By Mark Shea
Words of Encouragement
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
Periodically, the editors of the New York Times or CBS or some organ for Ted Turner venture out of their fluorescent-lit offices to see if Americans still take religion seriously. Whenever they do, they return with breathless reports to announce that, yes indeed, Americans still are brimming with “spirituality.” This, in turn, excites Christians, who with equal breathlessness announce a “revival in the land” and a return to Christ. From now on (goes the recurrent hope) things are going to be great! Everybody is going to become Christian and we will all be happy and peppy and bursting with love (to quote Felix Unger from the Odd Couple). But Catholics, while welcoming the fact that Americans seem to be resistant to atheism, should bear in mind that believing in “spirituality” is not exactly the same as believing in Jesus Christ. After all, not a single atheist was involved in the trial and death of Jesus Christ. No atheist beat up St. Paul, crucified St. Peter, or tossed St. Lawrence on griddle to roast. The people who did these things were all vibrantly “spiritual” people, filled with a certain sort of piety and deeply affirming of their own sort of “religious values”. This is why St. Paul tells us to walk, not as unwise, but as wise. Wisdom, in scripture, is more than bearded guys saying “deep things”. It encompasses savvy and the quickness of wit required to size up situation quickly. One thing we need to ask in the coming years will be “Is our culture becoming more Christlike or merely becoming more spiritual?” If it’s only the latter, we’d best be on our toes. After all, the devil is a spirit too. Today, ask God for the gift of discernment to help you be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove.