Even such is Time, which takes us in trust, Our youth, our joys, and all we have, And pays us but with age and dust. Which in the dark and silent grave, When we have wandered all our
ways, Shuts up the story of our days: And from which earth, and grave, and dust The Lord shall raise me up I trust."
Sir Walter Ralegh.
THE sad and even tragic penalty of loving this world too well is that those who do so never truly understand it or serve it. Particularly in politics, their field of judgement tends always to be limited to the immediate, the particular, and the expedient. The long view and the short view almost always recommend different action in the present time; the politicians, paying lipservice to the eternal seldom fail to be actuated by the purely temporal. The moment for decision comes, the Chi istian and his priest are bundled into the background, their irrelevant chatter about outraged nature and morality silenced as sabotage.
The practical man, the man of affairs, the man of the world, takes charge. . When he has done be leaves posterity an augean mess of gore, pain and evil that only the Christian and his priest have stomach to clear up.
THE most lei rible example of this Lolly on Christendom's history is Benito Mussolini, who knows well enough the enmity that the force with which he has allied his country bears for everything that his people hold, or should hold, dear. What shall it profit Italy to gain an empire, and lose her own soul?
The final disposition of the politician who calls himself a realist is to desire every consummation during his own lifetime. At the rate at which he contrives to seize the means to power ego-centricity becomes a habit of mind and in 'the end the country's well-being and the ruler's ambition are seen in terms of each other.
This was surely the precipitathe factor in the German Fiihrer's decision to invade Poland. Dominated by a historicotheatrical view of events and of himself Adolph Hitler plunges on toward a victory which, if It can come at all, can only produce a European generation of whom Jew will be literate enough to read its sickening story.
So those who will have nothing to do with eternal values in the end lose all sense of temporal values.
In Moscow a third " realist " takes his turn to shake and share the world. He is the oldest, craftiest and most accursed of the three and has not failed in time to strike,
Of our own realists now is not the time to speak.
Europe's Only Hope
sO at the end we cattle to the eternal paradox of the Christian life, that the man who least loves this world for his own sake and for his own sake would sooner, I have not the least doubt, be out of it, is' alone of all the great figures in Europe he who could save the world.
This man puts on the tiara of sovereignty as Our Lord took up His Cross. He expected not glory, but agony from the world; nor did the world disappoint hint.
His empire is the Catholic hearts of us all, and his territorial claim for dominion over all hearts; not for his own sake, but for the sake of Another, the King and Centre of all beans. His subjects are the servants of God and their ruler's proudest title is Servant of the Servants of God.
Most removed from the world in the sense of requiring or desiring nothing of it, most innocent of the guilt of its present atonement. the Pope shares most profoundly the desperate pain at the world's heart and offers himself as mediator between fools and knaves.
This is that love of which Saint Paul cries out, that is patient, kind, envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth: beareth all things, hopeth all things, cndureth all things. For, he goes on : " Charity never (alleth away whether prophecies shall be made void or tongues shall cease or knowledge be destroyed."
It is something to remember.
Thomas More : Saint, Layman, Englishman
This end of my column it is my intention to dedicate each week to the sayings and writings of the greatest Englishman of modern times.
Whether you reckon greatness according to the wisdom of the children of this world or of the children of light surely Thomas More has a claim to the homage of both. When news of More's execution came to Charles the Tenth, the Emperor said to his English ambassador: " This we will say, that had we been the master of such a servant, of whose doings ourselves have had these many years no small experience we would rather have lost the best city of our dominions than have lost such a worthy counsellor."
Cardinal Pole cried out : " You have killed him, you have killed him, the noblest of all Englishmen!"
More and Shakespeare
Beside the monument of heroic virtue More has left us the genius even of Shakespeare turns ghostly and fades back into the dreant-world where it was born. When the poet has said his say he has left us no more than a burden of lovely sorrow, a wisdom drowned in tears. But the saints took account of all the poet knew of sorrow and he was merry withal. Fur he knew what the poet forgot : that tragedy is a breath that obscures the mirror of truth for a moment only, and fades: that suffering also has been redeemed; and that comedy is eternal.
To his daughter, Margaret Roper, from the Tower: the third letter.
" Mistrust him, Megg, will I not though I feel me faint. Yea, and though I should feel my fear even at point to overthrow me too, yet shall I remember how Saint. Peter with a blast of wind began to sink for his faint faith and shall do as he did, call upon Christ and pray Him for help."