We are supposed to read “the signs of the times,” says Jesus, and the fathers at the Second Vatican Council urged us to do the same. I used to say that they did have the times before their eyes – The New York Times. That was not fair. The documents expressed a good deal of skepticism for claims that the world of the 1960’s was on the verge of a new instauration of liberty, intelligence, social cohesion, artistic beauty, and peace among nations.
Still, that was a long time ago, and I don’t hear anyone, not even the current sexual revolutionaries in their flailing against everything sane and wholesome, claiming that we dwell in a fine and wonderful place. People do love to complain, and I am no exception; and it is often those who love old and threatened things who complain the most, because they are most apt to see the end drawing near. That does not mean they are right to complain. Some things, even good things, should come to an end, to be replaced by things that are better, taking it all in all.
And yet sometimes they are not replaced. They are merely destroyed. Then those who read the signs of the times must do something that the wisest of us will find difficult to do. We must read not what is there, but what is not there. We must “see” what is missing.
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