Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Give in to the hate, Luke Peace, all. A few blogs have been tooting the horn of hatred as an appropriate response to the trials and tribulations of the modern Catholic. Beset with the terrors of political correctness, same-sex marriages, the Gore-Dean ticket, abortion on demand, too much press coverage of Catholic sex predators, and those idiots who cut us off in the parking lot after Mass, some commentators are urging we start hating. Unable to find any virtuous Catholic in history, our friends are turning to Aragorn of the Lord of the Rings for wisdom. When facing impossible odds in the battle against Saruman's manufactured Uruk-Hai, the Heir of the Kings urges his fellows to give no quarter in the fight, for they will certainly receive none from the Lord of Orthanc. I find it convenient that frustrated Christians need to turn to fiction for their spiritual guidance. I'm fascinated that a struggle against non-humans is equated with the challenges of living a virtuous, conservative life today. Have a problem with gay unions, abortions, or wussy priests who mislead the faithful? Just demonize them, hate them, and be assured you're following the Tolkien doctrine. He was a Catholic after all. If the Bible is too deep and you have to indulge in fiction, I think of Darth Vader urging Luke to give in to his hate and become powerful. Certainly a Christian who gives in to hate will find a great power at work in her or his life. But I tend to doubt that it will be the power of God at your right hand. A few reasons why love still rules. First, you don't have to go farther than St Paul and St John to find that love is the most honored of the virtues. Second, love, even if unrequited, builds up grace in the person as they cooperate with God's will and set aside their own. If Christ and Paul and John and Francis and Dorothy and all the great figures of love are not enough to convince you, consider this: Hate is infinitely easier to master. It will take our whole lives and much more for us to begin to plumb the depths of love. The thing about hate is that it doesn't take much for a person to begin to resemble Evil: even a novice hater can look very devilish. Love is a lot more hard work. But somewhere we have to find the faith and persistence to see it through to the end. My suggestion is if you're feeling like giving in to the hate, go out and bang a drum or shovel someone's driveway or something. Get a Life. Now, off to bake some cookies with my daughter.

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