Guest Columnists

Dealing Wisely with Turbulent Times

by Father Eugene Hemrick

“IF ONLY I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest. Far away I would flee; I would stay in the desert. I would soon find a shelter from the raging wind and storm” (Ps 55:7-9).

Sadly, many people are fed up with our uncouth political atmosphere and echo the psalmist above. Some have told me they are thinking of going to Canada or even to Australia. In these difficult times, St. Paul gives us wise advice: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God” (Rom 12:2).

To achieve this, where do we start?

Proverbs 15:14 is the place, teaching us that “the discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”

We have entered a new age of information overload that enables us to tap into any subject and, within seconds, receive reams of information on it. With little to no fuss, I have often called up writings of people like Cicero, Goethe, Father Romano Guardini, Cardinal John Henry Newman and C.S. Lewis for use in a homily.

Like anything precious, there is always something lurking to turn it into folly. The “something” is our new “no fuss information age.” Reliable knowledge requires fuss, concern, wisdom and challenging questions like:

What is the difference between true knowledge and opinion? Is the available information the result of conscientious people who make every effort to be correct? Is it as pure as possible and devoid of selfish prejudice?

Nothing is more inspiring than trustworthy knowledge, and nothing is more disturbing than when it is misused and wrong.

In speaking of transforming our will, St. Paul tells us to configure our hearts to Christ’s heart. As Christ was desirous of goodness for others, so too, should we desire the good of others. We must wonder if today’s outlandish, destructive rhetoric is behind some wanting to leave this country.

Much of our unrest is the result of knowledge deprived of its sacredness. Knowledge is a gift of the Holy Spirit and as such is sacred. As one person confided, “I no longer want to live in this country because nothing is sacred anymore. We have lost our bearings.”

St. Paul urges us to transform our mind: the receptacle of knowledge and willpower. To the degree the two remain sacred, we will keep our bearings.

Father Hemrick is a syndicated columnist for Catholic News Service.