Father Daniel : The apocalypse has begun
16 MAR 2016
Father Daniel (Superior or the brothers at Mar Yakub monastery): The actual world is the best one because it can save much more people than ever before. Nevertheless our world is the worst because it kills much more people than ever before. Mankind can destroy now the whole human family and in the same time also the whole planet earth. This is not a possibility for the future but a receipt ready for instant use. And more than ever people want to escape this reality through the virtual world of entertainment and media.
About 2.5 century ago this evolution of war started in an accelerated way, each one with more weapons for mass destruction and with more victims. The wars of Napoleon killed one million people but the French Revolution had massacred, killed or starved already three million people. In our time the American wars together with the sanctions against Iraq murdered more than two million people, from which more than half a million children. And since World War II US has killed more than 20 million people in 37 “victim nations”. The major responsible of this genocide enjoys an exuberant pension on his ranch in Texas. Violence is growing and the murderers are completely free. We do not talk anymore about rights for people in a war and certainly not about rights of captives, kidnapped or prisoners. The world terrorism follows its own way far above any law or international authority.
Blaise Pascal learned already: “If justice is not corroborated, power is justified” (si la justice n’est pas fortifiée, la force sera justifiée). This is the law of the most powerful, the law of the jungle which justifies any violence. Even worse, in a conflict between the legal army and the terrorists, as it is in Syria, a cease fire imposed by an international authority can be used to paralyze the legal army and to protect the terrorists. The international institutions of law which exist to protect innocent victims and to guarantee the sovereignty of nations have become forums for striping the victims of their rights and for justifying the most criminal acts of terrorism against them. All of which are in defiance of international law and the 4th Geneva Convention. In the case of Libya, the declaration of a “No-Fly Zone” that is supposed to protect the civil population, became the means to destroy them by a NATO bombing campaign. Finally, on the list of people murdered in our time, we have to add the “hidden victims” – those whose silent extinction constitutes nothing less than a worldwide mass execution, namely, the practice of abortion, even forced-abortion in some countries, eugenic practices and euthanasia. In our present time ways of destroying humans has become suddenly new category of human rights.
The “human rights”, which were elaborated after World War II to defend life and natural law, have been deformed and dehumanized to the point where they actually promote violence, destroy the innocent, and call these practices “rights”. This became possible because “the human person” was redefined and replaced by the “individual” who is encouraged to grasp as much “rights” as possible, free from all reality and even free from his own nature. In fact, all rights always correspond to obligations – and to the reality of our nature. Abortion destroys the right to live for the most unable to defend themselves, the unborn children. Hundreds of years before Christianity the Greek physician Hippocrates, “the Father of the Medicine” (460-377 B.C.) understood already that a child in the womb of his mother belongs to the human family and that he must be protected as a holy life. Nowadays almost nothing is respected as holy and that is why there is nowhere safety. People as “individuals” are encouraged to invent themselves and to venture out on a life in absolute self-determination to the point of absurdity.
The real source of evil can be found in our inclination to a bad imitation. Our desires are actually the desires of others but no one wants to recognize the inauthenticity of his desires. In general we like what others like, we want to have what others have, and we want to be like others. This imitative desire and comparative judgment is the essence of what divine law has forbidden in the wisdom of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, 2-17; Deut. 5, 6-21). World dominators want to possess the riches of countries that are not yet under their control and so they start wars with genocidal consequences, which implicate half the world. They have actually convinced themselves that this destruction is good and necessary because of overpopulation. Actually, all recent wars are imitations of a previous war, but with increased destruction and death, because science and technology made it possible. It began long ago. Eve imitated the desire of the serpent who tricked her not only to desire the forbidden fruit, but to imitate the Devil’s perspective of God as an enemy against whom we must rebel instead of God as our true Father whom we should trust. Adam imitated the desire of Eve. Cain’s failure to imitate his brother’s good sacrifice leads to jealousy of Abel and so he slew him. One person is a model for the other and then this person becomes a rival, which creates tension and violence. The reign of terror of the French Revolution is as an early imitation of the insanity of Napoleon. World War II is the repetition of World War I. The desire between Germany and France to imitate and compete with each other devastated Europe until the moment that Konrad Adenaur, Robert Shuman and Charles de Gaulle started Europe again. The rivalry, propaganda and senseless hatred of the US, OTAN and Europe against Russia is now dividing the once united Europe of Saint Benedict of Nursia and Saint Vladimir of Kiev. And the Islam is nothing else but a diminished copy of the Jewish and Christian faith. Nevertheless Islam sees all the world as its enemy (Dar al harb, the “house of war”) and with its sharia proclaims itself to be “the world of peace” (Dar el salaam), just as the Roman Empire and the Soviet Union, who, blind to their own injustice and genocidal fury, proclaimed themselves the “Pax Romana” and the “Pax Sovietica” respectively.
