The Inexpressible Sadness of Christian Failure, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Apr 23, 2021

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.


I suppose we have all awakened on a spiritually foggy morning and wondered what’s the use. Compared to the better olden days, during which Christ appeared to have triumphed throughout the West and the Church made a good stab at evangelizing the world, we seem so utterly fruitless. Every day now, for a full lifetime and more, each step appears to be a step backwards, and each triumph a grace of suffering only. Sometimes it seems that, one after another, each new hope has left Him and fled. Writers like to remind us that it is always darkest before the dawn, but do we have any reason to expect the dawn?

If this seems hopeless, I want to emphasize that it represents our foggiest of moods. Even in the worst of times, the engraced human heart admits a difference between human expectation and Christian hope. Faith for us—as for the writers of the New Testament—is at once belief in Christ’s teachings, obedience to His commands, and trust in His promises. So we need to recognize that these darker thoughts arise less from lack of faith than from human fatigue. Humanly speaking, after all, it is our lot to live through an extended and exhausting experience of a collective Catholic failure to reverse the wholesale desertion of Christ by our mainstream culture. …

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