Wednesday 9 June 2010

Leaders in our times

When the Industrial Revolution was at its very height in the second half of the nineteenth century, and when so much of what was genuinely human was obscured in the pursuit of industrial and imperial progress, in this dark time, one man steps out as a leader and guide for many. John Henry Newman, recognising how submission to truth had been replaced by rationalism, joins the despised, little Catholic Church in England. In an age of impressionable darkness, he followed the kindly light that had led him, and stood for God's truth. What a great guide for our times, and how wonderful that he should be Beatified now, at this time when England is so cavalier about the truth, mocking both the Gospel and the Pope. Newman gave up all that, going against all the trends of the culture and society of his day, in order to embrace the unique light of truth.
About one hundred years later, just after the Second World War, an obscure nun decides to leave her teaching Order and to go and work with the poorest of the poor. This decision was one of the most important decisions of the Twentieth century, for entering into the physical and spiritual darkness which is the lot of so much of humanity in our cavalier world; but not just entering into it in folly, but entering into it with the light of Christ, Mother Teresa, perhaps more than anyone today, has secured a place for God's truth in the world.
We can speak also of John Paul II's witness to truth - these three are towering lights for our age.

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