Please excuse me if this veers too far into stream-of-consciousness. I’m very, very tired.
I left home on July 5th to see to some personal business on the other side of the country, and I just got back last night. My wife and I spent 19 days away from home, drove over 5,000 miles, all with seven kids and a dog. You’ve probably noticed that posting has been lighter than usual. Now you know why.
And while it wasn’t a vacation, it did give me some time to think. Lots of time behind the wheel, a good bit of time engaged in physical labor in the unforgiving summer heat. Long conversations. Unfamiliar views. Evenings watching thunder storms roll through, a glass of good whiskey in hand.
It seems like every time I had a minute to check the news, or my social media accounts, there was more bad news. All my friends are either upset or arguing about things. Politics. Islamic attacks. Corruption. Censorship. Shootings. Civil unrest. And of course, the endless assaults of the agents of FrancisChurch™ on authentic Catholicism.
Many of the days I sat down to write something, I just couldn’t. I don’t know about all of you, but the constant torrent of negativity is…well, I’m not exaggerating when I say it turns my stomach. I feel that it is a duty to combat what is happening wherever and however we can, but sometimes it feels as though all we’re doing is shouting into the storm. Sometimes, when you can’t say anything nice, it really is better not to say anything.
I keep finding myself thinking about the popular MacGuffin in thriller movies: there’s a video, or some kind of data, on a DVD or flash drive, and all that the protagonist needs to do is get it into the hands of the media, to broadcast it to the masses, and the revelations it contains will turn the tide. Everyone is trying to kill them, as they run, jump, slide, drive, swim, and generally engage in 90 minutes of kinetic activity, at last dragging their beaten, bloody body into a TV studio somewhere, where suddenly, triumphant, the denouement is accomplished through dissemination of the vital secret and the villains are unmasked for who they truly are. The heroes have saved the day, proving once again that knowledge is power.
But here we are, day after day, unmasking the villains. We show the true agenda of the pope, the bishops, the Islamists, the heretical theologians, and then…nothing happens.
People — the vast majority of people, though not all — look ignominy in the face and at most, they simply shrug and turn away. Those who are not indifferent attack the messenger, as though the fact that these things are happening are our problem. Some merely shut their eyes as tightly as they can, plug their ears, and say, again and again, “Not happening! Not happening! Not happening!”
Frankly, I am trying to figure out where to go from here. We can’t not report on what’s going on, but there needs to be something else. Something that gives hope. People write to me and say, “I see it, but what do we do next? We’re alone. Nobody cares.”
I don’t know how to answer this question, other than to say, “Keep the faith. Trust that God has a plan.” I believe this. But some days, the tendrils of doubt creep in, and worry tugs at me until I just want to throw up my hands. I feel beaten, like the loser in a thrown game. No matter how many punches I land, it doesn’t affect the outcome.
This is a long war, and there is no rest. There is only fighting. Every day, some new battle. Every day, some new affront or outrage. It’s tiresome. It steals away joy, contentment, and peace.
I want to say that my travels this month have brought answers. Instead, I think, they’ve mostly brought new questions: how should we change our tactics? What can we do that is more effective than what we’re doing now? How do we fight against that sense of oppressive despair that seems always at our heels?
One thing I did learn on this trip is that more of my energy needs to be focused on the people closest to me. The battle can become all-consuming. It can feel so important that it’s easy to neglect spouse or children. This is a deception.
I also think that it is important to dig deeper, to sound the depths of the well of our Faith, to begin, again, focusing on what is good about Catholicism, instead of what is being done to strip it bare. These things seem to exist in tension; many balk at anything positive, as though it serves only to distract from what is most pressing. But we can only stare so long into the fire. We need to see beyond it, to keep going.
I ask in earnest for your prayers for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Guidance that will help me to lead this publication where it is intended to go in the midst of this unrelenting storm. Exhaustion is no excuse for giving up. We must press on, we must find the strength, we must ask for the grace.
We are all weary. Let us find solace in each other, in the loving embrace of Our Mother, and in Him.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.