It used to be that the western world was a predominantly Christian society, based on the Judeo-Christian tradition and ethos. Our comings and goings and the ebb and flow of time and space was primarily governed by the Gregorian calendar’s calculation of time and place in whatever part of the world that Christians usually lived in, mostly Europe and later, the Americas.

It was considered only natural and normal to preface one’s remarks or to note an event as taking place in ‘the year of our Lord’, then list the year after Christ’s birth, because it was a self-evident truth and universally-accepted convention in western society that this was how we calculated time, that it was according to the Gregorian calendar, which was a Catholic adaptation of the Julian calendar which the pagan Roman emperors had developed and that subsequent to Christ’s birth was the starting point after which our entire civilization was based upon.

This all began to change rather rapidly after the so-called ‘Enlightenment’, a period in the history of Western Europe and Britain which saw massive social upheavals including not only the Industrial Revolution in Britain and throughout the continent, but also the overthrow of many absolute Monarchies in such places as France and elsewhere eventually, the chopping off of the heads of Kings and Queens, priests, nuns, nobles, the French national anthem even goes so far as to speak of ‘our furrows running red with blood’, in reference to all those of the old order who were sacrificed at the altar of the new gods of secular republicanism, ‘liberty’, ‘equality’ and ‘fraternity.’

Subsequent to this very violent and anti-clerical, anti-monarchical and anti-theistic movement, which seemed to have more to do with the redistribution of temporal power, wealth, privilege, prestige, property and conflicts of personalities than any true discussion of spirituality and faith, many people in civil society began to lose faith in organized religion and traditional Christian denominations began rapidly losing their traditional temporal grip on the collective psyche of society, which they seem to have been only able to have maintained throughout the centuries through a complex combination of theocratic convergence and moral, spiritual, juridico-legal and physical coercion.

Hence, now given the ‘freedom’ to act and think ‘freely’, meaning, in an increasingly unrestricted and un disciplined and non-directed and un-nurturing fashion, people began to, by default, seek out the solace and direction of the light of every passing ship in the night. This has been going on now ever since the late 18th century and we are now paying very heavily for its consequences.

For as the level of ‘liberation’, ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ in western society has increased exponentially through almost exponential increases in material living standards including science and technology, education, medicine, popular culture, access to information and knowledge, consumer goods and services, discretionary spending, credit, food and drink, opportunities for leisure, travel, recreation and so on, the more the western world is now replete and overwrought with people who are increasingly materially and spiritually poor, obese, in debt, sick, uncultured, misinformed, ignorant, illiterate, uncultured, hungry and thirsty both physically and spiritually and addicted to all manner of toxic behaviours such as alcoholism, drugs, prescription medication, junk food, sex, porn, gambling, hoarding and compulsive shopping, just to name a few.

Surely if we examine this situation we can see that the presence of the Evil One is at play here. As the old expression goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ All those French, German and British Enlightenment luminaries were of course products of their time. They saw egregious injustice and they immediately and instinctively pointed their fingers at the sources of the injustice which they perceived to be God, the Church, the King, and his priests and trusted servants. ‘just get rid of all this servile superstitious poppycock and let men be free and they’ll make decisions that will free both them and all humanity’, was basically the mantra of many of the Enlightenment luminaries, especially those in France, where the temporal abuses of monarchy, nobility and clergy had been so glaringly evident.

So out went the baby with the bathwater, as the old expression goes. The Evil One was surely present when such violent upheaval took place and men and women were driven mad with blind rage and blood lust brought on by hundreds of years of poverty, hunger, injustice and deprivation. Men’s hearts became inflamed with the blood lust of vengeance, revenge and retribution, all fueled all the more by hunger, there being a lack of food for several of the years during which the French Revolution took place.

The Industrial Revolution with its subjection of humanity to the cruel imperatives of the so-called ‘free market’, which enabled a relative handful of men to accumulate fabulous quantities of temporal wealth while destroying and despoiling so much of the natural environment as well as demoralizing and destroying so many lives and souls in the process, has not  helped matters either. All of this violence perpetrated upon the collective soul of humanity as well as generation after generation of individuals has left western society much-depleted morally and spiritually and has left our social fabric for all and intents and purposes, in tatters as the Industrial revolution unleashed such fierce and unbridled expectations and hopes for temporal prosperity and sharing of wealth on the part of the poor, women, the mentally-challenged, the mentally ill, homosexuals and virtually every possible constituency imaginable which had heretofore been subject to ‘exclusion’ in the past.

