Happy Ash Wednesday, if that is the proper greeting for the advent of the season of repentance in ashes and mourning for our sins.
On the radio this morning, I heard what I thought was a Twilight Zone episode about a parallel universe in which the human race had never heard any Bible stories, fairytales, pagan epics, nor seen the movie TIME BANDITS nor read even a single history book of the long and sad and terrible history of the human race, and so had no idea that evil was real.
In this deliriously naive parallel world, the radio was chattering nervously about some politician who made a speech a few years ago, and made reference to the Supreme Being, and also to His adversary.
Has the Prince of Darkness already won so many hearts and souls that the slightest mention of reality, and of the real war between darkness and light that rages every day in every life, as well as in the life of a great nation, is to greeted with shock and disbelief? Is all truth, and everything interesting, or exciting, or dangerous, to be scrupulously and fastidiously expunged from the public forum?
At least one liberal commentator says yes. Truth is too judgmental, too moralistic. At least one conservative commentator says yes. Truth is not a pocketbook issue: voters are more worried about their keeping their jobs and making their mortgage payment than they are about the nosedive of this once-great nation into the outer darkness of pride, vanity and sensuality, the cold and colorless treason of the intellectuals, the shambles of the scattered flock of Christ.
Meanwhile, back in reality, in the bright sunlight far from the Twilight Zone, today is a day to initiate the season of fasting and repentance. Perhaps the first thing for which we the people should repent was letting ourselves be led so far astray, to have forgotten both the light of heaven so completely and the darkness of hell, that any mention of such high things or profound strikes the ear not merely as odd, but ugly.
Have we forgotten Christ so completely that the mere mention of His name sounds like a faux pas to us, a breach of etiquette, a curse? Or the mere mention of the name of His adversary?
Let us by all means repent in ashes that we have allowed our nation to descend into such a swamp of worldliness that even to speak as all Christians always and everywhere have spoken is thought not merely impolite, but extraordinary.
If Christ indeed is forgotten so completely, ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?