THE BIG MISTAKE
Fatima Staff Report
February 22, 2018
After the fatal shooting of 17 high school students and staff in Florida, we witnessed the usual reaction from politicians and talking heads. The Left immediately demanded more restrictions on gun ownership and blamed the National Rifle Association, the President and the Republican Party for the slaughter. The Right attacked the Left for politicizing a tragedy. Law enforcement tried to shift the blame onto the public: “If you see something, say something,” became the police mantra. Then, it was learned that people saw something and said something and the FBI and the local police heard it and did nothing.
The talking heads, putting on their gravest on-camera faces, spoke in somber tones about the need to spot and treat mental-health disorders and how to keep guns out of the hands of unbalanced and potentially dangerous people. A few sane commentators were brave enough to point out that no law or policy can stop murderers from murdering, but they were drowned out by the incessant babble in the theater of the absurd that the mainstream media have become.
The general assumption echoed in the media is that such incidents are problems for social engineers, that is, legislators and public officials: this can be fixed and we can fix it. Why do so many assume that such things can be fixed? Because the overarching belief of our culture is that the world exists to make us happy. So, when the world fails in its designated purpose, something is amiss and we must address it and make it right.
We do hear the word “evil” used in a loose way to characterize eruptions of homicidal rage, but there is never any exploration of what is meant by “evil.” It merely becomes a synonym for something of which we strongly disapprove. Evil is always externalized.
But evil arises from within. It has observable effects, but its cause is not a phenomenon: it abides as an inclination in the disordered will of every human being. Our attention is turned outward, toward the world. We feel we are lacking and that the world can give us something that will make us full and complete. And we set about trying to rearrange the world in a way that we think will make us happy. But we never succeed.
Despite repeated demonstrations of the fact that evil is not external, not a social structure that can be modified, the secular world persists in its futile quest for the perfect conjunction of law and public policy. But on what criteria are such rearrangements to be based? One cannot eliminate an effect without addressing the cause.
To attribute mass murder to the availability of weapons is to mistake an instrumental cause for an efficient cause. Were guns to be removed from the face of the Earth today, there would still be murder tomorrow, for the murderers will remain among us. As Islamic terrorists continue to demonstrate, trucks, vans and cars, along with acid, knives and explosives, are effective means of maiming and killing. The will to murder is the cause of murder. The means are incidental.
So, from where does the will to murder arise? Our Lord says, “Satan was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). The desire to destroy, the “animus delendi,” arises from the hatred of what God has made. Satan hates the Divine order because it is not his order: he cannot create, so he despises creation. The capital sins are seven in number, but they are one in essence: the desire to be God. This is the desire to be what one is not; the desire for what is impossible. Hell is the torment of this unquenchable desire.
And from the rage of this pain, when it afflicts an individual human being, murder issues forth. We look at incidents such as the school shooting in Florida, and we are horrified. Yet, we look at the world, where such atrocities are multiplied a thousand-fold as matters of government policy, and we think it is somehow normal. Most wars arise from the desire to remake the world according to the will of the powerful. People are shot, bombed, burned, imprisoned and tortured to achieve a certain desired re-arrangement of the creation.
Satan has an entry into the human heart in the form of pride: the desire to have it our way and to remove any obstacles to our desire. When this insistence on our will becomes overpowering, others are sacrificed to it. Our will becomes god; others become the sacrifice laid upon the altar of this god. The world bleeds from such sacrifices. Our air is choked with the thick smoke of the burnt offerings to the human will.
Our Lord came as a sacrifice. He placed Himself on the cross and said, “I am the Lamb of God.” He offered Himself as atonement for our sins, but also as an example of what we must do if we are not to follow satan by following our own will. We have to accept the Divine order. We have to say, “Thy will be done,” which also means, “My will be forsaken.”
So long as we do not surrender our will to God, the murderer, satan, will lurk in the dark recesses of our heart. He will be there, saying: “Have it your way. Why not? You know what’s best. Destroy all that stands against you.” We may do this in little ways, through the countless venial sins we commit; or we may do it in large ways, through robbery and murder. The degree of evil varies, but the cause is ever the same: my world, my will, my way.
Our Lady of Fatima came to tell us that unless we turn away from evil, we will suffer greatly. Are we not suffering now? Has the world ever been a darker, fouler, more dangerous place than it appears to be at present? We all sense that chaos is building, like pressure beneath the surface, and is starting to erupt. Everyone is insisting upon his will. The world is becoming the war of all against all.
The only hope we have is to turn to Our Lady and do what She asked so that satan might be rooted out of our hearts, out of the world. The peace that Our Lady promised is ours for the asking, but we have to ask in the right way: through loving obedience to the Divine will.