News And Views
Two Gathered Together – The Force Awakens
By Tim Bishop
We are friends with a husband and wife who would not be offended if we described him as a Star Wars geek. Let’s call them Socrates and Sophia. Socrates has populated his basement recreation room with more – let’s call them “collectible action figures,” so as not to arouse the ire of geekdom – than there are people in some small cities! He has seen and brilliantly analyzed every episode in the series multiple times. Socrates holds a Masters Degree in philosophy and shares his cultural knowledge and Catholic faith with his fortunate students. Sophia and Socrates aren’t just sci-fi geeks, they are Catholic geeks as well. They don’t stop at investing in a cultural touchstone, they are also committed to the rock upon which Christ built his church. They even go to the extreme of praying together – every day! We’ve heard of Catholic married couples doing this, but we have never before seen an example of it in the wild.
Donna and I have been inspired to try this strange practice ourselves. Our Lord tells us, “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I also am.” We recently have begun each day to say a short discursive prayer (I got that from Socrates – look it up) and a couple spontaneous personal prayers. Our spontaneous prayers could use some rehearsing, though… Anyway, prayer, like the Force, is a powerful thing. We have experienced some early and immediate efficacious results from this new practice. We are also increasingly aware our combined prayers can be threatening to certain powers and principalities which shall remain nameless. There is a dark side to the Force. A couple praying together is a strong influence which doesn’t go unnoticed. C.S. Lewis examines this in his book, The Screwtape Letters. Mediocrity and moderation can be fertile environments for evil to flourish. We are told in Revelation to be hot or cold so we do not become distasteful to our God, who will spit us out if we are merely lukewarm.
We recently had an opportunity to raise our temperatures with Catholic Christian culture. The Divine Mercy Plenary Indulgence gave us a chance to give God, and ourselves, more than the forty-five minutes of time we ration to our spiritual lives each week. Confession, Communion, a prayer for the pope’s intentions, a Divine Mercy related devotion and you are the fortunate recipient of temporal relief from forgiven sin. Purgation of that sin in this life or the next is no longer required. This reminds me of another C.S. Lewis book, The Great Divorce. It is one of the best insights into Purgatory and human nature ever written.
The Church offers many opportunities to be a Catholic Christian geek! It is so much more fun than being a mere deist! We sometimes hear people say that they believe in God, but don’t believe in any of that religious stuff. That religious stuff, though, offers the discipline and support every believer needs to persevere in the love of God and others. G.K. Chesterton said, “It has been often said, very truly, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary.”
Our small insignificant efforts at prayer are not examples of heroic virtue by any means. But, God can take them to heart like an indulgent parent proudly displaying a homely little drawing on the refrigerator. Just be aware that making the commitment to reflect even a tiny ray of the Divine light will offend those who love the darkness.