Today I saw at First Things a review of three books along a common theme. Guess which three books they were.
Here is an interesting point (for links to the books, scroll down):
All three of these books make reference to the decline and fall of Rome. Esolen’s Out of the Ashes begins with a quote from Livy lamenting the eclipse of the Roman Republic, followed by lines from St. Jerome after the sack of Rome in 410. Esolen writes that America, like Rome, declined not ultimately “from without,” but instead fell by “sagging into lethargy and indifference from within.” Both Dreher in The Benedict Option and Archbishop Chaput in Strangers in a Strange Land devote pages to the famous closing lines in Alasdair MacIntyre’s sweeping critique of liberal modernity, After Virtue….
Originally Published on: Mar 13
I suspect that many of us are acutely aware that things are not going well in the world and in the Church. Structures are toppling, literally. What to do?
I’ll have more to say about this one in the future. And, no, it isn’t a science fiction book. (Some of you will get that reference.)
Along the same line … which goes to show that great minds think alike…
What to do?
Do we rebuild? Do we walk away from the wreckage and withdraw? Do we engage? De we retreat?
I’ll be attending soon a talk about this very matters with Rod Dreher, who will spark some conversation about these matters in The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation– US HERE – UK HERE This is to be released on 14 March (tomorrow, as I write), and so it is available now, today, at a greatly reduced pre-order price. I’m putting it on my Kindle Wishlist.
BTW… “Benedict” here refers to St. Benedict, the 6th c. abbot.
Meanwhile, let’s have some Yeats:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?