How many, today could be reproached with their repudiating Christ's principles and yet retaining the name of Christian. How many there are, today, who avow themselves followers of the Nazarene, but hardly live in accordance with the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. they refuse to forgive as their Captain Christ forgave even His enemies as they nailed Him to a tree.
Since the days of the so-called Reformation the world has been trying to live on the patrimony of Christian culture while denying some of the foremost teachings of Christ. The world has tried the experiment of compromising norms- of being Christian without Christ. The distinctly Protestant notion that human nature is corrupt and that Christ's merits simply cover up the evils present in men's souls has found many a follower. The danger of such a belief is that it prompts men to look upon Christ as the scapegoat who was offered up for the sins of mankind as a satisfaction to the Eternal Father, forgetting that salvation requires man's co-operation. Redemption means an application of Christ's merits to our souls. But this requires a response on our part to God's grace.
In such a world where men wish to be known as Christian but refuse to obey the mandates of the Christian moral code there is a great confusion and little contentment. This defection of the human mind and will has been in progress for so long a time that we have come to face a world that has lost faith in God, and consequently confidence in its fellow men.
The State has usurped the place of God, and man becomes a mere tool and pawn of tyrants. Humanity is asked to accept as the ideal order a State, the ruler of man's body and soul.
Somewhere in this world there is the voice of Christ heard in His Vicar. He speaks not only to those who recognize him as the Vicar of Jesus Christ. He speaks to all the children of men who have need of his direction. The Pope placed emphasis on the moral principles which alone will save the human race from destruction. He makes a plea for the rights of the individual man upon which all well-ordered society rests. He insists that the personal integrity of man must not be violated by any State. For these same rights and the dignity of man are granted not by any human power, but are infused by God.
Thus, the Victor of Christs pleads for fidelity to the Savior of the human race. The Pope is pleading with men for a return to Christian principles and a restoration of the natural law. Our modern world, while retaining the name of Christian, has done much to destroy the very foundations of Christian society.
We look today, then, not for a new philosophy of life nor a new economic theory. We look for no superman to lead us from a world threatened with destruction of wicked men. We look only up to God and pray that the words of His lawful representatives will be heeded, so that soon peace may reign in our land and in all the world, a peace with justice gained through fidelity to Christ. This should be our special intention on this Ember Day, for prayer can be our "widow's mite" in helping to obtain peace on earth which is the reward to men of good will.
O Lord, inspire rulers and peoples with grace to see the errors of the past and to resolve to live the Christian life in the future. Heal the discord of nations. Grant that Your precious blood, shed for all mankind, may prompt their hearts to forgive and to build a world where love may reign again.