Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Signs of Hope: A Transcendent Perspective

A blessed and happy New Year to all of my readers, Catholic and otherwise! As we leave the Year of Our Lord 2015 behind and embark on A.D. 2016, it's a good time to step back a bit from the daily frenzy and turmoil of national news and world events as brought to us 24/7 by the radically secularist mainstream media machine and put these temporary passing things within a broader historical context, as well as to view them from the transcendent perspective of God and eternity.

While it's undeniably true that we live in an era of great turmoil and confusion, injustice and deception, materialism and hedonism, violence and conflict, destruction and upheaval in which many bad things are happening that seem to portend a dark future for our planet and its inhabitants, we must keep in mind that there are also many good things happening that represent signs of hope for a brighter future--seemingly insignificant things that are often hidden and go unnoticed by the proud and the great, the rich and the powerful of our time, things that are either minimized or entirely overlooked by the worldly mainstream media, just as the birth of Jesus Christ to a humble Jewish girl in a Bethlehem cave-stable more than two thousand years ago escaped the attention of the elite rulers of ancient Rome. In the six thousand years of recorded human history to date, we have been through many dark periods when hope for the future seemed faint, yet with the help of God, our loving Creator and merciful Redeemer, we survived those dark periods and emerged from them into the light of justice and peace, development and achievement.

Indeed, it is very often when things are darkest that the seeds of a brilliant future are quietly being sowed and their growth carefully nurtured, just as the Benedictine monks of the Dark Ages in their scattered monasteries sowed the seeds of learning and culture that triumphantly burst into full flower during the Middle Ages. No matter what dreadful and evil things may happen on this earth due to the sin and wickedness of fallen humanity, Almighty God is still the sovereign Lord of the world and its history, and nothing bad happens unless He allows it to happen as a mysterious part of the unfolding of His plan for the universe. In His masterful divine wisdom, which is far above our limited human thinking and reasoning, He knows how to bring good even out of evil, and His Spirit is constantly working in the hearts of countless men and women of good will to inspire a remarkable diversity of good works and initiatives, all of which contribute harmoniously to the renewal of this planet of ours, the jewel and masterpiece of His planetary creation. If you want proof that this is happening all over the world right now, just step outside the box artificially created by the mainstream media and start looking around carefully for yourself. You'll discover signs of hope everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places.

We also know that, whenever the end of this passing world comes, Jesus Christ our Lord will return to earth as the glorious Just Judge of all humanity to raise the bodies of the dead and pronounce final judgment on all of human history. Those who have died or met Christ in friendship with God will be rewarded with eternal life in the unimaginably magnificent City of God in Heaven, while evildoers who died or met Christ without repenting will be punished with eternal death in the unimaginably horrific dungeon of the damned in Hell. Every single human being who ever lived will ultimately find a permanent and irrevocable home in one of those two places based on the choices freely made in his or her life and the state of his or her soul at the moment of death or the moment of Christ's return. Thus it behooves us to spend our short earthly lives well, preparing as best we can for admission to Heaven in the next life by doing God's Will and striving to grow in union with Him here and now.

It would be well for us to keep these truths in mind as we continue to be bombarded by the deafening clamor of the incessant drumbeat of bad news churned out by the radically secularist mainstream media outlets. It's not a matter of burying our heads in the sand like ostriches and pretending that nothing bad is happening, or of attempting to insulate ourselves completely from the suffering and misery of our innocent brothers and sisters in the human family. Rather, it's a matter of viewing things from the correct perspective, the perspective of the Almighty and Eternal God who holds the universe in His hands and providentially guides the course of world history, the One in whom we can safely place our full trust, our Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier with whom we are meant to share perfect happiness for all eternity in the world to come.

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