You may have heard about the current social trend called Pokemon Go. I want us to take this game use it as a metaphor – a metaphor to understand our spiritual life and a way to understand how we are called as Christians to respond to the current turmoil that plagues our nation and our world.
I don’t mean to make light of the tragedies which have shaken the peace of many good people, but I believe with a little humor and a little imagination, we can come to understand that this is in fact the whole drama of human existence. How does one deal with suffering and evil? How does one live the universal call to holiness in the midst of a fallen world?
As you may know, Pokemon Go involves technology in which actual maps and geography are used to create a game which interacts with one’s environment. By looking through one’s phone, one discovers pokemon which are now populating our neighborhoods and our local businesses.
By using the phone, one can “see” pokemon everywhere.
Let’s say that this new vision given by the phone is a metaphor for the new vision given through faith. By the gift of God’s divine life, his grace, the power and indwelling of his love, God transforms our vision. So instead of pokemon running around, we learn to discover that God is in fact secretly present in all of history, calling his children to repentance and his way of living.
The whole drama of human history is that God is teaching us to rely less on ourselves and more on him. The disorders of a fallen world are the result of a rebellion against this presence, a refusal to accept and allow his love to transform our vision.
In this sense, the Our Father contains the whole strategy by which we conform and see with the eyes of Christ. The our Father is the means by which our hearts learn to desire what God desires and see what God sees.
In particular, the way out of conflict and the never ending cycle of blame and destruction is the practice of unlimited mercy; in short the cyclic logic of eye for an eye justice must be overcome by a greater spirit of cooperation and forgiveness. On both sides of current political debate, a frenetic spirit of self-righteousness has fueled that spirit of division which even when it appears right, it is ultimately wrong.
The irony of course, is that this spirit of conflict is always at work in the world, and instead of seeking to create a utopian society, each one of has a decision to make and this decision is that of the saints of old. In the midst of fallen world, we must choose to embrace the vision of Jesus Christ and live a new life that goes beyond this world or to give into the despair which is the hallmark of the world. Thus, in Christ we must choose to live in the world but not be of the world.
Ultimately, we will vote and we will participate in our society, but that does mean that we have to be ruled by the fear and anxiety which our society seeks to stir in our hearts. By living in the world but not of the world, we are called to the path of unconditional love. We love and pray for our fallen police officers who give so much for our security. We love and pray for our enemies and those who would kill us…. Yes we love our enemies.
Love is always the answer, but true love grounded in conversion. Not a petty selfish love. Not a love mixed with pride and self-seeking. A true love grounded in the reality that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. True love which sets us free to return to our jobs without the compulsions and anxieties of a fallen world.
Today, let us choose to see love like so many teenagers are finding Pokemon. Let us choose to find Christ hiding around every corner, calling us to a whole new way of living.
Fr. Ian – St. Thomas Aquinas is smiling on you, delighted you have found this way of explaining the infusion of the new light of grace in the atmosphere of the soul, so that we can see things that cannot be normally seen, and smiling that technology gave you that metaphor of Pokémon.
As to the election – I think the prophets and Godly always told God, in the Temple or in prayer, what the people “of this world” were about to do in such situations. We too, not only can now see to “do all our doings virtuously” but can also see what the world does not see in this election and can “inform God” with our prayer, We tell him of our concern with both candidates and that nothing good is about to be done by this country we sojourn in.