by Howard Hain
I hear, ironically mostly among clergy, that the spiritual classic “The Imitation of Christ” is no longer really relevant—that it is too hard, too negative, too oppressive—written for a time when plagues and famines and wars were rampant, when men hardly lived to what we now call “middle age.” But most of all, perhaps, I am told through cute smirks and smug expressions that it is a book not for our “age”, that it no longer applies to our advanced “civilization”, that it no longer rings true in the triumphant “West”.
I ask: Are we free of plagues, free of war, free of famine?
Are not our priests and religious sisters dying off rapidly? Are not babies systematically massacred inside their mothers’ womb? Are not children starving for their fathers to marry their mothers, for there to be a man who actually lives in the same home?
Do we no longer thirst?
Or have we “moved passed” Christ’s inconvenient cry from the Cross?
It seems to me that Christ Himself put little value on living past “middle age”.
Perhaps imitating Him would not be such a barbaric idea.
Lord, have mercy on us.