The Road, a film based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, unfolds in a devastated world where every city lies in ruins, animals no longer exist, all plant life is destroyed and bands of cannibals roam the country.
At the center of the story, a father and young son journey toward the ocean where they hope warmer air will help them survive the coming winter.
When I read the book, I wondered if I were a father in that dystopian world, would my spiritual hunger match the physical starvation? If my son and I located the remnants of a Catholic church, would we dig through the rubble to retrieve the tabernacle in order to cradle in our hands, for a just few moments, the Body of Christ?
Today, in an increasingly secular America, most people would find such a notion puzzling. I, on the other hand, find their puzzlement chilling. A world without God is a world without love. And a world without love is a dangerous place.
When encroaching atheism threatens my inner peace, I find refuge in the Eucharistic Prayer, its undulating chant, measured and steady, like the sound of a pounding surf.
What is this ocean that washes against the shore of this ancient prayer? Nothing less than the history of salvation, tides of redemption, the ebb and flow of sin and grace.
I stand at the altar as though beside a boulder at the foot of a seaside cliff. In the distance, Christ, the Lifeguard of God, ascends a wooden platform.
Face to the sky, He stretches out his arms… so as to break the bonds of death and manifest the resurrection.
At dawn, a company of rescued saints gathers about me. We bow and sing, whisper and weep. On the rock rests the Sacrament, food for the journey, wrested from the wreckage of a ruined city
Behold the Lamb of God!
No longer a father in a dystopian tale, I have become a hopeful son in a glorious one!