Clarity in Modernity

Sometimes I get moments of perfect clarity. Everything makes sense. All the questions I’ve been pondering for many years are answered. I know the truth, even if it hurts. And yet sometimes, after having these moments, I ignore the truth.

No, I’m not on drugs. I honestly couldn’t tell you what brings these clear moments about. But I had another of them last night.

There isn’t a lot of permanence in today’s society, or even anything that lasts a decent amount of time. People are constantly picking up and changing jobs, significant others, hobbies, and so on. We are searching for something.

Last night, my friends and I were in church decorating a poster board for the ministry fair. We talked about how the church (our particular parish, not the Church) has been in somewhat of a decline. Around 600 teenagers/young adults are registered members of the parish, but you don’t see anywhere near that number at Mass. The amounts we are taking in during the offertory are dangerously low. People are leaving Mass early, and only a few linger in the vestibule to chat afterward.

Everyone seems to disappear.

Why? Because time rushes on and we can’t sit still. Why do you need God watching your every move when the government and your mobile devices already do that?

We can’t look our friends in the eyes because we feel the compulsive tug to look at our phones and see what people we never see in real life are doing. Then our real-life friends disappear, but we still have them on Facebook, so it’s OK.

Holidays become meaningless—just another way for the great big companies to make money and become bigger and greater. What are we really celebrating at Christmas? The birth of a man whose life is increasingly irrelevant to us because we have lost the meaning of sacrifice. The “I” is sacred. If it doesn’t work for “me,” then it can’t work, and I’m going to find something else.

My church is boring, so I’m finding another church. I haven’t gotten a promotion, so I’m finding another job. My significant other doesn’t make me happy, so I’m going on Tinder and finding another one. You know, I think I might get a new iPhone. 

I know I’m being overdramatic. We’re not all that vacuous. But I think we are turning in that direction. We are so accustomed to rapid change because nothing inside computer screens stays stable for very long. But with things changing so rapidly, there is no time to really think and ponder what’s going on and what the point of everything is. We’re just living for the moment, which passes and changes so quickly that we forget what we’re truly living for.

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