Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
When I look at something like this, all I can think of is the passage from Leviticus on how the faithless nation will wind up jumping at its own shadow.
And as for those of you that are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues. They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. (Le 26:36–38)
The lie of our culture is that sin makes you strong. Bunk. Sin makes you stupid, panicky, and terrified of bogeymen you imagine and real enemies before whom you cringe and bluster as your strength disintegrates from within. Lincoln's words are still true:
From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia...could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.
Our problem is that we no longer see freedom as ordered toward love of God and neighbor. We see it as ordered toward lawless autonomy. As a result, we live in fear since lawless man is the most terrifying creature on planet earth and our fears tend to metastasize into fantasies of terror. There will be no World War Z. It is an open question, however, whether there will be a World War III. And the more we prepare for it with the weapons of this world and not the weapons of the Spirit, the more likely we are to make it happen.
There is still hope. But it is in the sword of the Spirit, not in the sword of man. The core of what we need to do is be crucified with Christ, not annihilate our enemies, and emphatically not waste time fretting about bogeymen.
Update: People. I get that the Pentagon scenarios do not actually anticipate a Zombie Apocalypse. You can stop writing to inform me of things people above the age of six know. That's not what I meant by "seriously". My point is that we are spending good money on such foolish exercises, schooling ourselves in every permutation of fear we can throw money at. Why? Because we are a culture of deep fear. And the size of our military budget, blowing money on such frippery as World War Z scenarios is the proof. We have not transformed into a military behemoth, a national security state, and a police state--constantly imagining new terrors and certain that they will sooner or later strike no matter what we do--because we feel safe and at peace with God our refuge and man our neighbor, but because we believe very deeply that God will not save us and our neighbor will destroy us. American civilization has, at a very deep level, chosen to trust in chariots and horses, not in the Name of the Lord our God. And we are paying for that in fear exactly as Leviticus warned we would.