BACK in 1940 Moscow and Berlin were regarded as twin partners in crime. " Poland,"
affirmed Cardina Hinsley, " was crucified between two thieves."
Churchill's vigorous, phrases were being quoted: "The dark conspirators of the Kremlin . . cosmopolitan conspirators from the underworld .
diabolical tuachinery all over the world." On January 20. 1940, he said to his listeners; s" Everyone can see how Communism rots the soul of a nation." The Labour Party fell into step. A pamphlet, Stalin's MenAbout Turn, asserted that the Marshal luling in MOSCOW was every bit as much responsible for this war as any Fuhrer dictating from Berlin. lo a Punch cartoon, Hitler made his bow as a zoo-keeper, opening the door of a cage and our. jumped an enormous Russian bear, hungry for European meat.' Britain (said the platform orators) was fighting for Culture, CiviliseOen and even for Christianity. "Poland is the test; if Poland is abandoned, if wholesale killing, wholesale looting, wholesale enslavement, whether by Prussia or her Russian Ally, go unpunished, then there is an end of Europe." (Loud applause.)
Memory ,brings back the thrill of righteousness which we all felt.
The Way of the World
Communism and Nazism-and all the other isms-differ, of course, in accidentals and in their economic and political structures. But, fundamentally ate they not aspects of One Mechanical Monster, imbued with an intense hatred of the Christian ethic and doctrine, involving a determined attack on the practice' of the one and on allegiance to the other ?
And now-in 1945-Tory and Bolshevik have shaken hands. They have pledged each other a firm friendship from this bestir: the dark and dismal hour when the Poland we knew and have been fighting for was sentenced to be hung:drawn and quartered, amid a wind of words and a round of cheers.
A strange introduction to an article specially written for Holy Week, you may say l Yet it behoves a preacher of the Gospel to attack the lack of consistencies and principles, the shallow phrases, the reversible labels of manmade divisions and money-guided policies. For all these things are implied in the notion of " the World"
as understood by the Gospel. The follies and foibles of human society organised without reference to the Redemption, or merely with a lip-service to the Church, deserve a full and unsparing onslaught. It is in their changing lights and shades that we shall uoderstand the Light.
A Christian must think of worldevents in terms oi the City of God and the City of man : of the Standard of Christ and the Standard of Satan. In Our Lady's Magnifica,, sung exultingly because she knew that she possessed God the Saviour of men. the contrast eis already clear between " the way of' the humble " and ," the way of the proud." And " Sentence " and "Judgment " was passed on the world by His death on Calvary. The Cross has brought about the true demarcation. the deep isvue. the real warfare in the affairs of men. It has absorbed or shattered all false loyalties and all shallow alliances, The Challenge of the Cross
During our Lord's public life His doctrine on this separation of spirits" was not understood by the crowds because they did not heed His teaching concerning the Cross. His own magneties Personality overwhelmed them ; the beauty of His words, the power of His works, captured their hearts. But their inner meaning did not enter their heads. They followed Him into the desert, forgetting even to eat or drink, five thousand at one time, three thousand at another. They shouted their Hosannas and waved their palms.
Peter had made a real act of faith, blessed by our Lord. But it was an incomplete one, for not yet could he face the implications of the Cross. The Gentiles, our Lord assured His chosen Twelve, would mock. spit, scourge, kill. Bewildered, Peter and the others fol
lowed Him to Jerusalem with faint hearts.
To be penetrated by divine wisdom and io penetrate the World. the Cross was necessaiy-and then the light and power of the Floly Spirit Peter s faith was completed and perfected after Calvary and after Pentecost. With what effect he then preached 1 He stirposed the successes of His own Master and Lord; three thousand souls, and then five thousand followed him, not into the desert, but into the Church. And what real Christians these converts became ! " There was One heart and one soul in all the company of believers."
The explanation '1 Our Lord's .own prophetic worde concerning the Cross: " Sentence is now being passed on this world .. . yes, if only I am lifted up front the earth, I will attract all men to Myself."
Calvary is the foundation or Christianity; the Cross is the Challenge to men. They accept it or reject it; they say, " Lord, remember me," or, "Save yourself and us too." Paul came to Corinth. not with the clever tricks of an orator, but with the tremendous assertion of an apostle: " With Christ I am crucified to the World and the World is crucified to me " The Challenge To-day
„God Our Lord has an immense desire to mould Christians as efficient instruments for the promotion of His Kingdom. He is permitting them to be battered by terrors from the West and invaded by turmoils from the East. Had faith, brute force, base injustice surround them on all sides. Lle is raising up a new army of martyrs and rallying a valiant body of Christians to the Stamford of the Cross. / What is lour answer to Ilia Chat
?thousand moving pictures come before you, one after the other, in the course of life: persons and problems, ambitions and achievements, sorrows and joys. What is your ChriStian interpretation 01 these things ?
The society around you is one in which faith is either very weak or absent altogether; money, power and worldly success are adored. What is your Christian counter-action . to mitten] idolatries ?
Faith and Adoration
Deep faith is not dependent on mighty signs. Wise men from the East saw a Child in His mother's arms; a thief saw the Child grow Man, battered and bruised, bleeding to death on the Cross. They made sublime acts of faith in His Divinity and adored Him.
Believe in the Power of the Cross. The death ot God Our Lord is your great lesson how to think of the passing things of this world.
Adore Him as your Leader and Liberator, guiding and freeing you from false slaveries.
The sky grows darker: the sea rises higher: the rumble of storms surrounds you. In the tornado of worldevents, earthly leaders will cease their parrot cries, watch their platform schemes' torn in tatters anti behold themselves incapable of inventing new
slogan: and new salutes. Another age has come. But the Sign of the Cross shall remain: the enduring salute: the symbol of eternal liberation shall be still man's hope. Christ's words e which will not pass away " shall yet be heard: e Take up your Cross daily and follow Me." To accept the Cross brings light and life; to teject it, darkness and death.
Light Life Adoration Faith. These tire Christian words ! They find. powerful and beautiful expression in the prayer of Saint Francis:
" Lord, make me an instrument trf Your peace !
Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury let me sow pardon.
Where there is doubt let me saw faith. Where there is despair let me sow hope. Where there is darkness id t me sow light.
Where there is sadness let me sow joy.
0 Dome MssrFlt, grant that I may not so much seek .
To be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
It is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are par. doned."
'It is quite possible that Saint Fraecis will be invoked at San Francisco-as a lover of birds. But he holds the Cross in one hand and no secularist emblem in the other. The Challenge of yesterday is the Challenge of to-day and involves the ruin or the resurrection of the peoples of the world.