Poor Chicken Little. He had the best intentions. And you know he wasn’t all wrong. Sure, the sky wasn’t falling. But really, if he’d had the time to calm down and assess things it might have been really valuable advice to tell his neighbors, “You might want to watch out under that one tree, taking an acorn to the noggin really hurts!”
Today I think Chicken Little would be the sort of person to flood his friends’ facebook feeds with tales of woe and despair. Each one would have a little kernel—or acorn if you will—of truth to it. It is perspective that Chicken Little lacks and perspective we so desperately need to hang onto today. The balancing act between being informed and being overwhelmed is harder all the time. You can spend all day long learning about the latest attacks to freedom of religion, or Church teaching, or public morality. Because of the fracturing of public discourse we can shop around for the spin that suits us best and be no closer to seeing the bigger picture at the end of the day. Still, you can’t deny we are living through frightening, confusing and difficult times. In some parts of the world people are literally dying for the Faith, and here it feels increasingly “dangerous” on a much smaller scale, to identify as a traditional Christian.
So is the sky falling? Sometimes it sure feels like it. But really, we are just walking through a thick forest and it is raining acorns, twigs, even some pretty big branches. We have several majestic oak trees on our property, and in the fall the sound of acorns dropping onto the tin roof of the carport is incredibly loud. It startles you from your seat. “That cannot possibly have been just a tiny nut.” And my goodness do they hurt when they land on your head! Sadly, one of these immense trees, decades old, split in half this week and came crashing to the ground. Let me tell you it sure sounded like the sky was falling. So as we journey along I think it is perfectly reasonable to feel a bit uneasy, hunch our shoulders and keep one eye looking up, waiting for the next thing to drop on us.
After all, the stakes are real and they are high. It is easy enough to brush off the worrying news, “oh that’s just one incident.” “Things have looked dire before.” But if you are the one the tree falls on, you won’t care that it isn’t the end of the world. It will be devastating. Being informed, engaged, aware, should never be a bad thing. We have a right and often a duty to keep abreast of what is going on in our country, our world, and our church. Terrible things can and will happen. Christians have suffered and died for truth for more than two thousand years. But as Christians we have an equal or greater duty to faith, hope and charity. To witness to Christianity is to witness to hope. We must live in the knowledge the even death has lost its sting and that Christ reigns here and now and protects his Church.
This is a picture of our statue of St. Francis, unscathed, with a limb resting on him, right next to where our fallen oak crashed straight through the concrete walk where he stands.
We must never forget. The sky is not falling. Somewhere up there, perhaps obscured by the thick foliage above full of those nasty acorns, the sky is as serene as ever. It will not fall. In fact it cannot fall. That cannot is very important to remember. We must have faith. We must have hope. We must truly believe that the sky not only isn’t falling but cannot fall. For our God lives! Our God became man and died for our sins and in three days rose again. Our God ascended into the sky with a promise to his Church that the gates of hell would never prevail against Her and that He would prepare a place for us where He went. The sky cannot fall. Be vigilant. Be brave. But never, never despair.
Editor’s note: the images attached here are of the author’s showing the great tree leaving the statue of St. Francis unscathed.