No matter where one goes there is a wide variety of emotions on just about any subject imaginable. It would be hard to pick a topic where there is not a discernable disparity of opinion on the direction of the culture, the Church, the papacy, the economy, the presidency, politics, health care, immigration, Islam, transgender, and many more. It doesn’t take long in many of those conversations for some people to get heated because we are a very divided nation. We are a culture that legally allows an older man in the same public bathroom as a young child, and that alone should inform anyone how far we have drifted over the last several generations.
So, how should we then live? How do we personally maintain peace of mind and soul in such an atmosphere of discord and severe division that will soon get more divided? How do we maintain our personal composure in light of these divisions?
In an era of theoretical and practical atheism, we have several choices to bridge that divide. The divisions are not casual, but very sharp indeed. We are now living in an era of relative solace compared to what may lie ahead. We are a nation of 48 million people on food stamps, 10 million people on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) which is roughly the entire population of the state of Georgia, approximately 30 million illegals not the 11 million number bandied about for the last 15 years, 10,000 people a day going on Social Security for the next 15 years, and somewhere between 94 to 100 million Americans not working for a host of reasons. Many homes are still under water, school debt is $1.3 trillion, sex, drugs, and rock n roll have caught up with us, and families are struggling. Can you imagine the chaos if the federal spigot of freebies is interrupted due to insolvency? The permissive culture has taken its toll. Our problems are not political, but moral.
That leaves us with a decision. How do we cope in an atmosphere of division and discord? Historically, nothing new is going on that has not happened hundreds of times in civilization, but thousands of times as societies transform in a normal cycle of history. However, some events and times are more severe than others. In World War I there were an estimated 15 million casualties, and in WW II, there were an estimated 65 million in all theaters of war. The history of mankind is cruel to one another.
In times of stress and uncertainty, it is wise to stick with the absolute fundamentals of the faith. That should be our rock. We intellectually know the fundamentals, but rarely stick to them. So what are they? Mass should be the center of our lives, a designated quiet time of solid spiritual reading, time in Scripture, prayer, keeping the Sabbath holy, Confession, Adoration, the Rosary and preferably as a family, scheduled dinner times, and the like will help us maintain our peace in troubled times.
As a sports fan since I was a young boy, I have observed the same characteristics with championship teams year after year. Whether it is the Stanley Cup in hockey, the World Series, World Cup Soccer, the NBA finals, the Super Bowl for the NFL, it is always the same story with winning teams. An announcer in the winning teams locker room will shove a microphone in the face of someone while spraying champagne all over the place and say, “How did you guys get here?” They usually say two things. First, “We stuck to the fundamentals as a team and we practiced them day after day all season. And two, “As a team we really enjoyed each other. We played golf in the off season together, our wives socialized together, and we even went to each others kids birthday parties.” What breeds the atmosphere of winning is sticking to the fundamentals and friendship. They liked and trusted one another. That trust and genuinely liking each other took the ego out of the equation for the greater goal of winning as a team. Man does better when unified.
So how much more does the family looking to preserve their faith need that formula so it is not consumed by the culture? It is for this reason the believer has to have his family around like-minded people when in battle to preserve what is right and best for all concerned. So when in doubt to discern the times in which we live, there is nothing like sticking to the fundamentals of the faith to endure the trials.