On the dark side

One forgets — purposely in my case — that a large part of the general public cannot cope with wit, drollness, or rhetorical conceits, is rendered apoplectic by dark humour, couldn’t get facts straight if they tried, and cannot read with attention. See the angry comments on almost any website. The Internet encourages not jolly debate, but the lynching behaviour that has come to dominate our political life.

To write at all, for public consumption in the world today, is to expose oneself to the myriad unhappy, and lately I’ve been feeling their wrath.

The Devil, too, lacks a sense of humour, except for sarcasm; but it is not a form of sarcasm that can pretend to be funny. Instead it is invariably bitter and cynical. He cannot bear to be mocked or teased, is constantly demanding “safe spaces,” and encourages the masses to worship idols. (These might be considered his masks.) His own mockery comes with a sting: he wants his targets suppressed, and punished.

Among the stratagems of the High Middle Ages, and of the Catholic Church through all times, is to laugh at the Devil’s expense. I try to play my part in this holy mission.

The Devil’s strategic response is to sponsor factions and political parties. From his point of view it would matter little what they stand for — so long as they are violently opposed to one another. He does play favourites when he can, however, strongly preferring the “culture of death” to the “culture of life,” and promoting all those who will take a bold lead in the advance of what is ugly, evil, and false, in the long game of subverting God’s intentions. We can’t defeat him on our own but, fortunately for us, he can be distracted.

Sometimes, so far as I can see, the Devil becomes so absorbed in the performance of some short-term mischief, that we can dodge or make end runs around him. (The image of the matador comes to mind.) And when the Devil is confronted by positive Sanctity he tends, like his followers, to “freak” or panic. I’m all for giving him a bad day.

The Adversary of God is our adversary, too, and through our freedom, God has given us a rôle in the fight. This is a great honour, though sometimes, in parallel with the ancient Hebrews, we might wish that we had not been Chosen. But we were, and are. We may fight on, as happy soldiers, or cut and run. We may even change sides, in the same freedom, from good to bad — or from bad to good. Count on the Devil to use all his wiles to make those choices murky.

At the moment, I notice that his efforts are directed to making every choice a political issue; to help us forget about God, and especially about Jesus, as much as possible. (This is why we should mention Him frequently.)

If, for instance, one has consciously taken God’s side, the Devil gets us so immersed in the political struggle, between Left and Right, that we can only imagine the fight in those terms. This, I think, is why when I or others write specifically on spiritual questions, we are answered with indifference, even from our co-religionists. But put, say, the word “Trump” into it, and there will be a series of explosions. These will come from both his supporters and his opponents, and it will lead only to cacophony, never to the still silence of Our Lord.

The $64.00 question: What do we really care about? For our salvation, and our neighbour’s salvation, or only for settling some scores?


Another puzzling Idlepost to leave my gentle reader, while I abscond. I shall disappear for a week or two, returning, should God will, in early June.