In troubled times, I like to look towards the sage advice of Bishop Fulton Sheen. In Chapter 10 of his book, WAY TO HAPPINESS, Fulton J. Sheen explained The Need of Revolution
Nietzsche, the nineteenth-century philosopher, tried to express the temper of his age in the statement, "God is dead" by which he meant that men, in his period, were losing their faith. He also cast a prophetic eye towards the future and foretold that the twentieth century would be one of wars and revolutions. His two statements were associated with a deeper logic than the inventor of the "superman" philosophy knew: men who have ceased to love God will not love their neighbors for very long and they will find particular difficulty in trying to love that special neighbor, their enemy.
This is, indeed, a century of revolutions. But it need not go down in history as a period when revolutions were entirely economic and political. There is always the possibility open to us of making ours the time of glorious revolutions, of revolutions against ourselves. A revolution is involved whenever any soul dethrones the ego which has mastered him and submits, instead, to the principle of love. A revolution occurs whenever humility replaces pride in us, and we abandon the foolish striving for "success" and notoriety.
This type of home-made revolution has its pattern in the action of Our Lord Himself; the night before He died for the redemption of the world, He knelt before His followers, as if He were least of them all. Earlier in His teaching life, He had often told them not to seek the first seats at the table, not to desire to be known among men. When the Apostles disputed among themselves as to which of them was the greatest, He called for a revolution in their values.
He had told them: “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who rule over them win the name of benefactors. With you, it is not to be so; no difference is to be made among you between the greatest and the youngest of all, between him who commands and him who serves. Tell me, which is greater: the man who sits at the table, or the man who serves him? Surely, the man who sits at the table; yet I am here among you, as your servant."
Our Lord had instituted the revolution of humility in words before; now He put it into practice after the Last Supper, when “He laid his garments aside, took a towel and put it about him; and then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples, wiping them with the towel that girded him." Slaves were assigned, in those days, to such menial tasks as this. It was a topsy-turvy event on a gigantic scale to have the Master of Masters, the King of Kings kneel down at twenty-four calloused, sweaty feet and make them clean-as His absolution still makes clean our calloused hearts and our soiled souls. All human values were forever reversed in the startling revolution Christ declared in the words: “The man who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted."
At the moment these words were uttered, Caesar lost his throne. The principle of exploitation was undone, and arrogance and pride were shown the door. From now on, all Christians had been warned against judging as the world judges, against seeking for themselves the rewards the world can give. As water dripped from His hands that night, the old systems of morality were rendered obsolete, and the noblest concepts of the ancients became inadequate for man. From now on, the worst of all possible disorders of the soul were known: they were the failure to serve others, the accounting of oneself as being worthy of special privilege. A new law had been born: it revealed the equality of all men before God and went on to declare the beauty of humility. He Who had humbled Himself by becoming a man now multiplied the gift and underscored the lesson when He reduced His infinity to the service of His servants.
Revolution within the soul is the Christian adventure. It requires no hatred, demands no personal rights, claims no exalted titles, is not turn of the enemy, tells no lies. In such a revolution, it is love which bores from within and acts as a Fifth Column, loyal to God, within our tangled and disordered selves. Such a revolution destroys pride and selfishness, the envy and jealousy and longing to be "first." which makes us intolerant of others' rights. The sword it carries is not turned against our neighbor, but against our absurd overvaluation of the self. In other revolutions, it is easy to fight, for it is against the "evil enemy" that we are at war. But the Christian revolution is difficult, for the enemy we must assault is a part of us. Yet this is the only revolution that ever issues in true peace: other rebellions are never ended, for they stop short of their goal: they leave hatred still simmering in the soul of man.
Contemporary thinking is directed towards a revolution in the external world of nations and classes, races and parties and cliques. But Our Divine Lord did not take as His first task the social revolution; He first remade individual man through the Resurrection and then, later, by sending His spirit into man, He regenerated the old world's society.
St. Augustine said: “They that perturb the peace they live in, do it not for hate of it, but to show their power in the alteration of it." Wars come when men project their inner conflicts onto the outside world; peace will come when many men have waged the inner revolution in which their pride is broken and their selfish ambition is destroyed. The peace that follows on such spiritual warfare can act as a happy contagion from soul to soul, bringing peace on earth to all men of goodwill.
This begs the question: are we in a revolution today? Look at the signs around us. Political turmoil domestically is the norm. No matter what form of social media, newspaper, or television program you can not run away from the screaming headlines. Look at the signs in the Church- are we in a revolution today? Can you have Church that picks and chooses what to believe or not believe without having the authority to do so? Was the 19th century truly the century of revolution? Maybe we are about to make the 21st century the true century of protest. God is not Dead, He is listening. Are we just dead stone deaf to His voice? Being deaf to His voice is a great deal different than God being dead.
April 8, 1966, Time Magazine put on their cover that God Was Dead. Now almost fifty-five years later what has changed? Well, one thing for sure- Time Magazine is Dead. Magazines are no longer the mainstay of our society.
No one could have seen that coming in 1966 but today when you can read news immediately from all corners of the world as it happens, why would you want to wait for a magazine to put together a story and publish weeks or months later? Isn’t this a wee bit ironic? We want instant knowledge on all things immediately. We would in essence like to become like God- all-knowing. Our revolution that has taken place in the 21st century is the revolution of technology. Now, we are the captains of our own fate. We have at our finger-tips the seeds of our own distraction- the cell phone. We have apps for everything. Soon we will have an app for confessions, baptism, and Mass. Brothers and Sisters- God is Not Dead, we are. We need to wake from this path and return to listen to Him- not an app. Apps do not get us to the next world, only he does. In a world full of revolution, do not be distracted by the circus around us. Keep your eyes on the prize and your seats in the pews. The contemporary revolution is trying to pit part of society against each other. This is not new, this is not right, and this will not work. We can not lose our faith especially now when it is needed more than ever before.