Josemaría Escrivá Obras

I have been describing to you, not my own idea, but Christ's doctrine on the Christian's ideal. You can see that it is demanding, sublime, attractive. Still some might ask: "Is it possible to live this way in today's society?"

Our Lord has called us, it is true, in a time when everyone talks about peace, and there is no peace — whether in souls or in institutions or in social life or among nations. Everyone talks about equality and democracy, and what we see all around are closed and impenetrable castes. He has called us in a time when everyone demands understanding, and understanding is conspicuous only by its absence, even among persons who act in good faith and want to be charitable. Don't forget that charity, more than in giving, consists in understanding.

We are living in a period of time when the fanatics and the intransigent — those incapable of listening to the reasons of other people — use the device of accusing their victims of being violent and aggressive. Our Lord has called us, finally, in a time when we can hear all kinds of talk about unity, and it would be hard to imagine a greater disunion among Catholics themselves, not to speak of people in general.

I never make political remarks; that's not my job. If I were to describe the present situation of the world as a priest, all I need is to think again about one of our Lord's parables, that of the wheat and the weeds. "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away." The situation is clear — the field is fertile and the seed is good; the Lord of the field has scattered the seed at the right moment and with great skill. He even has watchmen to make sure that the field is protected. If, afterwards, there are weeds among the wheat, it is because men have failed to respond, because they — and Christians in particular — have fallen asleep and allowed the enemy to approach.

When the careless servants ask the Lord why weeds have grown in his field, the explanation is obvious: "an enemy has done this." We Christians should have been on guard to make sure that the good things placed in this world by the creator were developed in the service of truth and good. But we have fallen asleep — a sad thing, that sluggishness of our heart! — while the enemy and all those who serve him acted without stopping. You can see how the weeds have grown abundantly everywhere.

My vocation is not that of a prophet of misfortune. With these words I do not wish to make you see a desolate and hopeless picture of reality. I do not want to complain about this time in which the Lord's providence has placed us. We love this time of ours because it is in this time when we are called to achieve our personal sanctification. We will not admit naive longings that lead nowhere — the world has never been any better. From the very beginning, from the cradle of the Church, in the times when the twelve Apostles were still preaching, violent persecutions had already begun, the first heresies were springing up, lies were being spread and hatred was unleashed.

Still, it cannot be denied that evil seems to have prospered. Weeds have grown in this whole field of God, which is the earth, the inheritance of Christ. Not only have they grown, they are abundant. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived by the myth of constant and irreversible progress. Progress, in an orderly manner, is good, and God wants it to take place. But people seem to consider more another kind of progress, which is false and blinds many persons, who often fail to realize that, in some of its movements, the human race moves backward and loses some of the ground it had conquered.

Our Lord, I insist, has given us the world for our inheritance. It is up to us to keep our souls and our minds wide awake. We have to be realistic, without being defeatist. Only a person with a callous conscience, made insensitive by routine or dulled by a frivolous attitude, can allow himself to think that evil — offence to God and harm, at times irreparable harm, to souls — does not exist in the world he sees. We have to be optimistic, but our optimism should come from our faith in the power of God who does not lose battles, and not from any human sense of satisfaction, from a stupid and presumptuous complacency.

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