There Will Never Be Peace Without Christ and His Church |
On this day when the Risen Lord Ascended to His Heavenly Father, all need to realize that...
"The events which took place in the Holy Land two thousand years ago were meant to transform the lives of every human being who would live from that point until the end of time. By His Incarnation as a helpless embryo in His Blessed Mother's virginal and immaculate womb, by His Nativity in poverty in Bethlehem, by His flight from the jealous Herod the Great into Egypt, by His Hidden Years in Nazareth working at hand manual labor, by His forty days' fast in the desert, by His Public Ministry, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father's right hand, Jesus Christ showed Himself to be the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah. He is the only path to peace for individual souls, and hence the world."
A conversion of Jews and Mohammedan Arabs to the true Faith will not end all of the problems. Human nature remains wounded as a result of the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin. But such a conversion would provide the framework for mutual forgiveness and respect. The Israelis must make restitution to the Palestinians for the injustices done to them over the past fifty-three years. They must forgive the acts of terrorism which have taken innocent lives. They must regard their Arab neighbors as their fellow redeemed creatures. And the Mohammedan Palestinians must in turn forgive the degradation of their humanity by the Israelis, seek pardon for the acts of carnage that have taken the lives of the innocent, and see in Jews their brothers and sisters in Christ Himself.
Yes, this is much easier said than done. However, it must be said before it can be done. That is, all of the emphasis on political and strategic negotiations obscures the simple fact that Original Sin is the source of all human problems, and that those whose souls are still captive to Original Sin become particularly susceptible to the exacerbation of disputes and conflicts. And it is only by means of the graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of our Lord's Most Precious Blood on Calvary that we can even begin to soothe the beast within us and come to be the beneficiaries of the mercy we receive so generously in the Sacrament of Penance.
By way of summary and reiteration, this is what I would say to Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat, who traffics with the likes of Saddam Hussein and the Mohammedan theocrats in Iran, if I had the chance:
"This land has been wracked by war and violence ever since our Lord was crucified here nearly two millennia ago. While it is true that the sins of all people from all epochs of history motivated the crowd on Good Friday to cry out for the Crucifixion of the God-Man, it is nevertheless true that there are consequences for the choices we make. This land will never know peace unless those who belong to the religion which was superseded by the New and Eternal Covenant instituted by our Lord in the Upper Room right in this very city on Holy Thursday convert their hearts to the Word who was made Flesh and dwelt amongst us. This land will never know peace unless those belong to a false religion, Mohammedism, come to recognize that the one they honor as a prophet sent by God, Mohammed, was a liar and a deceiver who did the work of the Devil in seeking to destroy by force the Christian face of the Middle East and North Africa, and whose disciples tried to take Europe by that same show of force. There can be no peace without Jesus Christ.
"The peace of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with sentimentality. The peace of Jesus Christ is not merely an absence of armed conflict. The peace of Jesus Christ is not a sense of universal brotherhood, wherein we all agree to disagree in order to avoid conflict. No. The peace offered by Jesus Christ is the peace which accrues in the souls of those who are in states of sanctifying grace, souls who have the very inner life of the Blessed Trinity living and pulsating within them. This peace is never achieved once and for all. Human beings can lose the peace of Christ by committing a mortal sin, thereby expelling God from within them. Serious sin and the life of grace cannot coexist in the same soul. No, the peace of Christ must be treasured with every beat of a human heart, consecrated as that heart must be to His own Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother, Mary of Nazareth.
"The state of societies and the world depends upon the state of individual souls. Even many of the pagan philosophers of antiquity - such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero - understood that those who defy the natural law (which was referred to by Moses when he told the people of the Old Covenant that the commandments inscribed by the very finger of God on the stone tablets on Mount Sinai had been written first by Him on the flesh of human hearts) introduce disorder into their own souls, and hence the world. They did not know why human beings had the propensity to transgress the natural law. But they saw the results of what happened when people did so. The Old Testament presents us with vivid descriptions of what happened to the Chosen People whenever they and/or their leaders defied God, choosing to relish in their own political power and material wealth. They were chastised by God severely for their infidelity.
"Sin is not only a rebellion against God. It is also a rebellion against our own human nature, which is made to know, to love, and to serve God. That is why so many people today are so hostile and angry. Although they do not realize it, they are at war with themselves because they are at war with God. Thus, they seek 'salvation' in all of the wrong places, plunging themselves - and the world in which they live - more and more into the darkness. This need not be the case.
