I find it fitting as the clock winds down on 2019 to talk about a different clock running out.
In a relatively brief span of time, I’ve been let down frequently.
A former member of my high school pro-life club came out against banning abortions, asserting that she wished that more “pro-lifers” would understand that “our ‘sins’ are not punishable by the state.”
A former candidate for the now defunct Family Coalition Party of Ontario who I know personally wrote a blog suggesting that Andrew Scheer should participate in Pride activities and declare support for the legality of same-sex marriage out of “respect for human dignity.”
Of course, I also must mention the Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees voting in favour of including “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the board’s Code of Conduct with the caveat that these terms be interpreted through “the lens of the Catholic faith.” Worst of all, they did so with the assent of the Archdiocese of Toronto itself.
All of these people should know better. I do not have an answer as to why they strayed.
All I can say is that it’s devastating and leaves one very prone to despair. If those who have received all the right education and formation abandon principle, then what hope do we have that the general public will adopt it? Perhaps very little.
Nonetheless, I write this column to communicate, as I usually do, that we ought to forge on anyway.
Rome may fall. We may live only to see society become worse and worse, succumbing to sexual vice and child slaughter, sacrificing our freedoms and values one by one, while those around us – those we thought allies – repeatedly lower their standards and compromise under the illusion of being able to accomplish something. We can tell ourselves this and still not be prepared for the agony and shock bound to accompany this descent of our temporal home into chaos. Fine.
One thing we must remind ourselves of, however, will be perhaps our only anchor and solace in this testing time – that God has already won this war.
I’m not a writer from whom you’d ever expect sports metaphors from, but earlier this fall I heard the concept of running out the clock proposed, and it seems quite appropriate to me, so I’m going to run with it.
Our job is to play our very best whilst the coach has us in the game. That’s it. We try to score what goals we can, and, chiefly, block shots on our own net so as to preserve what semblance of sanity we have for the longest time possible. It may get exhausting – especially if so-called team members are nowhere to be found or scoring own goals or if the other team seemingly vastly outnumbers us. Whatever difficulties we may face, eventually the game will end, and no matter what the score looks like currently, the side that plays for truth and integrity will inescapably emerge victorious. We just have to grit our teeth and bear it until then, or until the coach pulls us out, hopefully with a clap on the back and a “Well done, son” to boot.
We play because this is what was asked of us and we do our duty. We play even if we never enjoy any accolades (because we don’t necessarily hear those in the stands), or if success continuously eludes our grasp. And even though we play on a rink or court or field or what-have-you that is of this world, we play by His rules, because it is by those rules that we’ll realize victory. As the ending of Luke 21:5-19, the passage on the destruction of the Temple, prescribes: “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
We are running down the clock, as honourably as we can.
This might all come off as morbid, but it shouldn’t. Momento moriand all that… We fight this battle for only a short period of time in the grand scheme of things, before handing off the torch to younger generations, recalling that while man will disappoint, God never will. Certainly, there will be moments of joy and opportunities to celebrate the beauty that God has infused in His creation. Looking at the potentially 60+ years I have left to go in this battle, though, saps my willpower. Thankfully, I know that the clock ticks down, and He has ensured a righteous outcome. We’re just existing in the minutes in between.
This is no “The end is nigh!” warning, but a reassurance that there is an end, and it is a just one.