Found this at the end of a reflection by Dan Clendenin for the fourth anniversary of 9/11:
‘The German Pastor Martin Niemoeller (1892–1984), who protested Hitler’s anti-semite measures in person to the fuehrer, was eventually arrested, then imprisoned at Sachsenhausen and Dachau (1937–1945). He once confessed, “It took me a long time to learn that God is not the enemy of my enemies. He is not even the enemy of His enemies.” I pray to love what Niemoeller learned, and I pray that despite the pain and horror that our country experienced on September 11, 2001, our nation and its leaders will too.’
This makes me think of John Dear sj … in one of his speeches – “Love Your Neighbor, Love Your Enemies: Jesus’ All-inclusive Nonviolence from New York to Kabul to Baghdad” – he said …
The world says there are two options in the face of violence: you can fight back or run away. Jesus gives us a third option: creative, active nonviolent resistance to injustice. We stand up and resist war publicly, through creative nonviolent love, trusting in God, loving even our enemies.
This is a welcome follow-on to the ‘Finding God in all things’ discussion in the Evolution post. If enmity can converted into forgiveness and reconciliation, and grace, surely (cliche alert!) good can truly come from ‘bad stuff’. The Holocaust was mentioned in the earlier debate. Its significance in our collective human experience requires no comment from me. But from people like Pastor Niemoller and Fr Maximillian Kolbe, about whom I was taught as a 9-year-old, we are provided with examples of inspirational grace which will last in our consciousness for as long as the memory of the very fact of the Holocaust.
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