The Catholic Weekly, an Australian Catholic newspaper, has released an in-depth interview with Michael D. O’Brien, speaking with him about his views on faith, writing, the end times, and his new novel Elijah in Jerusalem. It’s a fascinating conversation. Here are some excerpts:
On the world today:
We are now living in an era of apostasy, the degeneration of a once-Christian civilisation in the West, with the inevitable assault against religious freedom. This is substantially different from the condition of the early Church, which was largely composed of people who had known darkness and were thirsting for light; theirs was a world crawling out of paganism.
In our times, apostate Christians have known something of the light and yet are choosing to slide back into the darkness of a neo-paganism, justifying it as more ‘loving’ or ‘tolerant’ than the exigencies of God’s law – the Spirit and Truth which lead to life.
On writing and prayer:
Whenever I grow lax in prayer, the writing process becomes more difficult, and though the inspirations are still there it’s as if they’re filtered through fog. By contrast, when I’m praying consistently for the good of the work and for the good of those who may one day read it, the process and inspirations flow swiftly and clear. None of this is emotional, you understand. Though you cannot feel it, taste it, see it, grace is incredibly powerful.
On the “end times”:
A healthy balance is needed in our pondering of ‘end times’ questions. We should remain prayerfully alert, but we should never allow ourselves to become obsessed with the darkness. Again, the eyes of the serpent can delude us into discouragement and even feelings of despair.