Will this ever end? No and yes; from a human point of view it will never end. Humanity is ever sucked into a whirlpool of increasing fear, violence and dehumanization, which cannot be stopped on his own. The world economy is based on violence, and the criminal arms industry who owns the media feeds on the fear that it creates. The world bankers have long understood that more money can be made in war than peace. We are living on the volcano of our own acts of rivalry. The apocalyptic descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament are much more realistic than some like to believe and the first Christians were much more aware of it than we are. Humanity irrevocably is on the way to this disaster. Jesus says:
“For nation will be raised against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes in many places. But all these are a beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you up to affliction, and will kill you; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will be offended, and they will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets will appear, and will cause many to err. And because wickedness shall have been multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, that one will be saved… For there will be great affliction, such as has not happened of the beginning of the world until now; no, nor ever will be. And except those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, but on account of the elect, those days will be shortened…For false christs and false prophets will rise up… And immediately after the affliction of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the land will wail. And they will see the Son of man coming of the clouds of heaven with power and much glory”. (Matthew 24, 7…30)
Two thousand years ago Jesus gave the history of the world a completely new direction by his death on the Cross. The most Holy and Innocent One embraced in freedom and with love his unjust condemnation. He revealed in this death the cruelty of violence present in all human civilization. In his dying He unified all innocent victims from the beginning of the world until the end of times. God in Jesus is standing on the side of the victims. Jesus broke the chain of vengeance and retaliation, showing us another way. He taught us to love our enemies, so we do not need any more sacrifices of others. The archaic religions with their myths that always revolve around the slaughter of a “scapegoat” and the belief in the necessity/inevitability of such sacrifices of the innocent is exposed as a lie. In Jesus now for the first time in history violence is unmasked as useless for the salvation of society. Now we know that we do not need enemies to be killed so that we can live in peace. Then problem now is, we just have to recognize this revelation and follow it. We have to refuse the harmful forms of imitation out of jealousy, such as greed, lust and domination, and follow Jesus’ example as the only worthy kind of imitation. Jesus did not sacrifice others, he sacrificed Himself with love. That is the solution of all violence. And when the Pharisees came to Jesus with a woman to be executed for adultery “He said to them: The one among you without sin let him cast the first stone on her” (John 8, 7). So here He reveals the violence and hypocrisy in our own heart. Conversion starts with the recognition of the violence in our own heart. Nevertheless in the same way that Jesus was hated without reason, so his revelation is rejected by the world without reason.
Friedrich Nietzsche (+ 1900) was a brilliant German philosopher. He understood much better than many others the unique importance of Jesus’ dead on the Cross for the history of humanity. He was aware of an opposition between the Crucified, the sign of God’s peace and love, against Dionysius, the Greek god of the pleasures of the world and finally of its violence. He wrote: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves?… Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us?” (The Gay Science, Section 125, 1881). Nietzsche could not accept Christ as he had understood; he sought to be god independent from God, the Übermensch, and grasp for himself the Absolute. It would render him crazy. In any case Nietzsche is dead, God is alive and Christ is risen. The Christian faith, in revealing the impotence of all human cultures to liberate themselves from violence, becomes for the world a scandal – as Jesus said: “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7, 7). There is a worldwide war against Christianity.
Modern thinking is strongly influenced by Nietzsche. Many people of our time do not have the insight about Christianity as he had, but they are following his radical rejection of the Crucified One. An imprudent word about the Jewish people or a protest against Zionism can lead to an accusation of anti-Semitism in today’s world. And islamophobie has also become a crime. Yes one can freely mock the Christian faith and Jesus’ Cross all over the world. Christianophobie and hate against Christian faith are considered as private opinions. Yet, the very thing society mocks or ignores is what it most needs. With his death on the Cross Jesus showed us the power of eternal love: how the world can be liberated from violence and how He saved the world. With one step Nietzsche could have been saved, but he refused. Many people in the world are following him.
The human civilization failed – failed to produce a savior, the Übermensch. All religionhas failed to save the world and unite humanity in love. And so far Christianity failed as well, except the heroes, the genius, the holy ones and the martyrs, formed by the Christian faith. Even Gandhi was inspired by the example of Jesus. The Church failed also, in so far as it is a human institution. It is the only institution which could predict its own failure. And the name of that failure is the apocalypse, the human inability to save ourselves. Yet, the Church as a divine reality predicts also its victory in glory with the Coming of the final Kingdom of God. Through the apocalypse we can arrive to our final salvation by the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Despite all our failures Christ has promised to create a New Heaven and a New Earth. Jesus has spoken his words about the apocalypse just before his suffering, his dead on the Cross. And the glorious light of his rising from the dead gives us hope for a better world. Likewise our apocalypse will be followed by the coming of the Kingdom of God in Glory.
“But when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21, 28).
To Him all glory, honor and power forever. Amen
Good Friday 2016