Bishop Fulton Sheen on War and Suffering...

This is powerful and timely. Bishop Fulton Sheen writes as though he is still alive on this earth today. If I were to read this excerpt on the internet, not knowing who the author was, I would assume it was written by a current Bishop imploring his flock and fellow Americans. Incredible.

From Bishop Fulton Sheen's address on War and Providence, December 29th, 1940

"Our Declaration of Independence affirms that this country trusts in God. Let us Americans take it literally and never relinquish an absolute trust in the Providence of God even in adversity, sorrow, depression, catastrophe, and war. With Job we cry out : "Although he should kill me, I will trust in him: but yet I will reprove my ways in his sight” (Job 13 :15) .

Starting from this basic trust in God, certain conclusions follow:
We will not start with the assumption that we are innocent, and therefore assert that all our misfortune is undeserved.

Henceforth, instead of asking, "On whose side is God?" we shall look into our own souls and say: ”On whose side are we?"

We shall constantly keep before our minds that the greatest tragedy of war is not economic loss or physical suffering but acquiescence in evil: ”And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10 :28) .

The unbeliever can explain the tormentor in war, but he cannot explain the sacrifice of the soldier or the martyr. The believer in God can explain both.

Suffering in all forms is, for the Christian, a mystery not a problem. To get a square peg into a round hole is a problem because one fact does not fit the other fact. Suffering is not like that. It fulfills a purpose; even sin may be a "happy fault” if it brings Redemption.

Given the spectacle of the Son of God Incarnate stretched on a Cross through the corporate evil of men, and yet conquering their hate and sin by rising to a new life and pouring out forgiveness and pardon — I say, given that vision on Calvary, suffering and war and evil can be faced without losing hope either in humanity or in God. It was the prosperous Solomon who complained of the emptiness of life, not the suffering Job. The Cross could once more marry us to God.

Thus we are brought back to the general theme of this series of broadcasts: America must return to God humbly and penitently, or if we forsake God, God will forsake us. He is not only the God of Mercy, but the God of Justice, and though He suffers some to sneer, "Where is your God now?", He in His turn will answer, "Where are their gods, in whom they trusted . . . let them arise and help you” (Deut. 32:37-28). We will be under Providence either by free response to His love or by submission to His Justice."


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