Love of my neighbor and Contempt of the World

I wrote a scene in a story last night where a man says a prayer over his son before sending him into combat. Because it is a science fiction story, the battle is against an enemy not exactly human, but I wanted a nice and soldierly prayer.

In my search, I came across this prayer by happenstance, and my attention was arrested by the contrast between between what his supplicant asks, and how he deems it best to live his life, and the views on how to live expressed by such representatives of modern thinking as faithful readers of this column have no doubt seen here in recent days.

The moderns concoct some elaborate theory of epistemology, such as telling us all that it is certain knowledge that there can be no certain knowledge, and certainly not in the area of morals and virtue. And when questioned, you can sometime get them to admit that the only area of morals they wish relieved from the burdens of moral thinking is sexual license.

They still wish you, in all strictness and stringency, to pay your taxes and abide by the binding rules of law and order and discipline, to speak no hurtful word to minorities or persons with disordered sexual desires, to clean the environment and serve the community in other ways.

In other words, the only thing they want their new moral code to do is relaxed the old moral code in the areas where they themselves seek some false pleasure, or where they feel a misplaced pity for those who seek such false pleasures, and think their greater happiness will be found in sensual self indigence either chaste or adulterous, wholesome or perverse, and therefore should be free, nay, encouraged, to ruin their lives in such pursuit.

No matter the evidence of harm, such pursuits are always defined by the post-Christian as harmless, because this is a doctrine of their dogma, and therefore anathema to question.

Here I read a different story. John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America, in the Wall Street Journal announced an end to coed dorms at his school. He singled out binge drinking and the hook-up culture as two prominent ills allowed or encouraged by coed life.

  • Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults aged 17-24.
  • Students who engage in binge drinking (about two in five) are 25 times more likely to do things like miss class, fall behind in school work, engage in unplanned sexual activity, and get in trouble with the law.
  • They also cause trouble for other students, who are subjected to physical and sexual assault, suffer property damage and interrupted sleep, and end up babysitting problem drinkers.
  • Rates of depression reach 20% for young women who have had two or more sexual partners in the last year, almost double the rate for women who have had none.
  • Sexually active young men do more poorly than abstainers in their academic work.

The scientifically minded men of the last century who first brought into doubt the wisdom of the traditional morality not only of Christendom but of all civilized nations and races have passed away and been replaced by post-rational and post-virtuous specimens, who both insist that any debate on the public good be restricted artificially to the misleading statistics of anonymous experts, and who simply ignore such statistics when not flattering to their case.

The idea that such things were so open to doubt that only an empirical study, run by a cadre of scientifically qualified researchers, could grant the certainty needed to support a public policy in a modern, ultrasecular state, was never an honest idea.

No one meant it seriously; it was only used to undermine common sense and Christian virtue (and Jewish, Mohammedan, Classical Pagan, Norse Pagan, Hindu and Buddhist and Confucian virtue as well. It is not as if any civilization has ever discouraged marriage and encouraged selfishness as much as ours has) .

And now it has become the commonplace wisdom of our age, our own sacred Ten Commandments of One Command: Thou Shalt not Judge any Self-Destructive, Intemperate, Self-Indulgent, Indecent or Perverse behavior, no matter how Vile, to be harmful, because it is None of Thy Damned Business if Thy Neighbor Damns himself. Or They Child, or the Woman thou might Wed. In return, No One will stop you.

When it comes to sexual matters in the modern age, the brakeline is cut, and so is the safety belt, and the road is greased, guardrails removed and the gastank is full, and their is no way to downshift into a lower gear: Have Fun Driving! We will all pretend that those who fall over the brink wanted it that way!

Contrast that with the life desired by whoso prays in this wise:

For All Things Necessary to Salvation
Composed by Pope Clement XI, 1721

O MY God, I believe in Thee; do Thou strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee; do Thou secure them. I love Thee; teach me to love Thee daily more and more. I am sorry that I have offended Thee; do Thou increase my sorrow.

I adore Thee as my first beginning; I aspire after Thee as my last end. I give Thee thanks as my constant benefactor; I call upon Thee as my sovereign protector.

Vouchsafe, O my God! to conduct me by Thy wisdom, to restrain me by Thy justice, to comfort me by Thy mercy, to defend me by Thy power.

To Thee I desire to consecrate all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings; that henceforward I may think of Thee, speak of Thee, refer all my actions to Thy greater glory, and suffer willingly whatever Thou shalt appoint.

Lord, I desire that in all things Thy will may be done because it is Thy will, and in the manner that Thou willest.

I beg of Thee to enlighten my understanding, to inflame my will, to purify my body, and to sanctify my soul.

Give me strength, O my God! to expiate my offenses, to overcome my temptations, to subdue my passions, and to acquire the virtues proper for my state of life.

Fill my heart with tender affection for Thy goodness, hatred of my faults, love of my neighbor, and contempt of the world.

May Thy grace help me to be submissive to my superiors, condescending to my inferiors, faithful to my friends, and charitable to my enemies.

Assist me to overcome sensuality by mortification, avarice by alms-deeds, anger by meekness, and tepidity by devotion.

O my God! make me prudent in my undertakings, courageous in dangers, patient in affliction, and humble in prosperity.

Grant that I may be ever attentive at my prayers, temperate at my meals, diligent in my employments, and constant in my resolutions.

Let my conscience be ever upright and pure, my exterior modest, my conversation edifying, and my comportment regular.

Assist me, that I may continually labor to overcome nature, to correspond with Thy grace, to keep Thy Commandments, and to work out my salvation.

Make me realize, O my God! the nothingness of this world, the greatness of Heaven, the shortness of time, and the length of eternity.

Grant that I may prepare for death; that I may fear Thy judgments, and in the end obtain Heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



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