding difficult. The more one sees of life in all its forms, the more there is to find shocking. The greater the problems seem, the more powerless one feels. We cannot save ourselves, and no “system” can work the transformational change of the human heart that lies with God. Only His Spirit, acting through the Gospel, can change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
Christ called the Spirit the Comforter. It may sound self-indulgent, but perhaps what many of us conservatives need right now is a kind of comfort. Filled with bitterness, regret, and anger at the decay of our homelands, homes, and Christian institutions, we are heartbroken. (I suspect that many amillennialists and postmillennialists are also in shock. They were prepared for a Christian takeover of the world and that has not happened.) We need the comfort and hope that the Spirit provides without losing the fiery zeal that should spur us on to worship God in liturgy and deed.
This perhaps provides a way forward for the chronic weltschmerz felt by so many of us: a vibrant prayer-life – something I myself too often neglect – seeking God’s presence and refreshing so that with peace in our hearts we may continue to love and serve in the midst of destruction and decay, trusting that from these ashes the Phoenix that is Messiah will rise, glorious in His coming Kingdom.
Today is Mrs Proudie’s last post at Archbishop Cranmer. She and her husband are moving on to do God’s work elsewhere with the result that she will not be able to maintain her contribution to the blog. There is also concern that the blog as a whole may have to close down, seemingly for financial reasons.