Hennessy's View

Glad I Won’t Be Around

I was about five or six the first time I heard my mom say, “I’m glad I won’t be around to see it.” I didn’t understand what she was saying. Nonetheless, it felt ominous and unsettling. I let it go.

I’m not sure when I heard it the second time, phrased slightly differenlty: “I won’t be alive when … .”

I don’t remember what the “when” was. It didn’t matter. What mattered was my mother not being around anymore.

That was about 1969 or 1970. My mom has since gone on to not being around here to see things.

And now I find myself saying, “I’m glad I’m not going to be around to see it.”

I Am Not Alone

I’m reading a book called The Benedict Option by conservative writer Rod Dreher. I’m not ready to review it all yet. I am amazed that Mr. Dreher feels a lot like I do.

We’re both giving up on the West. We cannot stop its suicide, so we must prepare to live in the post-western world. Just as early Christians prepared to live in a post-Roman world.

America is dying. Not as fast as Europe, but fast. The Christian principles upon which Western Civilization was founded and which reached its zenith in 20th Century America are dying now. It’s up to us, the living Christians, to preserve some things, to nurture them through the new Dark Age.

Those things include science (vs. scientism), philosophy (vs. nihilism), and, of course, Christianity.

It’s Giving Up, But Giving Up What?

Friends have criticized me for “giving up.” I have no defense. I have given up. And, for that, the world will hate me.

“This is My command to you: Love one another. If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.…” John 15:17-19

What I have given up, or what I am still trying to give up, is my attachment to the created world, especially the part of the world that was so blessed by God and has turned so resentfully away from Him.

I’m giving up on America and the West so that I have time and energy to attach myself to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. A man cannot serve two masters, you know. (Matthew 6:24)

Consider this, then, my declaration of independence from the world, my acknowledgment that Jefferson was right: when one breaks the ties that bind it to another, he owes an explanation.

My Explanation

I want to go to heaven. I want to cooperate with God. The United States and most American people have made it impossible to engage in politics and cooperate in God’s plan. Everyone has to choose this world or the next one. I want to choose the next one.

I don’t believe America can be saved from its self-inflicted debasement. I was afraid to say it out loud until I read The Benedict Option and this line in particular:

Politics cannot save us.

That line reminded me of things I’ve written here in recent months:

Each of those posts only hinted at what Rod Dreher announces boldly in The Benedict Option: It’s time to give up on America.

So that’s where I stand. I still shake my fist at unjustice and stupidity, but that’s just for fun now. Habit. I don’t expect anything, good or ill, from America.

Call me selfish, but I don’t feel like following America down the road to hell. I’m with Rod Dreher. If someone doesn’t start new monastaries to preserve the principles upon which America is founded, there won’t be another one. And, while we might not be around to see the New America, we owe it to future generations to preserve the heirloom seeds of republican government founded on principle in the Bible.

If we stay too close to the world, we will become part of it, losing our heritage in Christ. Sometimes the only way to save something is to lose it.

St. Louis de Montfort’s Greatest Work

St. Louis de Montfort wrote seminal books on Mary and the Rosary. But they were not famous in time. They were almost lost to the French Revolution as it tried to burn Christianity out of existence.

Fr. Donald H. Callaway writes about St. Louis de Montfort in Champions of the Rosary

Prophetically, St. Louis de Montfort had anticipated demonic hatred for his treatise on true to devotion to Mary. Before his death, he wrote: “I clearly foreseethat raging beasts will come in fury to tear to pieces with their diabolical teeth this little book and the one the Holy Spirit made use of to write it, or they will cause it at least to lie hidden in the darkness and silence of a chest and so prevent it from seeing the light of day.” The prophecy proved true. During the French Revolution, the manuscript for True Devotion was buried in a chest and hidden in a field. It was only discovered agin on April 29, 1842, in a field in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, France. Satan took great delight in the fact that the book was bured and unknown to souls, but God had anticipated its burial, allowed it, and planned for it. As in the days of old, the Divine Craftsman allowed the spritual weapon to be kept secret lest it be destroyed. It would be resurrected and given new life when the time was right.

During the French Revolution, manuscripts like True Devotion were outlawed and destroyed by the thousands. Had de Montfort’s book been published before the Revolution, it might not have survived. Many books didn’t.

It seems that The Benedict Option is way of preserving Christianity from the Dark Age of post-Christian America.

Creative Withdrawal

In the Introduction to The Benedict Option, Dreher writes about coining the term in his 2006 book, Crunchy Cons:

I called the strategic withdrawal prophesied by [philsoopher Alasdair] McIntyre “the Benedict Option.” The idea is that serious Christian conservatives could no longer live business-as-usual lives in America, that we have to develop creative, communal solutions to help us hold on to our faith and our values in a world growing ever more hostile to them. We would have to choose to make a decisive leap into a truly countercultural way of living Christianity, or we would doom our children and our children’s children to assimilation.

For me, the day has come to creatively withdraw because the day my mom never wanted to see has arrived. The day America doesn’t want me as a member.

Maybe she was blessed to not be around to see it.


Read Rod Dreher’s 2013 article The Benedict Option on The American Conservative blog.


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