Signifying Nothing

...The “glamour” of evil, when seen clearly in daylight, is a residue found in the toilet. It is squalid, and stupid, and vulgar. When we think of those killers who sought out infamy by public murders, the healthy response is not so much anguish but holy contempt. They wanted to make their names by blotting out the Good? Then their names are not worth mentioning. The very thought of them should make one want to hold one’s nose and flush...

Last week’s mass murder in Connecticut was so appalling that we find ourselves trying to fit it into a theory, to blunt its emotional impact with rational gauze. That, more than cynical posturing, explains why people are so quick to spin interpretations. And they come thick and fast: This sort of thing is what happens to punish us for...

• lax gun control laws
• lax divorce laws
• violent movies
• the culture of death
• torture
• pornography
• worldliness and lack of prayer.

I don't know what these murders mean. I suspect that they mean nothing. By committing them, the killer struck a ferocious blow for Nothing. That is the point someone makes by killing the woman who bore him, then slaughtering random children, then killing himself: Being itself is hateful, and he wants to blot it out as much as he can. The “Anarchist” in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent began by embracing violence to bring on political change, then fell in love with his means and forgot his end: He developed a spiritual fetish for mayhem, bombs, and death. Since God’s very essence is His existence, this is the most comprehensive rejection of God that is possible.

Such a negation of the Good is so perverse that it doesn’t reward our thinking about it. Without good reason and solemn guidance, we shouldn’t read accounts of exorcisms, or autobiographies of serial killers—lest we open ourselves to the darkness that they contain.

Because not one of us is immune. Every sin we commit is a “No” that we say to Being. A soul that is damned is one that has comprehensively preferred “No” to “Yes,” typically because saying “Yes” entails a surrender: The greatest “Yes” in human history was spoken by Mary to the angel, and the way she said it is telling: “Be it done unto me….” Every act, however great, can only be good if it follows upon a surrender to the nature of things, to the moral law, a code of honor, a greater good than one’s own. That is why those who sacrifice to save the helpless are greater, and vaster of soul, than those who wield earthly power for petty motives. Saint Maximilian Kolbe renders Hitler…ridiculous. more

From bad Catholcs Bingo Hall, by John Zmirak
Jhesu+Marie Brantigny