The Kitschy Allure of the Dust of Sin
By Father John Slampak, STL

What is it about the “dome” that is supposed to be so attractive in its ability to bring fear and love, so overwhelming, that people speak and respond like idiots, or close to it?

Have you heard of the “Dome,” which has gone to “Under the Dome,” and soon the “Dome Under the Dome?” It’s another TV series written and guided by Stephen King, thereby establishing its authentic ability to frighten you. The ’60s, as it were.

Do you know what a real “Domer” is? Just ask any student on the Notre Dame campus.

For a final exam in a logic class, the professor told the students that they could bring as much information to the exam as they could fit on a piece of notebook paper. Most students crammed as many facts as possible on their 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper.

One student walked into class, put a piece of notebook paper on the floor, and had an advanced logic student stand on the paper. The advanced logic student stood there and told him everything he needed to know. He was the only student to receive an “A.”

The ultimate final exam will come when you stand before God and God asks, “Why should I let you in?” On your own you cannot pass that exam. But you have someone who will stand in for you. Jesus will stand in for you when you don’t have an answer.

St. Paul also says that you have someone to stand in for you when you want to pray, or when you cannot pray, cannot find the words.

There are times when you know your precise need and you bring it to God in prayer. You are ill or someone you dearly love is ill and you pray for healing. You are grieving the death of a parent, spouse, child — you pray to God for comfort. You have said something that stings or done something that hurts another, and you pray for God’s forgiveness.

There are other times when despair, loneliness, helplessness and sorrow storm your soul’s confidence and you have no idea how to pray. You long to connect with God, to rest in God’s presence, but prayer and the language of prayer is mute. St. Paul knew our dilemma well.

We all know that there is both good and evil in the world. There are people who live by their conscience, trying to do what is right. There are others who are only concerned with their own selfish interests. Our work in life is to let the good come forth in us, to let it grow, to help it develop and mature. At the same time we are to do our best to overcome, to control the evil. From what we have learned from human experience, the bad seeds will quite likely remain in us until we die, when God will remove them.

The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace, wrote Blessed Mother Theresa.

You grow into this with the grace of God.