Monday, September 17, 2012
The Lord: Chapter 13,* “The Fullness of Justice”
From my POV as an increasingly conservative and unapologetic curmudgeon, our generation has reduced the Ten Commandments to Two. We ignore nine of the line items on Moses’s stone tablets, and we add an eleventh. No civil society can do without the Fifth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill, although we have strapped a tight definition around life, so that our Fifth Commandment really reads, Just don’t mess with a living human being in his or her prime.
We’ve added one new Commandment—Thou shalt not damage the environment—and with that we sleep soundly, satisfied that we’ve got things covered. Don’t hurt someone else and don’t foul the biosphere (also known as the Recycling Commandment). We’ll all be cool. We’ll all get along.
The first three Commandments—the “religious ones” about God being holy, his name being sacred, his day being special—you know, not necessary anymore. We’ve become spiritual, and have no need for religion. Our generation has made a mockery of Commandments 6 thru 10, as well. Adultery (6)? Heh heh! Stealing (7)? Tell the Occupy Wall Street folks we don’t steal! As for #8–10, they’re all about what happens inside our hearts, coveting things (8) and people (10) and being satisfied with our truthiness (9). All that’s private. Hands off!
Which is to say that Romano Guardini’s chapter on “The Fullness of Justice” is likely to fall on our own deaf ears. Because it’s about how Jesus not only doesn’t throw out Moses’s to-not-do list, he deepens its demands.
My sister said something insightful the other day: Our generation—in its rush for the exits (freedom!) and its tolerance (anything goes!)—has thrown out the baby with the bath. Leaving us all both dirty and childless.
So this is a short post, as you can see, since who’s going to pay attention anyway? And fair warning: tomorrow’s post is not going to make for easier reading. Chapter 14* is called “Sincerity in Virtue.”
Until then, I remain
Your devoted friend from long ago,
This series of posts continues here with chapter 14.
* For simplicity, I am numbering the chapters consecutively. The English-language paperback I am using (Regnery Gateway Edition) divides the book’s contents into parts, so that this chapter is actually Part II, chapter 1.