Posted by: fvbcdm | September 11, 2013

Feast of Saint Ambrose Barlow (11 September 2013)

Today is 9/11—the [twelfth] anniversary of THE 9/11 that will never be forgotten. And I would suggest that we as Catholics do a number of things to mark this sad anniversary. First, let us pray for those people who died in that terrible tragedy. Can you imagine what it’s like to stand at the window of a burning building on the 80th floor and have to make the decision of jumping or being incinerated? 

Then, let us pray for an end to terrorism as a means to accomplish political objectives. It is a particularly heinous form of crime since it victimizes the innocent with those regarded as the enemy. It is totally outside the boundaries of justice, sane and rational government, and of course, completely opposed to peace, harmony, and the virtues of love which even its practitioners sometimes pretend to observe. Whenever a crime is committed, there arises the desire to apprehend the criminal and bring him to justice. In a crime of this magnitude, there is no possibility of apprehending all the criminals since they belong to an international organization of murderers. And besides that, from our point of view, there is something more important than justice and punishment. We as Christians should be concerned about the conversion of the criminals into law-abiding people—and here, I refer to the law of God rather than the laws of this or that nation. True conversion turns sinner into saint, and criminal into honest man. This is the truest of all vindications, the best of all revenges. We cannot accomplish this of ourselves; only the grace of God can turn a human heart from evil to good. That is why we should pray for those who espouse terrorism and violence to achieve their goals.

 In the past few days, an ecumenical meeting took place involving all the Christian churches and denominations of Europe. It was held in Romania. It pointed out that two concerns of the European Christians are the migration problems and the encroachment of Islam into Europe, which has been Christian for centuries.  I have seen for myself, while walking along the streets of London or Paris, that often, the newspapers and magazines offered for sale on the newsstands are in Arabic more than in the language of the country.  More and more men and woman appear dressed in the distinctive garb of Islamic countries and sects.  There are mosques in all the major cities of Europe, even though Christian churches are not allowed in many Islamic countries.  But this very fact gives me reason for optimism. It is impossible that those thousands of Muslims who had been accustomed to live under the extreme regimentation and oppression of Islamic religious rule will not be impressed and influenced by the openness, freedom, and toleration of the west.  How many Islamic women, having lived for a time in the west, will be willing to return to the status of women in the Islamic countries? To quote a line from a first World War song that is appropriate here, “How’re You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm after They’ve Seen Paree?” I think that we will be seeing major changes—and changes for the better—in the world of Islam as a result of so many of them having first-hand contact with the ideas and life of the west.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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