If you want to get a fresh, objective, and unbiased perspective on Western society, it is helpful to see it through the eyes of an informed spiritual leader from the developing nations. Such a person is Robert Cardinal Sarah from Guinea, West Africa, who was made a archbishop by Pope John Paul II and a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. In his book “The Day is Now Far Spent” he has a revealing chapter entitled, “Hatred of Man.”
He takes us back to the origin of the hatred of modern man and his very nature. “At the root,” maintains Sarah “is a mysterious process of fear.” “Our contemporaries have been convinced that in order to be free, it is necessary for them not to depend on anyone.” “The modern mistrust of all dependence,” explains Sarah, “explains many ills.”
Other people (including God), become potential enemies. “Filiation,” the dependence on a father and mother, therefore becomes a hindrance to full freedom. “This first experience is unbearable for contemporary man, who wishes to be the sole cause of everything that happens to him and of all that he is.” Receiving is contrary to his dignity. Sarah thinks it is time to “liberate man from this hatred of all that he has received.”
Sarah sees this as the “death of the father.” It is an ancient, destructive desire to receive nothing from anyone so as not to owe anyone anything. Sarah asks, “If a man were deprived of a receiving nature, what meaning would his freedom have?” At the heart of the hatred of man is the refusal to accept oneself as a creature, who has been created by a loving Creator.
Sarah wonders, “How can we make a lifelong commitment if we suspect the other a priori of not wanting our good?” The suspicion of a loving God as Creator has “spread throughout human society like a slow, paralyzing poison.” Our culture is going through a “lethal crisis.” It has reached the limits of self-destructive hatred. “The barbarians,” believes Sarah, “are no longer at the city gates… they are in position of influence and in government… Never will I be complicit by my silence in this new ideology of hatred for man and for human nature.” I agree!
Men, we see this hatred being expressed in the many riots and mass shootings that are now commonplace. So many of the young men, both black and white, are expressing their freedom, with no idea of who they really are. They do not know that they are created and loved by God. We are, notes Sarah, “in danger of becoming ‘perpetual orphans.’”
Let us celebrate “the Good News” of the Father’s delight in us as men, created in his image to uniquely express our God-given masculinity. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10). There simply cannot be a sense of being and well-being in the soul of man outside of his receiving and knowing this truth in the depths of his soul: “I have a Father in heaven who delights in me.”
It has taken me a lifetime of trying to walk with the Lord to start grasping the importance of being able to simply receive. It is a posture of humility and dependence on the Lord. “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content” (Ps. 131:2 MSG).