In light of the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, especially in light of the wars and military action in the subsequent years, it seems appropriate to pause and reflect on some of Thomas Merton’s insight and prophetic call.

For only love — which means humility — can exorcise the fear which is at the root of all war. What is the use of postmarking our mail with exhortation to “pray for peace” and then spending billions of dollars on atomic submarines, thermonuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles? This, I would think, would certainly be what the New Testament calls “mocking God” — and mocking him far more effectively than the atheists do. The culminating horror of the joke is that we are piling up these weapons to protect ourselves against atheists who, quite frankly, believe there is no God and are convinced that one has to rely on bombs and missiles since nothing else offers any real security. Is it then because we have so much trust in the power of God that we are intent upon utterly destroying these people before they can destroy us? Even at the risk of destroying ourselves at the same time? (New Seeds of Contemplation)


1 Comment

  1. “Let him who desires peace prepare for war.” — De Re Militari

    The Romans taught this lesson to the Carthaginians in the Third Punic War ( when at one point they demanded all weapons and armor to be handed over. When the Carthaginians complied in an attempt to appease Rome, the Romans demanded that the Carthaginians move inland by at least ten miles and told them that Carthage was to be burned. The Carthaginians could not accept this but, now defenseless, could only endure a siege until their eventual and inevitable defeat.

    The Romans may well have attacked and even defeated Carthage even if the Carthaginians hadn’t disarmed, but nonetheless this incident demonstrates that disarmament is not a “way to peace”.

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