In perilous times such as these we must be careful not to lose our perspective on things and be overcome by fear and anxiety. Our first responsibility is to run the race to obtain the prize of eternal life. "So run as to obtain it," says St. Paul in today's Epistle (1Cor.9:24). Faith should enable us to see things from God's point of view. If we have the wisdom that comes from God, we are able to judge and evaluate the things of this world, counting them as loss, compared to the excelling knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord (Phil.3:8). St. Paul explains: "These things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in the learning of the Spirit… the spiritual man judges all things, and he himself is judged by no man. For 'who has known the mind of the Lord, that he might instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (1Cor.2:15,16).
In such a case, we do not have to be anxious or afraid, since we know that our All-Wise God will order all things for the good according to His mysterious will. "Now we know that for those who love God all things work together unto good, for those who, according to his purpose, are saints through his call" (Rom.8:28).
Consider the case of the three young men of Judah, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, during the Babylonian captivity, who were thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to fall down and worship the golden idol set up by King Nebuchadnezzar, an ancient antecedent of Saddam Hussein, in the empire of Babylon, now modern Iraq. The three young men humbled themselves before God and confessed the sinfulness of His people that had caused them to be delivered into the hands of "a king unjust and most wicked beyond all that are upon the earth" (Dan.3:32). But behold! Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace and saw an angel protecting the three young men from the tremendous heat, so that not even their clothing was scorched by the flames. Whereupon he ordered them to be released from the furnace, forbidding anyone in his kingdom to speak blasphemy against their God and publishing a decree: "Nebuchadnezzar the king to all peoples, nations and tongues, that dwell on all the earth. Peace be multiplied unto you. The most high God hath wrought signs and wonders… and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his power to all generations" (Dan.3:98-100).
Perhaps, then, there is a better way than the "Shock and Awe" approach to the "evil empire" of Iraq. How about a humble confession of our own guilt? America and its allies should humble themselves before God and repent for the crime of abortion, the betrayal of the innocent, and the toleration of every imaginable form of perversion, just to begin a long list. Instead our great leaders, with unbecoming pride and arrogance, imagine themselves as righteous, and appointed by God to execute His vengeance upon Iraq, seeking to gain support for their war plans through the use of deceptive tactics and outright lies, while a considerable list of other "evil empires" await their turn.
America once before found itself sitting in judgment upon another "evil empire." At the end of World War II Japan was already making a desperate bid to surrender, but the offer was ignored, and it was forced to endure the "shock and awe" of two atomic bombs being dropped upon its helpless population. There are always reasons that are hidden from the "gullible masses" like ourselves. The fact that the two targeted cities - Hiroshima and Nagasaki - had the highest concentration of Catholics in the whole of Japan is another story waiting to be told.
The day was August 6, 1945. In the city of Hiroshima, eight blocks from ground zero, as the bomb neared its target, stood a residence for Catholic priests, eight members of the Society of Jesus. The house, which according to experts was at the edge of the fireball, was hit by the blast at a temperature of 2000° Fahrenheit, and should have been instantly reduced to smoldering ashes, as were the other buildings all around it, but it was left standing, and the eight priests all escaped with their lives. Doctors and scientists could never explain why their bodies did not begin to deteriorate from the radiation, but they suffered no ill effects. The true explanation was given by Fr. Hubert Schiffer: "In that house, the Rosary was prayed every day. In that house we were living the message of Fatima." Perhaps the same Angel that protected the three young men in the fiery furnace was once again at work. But his work was not yet finished. In Nagasaki, as the nuclear blast hit that city, the same miracle was repeated at the Friary of the Franciscan Fathers, where the Rosary was also prayed daily (Lesson from Hiroshima, Spiritdaily.com, Feb. 14, 2003).
While our armies go out against the perceived enemy armed with the best that modern science and technology have to offer, what does our government prescribe for the protection of its worthy citizens at home? Duct tape! I would like to think that my safety is provided for by something more substantial. While it is reasonable to take precautionary measures, which may or may not help in a crisis, God has provided us with a better way, that of the three young men in the fiery furnace, and the priests near ground zero in Hiroshima: turn to God, repent of your sins, and pray the daily Rosary, with your family if possible.
The Holy Rosary, which once turned back the Islamic hordes at the Battle of Lepanto in 1570, is still the focus of Our Lady's plan for peace which she revealed at Fatima. It is our spiritual weapon, our lifeline, through which we may hope to gain the graces necessary for our eternal salvation. This is "running the race" with St. Paul. Are you praying the Rosary every day, with your family if possible? If not, what other prayers are you offering in this time of crisis, since the Church has a vast treasury of prayers, at the summit of which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Or are you playing Russian Roulette with your soul by putting off your conversion until you can hear the bomb blast or smell the fumes of the chemicals?
Don't delay, but make immediate plans for your salvation, not just in this world, but in eternity. Confess your sins, pray the Rosary, so that you don't share the fate of a world which is nearing its end, but may have hope of eternal life with God in a heavenly city which will never pass away.