Posted by: fvbcdm | August 10, 2017

Feast of Saint Edith Stein (9 Aug 2017)

Back in the 60s a college professor wrote a book called “The Uncommitted.”  It had to do with the new phenomenon in American life whereby young people couldn’t make up their minds what they wanted to do with their lives, what profession or trade or vocation they wanted to follow.  Before that, it was common for young people graduating from high school to know what they wanted to do, so they went to college to pursue that particular profession or branch of learning.  But then, the errors of existentialism burst upon the American scene, and everything changed, especially in the minds of the young.

What exactly is existentialism?  It is a very hard concept to define because it claims that you can’t really define anything.  We might think in these terms: There are picture people in the world, and there are story people.  The former people think of reality as a picture which hangs on the walls of an art museum or of your living room.  It remains basically the same all the time.  The latter—story people—-think of reality as a story.  You never know what the next chapter is going to bring or how the story will end.

Existentialist are story people run amok.  Nothing remains the same, they say.  Everything changes.  We can’t know what tomorrow brings.  How can a man say to a woman, “I take you as my wife until death do us part”?  How do I know that I will love you tomorrow?  That I will find life with you desirable next month? next year?  Therefore, marriage is, at best, a temporary arrangement until you or I grow tired of each other.  How can young Catholics become priests or nuns, which requires a vow of chastity, when they don’t know whom they might meet tomorrow and how much they might be sexually attracted by that person?  Therefore, religious vows are impossible or meaningless.

As a result of that existentialism, the divorce rate among American marriages is now at 50%, and vocations to religious life and the priesthood have dropped drastically from the year 1956, for example, when I entered the religious life until the present time.  And what do we find among young people instead of a clear idea of what they want to do?  We find drinking, drugs, suicide, sexual sins of all kinds, refusal to practice organized religion, and frequent confusion as to the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood.  The last 40 years have been littered with the bodies and the souls of those who have embraced existentialism, even though they didn’t know what they were doing at the time.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

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