This great and unprecedented unleashing of productive energy and desire for temporal prosperity and fairness to be shared by all, seeing that the wealth-creating classes of factory owners, bankers and merchants had seen fit to become prosperous in their turn through the process of subjugating and exploiting the labouring classes’ physically productive , moral and spiritual substance without justly compensating them for their sacrifices, ultimately led the world to fighting two orgiastically self-indulgent world wars in the 20th century alone. This has only served to desanctify and desacralize all that had previously been considered sacred and to profane it through the process of scientifically organized and executed human butchery, all of which was then followed in 1945 with the promise of unlimited material abundance to assuage our spirit sickness caused by at the very least, ten years of material deprivation in the depression and six years of spiritual degradation in the war, not to mention all that had come before and since.. We were also promised as a balm for our spirit sickness, a universal entitlement to as much secular government largesse as we wanted, and this, apparently, in perpetuity, in exchange for this great and terrible sacrifice and calamity which we had most recently endured and which, we were told, we would ‘never again’ be asked to endure.

However, one can easily see the work of the Evil One in the Law of Unintended Consequences. All problems create solutions which create new problems. The Devil’s in the details as they say. Read the fine print. The complexity of the technocratic, infotainment and econometrically driven society which we have created has now grown to be beyond our own ability to even control it much less be masters of it. Therein lays the Beast. We have created a multi-headed Gorgonesque Medusa with snakes in her heads slithering everywhere off into the farthest recesses of the technocratic, infotainment and agro-industrially-driven junk food culture of postmodern western society.

The best we can do at this point is try and save ourselves and as many others as we can in our entourage before the inevitable fall from grace into the abyss. One only has to go to any music store to see just how big the Heavy Metal section has grown and continues to grow, or the Goth music. Or just go online and just type in ‘666’ and see the multitude of Satanic sites, chat rooms and occult worship, black and white magic cults and sects, pagan worship and so on.

Every time there is a mass shooting anywhere in the western world, the media doesn’t report on it every time, but sometimes snippets leak out that the typically young, marginal, solitary male was somebody who was known to frequent these kinds of websites, or had been involved in a suicide pact online with other young people, or had a fetish for online shooter games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’, or had been frequenting some obscure occult or pornographic websites in the lead up to the incident.

To me this is a sign that the Devil is on the loose and is now embedded more than ever within the very marrow and fabric of western secular society, to the point that his pervasively-pernicious presence has achieved such an omnipresent critical mass as to be no longer even noticeable. People have simply grown accustomed to the presence of the evil in their midst and seem to be shrugging their shoulders apathetically as if to say ‘what can you do? It’s terrible what’s happening, but I feel powerless to do anything about it.’ Or, ‘I’m just so busy getting by in today’s world that who’s got time to get involved with politics to try and change things? Both me and my spouse are working full time.’ Or ‘I’m a single Mom with two kids and I’m working full time to support them. Who’s got time to be involved with politics? All those politicians are a bunch of crooks anyways; they’re just in it for the money and the pension at the end of it!!!’

Again, one can easily see and feel the presence of the Evil One in all this, in how the outcome of everything I’ve mentioned in these lines since the dawn of the Enlightenment has spawned this so-called society of ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’, ‘democracy’, ‘growth’, ‘progress’ and  ‘progressivism.’ I can suggest though that as a true balm for what ails us we can rely on some true ‘ail’, that is to say the French word for ‘garlic’, which like its physiological characteristics wards off illness, can also ward off the ‘evil spirits’, ‘vampires’, ‘demons’ or the Devil himself through its application in our lives.

This ‘ail’ I speak of is of course the time-honoured and trusted balm and armour of our faith in Jesus Christ and in his most Holy Catholic Church. As Saint Paul said in today’s second reading for the First Sunday of Advent in his Letter to the Romans 13:11-14, ‘Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light…Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.’

In this fallen world not only are there only two things which are sure, those being death and taxes, but thirdly there is the promise of eternal redemption and salvation, of making it through the narrow gate, for many are called but few are chosen. There are many rooms in my Fathers house, but how many of us are willing to engage in the struggle, to fight the good fight every moment, to run the race to the finish and not give up right near the finish line. Aye, these are the noble knights and ladies of honour who shall inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

The Evil One may continue his vain attempt to pervert and corrupt the Children of the Light, but he cannot ever vanquish. For the source of the Light is eternal. The tragedy remains that the Bearer of the Light chose to renounce his duties and no longer execute them honourably by bearing the Light up high for all to see. The Light has since fallen into a fallen world and needs us all to hold it up high each in our own small way as we venture our way through this mortal coil towards our final reconciliation with the Light.

The western world may no longer be predominantly Christian, but as a result the Light of Christ now shines forth throughout the entire planet and into the farthest reaches of the jungles of Indonesia, Africa and Latin America. The Good News is indeed being spread to all the nations. What misfortune has befallen us in the west is now being made up for by ever greater victories for the faith in the south and the east. May God bless our most Holy Catholic Church and her most blessed servant Pope Francis as we move forward together on this great journey of the new Evangelization.

The Saviour cometh, be ready!!! Or as the bumper sticker once said ‘Jesus is coming, look busy!!!’ Have a great Sunday folks. God Bless.

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