People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. — St Augustine
We have a tendency to think that we are advanced in our thinking. It stands to reason, we surmise, that we are smarter than those who went before us in human history. It’s popular to think of our age as “progressive.” We’re bigger, smarter and better. Is that true? I wonder.
Augustine could have uttered the statement above yesterday instead of 1800 years ago and it would be true. It is, in fact, more true of our day than it was of his. Technology and money have put the travel he celebrates in the quote within reach of more people on any given day than lived on the entire planet back then. Rising rates of confusion, depression, drug abuse, family disintegration and suicide prove that our generation has regressed since Augustine’s time. We don’t wonder about ourselves. We, instead, work ourselves into a frenzy defending the indefensible when it comes to our humanity.
This passionate intensity on the part of “progressives” is met with the shrinking majority’s silence in the West. It appears inevitable now that Christianity will die out. It seems to be committing suicide. The gospel of Jesus Christ has a shrinking cadre of defenders. Churches by the hundreds will tune into the not-so-super-bowl without giving a thought to this year’s pathetic first time ever promotion of drag queens. Additionally, cancel culture won another one against the pro life movement. Wicked baby murderers succeeded in banning an advertisement featuring pro life testimonies.
We choose ugliness and evil over wonder. Why? God says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Why wouldn’t we choose to believe that instead of the filth that passes as news, entertainment and sermons today? I am deeply troubled by the trajectory of our society this morning.
It would be so simple to choose to stop passing by ourselves without wondering. Instead we will all bore ourselves deeper into the government/corporate slave state today using our “smart” phones and fleeting time on planet earth. Our souls desperately need to pause and wonder at the miracle each of us represents. Augustine also observed, “As the soul is the life of the body, so God is the life of the soul. As therefore the body perishes when the soul leaves it, so the soul dies when God departs from it.”
Open your eyes. The soul of Western nations is dying. God is departing from them. Is your soul dying?
If it is you could do worse than taking the good Saint Augustine’s advice. He asked, “What does love look like?” He answered, “It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” He wasn’t talking about paying your taxes so that bureaucrats can do the caring and loving. It never works that way.
Our answer to the utopian lies of progressives must be the reform of our own souls. Repentance, and a return to personal responsibility, is what’s indicated. The fall cuts through every human heart. Augustine again, “This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.”
It is a wonder that God’s mercies are new every morning. His faithfulness to us is great. We must stop doing evil and choose faith in Him.
One last insight from Augustine, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”