I've had at least four epic, life-impacting letdowns in my life:
1) As a younger child watching "Roots," and then "Holocaust." Moved my young soul to proclaim: "If this is what 'civilized adults' do and allow, I don't want any part of it." Cold bricks. So began the formation of a wall in my soul.
2) Finding certain magazines with younger friends in the woods, too young to understand what we were seeing. Awakening to the realization that the ugly, addictive and deadly "spirit" was not confined to those woods, but was beginning to contaminate an entire culture... MTV, cable, music, movies, Planned Parenthood, clothing styles... relationships. Proclaiming a bit louder: "If this is what 'civilized adults' do and allow, I don't want any part of it." More bricks becoming walls.
3) My parents returned from some event and accidently left flyers on the counter, depicting the atrocity of abortion... my devastation... for the children and the mothers... discovering that this was happening 4000 times every day: "If this is what 'civilized adults' do and allow, I don't want any part of it." The wall built that day eclipsed a big part of my young soul. The "adult" world had forfeited it's right for any regard from me.
4) Into high school, I found myself with my peers and members of my family breathing in the toxic fumes: "faith is a farce" / "do what you feel." I felt helpless watching so many individual souls and families close to me destroying themselves. Falling apart. Though I had a close group of friends who generally shared faith values, I often felt alone, helpless, alienated, judgemental and angry at the world falling apart around me. Where was God in all this? Where was the slightest indication of vitality among those who should be going after it? Where was the Catholic Church... beyond "religious" moments (thanks be to God, there were significant few)?
I was becoming part of the culture of adults either belching out the toxic fumes, or standing by and doing nothing, meriting zero regard from the next generation, building more walls.
None of this was covert. Our music loudly pronounced what our lives and souls experienced: "Sha... sha.. Sha… shattered!" "Teenage Wasteland" Our anthem: "All in all it's just another brick in the wall."
Fortunately, as incredibly dark as all this was, another movie I saw at a young age prepared me for the apocalyptic drama unveiling around and within me. It portrayed a man who, apparently seeing and feeling it all far more than I could imagine, entered into it. Of his own will. He left behind a Taj Mahal to enter this mess.
Somehow, he took it on himself. And you know what he did... with every brokenness, every bitterness, every lust, every anger, every anguish, every condemnation, every confusion, every sense of let down... every brick and wall we've built... he brought it down. He triumphed over it. He crucified, and was crucified, with it. And from the ashes, He rose again. What's even more awesome, as He is Jesus Christ, God made man... as He took on our nature, He made it possible for us to do the same in Him.
So if you have made unfriendly companions... if you've been journeying through life with resentment, bitterness, anger, hatred, lust, guilt, indignation, inadequacy, abuse, neglect... it's time you show them the door. Definitively. In Jesus Christ, you are no longer a slave! In Jesus Christ, you've been given all the grace poured out to conquer and walk anew in his light!
With the door to your soul opened (repentance simply means "to turn"), with the halls cleared out and washed clean... invite the very Breath of God, the Holy Spirit, to flood your soul with the Father's Love... His transforming, healing, renewing, permanent Grace. Allow Him to resume His dominion in Your soul which He fashioned for His indwelling!
And if you've done this just now, or any time in your life, how about shaking the gates of hell? How about reversing the orbit for you, your family and friends and this world around you and, right here and now declare: "I've been born again in Jesus Christ!" This IS a Catholic thing! Ever deeper, ever greater acceptance of His Grace purchased once and for all!
How about extending this invitation to anyone and everyone else you know! This is our destiny, our mission, our purpose. To set the captives free right now. (Luke 4:18)
May we not simply pray "thy kingdom come, thy will be done," with our lives, may we be His answer!