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How long, how long O Catiline...

How long, how long O Catiline...

By David G. Duggan ©
December 8, 2022

So begins one of the most famous orations of all time, Cicero's "De Catiline," uttered in the Roman Senate 63 years before Christ's birth. At once an indictment, a bill of particulars, and a verdict against a fellow senator of unimaginable corruption, this oration stands as the model against which all political speeches are judged.

"How long, how long, O Lord" is the lament that 50 generations of Christians have uttered. When will "thy Kingdom come," when will "thy will be done"? We have seen too much, borne too much, ached too much to be of any use on this earth. Our witness is dim, our prospects are slim, and our hope is just dope.

Advent 2022 presents a trifecta of despair: rampant inflation, political stagnation, world conflagration. How is the Lord using us, if He is using us at all? Are we just flies--lower creatures in some order which we cannot see--to be killed for sport?

I can't get to the point of believing Christ is coming back any time soon. 9/11 was a wake-up call, but a wake-up to what? That the Christian message is wrong? That other faiths, more nihilistic, more deterministic, more realistic have better described the human condition: one of every man against another, of every challenge simply a gladiatorial contest in which the Emperor can give a thumbs up or down.

Yet maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I don't see what is in front of me. Maybe I don't feel the vibe of an existence beyond my understanding. Maybe I'm too pessimistic, too narcissistic, too fatalistic to believe in the God Who sent His Son. When will I be proved wrong?

David Duggan is a retired attorney living in Chicago. He is a frequent contributor to Virtueonline

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