The voices of financial doomsday are waiting for Monday.

As we begin to fall asleep here the Asian markets are waking up and looking at their world. What they see, that mixture of fact, figures, psychology, and gut, will start the day and by morning here the alchemy will be running its course. Speculation abounds. And if the herd panics, what then?

There's a helplessness in it all, the idea that a handful of people on phones halfway around the world or halfway around the country can destroy, in a moment, the savings of a lifetime, the thin line between enough and want when work is no longer possible. Where is the trust? Where is the responsibility? Where is the sense? And what will happen when those words become like litter on the floor the morning after a party?

One thing is certain. We're all about to wake up from the American dream. Whether the morning finds all the fine strings of the financial world still together or if it all comes unraveled the idea that the horizon is limitless, that wealth is unending, and acquisition is the content of life is doomed. In fact it was from the start but we, as Americans, have been able to borrow our way from the reality of the world for longer than most. Bills are coming due and the checkbook is empty.

What remains is the shape of the world which emerges from these days. Will the apprehensions of these days call us to ponder that which is greater and enduring or shape a culture where people turn on each other for whatever remains? Will we see the futility of the life we believed was right, a life divorced from transcendence, centered on materialism, and lived without the sense of a future? Can hardship and uncertainty burn away our conceits or will we become hard and bitter? How will the end of our illusions find us?

And how will it find the Church? It is for these moments, these times when the dreams are over and all the bills are due that her Truth becomes more stark against the background and more alive as well. When the facades of a culture dancing in illusion's ballroom fall there will be a hunger that only Christ can truly fill. Will we be ready? Will I?

I don't know, but as Sunday gives way to Monday we may all find out.

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