Looking out on the Four Horsemen spreading death, disease, war, and famine over the earth, we are tempted to ask: “Why does God let this happen?”
That is an incomplete sentence from the theological point of view. Finish it and it reads this way: “Why does God let this happen to Himself?”
What a different light this casts on the tragedy of war to realize that in some mysterious way Christ is living, suffering, thirsting, starving, and being imprisoned and dying in us, and that this War is His Passion.
This war is not a conflict of systems of politics, though a few superficial minds still think it is; it is a titanic struggle to decide whether the moral law of God shall be the basis of individual and social life, or the physical law of the ruthless world.
The point to be emphasized is that since our conflict is with demonic forces, we can conquer them only by a national surrender to God and His Divine Son. This involves prayer, and prayer is never more necessary than in wartime.
In all crises and in particular in time of war we must not worry about getting God on our side; we must worry about getting on God’s side.
Before this war began some so-called leaders who lived by Christianity instead of for it, spent their time adjusting Christianity to the way people lived, rather than adjusting the way they lived to Christianity.
When divorce became common they dropped the words of Our Lord, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). When sin abounded, they called sin a myth and hell an illusion.
The modern mind thus became accustomed to adjust creed to life rather than life to creed. If medicine followed similar tactics and accommodated itself to disease, because it is common, society long ago would have been prostrate.
We must be careful not to transplant that false peace-time mentality to war-times.
The mere fact that we ask the question: “Why does God permit this war,” is in itself an indication of want of trust in either the Wisdom or the Goodness of God.
How explain this want of trust? Generally, it is due to a refusal to admit: First, the possibility that God knows more than I and is better than I; and secondly, that my dignity is not lowered by submitting to His Wisdom and His Goodness even when they go against me.
Thought the great mass of people who ignore God never state their religious perplexities in these simple terms, they are nevertheless the basic reasons why God is exiled from human hearts, from the family, and from our national life.
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Take a gun away from Hitler, take tanks away from Stalin and let these men stand on their own moral responsibility with no other power to command than their honesty, their love of truth, and their purity of heart, and see how long they could command. Our Lord has commanded obedience from the world for 20 centuries with no other weapon than a defenseless cross..But take terror away from Red leaders and they could not command men for four seconds.
--Fulton J. Sheen
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