From the HouseTops, Catholic Magazine

Saint Benedict Magazine

By Rev. Tihamer Toth

On one occasion the Pharisees’ behavior toward Our Lord was so aggressive that the Saviour replied to them in these threatening words, I go, and you shall seek Me, and you shall die in your sins. (John 8:21) Startling threat from our Lord’s lips. I have attempted everything for your sakes, but you have remained obdurate. I have taught you, and you have twisted my words, misunderstood them, mocked them, and closed your ears. I could send lightning upon you, or open the earth under you, but I do not. I do nothing but go quietly from among you; but you will die in this abandonment.

Are not Our Lord’s words being fulfilled today? They are fulfilled in the case of the man who turns his back upon Christ and upon His moral laws, but whose forlorn soul cries out for Christ sooner or later. They are also fulfilled in the case of mankind wishing to order life without Christ, and seeing its every pathway come to an end in confused turmoil.

We have attempted to develop human society without Christ, and now we begin to see that, through the one-sided development of science and technology, humanity has entered a cul-de-sac from which there seems no way out. We are like Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice who heedlessly evoked spirits but was unable to send them back whence they came.

Technology constructed newer, faster, and more powerful machines and gave them into man’s hands. Chemistry and physics harness powerful natural forces and give these into man’s hand. But who is this man into whose hands are placed these increasingly powerful machines and inventions? Who is this man? Someone tossed here and there by unbridled animal instincts, unless Christ bridles them.

We Have attemtpted to develop human society without Christ...

Surely we are proceeding unwisely in giving more and more dangerous forces into someone’s hands, if at the same time we neglect to strengthen him spiritually to the same degree. If someone places a more powerful engine in a car, he should at the same time provide it with a stronger brake. But we are increasing man’s motor power, and forgetting to increase the fear of God, the sense of responsibility, of honesty, of duty, and love of God in man’s soul.

Looking about us we can see what is happening in the world of today and will need no further proof that everything is a mere catchword, an illusion, a misty veil, everything is a house of cards, until man himself endeavors to be better, nobler, more honest, more Christian. Do we not see the approaching destruction of everything—civilization, culture, wealth, and human life—unless the selfish interest and the desire for power and pleasure, find their counterpoise in the culture of the soul, in Christ? Do we not see that our politics, our economics, our knowledge, and our technology are all lost in chaos unless men strive to be more manly, more self-sacrificing, more patient more resigned—more Christlike in the position to which their task in life has called them? From the depths to which we have fallen we should learn that no true progress will come without increased goodness of heart, no genuine culture without culture of the soul, that is, no worthy life without Christ.

Yet in a sense we are still Christians. We still live in the sunshine of a Christian past. But what of those people whose religion has been stolen from them by tyrants? What a cold night for them: to be born, to suffer and to die without Christ standing at the cradle and at the sick-bed! How dreadful it must be to live without Christ! Without Christ There is No Calm Life. We must do more than assert this; we must prove it. Therefore I raise the question: Without Christ is the world destroyed? My answer is: Yes, it is destroyed, because the world without Christ is a world without morality, a world without order, and a world without rest.

The world without Christ is a world without morality. The freedom of a life without morality is enticing only at first, it charms only in the beginning and then only for men of baser nature. Only these believe they have cast off a burden when they cast off the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. But soon they must perceive that, without the laws which bind us and order our ways, life becomes empty and worthless. Empty because it errs into wrong paths.

To live worthily means to fulfill a task. Therefore the fewer the tasks to be accomplished the emptier does life become. “The time is not far distant,” writes a Spanish philosopher, “when from the whole face of the earth a cry like the howling of countless hounds will rise to the stars and demand a power that will command, assign daily work and duty.” It seems this time has already come.

Who does not feel that the axis of the world has been jolted out of place? Who does not feel that modern humanity, since it lost its hold on God, wanders without direction, aimless and homeless? The soul longing for God seeks a substitute for God in everything and, with the yearning thirst of a dying man, seizes upon science, upon money, upon pleasure, upon art, upon physical health, upon alcohol, upon sports, upon recreational drugs, upon everything, like senseless moths grasping the deceptive flame.

The end? The end is that after a deluge of sensationalism and lasciviousness, after incessant week-ends and the braying of loud music, among the stupefying exhalation of a mixture of alcohol, coffee, perfume, the grief of the dissatisfied soul cries out for peace and joy.

 

Shall I give an example of what becomes of morality without Christ? Not long ago a female doctor published conversations that had taken place in her consulting-room. The wicked requests made to the doctor turns one’s blood cold. One of the family members comes and says, “Doctor, it will be best if we give my father an injection. He has been complaining for seventy years. Why should he continue to suffer any longer?” Another says, “It would be better if my mother were to die now, she is very weak. We cannot wait any longer, we need her bed.” A third comes, “I am surprised that Mr. so-and-so lacks the courage to kill himself. He will never be healthy, and his wife could get along more easily if she were without him.” And so on. All these cases really happened.

