No matter with whom I converse, one word sums up their feelings about today’s world: crazy. It can be because of erratic politics, senseless shootings, discontented marchers, the absence of a moral compass, bizarre weather and other unnerving happenstances that boggle the mind.
What exactly can stop us from going crazy?
The virtue of temperance contains our answer.
Usually we think of it as discipline in which we better control that which threatens our spiritual and physical well-being. It means that God endowed us with a sense of order we need to maintain to remain balanced. Craziness happens when chaos reigns, creating turmoil.
How then do we maintain innate order? It is by absorbing God’s awesome order and its harmonizing effect.
The virtue “fear of the Lord” usually connotes fright and terror. It is true we often fear God’s justice and possibly not getting into heaven. But more important, fear means being in awe of God’s gift of order and its strength to dispel life’s craziness.
In the “Canticle of Daniel” we possess a litany of that which orders our cosmic existence: the waters about the heavens, sun, moon, stars, showers, dews, winds, fire, heat, frost, cold and snow.
The list reminds us that without this order, we wouldn’t exist. It is the realization that life exists because God ordered it so.
In Romans 8:28, Paul addresses this harmonizing order in stating, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
One way to appreciate our gift of order and fend off craziness is to observe Mother Nature in action. For example, to wonder about how birds fly; to listen to rain and marvel at how it causes seeds to grow; and to be astonished by the heavenly smell and colors of flowers.
We need to get outside of ourselves and our small world and enter more fully into God’s world of wonderful order that hold us together.
G.K. Chesterton wrote we have lunacy when we become like the moon that is a circle with no outlets, causing us to be consumed by too much of self. He reminds us to counter craziness by elevating our life away from its earthliness and raising it to God’s life, especially God’s gift of awesome order that holds it together.