Saintly Thoughts

Should I Write?

Each age is continuous with the age that came before it, thus tradition is a useful thing and a vital glue guiding us in the transition from one age to another.  But each age brings with it a new idiom and (almost) a new language, thus translators are needed to adapt and interpret those traditions and truths handed down from one age to the next.  This is necessarily a painful and dangerous process, the possibility of going horribly astray is very real and those interpreters who have overstepped their bounds will be called to account.  What is an age of man?  There are different correct answers to this question.  I suppose a Christian might encompass all mankind in a single age since the ascension of Christ, since Christ declared in the Gospel of St. John that "this age shall not pass away before my return."  He has (apparently) not yet returned, thus we are in that same age.  One may also speak of an age as the turning from one generation to the next, from father to son and son to grandson, mother to daughter and daughter to granddaughter.  But a generation need not represent an age and an age may fall within a generation, especially in a time as changeful and unsettled as our own.  Thus, in our age especially, interpreters are desperately needed.  But their job is nearly impossible, for the idiom has changed, often before the interpreter has a chance to get a handle upon the last one.  There are natural limits to this changefulness (else society would descend into a discontinuous Babel) but that is no excuse to sit back and watch a culture feed upon its shared heritage assuring oneself that all will be righted in the end.  No, those who have the words to speak must speak in their own God-given voice, and with chagrin, humility, and irony plumb the depths of society's idiom.  Am I such an interpreter?  I have descended into the depths of our collective idiom; been almost drowned by it, in fact.  I am a man sitting somewhat outside of this age, which provides me some semblance of objectivity necessary of the interpreter.  But who will listen to me, and will what I have to say help or confuse?  I cannot pretend that I have anything new to say, but that is not the point.  What is needed now are those who know the old truths and the paths by which they have been distorted.  Who is skeptical of both the old and the new truths; who is blessed with a serious irony and sense of his own fallibility.  One who knows the pains of our time and the consolations of the time to come.  One who is a true believer while yet a hardened atheist.  He must have courage, and I fear that in that quality I am sorely lacking.  And yet, I do know something of the old truths and the new idiom, what connects the merely philosophic to the Christian to the hardened nihilism and happy despair of our present historical moment.  Mustn't I speak; mustn't I find the words to speak?