Watching the news about the Las Vegas shooter I actually wondered if he’d been demon possessed or inspired by Satan. I wonder that also when ISIL-inspired freaks commit mass murder. I can hear my grandmother’s voice, “It’s the Devil’s work”. But maybe it’s more mundane — gambling debts and a psychotic personality.
Then today I received an email invitation to a Damned Ball about “enlightened darkness”. Truly makes me ask, as generation after generation has in the past, “What is the world coming to?” Tiberius wasn’t even this depraved with his orgies. Or maybe he was. I don’t know.
The news often feels like the Fall of Rome or the Book of Revelation.
One of our seminarians mentioned Yeats’ hundred-year-old poem, The Second Coming. Sure seems to fit, especially lines 5 thru 8. The final 2 lines have always been scary to me… (see below). Last century, everyone thought how uncanny that Yeats seemed to predict Hitler’s rise and the holocaust — “burnt offering” — the great genocide in Europe. Now his apocalyptic poem could mean something altogether more horrible coming down the pike — or should I say, “slouching” down the pike!
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?