Now consider, dear reader, what becomes of a society where there is no longer any room for Christ. First, parents do not want to put up with children as we already see; but then children will not want to put up with their elderly parents as, apparently, as we are speedily experiencing. Till now parents thought it easier to struggle through life without children, now children seem to think their lives will be easier if their elderly parents were not occupying their time and space.

Another example of what becomes of morality without Christ? Without Christ every rope breaks, everything goes awry. An ancient poet said, “Love is a string which binds hearts together; marriage is a cable binding hands together. A string can be easily broken, but a cable cannot.”

The World without Christ is a world without morality.

Yes, this was so in times gone by. But what of today? How the bonds of matrimony are broken! Not so very long ago anyone who lived with an[1]other during the lifetime of his or her spouse was ostracized by society. Today a woman who lives three years with the same husband is considered tedious. In the frivolous world of today even the breaking of the most sacred ties is a source of income. Listen to the kind of advertisement received by every young married couple in Berlin not long ago, “What do you need? We deliver everything. Reasons for divorce, from the simplest to the most complicated, unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation, misunderstood advances. If you wish a divorce, apply to us. Our work is prompt, cheap, and reliable. Payment by installments.”

A world without Christ is a world without order. A grievous tragedy accompanies the history of mankind.

When all is well with us, we are ready to dance with satisfaction; when disaster falls upon us, we collapse. When in the quietude of prolonged peace humanity is able to develop, when respectable work finds its own remuneration, when scientist and artists are able to work calmly, when we can build, create, plan, and go forward, then a vapor of self-satisfaction and arrogance envelops our brains, and again man thinks: I am sufficient for myself. I have no need of a Redeemer, I have no need of Christ.

Not long ago we lived through such an unhappy period, and today are groaning because of it. When have so many scientists made researches as today? When were so many books written, when did man hear so many teachings, when were so many discoveries made in the realm of nature? Yet what a confusion of Babel in every question! We possess telephones that bring the leaders of the people closer together than they ever were before; we have technology of all kinds calculated to bring us nearer to one another; yet never were we so far apart. Never were so many discussions and conferences held by public leaders; but at each one the differences, the conflict of opinions, and the perplexity are more plainly to be seen. Never did production reach such proportions on the earth, the necessary raw materials were never before amassed in such quantities, and yet everywhere we find lack of employment and dire misery. When we fall away from Christ, we fall away from the natural laws of humane, harmonious existence, we fall away from the preliminary conditions of human progress toward higher things.

Who does not feel that modern humanity,
since it has lost its hold on GOD,
wanders without direction, aimless and homeless?

One would have to be blind not to perceive in the daily disasters and ruin in these later times, that everything is tottering and collapsing because we have built on weak foundations. Let us acknowledge that we were deceived when we thought we could build up life merely on man, on so called human rights. Man proved too weak for this task, and those human rights proved insufficient which did not spring from God’s rights and were not ennobled by Christ. But now, when brutish selfishness and the battle of each against all have overwhelmed us, at least let us acknowledge that a world without Christ is a world without order, a world without rest.

Have we any solution at all for the most burning problems of out times? There is, but only with Christ. With that Christ Who commands all of us to love one another, to help one another. Not only this, but also that we should be just to one another. With that Christ Who first proclaimed that we are all brothers, employers and workers, great and small, strong and feeble, uneducated and learned. With that Christ Whose Apostle wrote, Bear one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2)

Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom that admonishes the wealthy to the practice of justice and of meritorious giving; that gives strength to the poor to gain merit by bearing their crosses. Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom where every worker receives his just reward, and every sinner his punishment. Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom where everyone’s hands are clean, their hearts, their desires, and their acts pure. Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom where honesty walks courageously with head erect, and where sin languishes in the gloom of dank cellars.

But how far we are from the realization of this kingdom? Instead of sighing that we are far from this, let us strive that the spirit of Christ may spread more and more among us, and let us pray that the kingdom of God may come among us, poor struggling men that we are, and that His holy will may be done here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Until this kingdom comes, we shall have no peace. Christ was once crucified and since then He is being crucified again and again. Yet all human life cries out for Him, because no life-problem of ours can be satisfactorily solved without Him.

We need God, Who speaks to us and Whom we can speak too. We need God, Who labored and suffered for us, so that we, laboring and suffering for Him, can endure life. We need God, Whom we can seek in time of trouble and Whom we can humbly thank in prosperity. He need God Who commands and Whom we can obey. We need Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We need God, who speaks to us and whom we can speak to.