"our hearts were burning"

The Second Coming

Not to be an alarmist, but it does seem that we are at a tipping point in our society, a nexus of upheaval that threatens to loosen the ties that bind us together.  I’d submit that this maelstrom of madness that consumes our attention, not only in headlines but also in the mix of living our everyday lives, threatens people of faith and conscience and decency on so many levels.

Just look at the list:  Planned Parenthood selling baby parts and baby bodies to the highest bidder, the extremities of gender confusion, jack-boot stomping on freedom of thought and religious expression, same-sex marriage, thousands of humans being sacrificed daily on the altar of abortion, government interference and court rulings designed to stifle religious beliefs, political manipulations and sell-outs, corporate money controlling the political process, attacks on traditional marriage and the structure of the family, dissolution of our democracy into an autocracy, men becoming women and women becoming men in a gender-bending charade, the apparent rise of a secular humanist society that accents only the primacy of the individual and works to dissolve the necessary boundaries of eternal truths.

How did we come this far from home, and where are we going?  In that context I offer a poem titled “The Second Coming” by the great Irish poet, William Butler Yeats.  Look on it as a parable, much in the way of the parables that Jesus used in his teachings.  A parable requires that you dig in and tease out the meaning . . . and perhaps the warning.  A poem, like a parable, is not a sermon.  It calls upon your emotions and your intellect to think and ponder — and by doing so to reach that moment of clarity where you understand, where you feel the truth.  Make of it what you will:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!  Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight:  somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

– William Butler Yeats


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