The Heart of the Matter: An Unlearned Lesson

Part 5 of 14 – This series of columns is based on the work of Fr. Chad Ripperger that analyzes the spirits of the past six generations and how those spirits have affected the Church.  We only ask that you consider whether his descriptions are true in a general sense, even if they do not describe you or people you know.

In order to understand the generational spirit that is emptying our churches today, Fr. Chad Ripperger takes us back five generations to those who lived between the First and Second World Wars, sometimes called the Lost Generation, who stoically endured the sufferings of two wars and the Great Depression.  But they didn’t attach any meaning to this suffering, and so had nothing to say to the next generation.  Ripperger notes,

Therein lies the beginning of the problem, in my estimation, that would lead to a complete societal breakdown. The generational spirit of the Lost Generation was the spirit of incommunication. That generation simply did not talk to their children or communicate to them the ability to embrace their cross, appropriate one’s suffering for virtue’s sake, in the way that they actually did it.

This lack of communicatzon left a void in the lives of their children, ones who saw the Depression as children and fought in WWII.   And so when the “hard times” were over, rather than imitate their parents, this new generation saw no reason to avoid indulging themselves.  Again, Fr. Ripperger sees this as something like a growing cloud darkening the landscape of faith.

While it is true that men and women of this [second] generation are some of the most decent people one will encounter, there was a flaw in this generation that began a cascade of events that would land us in the worst state in recent history. (all quotes taken from Latin Mass magazine, summer 2012)

The Gospel call to deny oneself was forgotten:

Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. To satisfy the one who recruited him, a soldier does not become entangled in the business affairs of life. Similarly, an athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to have the first share of the crop. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2Timothy 2:3-7)