Evil Is Before Us And Evil Was Behind Us: Foreshadowing Of The Future
Today we have a large amount of evil in the world. Everywhere you turn you are bombarded about evil. This then brings up two very important concepts: What is evil and why is it important?
I will begin with a quote from Pope Leo XIII
Whoso turns his attention to the bitter strifes of these days and seeks a reason for the troubles that vex public and private life must come to the conclusion that a fruitful cause of the evils which now afflict, as well as of those which threaten us, lies in this: that false conclusions concerning the divine and human things, which originated in the schools of philosophy, have crept into all the orders of the state, and have been accepted by the common consent of the masses.
For those who know me- I am very eastern in orientation. However, recently I have discovered a great man who was the last Pope of the 19th century and the first Pope of the twentieth century. He was the third longest-serving Pope and the oldest person to actively hold the position of Pope. I am talking about Pope Leo XIII
On April 21, 1878, he wrote:
5. Now, who would make bold to deny that the Church, by spreading the Gospel throughout the nations, has brought the light of truth amongst people utterly savage and steeped in foul superstition, and has quickened them alike to recognize the Divine Author of nature and duly to respect themselves? Further, who will deny that the Church has done away with the curse of slavery and restored men to the original dignity of their noble nature; and - by uplifting the standard of redemption in all quarters of the globe, by introducing, or shielding under her protection, the sciences, and arts, by founding and taking into her keeping excellent charitable institutions which provide relief for ills of every kind - has throughout the world, in private or in public life, civilized the human race, freed it from degradation, and with all care trained it to a way of Living such as befits the dignity and the hopes of man?
And if any one of sound mind compare the age in which We live, so hostile to religion and to the Church of Christ, with those happy times when the Church was revered as a mother by the nations, beyond all question he will see that our epoch is rushing wildly along the straight road to destruction; while in those times which most abounded in excellent institutions, peaceful life, wealth, and prosperity the people showed themselves most obedient to the Church's rule and laws.
6. Furthermore, that kind of civilization that conflicts with the doctrines and laws of the holy Church is nothing but a worthless imitation and meaningless name. Of this those peoples on whom the Gospel light has never shown afford ample proof, since in their mode of life a shadowy semblance only of civilization is discoverable, while its true and solid blessings have never been possessed. Undoubtedly, that cannot by any means be accounted the perfection of civilized life which sets all legitimate authority boldly at defiance; nor can that be regarded as liberty which, shamefully and by the vilest means, spreading false principles, and freely indulging the sensual gratification of lustful desires, claims impunity for all crime and misdemeanor, and thwarts the goodly influence of the worthiest citizens of whatsoever class. Delusive, perverse, and misleading as are these principles, they cannot possibly have any inherent power to perfect the human race and fill it with blessing, for "sin maketh nations miserable."(3) Such principles, as a matter of course, must hurry nations, corrupted in mind and heart, into every kind of infamy, weaken all right order, and thus, sooner or later, bring the standing and peace of the State to the very brink of ruin.
Brother and sisters these statements were written almost 150 years ago. However, they are still as fresh today as they were when they were written. Why is this the case? Without a doubt, it was written and given to a people who would not recognize the world of today, but a Pope obviously did. It was written to an audience that may not recognize all of the evil that was facing them- but we should be able to recognize this fact. Brother and sisters, the world is a mess out there. However, your life doesn’t have to be. In this season of Holy Cross pick up the spirit of evangelization and bring people into the Church. Make the Church the center of your life and your life’s center. You will be changed and you will change the world. Now is the hard part, the really hardest part of it all. You have to do it. Remember the immortal words of Pope Leo XIII, “Furthermore, that kind of civilization which conflicts with the doctrines and laws of the Holy Church is nothing but a worthless imitation and meaningless name.” Let us not do that and let’s show this world and the next that we truly care about each other and care about our Church. Amen