Since the basic cause of man’s anxiety is the possibility of being either a saint or a sinner, it follows that there are only two alternatives for him. Man can either mount upward to the peak of eternity or else slip backwards to the chasms of despair and frustration. Yet there are many who think there is yet another alternative, namely, that of indifference. They think that, just as bears hibernate for a season in a state of suspended animation, so they, too, can sleep through life without choosing to live for God or against Him. But hibernation is no escape; winter ends, and one is then forced to make a decision—indeed, the very choice of indifference is itself a decision. White fences do not remain white fences by having nothing done to them; they soon become black fences. Since there is a tendency in us that pulls us back to the animal, the mere fact that we do not resist it operates to our own destruction. Just as life is the sum of forces that resist death, so, too, man’s will must be the sum of the forces that resist frustration. A man who has taken poison into his system can ignore the antidote, or he can throw it out the window; it makes no difference which he does, for death is already on the march. St. Paul warns us, “How shall we escape it we neglect so great a salvation” (Heb 2:3). By the mere fact that we do not go forward, we go backward. There are no plains in the spiritual life, we are either going uphill or coming down. Furthermore the pose of indifference is only intellectual. The will must choose. And even though an “indifferent” soul does not positively reject the infinite, the infinite rejects it. The talents that are unused are taken away, and the Scriptures tell us that, “But because though art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16).
Indifference is the worst kind of response when love is expressed. Hate is not the antithesis of love; it’s the nonexistence of feeling, a pervasive apathy. When hate is present, so is love. It’s passion gone sour and fueled by pain, but, nonetheless, it’s passion and love is apparently still alive. Yet when indifference seeps into our spirits, an emotional numbness and permitted scotoma takes the place of any passion – whether it’s love or hate – and resigns in a new state of being.