Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Power of Witness

On Friday the First Things blog posted a homily that Fr. Richard John Neuhaus delivered at the annual Memorial Mass of the Military Vicariate at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on the Feast of the Ascension, 2007. I was struck by Fr. Neuhaus' marvelous summation of Christian realism. The following particularly rang true:
The principalities and powers still strut across the stage of history, trailing behind them the bloody carnage of their vain ambitions. So it has been through the centuries, and so it will be until Our Lord returns in glory. ...

We describe wars as just and wars as unjust, and it is necessary that we make such distinctions for clarity of mind and security of conscience. But, short of the coming Kingdom, all is provisional and approximate; all is riddled through with ambiguity, contradiction, and tragedy. That is how things are, and that is how things will be along the way of history’s long journey toward the perfect justice of Christ’s undisputed sovereignty.
Fr. Neuhaus concluded by reminding the assembled chaplains that "our only power ... is the power of witness. We should want no other. We need no other."


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