It is more important for us to strengthen churches, start schools, and build up the local community than it is to shore up the imperium. I want America to prosper, but it is far more important to be a faithful Christian than it is to be a good American. The two should not conflict, but when they do, we have got to know on whose side we are on. We have got to know who our true king is.
–Rod Dreher, author of the Benedict Option

Solidarity

I am really enjoying R. R. Reno’s new book, Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. I can’t help but share the following paragraphs:

We’re facing a crisis of solidarity, not freedom, and this crisis of solidarity foretells a crisis of freedom. Atomized, isolated individuals adrift in a deregulated moral culture are easily dominated, whether by political manipulators or the directionless leadership of mass culture.

A Christian society recognizes the importance of solidarity. Christians know we serve neither history nor destiny nor progress. We are not drawn together by GDP. An ever-greater utility, fevered dreams of sexual freedom, and equality of the sexes are devouring abstractions, not bases for solidarity. A frictionless free market may promote economic growth, but it cannot bind us together as a living community. A nation is more than a scaled-up limited liability corporation. As our shared civil life is diminished, a Christian seeks the common good. He criticizes America, but with a spirit of loyalty, resisting the post-patriotic mentality. We mustn’t seek the social weightlessness that liberates the rich and powerful while atomizing and disempowering most citizens. To love our neighbor we need to love our neighborhood.

Mary: Vessel of the New Creation

For International Women’s Day

I have been learning a lot from Benedict XVI’s analysis of the genealogies of Jesus. Here is what is said about Matthew’s genealogy, particularly in reference to Mary:

Yet most important of all is the fact that the genealogy ends with a woman: Mary, who truly marks a new beginning and relativizes the entire genealogy. Her child does not originate from any man, but is a new creation, conceived through the holy Spirit. The genealogy is still important: Joseph is the legal father of Jesus. Through him Jesus belongs by law, ‘legally’, to the house of David. And yet he comes from elsewhere, ‘from above’– from God himself. The mystery of his provenance, his dual origin, confronts us quite concretely. His origin can be named and yet is a mystery. Only God is truly his ‘father.’ The human genealogy has a certain significance in terms of world history. And yet in the end it is Mary, the lowly virgin from Nazareth, in whom a new beginning takes place, in whom human existence starts afresh.