Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chivalry in the Time of Crisis

For the student or interested reader of René Girard, a moment of seminal importance in the rebirth of conventional culture is the "sacrificial preparation." In popular parlance, a sacrificial "meltdown."

As you would imagine, it isn't a pretty situation in which to find oneself. Girard describes it as a "crisis of distinctions." Normal partitions become permeable and those things that stood firm become malleable, nebulous, and indistinct. Saint Paul, that proto-sociologist of our Catholic faith tradition, rightly points to the first distinction that faces collapse as the sexual (Gal 5,19-21) - the "canary in the mineshaft," as it were. He lists the rest of the characteristics as the mimetic crisis continues its downward, maelstrom-like swirl to total cultural collapse.

Avoiding the flying barrage of accusations, attacks, and hostile attempts of self-justification via sacrifice of others becomes a faster and faster dance of death. Where is our place of peace, of solid footing, of truth, goodness, and beauty in our culture's ending?

The day after my father's death, I assisted at the Mass on New Year's Day. Four days after my father's death, I assisted at the Sunday Mass in my old hometown at Saint Thomas Church. I could verify what J. R. R. Tolkien said to his son about the Source and Summit of the Church.

The same is true for those faced with these present times described by Euripides in The Bacchae thousands of years ago:
When guilty people are struck mad, their madness knows no guilt.

Stay close to brothers in the Faith; cling to Peter's Barque; receive Sacramental grace as often as possible; love God totally and neighbor as self. Engage in the vocation of Marian chivalry.

This is the Adventure and Quest for us in this time.

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