Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
When I first became a Christian, I had been warned by sundry writers, CS Lewis and GK Chesterton, that being a Christian was difficult. I often in jest lamented that I had not been visited in my hour of distress by Thor. Dying in battle during some act of brigandage against treasonous relatives, then to be carried aloft by singing fierce-eyed Valkyrie to endless feasting until foredoomed Ragnarok, to fall as loyal as his wolves at the feet of dark-hooded Odin was much more in accord with my natural inclination. Given my druthers, I’d much rather be a pagan. Unfortunately, and despite what your modern teachers tell you, reality is what it is, and you don’t get a vote.
It was not until long after that I encountered those who scoffed that following Christ was the lazy or the easy path. Even if the teachings of Christ are a false and pernicious as a Dawkins or a Hitchens scoffs, they cannot honestly call the disciplines false. (Not that honesty is their strong point.)
The pagans of ancient times were converted not by words only, but by the silent example of Christians living in their midst: in their midst but not like them. How can the modern men, less even than the pagans of old in dignity and intellect and uprightness of stature, be led by our example if we live as they do?
What? You cannot find any poor who need food, clothing, shelter? Are there no prisoners in jail to visit, no sick in the hospital, no aged in the Old Folk’s Home waiting in loneliness to die?
Have you truly no enemy to forgive? Is there truly no one in your life who has cursed you or reviled you or said all manner of evil against you falsely?
If not, you might be doing something wrong, O ye faithful: if you are true servant of Christ, you well know that the world will not treat the servant better than it treated the master.
Let us abide by what we have been commanded to do, if not for a whole month, then at least for Advent.
Or a week. Or a day. Or an hour.