Everybody´s Fine?

Somewhere in France …

Returning from Holy Mass recently one morning, I felt very sad.

I found myself sitting opposite a large poster advert for a film called Everybody´s Fine.

The poster, like most forms of advertising, is designed to draw people in and it is successful. I found it difficult not to look at it – it took an act of will.

And what I found myself trying to refrain from, was a very large image of four smiling faces.

Four smiling faces that appeared insincere to me. The insincerity of the image and the title seemed to hit me powerfully. As if to say: Let´s all smile as everything´s fine! I may appear cynical, but that is how I felt.

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Now the film itself may have nothing to do with what I am saying here. I am simply commenting on my experience of being confronted with such a large and overpowering image, particularly having just come from Holy Mass.

Holy Mass, where I experienced a literal meeting with The Way, The Truth and The Life.

Where I literally received Our Lord into my mouth, into my body. His Flesh and Blood mingled with mine.

And in so doing I became close to Him, in some way, one with Him. This was a True meeting of The Life.

This to me is the ‘real world’. Holy Mother Church brings us directly to the ‘real world’, to Him. So few participate in this meeting with the ‘real world’, with Him, so few.

And now I am confronted with this large image of a very different world. One that I imagine is what is longed for by many.

To me, this is a false world. A world that does not acknowledge its brokenness, its fallenness. A world that is centred around looking good, and feeling good. A world that does not drop to its knees in humble admission of sin.

In order to meet Him, as in Holy Communion, it is necessary to feel one´s pain.

Drop to your knees, feel the fear, the anger, the frustration of the wrongs that you commit, the wrong that lies within you.

Feel it, be sorry for it, confess it and allow Him through the mediation of absolution to transform, to aid you by means of His grace. This is what we pray for in the confiteor.

But we cannot sincerely do so, unless we feel what we really are: broken, fallen, weak. That we really feel how much we need Him in order to find through His grace, the strength to stand tall again.

Life is not simply about looking good or feeling good, it is about facing evil. Evil in ourselves, evil everywhere. And it is about feeling our need for Him, The Way The Truth and The Life, brought to us directly each and every day through Holy Mass.

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