Our times are both momentous and fascinating. While on the one hand people seem to be pursuing material prosperity and to be sinking ever deeper into consumerism and materialism, on the other hand we are witnessing a desperate search for meaning, the need for an inner life, and a desire to learn new forms and methods of meditation and prayer.
Many churchfolk focus on the former, the materialism and disconnect from the inner life. I’m a disbeliever in exceptionalism–that these current days are any more or less godly or godless than any other time. People have always sought the divine. They have always been seduced by things sullen, unethical, and self-absorbed.
This diagnosis is true, I believe:
Not only in cultures with strong religious elements, but also in secularized societies, the spiritual dimension of life is being sought after as an antidote to dehumanization. This phenomenon-the so-called “religious revival”-is not without ambiguity, but it also represents an opportunity. The Church has an immense spiritual patrimony to offer humankind, a heritage in Christ, who called himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6): it is the Christian path to meeting God, to prayer, to asceticism, and to the search for life’s meaning. Here too there is an “Areopagus” to be evangelized.
The opportunity is clear: initiate encounters with people. Especially the ones heading into the same general direction as we are. And paying attention too to the ones who are not.
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