From the stations of the cross meditations by Josef Ratzinger
Lord Jesus Christ, for our sake you became like the grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies, so that it may bear much fruit (John 12:24). You invited us to follow you along this path when you told us that “the one who loves his life loses it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). Yet we are attached to our life.
Indeed we are attached to our life, not just as living being, but to the way we live. Life and its gifts are alluring, especially in the parts of the world which are called ‘WEIRD’ (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic). Yet is is exactly those same parts of the world which seem to suffer so intensely from boredom, emptiness, agnosticism, and despair. It is the WEIRD countries which are dying for lack of children, and for lack of interest.
The Catholic Church is centred in Rome, at the heart of one of the countries which is dying fastest; in Europe where apathy, low birth rates and suicide are most prevalent. But of the Church is in that world, it is not of it; its values are different. It touches those values in that it values education; but even then it is not only for the educated.
The voice of the Church calls us to a life which is more fulfilled, more interesting, more alive than anything WEIRDness has to offer. As long as, on the way to it, we lose the love of our own lives.