Fr. Jeffrey Kirby: The Shame of the Cowardly Shepherds

There is a spiritual battle going on within the fallen heart of humanity. We have been created by and for God. Our soul naturally longs for him and the things that surround him. Our fallenness, however, desires the passing things of “the flesh,” the disordered love for pleasure, comfort, and power. The battle rages within us.

The battle reflects the two roads described by the Lord Jesus, one leading to eternal life and the other to perdition. (Matthew 7:13-14) It’s the tension behind the way of the Spirit and the way of the flesh described in many places by Saint Paul. It lies behind Saint Augustine’s two cities, Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s two standards, and – more recently – Pope Saint John Paul II’s two cultures. The battle is real, tangible, and observable.

The spiritual battle is the reason for a culture war in our contemporary world. As in the fallen human heart, so in society. No believer seeks a culture war, no person of goodwill desires it. A culture war exists, however, wherever two ways of life are in competition for the soul of humanity.

The evitability of a culture war is plainly visible to those who seek the way of virtue and holiness. A culture war isn’t odd to those who seek to work out their salvation in Jesus Christ. It is an almost given state of affairs in a fallen world that seeks redemption beyond its own devices and machinations. It has been understood, grasped, and prepared for by the saints, spiritual masters, and mystics for over two millennia.

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