Amusing the Self to Death…..

07-16-2023Weekly Reflection

... long ago, we sold our vote to no man, now the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, sheds its cares, and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses * —Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81

God created man and woman to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose. From this it follows that we are to use the things of this world only to the extent that they help us to this end, and we ought to rid ourselves of the things of this world to the extent that they get in the way of this end. St. Ignatius Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises

A book by Neil Postman called Amusing Ourselves to Death was reissued as a 10th Anniversary issue in 1995. It is described as follows: What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever. Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

Swiss Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch has warned against neglecting belief in the resurrection. There is a danger "that we will only console ourselves with this world," said the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, according to the Diocese on Sunday in Eichstätt. "For when there is for us no glimpse of eternal life and heaven is therefore closed to us, we are tempted and strive to seek and find heaven as if it were on earth." "Therefore, there is a great danger that people will enjoy themselves to death, work to death and even love* to death."

(*Disordered love, because the highest love we are made for is the love of God, which alone can give us everything we yearn for and reveal our true selves. Loving created things as if they were gods is idolatry and this leads to death, spiritual death.)

In contrast, the prospect of eternal life in the future proves to be a liberating hope that is already having an effect in the present life. Anyone who lives in this hope and thus has a great future ahead of them can live confidently in the present and pursue their mission with serene patience.

The cardinal spoke at the Willibald Week, the diocesan festival week of the Diocese of Eichstätt in honor of the diocesan patron Willibald. The canonized missionary from southern England worked in the area of today's diocese of Eichstätt from 740 and probably died on July 7, 787. Koch said of Willibald: "Because he was moved by the hope of eternal life with God, he was neither afraid nor shy to bear witness to this hope with his life and to proclaim the good news of the gospel."

Christians could live in a liberating hope. “The decisive characteristic of the Christian consists in the fact that God has promised him a future and that the present can be lived because he experiences the future as a positive reality.”

387. What is hope? Hope is the theological virtue** by which we desire and await from God eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit to merit it and to persevere to the end of our earthly life Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

**The theological virtues have God himself as their origin, motive and direct object. Infused with sanctifying grace, they bestow on one the capacity to live in a relationship with the Trinity. They are the foundation and the energizing force of the Christian’s moral activity and they give life to the human virtues. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being.