It waits there, hoping for an opportunity to come racing out of its sty within our breasts and turn us into raging idiots. Let another driver displease us, for instance, and there it is, making us shake our fists or give the offender the well-known finger or mutter obscenities.
I am very familiar with him. He visits me far too often, especially when I'm driving into church for daily Mass, filled with wonderful, kind, charitable thoughts appropriate for someone about to pay homage to his creator. When I turn into the road that leads into town I'm about a half mile from the traffic signal and can easily see if it's red or green. If I see it turn red while I'm still a good distance away I tend to slow down and let my car drift to a stop - why race to the signal merely to get to the red light as fast as possible. After all, jamming on the brakes wears down the brake linings and getting them relined is a costly experience I prefer to avoid.
The usual reaction from most of the drivers behind me is a sight to see. Their inner pigs burst out - they honk their horns and shake their fists and mutter all sorts of un-Christian things as they swerve around me, cut back directly in front to let me know I have displeased them, and race to the red light where they have the pleasure of jamming on their brakes.
I know it's stupid, but every morning this experience calls forth my personal inner pig and I silently rage at the idiocy of my fellow drivers instead of saying a prayer that the good Lord will give them all a modicum of common sense and perhaps save their lives or somebody else's they happen to encounter while acting out their maniacal instincts behind the wheel.
I mention this because I want to be the first to admit that mon petit cochon is far from penned up inside me. He gets out far more frequently than he should, and that's sinful behavior I am obliged by my faith to avoid.
That having been said, it has become increasingly obvious that the inner pig is loose upon the world, Road rage, airline passenger rage, ticket line rage, and, most tragically, schoolyard rage are all epidemic in America. We are becoming a nation of swineherds, carefully nurturing our inner pigs and allowing them to run free at the drop of a hat.
Anger is fast becoming our most prominent national characteristic, and it is above all a symptom of a deadly malaise inflicting far too many Americans - the sickness of despair born of nihilism - the inability to recognize our natures as children of a loving God, and to act upon that knowledge.
Tragically, far too many of our bothers and sisters accept the absurdity that we are all just another species, like cats and dogs and three-toed sloths, and this inevitably leads them to wonder what life means if we are merely here "to strut our weary hours on a stage" as Shakespeare wrote, and conclude with him that life is merely "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing."
It is most obvious among the young. Bereft of any religious or moral training in their homes and schools, or even of any acknowledgement that as children of God they have certain obligations that can only be avoided at the risk of mental disquiet, they find themselves adrift in a sea of meaninglessness.
It has been said that when a people stop believing in something, they will believe anything. The generation now on the way up retreats into the old Roman belief of "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die." They seek meaning in sex in its many forms, alcohol, drugs and violence. But meaning avoids them because it does not reside there.
It isn't a giant step from believing that if one's own life has no meaning or value, nobody else's life has either.
And so we have rampages and violence and shootings in schools. Human life being valueless, why shouldn't one take out the anger and frustrations they feel upon their classmates or friends. Striking out at others to calm the raging emotions simmering in their breasts is a common reaction.
Cry havoc and loose the inner pig.
All across the land tempers flare, often over the most inconsequential of matters. A plane is late, the traffic is jammed, some poor minion in a municipal office fails to sit up and take immediate notice of our presence, or a job is lost or a romance ending.
The inner peace God wants humanity to have has been replaced by the inner pig because humanity has lost its faith in God. Humanity insists on going its own way, and humanity is lost in a maze of confusion. Confusion replaces certainty, and confusion is the food upon which the inner pigs feeds.
St. Augustin said that the Lord made us for Himself, and we cannot have peace until we rest in Him. Two thousand years ago, Christ told us if we will place ourselves in God's hands, and obey his divine will, he will remove all anxiety from our lives. He will direct it and lead us into the safe harbor of his bosom.
"Be not anxious," he tells us, "my burden is easy, my yoke is light."
Anxiety is the gate through which the inner pig emerges.
Le cochon interieur is loose in the land. Unpenned, it will destroy civilization and reduce us to barbarism. Its time we turned to the Good Shepherd - he who drove the Gadarene swine - the Bible's inner pig - from the tormented man and into the sea.
He stands ready to do the same for us. All we have to do is ask.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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