Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

Our life is spent using/fighting ideas

19th September 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

“Will you have a Mass this evening?” asked a Monday afternoon caller.

“No, I’m sorry we will not. I do hope you know this is not a Holy Day of obligation,” I volunteered in order to allay any anxieties of the caller.

“That wasn’t my question!” snapped the caller.

“God bless you. Have a good evening,” I concluded.

The caller’s defensive sarcasm indicated something I was not thinking about. It revealed that the caller seemed to have a beef about the American dioceses’ lifting the obligation of attending Mass when the feast of the Assumption falls on Saturday or Monday. Hence, by hook or crook she intended to get to Mass Monday, August 15.

Or it could have been that the caller showed resentment that I even implied that she did not know that the Assumption this year was not a Holy Day of obligation. Of course, no one wants anyone to go around implying that he/she is ignorant of something.

I have no way of knowing whether my guess was right, but the caller’s attitude fits the profile of protests by those who resent that the Church sacked the Tridentine Mass, then restored its full lawfulness under duress. Other “annoying” changes were deleting the fish-on-Friday law and even allowing nuns to kick the habit.

In all such changes, people are engaged in a battle of ideas that become words that become a mission with a purpose that becomes a course of actions that achieve a cherished goal that becomes a rule of behavior that grows into an ingrained custom.

Along this line of reasoning, an anonymous author wrote the following pithy summary of the powerful consequences of the universe of ideas.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Thus, the radical, atheistic, collectivistic thoughts of Karl Marx gave birth to communism. At the request of the Communist League, Marx and Engels coauthored their most famous work, “The Com­munist Manifesto,” published in 1848. The slogan, “Workers of the world, unite!” was a call to arms for the proletariat.

Initially very few in number, the Communists were so fanatically driven that nothing and no one could stop them. Marx’s view that history was a series of class struggles between capitalists and workers convinced the communists that a dissatisfied proletariat would swell, leading to bloody revolution and eventually a classless society.

Curiously, the only instance of pure communism in history occurred among the earliest Christians. Acts 4:32, 34 relates, “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common… There was no needy person among them.”

Of course, that Utopia was soon destroyed by the greed of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. The only imperfect residue of this is the poverty rule of religious institutes that mandates that all members own nothing, but must turn goods in to the common trust.

With thoughts twisted by the suicides of three of his brothers and his own and his remaining brother’s temptation to commit suicide, Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy of “aristocratic radicalism” claimed that superior men are not bound by social moral codes. This plus the occult was the excuse Hitler needed for his brutal reign of terror.

Thank God for the mind-calming, nerve-gentling, soul-fulfilling ideas of Jesus the radical in Mark 9:35, “And he sat down, and called the twelve; and he told them. If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Our whole life is a jousting match of ideas between spouses, children, teachers, preachers, counselors, artists, astrophysicists, cyber whizzes a la Bill Gates, politicians, philosophers, theologians, historians, economists and porn merchants. As believers, we strive constantly to use the good ideas and to wage war against the evil, harmful ideas.

This article was originally published in the September 19, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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