Recent Posts

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Living in Fantasies

I know a woman who has recently visited a foreign country because it was filmed in her favorite fantasy movie. She has wanted to visit the scenes of the film, and now she is sending all of us friends photos of this film trip. I have other friends who have done the same thing--make pilgrimages to movie sites or to places where the actors stayed when a movie was made.

The films created a reality for these people, and they want to savor the pilgrimage to the places they have come to love through movies, a parallel movement of the heart to Catholics going on pilgrimages to Lourdes, or Fatima, or Walsingham. However, Our Lady Mary really, truly came to those places and the apparitions are considered real.

Not so with movie sites, as the film or book of the film are complete fantasies, unless the movies are documentaries. It seems that too many people live in fantasy worlds rather than the real world. This woman admits this, publicly, online. She prefers to seek out lovely places rather than face her fear of the future, which she rightly sees as one of lessened freedoms and financial setbacks. She tells all of us who know her that she wants to surround herself with beauty and light in the growing darkness she sees coming upon the West.

Her way of coping with reality is to escape it.

The Christian is not so lucky. As Christians who have been called by God to preach the Gospel and bring people to Christ, we have to face the difficulties of living in a pagan world, trying to spread the good news of Christ's salvific act, and His Divine Person, to a jaded world.

The travelling woman can stand in a green field and look at quaint houses which are all part of a story. But, the real story of sin, death, suffering, and resurrection alludes her. She admits to all of us who listen, and I do, as she wants the truth, but cannot yet accept Christ, that she will enjoy life until she no longer can do so, by living in the world of fantastical beauty. She is old enough to remember happier and more prosperous days, so she yearns for that fulfillment of grace and peace in the material world. I admire her ability to find beauty in the world, but am saddened that she cannot face suffering, which she believes is useless and unnecessary.

She, as many others do, denies the efficacy of suffering. She denies the need for the Crucifixion. Her god has never suffered or died.

Fantasies can be created easily, with the imagination taking over the senses and the intellect. To retreat into a fantastical world means that one can avoid unpleasantries and discomfort. Yet, my God calls me constantly to suffering.  My God will not allow me to substitute mountains or lakes, flowers or fantastical stories for Him and His story, which is the stuff of Redemption.

All of us seek comfort in stress, and as stress becomes more common for many reasons to the intelligent, awake human being, the retreat into fantasy becomes a strong drive. Perhaps retreating into the beauty of false worlds seems more real than the ugliness of the world. Some people create fantasies out of false apparitions, or even occult activities, which involve deceit. Some people create fantasies about their families, or even their Church communities.

God is Beauty, and there is nothing wrong with seeking out the good, the true and the beautiful. But, to suppress reality by denial, and to run away from the strife of spiritual warfare, make one less than human.

Fantasies destroy reason. Fantasies destroy real friendships. Porn is fantasy, and addiction to porn, like addiction to travelling or even reading fantasies, leads one out of reality an into the false never-neverland of denial.

To deny that we Catholics are on the edge of a great turning of civilization reveals that a person has chosen fantasy rather than reality. But, many people either are not willing to face reality, or cannot do so. Actually, none of us can face suffering with great graces from God. But, He wills to give us those graces, and to identify with our personal suffering. Christ does not lead us to anything He has not already suffered. And, He intimately shares in our own sufferings.

God is Real. He is. If we choose the worlds of fantasy over His world, we may find ourselves permanently outside His Life.

Pray for this good, but running woman. Running away from suffering denies the soul, food for growth. She admits she is doing this to many of us. But, she is not the only one. This time of hiding from suffering seems to be a common mode of living for many people.

I wish that the fantasy worlds would all disappear, freeing those inhabitants and making them seek the truth. I pray that those who are caught up in all types of fantasies will come to see that reality, even though sometimes painful, brings us closer to God.

Even evil in the world can be overcome and endured to reveal the glory of God. Such are the lives of the martyrs. These brave men and women never ran away from the truth, and, therefore, forever, not just on a vacation, they have been surrounded with Beauty, the Beauty of the Beatific Vision.