A New Age Litany

Gratitude to Bellator Dei for graphic.

Piecemeal … as I indicated last time, I hope to lay out in pieces over the next weeks what this weblog aspires to …

The World – we can start with the World and indeed the woes of this world, as we enter the twenty-first century …

Yes, dear Reader (and such is how I would like to address anyone who gives me the gift of reading with caring attention), you may find in this blog an all-too-familiar litany of social woes, indeed of tragedy and horror.

For I will not remain silent, regarding many of the tragedies of our modern age, consumerism, ruthless capitalism, ecological degradation, abortion, pornography and the sexualisation of our society and other forms of materialism as well.

Now, in the past I have sometimes been chided for my emphasis on this all-too-familiar litany. More often than not, it is a chiding – sometimes friendly – that has come from the New Age quarter of my life.

“The New Age quarter of my life” … Make no mistake, dear Reader, this is a quarter that more and more deeply troubles my soul, as I see the Christian Mystery being twisted,buried, despised and lost.

Now, so often this is not happening consciously. As I indicated last time, I see much sincerity and genuine idealism in so many participating in New Age spirituality.

Yet my heart cries out, as I see being buried the moral values and qualities of heart that come from the Sacred Heart.

And it seems to me, that the neo-paganism of the New Age movement is a force to be reckoned to with in this world. Perhaps that is why Providence seems not to let me lose contact with it.

Indeed, I write you these words from a sort of British ex-patriate “colony” in Southern Spain, where New Age values are often paramount and utter confusion reigns as to the true nature of Christianity.

I have not come to Spain out of affinity for this New Age “colony”, but for the most personal of reasons, including a dying member of my family. No need to say more of my personal details now. I only include this to indicate the Providence, which I believe keeps leading me to confront the growing force in the world of New Age spirituality.

It is also leading me to confront how often, many New Age values are supplanting Christian values. Thus, for example, how often do I see in these New Age values, the importance of attaining joy and positivity, so often at the expense, or so it seems to me, of moral striving.

Now according to certain New Age chiding, I maintain an attitude that is not sufficiently upbeat or positive or joy-filled.

I beg to differ. I hope dear Reader that if you persist with my weblog, you will find much that is joy filled, and filled moreover with gratitude and fire for the miraculous in life and the Miracle of Christianity.

At the same time, I would like to chide – in a friendly manner – some of my old New Age friends not to fall into the trap of closing their hearts to the tragedy of the world.

For this, in my experience is what the New Age perspective can often lead to, sometimes very subtly. For the need to “be positive” can lead to stigmatising those who suffer …

And here it seems to me is a principal difference in the way that New Age spirituality and Christian spirituality often manifests. Thus, elsewhere at this site, one may find that I quote from the backcover of one edition of Eckhart Tolle’s New Age bestseller The Power of Now.

The Power of Now can transform your thinking … The result? More joy – right now! “

So opines Oprah Winfrey. Then the blurb tells us:

To make the journey into the Power of Now, we will need to leave our analytical mind and ego behind … We can find our way out of psychological pain. Authentic human power is to be found by surrender to the Now … the present moment where problems do not exist … It is here that we discover that we are already complete and perfect.

As insufficient as a backcover blurb must necessarily be, I think we have here an indication – at least – of the enormous gulf between the values of a certain New Age orientation and Christianity.

For contrary to the common New Age idea that all spiritual paths amount to the same thing in essence, it would seem evident that there is an enormous gulf between an orientation that posits an already existent perfection , with a goal of finding one’s way out of pain by “authentic human power” and arguably leaving our human-ness “behind” — versus an orientation that is about the fallen-ness (and not perfection) of the human condition, which embraces suffering (rather finding “a way out”), which emphasises the need for Grace (rather than “human power”) and embraces human-ness (including the analytical mind) rather than leaving human-ness behind …

Yes, above I spoke of my heart weeping as it sees “being buried the moral values and qualities of heart that come from the Sacred Heart.”

For in my practical day to day experience, I seem to see ever more clearly the New Age triumph of values aimed at transcending pain and human-ness, yes the triumph of these values, over and above, the moral values associated with confessing our fallen nature and the moral striving that comes with that.

And yes, Christianity offers us as its central image the God who suffers, the God who so loves the world that He identifies completely with its suffering and its humanity. The incarnate God who in contrast to the Stoics of the West and to many in the East says: “Blessed are those who mourn.”

Soon I hope to reflect further on this counsel of Our Lord, that it is blessed to mourn …

From Amazon US:

These titles can also be found in our Amazon UK store here. There is also a review for each book at these links here: (Heart of the Redeemer) (The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque) (The Autobiography of Saint Margaret Mary) (France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart)


 

 

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