"The events which took place in the Holy Land two thousand years ago were meant to transform the lives of every human being who would live from that point until the end of time. By His Incarnation as a helpless embryo in His Blessed Mother's virginal and immaculate womb, by His Nativity in poverty in Bethlehem, by His flight from the jealous Herod the Great into Egypt, by His Hidden Years in Nazareth working at hand manual labor, by His forty days' fast in the desert, by His Public Ministry, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father's right hand, Jesus Christ showed Himself to be the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah. He is the only path to peace for individual souls, and hence the world.
"The peace produced in souls by the shedding of our Lord's Most Precious Blood is meant to soothe the savage within us, to place us in a state of friendship with God. It is meant to help us see the world through the eyes of the true faith, and to see in each human soul the Divine impress. The peace produced in souls by the graces won for us on the Holy Cross in this holy city is meant to help us realize that there is nothing we can endure in this life (no pain, no rejection, no misunderstanding, no injustice, no act of violence, no calumny or slander) which is the equal of what one of our venial sins did to the God-Man on Golgotha? Who are we then to hold grudges against others when we, the executioners of Christ, have been forgiven by Him so freely? We must offer forgiveness to all others in the same manner that Christ, Whose blessed hands and feet were nailed to the Cross by us by means of our sins, forgave (and forgives) us.
"Thus, the path to peace in the Middle East is the same path to peace everywhere else in the world: the daily path of taking up our crosses and following Christ unreservedly. To the Jews I say to you: Be converted to Christ through His true Church. Be fed by the Eucharist, the true Manna which has come down from Heaven. Be liberated by the New Passover instituted to liberate you from sins. Make the New and Eternal Covenant instituted by Jesus Christ as your own. See in your Arab neighbors, whose land you took so unjustly in 1948, your brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Treat them as you would Jesus Christ. Forgive them for the acts of violence which have taken innocent lives. Make restitution to them for the land you took, as simple justice requires.
"To Christian Arabs, I say: Forgive the Israelis their crimes against you. Forgive as you know Christ has forgiven you. Work to build a land based on true unity, which comes only from our Lord through the Church He created upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Be ceaseless in your efforts to convert your Mohammedan Arabs to the Cross of Christ.
"To Mohammedan Arabs, I say: Renounce a false religion. It was the swath of destruction inspired by Mohammed which led Catholic Europe to try to reconquer this Holy Land, taken as it was by the force of the sword. You must understand that Mary of Nazareth was responsible for the victory of the Christian forces over the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto. She helped to turn back Mohammedan forces during the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Let her, our Lady of Victory, lead you to the One she enfleshed in her virginal and immaculate womb for your salvation. Believe in His victory over sin and death on the Holy Cross. Put down the sword. Put away your hatred. Be reconciled in Christ, and see in your Jewish adversaries your brothers and sisters in the Lord.
"Yes, there will never be any peace in your blessed region unless each of you embraces our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and begin to build a society wherein the instrument of your salvation, the Holy Cross, is displayed everywhere. For the Cross is our hope. The Cross is the means by which we can hope to pass from this vale of tears to know an unending Easter Sunday of glory in the New and Eternal Jerusalem, Heaven itself.
"Listen to the words of the first Pope, spoken to the Sanhedrin nearly two thousand years ago: 'Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, Whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old. . . . Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man is standing before you well. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved'" (Acts 3: 19-21; 4: 8-12).
Such words are decidedly opposed to the spirit of sappy sentimentality and the false ecumenism which Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger himself is promoting these days. They are opposed to the spirit of the Pope's Assisi events, as Father Peter Scott, the North American District Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, pointed out recently in THE New Ten Commandments (describing how the Holy Father has issued a set of "ten commandments" for world governments to follow without ever once mentioning the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings).
However, when spoken in love and watered by fervent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God, such words might be the means of doing in this, the Third Millennium, what the Apostles did at the beginning of the First Millennium: to seek to bring all people into the One Sheepfold of Christ, the true Church founded by our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope.
These are unspeakable truths which must be spoken. Injustice can only be remedied in the person of the God-Man through His true Church. May we, as sons and daughters of Mary of Nazareth, be unceasing in our prayers before the Blessed Sacrament to pray for the conversion of all Jews everywhere - including those in modern Israel - and Mohameddan Arabs to the true Faith, founded by our Lord Himself in Palestine upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope.
When are we going to learn the simple truth that there can never be peace without Christ as He has revealed Himself through His true Church?
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For the first part of this column on Tuesday, see Part One
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives
May 9, 2002
volume 13, no. 89
CHRIST or chaos