MONTH OF MAY – NAPOLEON OVER PEW
“Big thoughts” may be murkier than “little thoughts” from flowers, but I’m going to leave the flowers for a moment.
Napoleon Bonaparte died during the month of May, exactly 200 years ago. Anniversaries like this are like Bookmarks to me. They tell me, Hey! Go back to this place and think about it again! So I did, spurred on by the latest Pew Research study announced today which has generated quite a bit of discussion.
A defeat in war, an election, a revolution may seem sudden to those who are alive at the time, but the memory of what was and the hopes of what is becoming do not disappear, and the next development may vindicate one sentiment or the other.
All is not lost, nor is all yet born.
The Revolution came about on rising waves of “Libertie” although it was a deficient idea of liberty, a deceptive motto used to arouse the masses of uneducated people. The French were “liberated” from their past and they suffered the resulting reign of famine, death, and tyranny.
Along came Napoleon Bonaparte, liberating the people from that which Libertie had produced. Many millions looked to him as the Restorer of what had been overthrown.
And indeed, kings of the Bourbon dynasty were restored to the throne, for a while.
You and I, like those who lived 200 years ago, are merely the citizens or the subjects of our Rulers. The fates of our nations are not in our hands. Unless you are an elected official of high office, or a part of some nobility, or a member of one of the Ruling Families of our world, we are not going to influence the outcomes of our nations.
So how can we stand, being tossed to and fro by the changes of history? Upon what do we stand to give to our lives an explanation and a purpose?
Trends change. Trends rise and fall. The Pew Research study that was announced today found that “Christianity” is falling and secularism is rising. That’s no surprise. I’ve seen Christianity marginalized and mocked for nearly sixty years now. I’ve seen (personally, professionally) our children deliberately taught a form of atheistic socialism – the State has all the answers we need to fix . . . social problems.
But beneath it all, beneath all the public turmoil going on over our heads, there is the solid foundation of Christianity that has endured many ups and downs.
Listen to the the last thoughts of Napoleon and of the King Louis XVI who each presided over some phase of the aftermath of the secularizing of France.
From the Last Will and Testament of Napoleon Bonaparte:
I DIE IN THE APOSTOLIC AND ROMAN RELIGION, IN THE BOSOM OF WHICH I WAS BORN OVER FIFTY YEARS AGO.
From the Last Will and Testament of King Louis XVI:
I DIE IN THE UNION OF OUR HOLY MOTHER, THE CATHOLIC, APOSTOLIC, AND ROMAN CHURCH.
In the end, these great men, movers and shakers, manifested a deep common thread which underlies Western Civilization, and all those areas of the world which were influenced by Western Civilization.
These men died in a profoundly secularized world. 200 years later I ponder what was really most important to them – as they faced their deaths.
Today, the Pew Research group is only stating the obvious chatter going on above our heads.
“Down below” we must live our lives with our families, our occupations, our friendships, and our faith.
(The first two photos I used are of the island of St. Helena, where Napoleon at last put it all together.)