I have marvelled at the wealth of Americans, especially after visiting Europe over the past several years, where the pursuit of happiness does not necessarily have to do with success or prosperity.
I wonderful if the Founding Fathers, schooled in the classics and the Enlightenment fallacy of progressiveness, which meant that they honestly believed that if people had more and could move up the social ladder, these same people would be "good", even "religious" people. By the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, leaders of the American colonies, all people who had left Catholic or Lutheran Europe in order to create a good life for themselves, the majority of the populace would have been divided into truly religious people, seeing America as the New City on the Hill, or entrepreneurs, who knew how to make money fast with various crops, slavery, and other businesses.
The latter mind-set has taken over the former, with the spiritual life of most people not even a blip on their radars.
One of the things brought to my attention in the past weeks, here in the great plains of Protestantism, has been the supplanting of the interior life for the exterior by my Protestant brothers and sisters. Even there discussions with me on the coming times of tribulation reflect an exterior preparation, not an interior one. They do understand the spiritual warfare of demons and those who hate Christ and Christianity, but they do not understand the civil war within. They do not understand Teresa of Avila's movement to holiness, or the need for purification daily.
This is because of the sola fide false teaching, which means that faith alone saves and not virtue or the Indwelling of the Trinity. In fact, my new Protestant acquaintances either do not believe in the Trinity as defined by the Church, or they simply do not want to address the Trinity.
To use a phrase in their company, such as the "Indwelling of the Holy Trinity" smacks of accretions to them, and of course, they cannot find the phrase in the Bible, as such, and therefore feel they do not have to attend to this truth.
If they were open to the discussion, which they are not, they would understand more deeply the need for working on the interior life, for begging for grace, not merely the grace of the first conversion, but the graces of the second conversion and all the stages of spiritual growth.
I live in a place right now which worships dead presidents, dead admirals, dead generals, as seen by the names of the streets, and the type of celebrations held in the community. These celebrations seem to be extremely popular, civic celebrations of the life and death of Lincoln, the founding of various local institutions of higher learning, or the winning of past battles. Of course, all of these historical events must be important to any civilization, but again, people are preoccupied by the exterior world of achievement, success, prosperity.
American civic life has become the religion, as in Rome. The comparisons are staggering.
And, the churches, even the non-Catholic ones, witness half-empty pews, aging populations, a lack of money which is needed for common resources.
But, the priorities of the churches reflect, again, the lack of an awareness of the interior life.
I am not THAT old, but when I grew up in the steamy summers of Iowa, the schools, elementary, high, and college did not have air conditioning. The churches did not have air conditioning. Even businesses did not have air conditioning.
And I grew up surrounded by pollen and agricultural air pollution.
Now, the churches want more money for air conditioning, when the missionary activity of evangelization falls into dormancy. These same churches want people to give money to Catholic high schools which have not seen one vocation for forty years.
The ignoring of the interior life and the non-awareness of the Indwelling of the Trinity creates a completely superficial approach to religion.
Only the perfect see God, which could be the motto for this blog. Not the prosperous, not the comfortable sitting in air conditioned churches, not those who do not spread the Good News of Christ...these will not see God unless they stop looking constantly at the exterior life.
One gets sucked into this non-Catholic viewpoint so easily, too easily. It is easier to become holy in Europe than in America-why?
Less prosperity, more discussions on ideas, the real awareness of the difference between darkness and light.
Here, the shadows of the false America Dream and the dimness of the ignorance of the interior life hide the fact that the soul of America has died, even in the Midwest.
A few days ago, a woman here in the Macs spoke to me of the prosperity gospel. She was not open to hearing about the real prosperity of the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity.