Shop to You Drop

The late Monsignor William Shannon, the great Merton scholar who I had the honor of spending time with shortly before his death in 2012, said, “We cannot ignore the fact that we live in a cultural milieu that constantly ignores the needs of the spirit.” Thomas Merton felt that the sickness of our mass society was that it had forfeited its sense of solitude and its capacity for contemplation. Only solitude can save people from the slavery of unthinking conformity to the accepted norms of our consumerist society that denies the inner realities of the human spirit. Our natural capacity of for contemplation has been virtually snuffed out by meaningless distractions and diversions manufactured by the titans of corporate greed. “Shop to you drop” needs to be replaced by “stop until you’re healed.”

We live in an age where modern transportation allows us to go anywhere we want; ironically, we live in an age where many have lost their sense of direction. Monsignor Shannon said, “Physically we can go anywhere we want to, even to the moon and probably to Mars, but spiritually many among us have no notion of where we really want to go.” Our society gives priority to material progress over moral growth and to the efficiency of getting things done over social responsibility. While technology is important and can be good, what we really need is the wisdom that comes from God. Instead we get tweets that say nothing.


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