My Thoughts

A philosopher friend once prefaced a question to Karol Wojtyla (Pope Saint John Paul II) “Evil sometimes seems omnipotent, it seems to exercise absolute dominion over the world. In your view, Holy Father, does there exist a threshold that evil is unable to cross?” His answer was straight from his own lived experience and it is telling and terrifying, yet offers hope, something for which we should all give serious attention.

I have had personal experience of ideologies of evil. It remains indelibly fixed in my memory. First there was Nazism. What we could see in those years was terrible enough. Yet many aspects of Nazism were still hidden at that stage. The full extent of the evil that was raging through Europe was not seen by everyone, not even by those of us situated at the epicenter. We were totally swallowed up in a great eruption of evil and only gradually did we begin to realize its true nature. Those responsible took great pains to conceal their misdeeds from the eyes of the world. Both the Nazis during the war and, later, the Communists in Eastern Europe tried to hide what they were doing from public opinion. For a long time, the West was unwilling to believe in the extermination of the Jews. Only later did this come fully to light. Not even in Poland did we know all that the Nazis had done and were still doing to the Poles, nor what the Soviets had done to the Polish officials in Katyń; and the appalling tragedy of the deportations were still known only in part.

There was a sense that this evil was in some way necessary for the world and for mankind. It can happen, in fact, that in certain concrete situations, evil is revealed as somehow useful, inasmuch as it creates opportunities for good. … Saint Paul, for his part, has this to say: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). That, after all, is the way to bring about a greater good in response to evil.

If I have wanted to underline the limit imposed upon evil …, I must conclude that the limit is constituted by good—the divine good and the human good that have been revealed in that history, over the course of the last century and of entire millennia. Yet it is hard to forget the evil that has been personally experienced: one can only forgive. And what does it mean to forgive, if not to appeal to a good that is greater than any evil? This good, after all, has its foundation in God alone. Only God is this good. The limit imposed upon evil by divine good has entered human history … through the work of Christ. So it is impossible to separate Christ from human history. … Only in him, in fact, can all nations and all humanity “cross the threshold of hope”![1]

An uncaged evil stalks us; there can be no denying evil feeds on the souls of men. We are susceptible to temptation, no one is immune. We can cage evil, thus limiting its dominion, though we must never, for an instant, imagine evil a friend nor forget the power of the beast. Wake up America.

Just my thoughts for a Wednesday, for what it is worth.

[1] Pope Saint John Paul II, “Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium,” (New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2005), 13-15.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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