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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The silence and justice of God

Australia has just changed its government. For the last eleven and a half years there have been numerous injustices and cruelties perpetrated by the former government under a bigotted Prime Minister. For many Australians, we have been ashamed. We no longer understood or recognised our nation and so many of our fellow Australians who allowed such ignominy to go unpunished at the ballot box.

When people cry out to the heart of God for justice and yet nothing seems to change, it is very difficult. It is difficult to live through the continuing situation and difficult to understand why there is not a speedy recourse.

We have to remember that we have only a partial view of any situation. God sees the whole picture: past, present, future and personal.

Miss Eagle was not alone in wanting speedy redress, but she also knew that our God - who has a heart of and for justice - would do the job properly. As for Job, I know that our Avenger lives. Last Saturday was reckoning day. Our fellow Australians at last redressed the situation. Not only did our government fall in huge numbers, the Prime Minister became only the second PM to lose his own seat at an election. In short, not only did Australians hold their representatives accountable, they took responsibility for carrying out the task.

One of the interesting things in the election was this. There were a few people on the government side who spoke out for justice. In the main, these people retained their seats in spite of so many losses. There is a lesson in this that needs to be absorbed.

In short, when justice came it did the job well. I only pray that Australians will remain engaged in the political process to hold their representatives accountable. The words of Thomas Merton, below, seemed to speak to the situation under which so many people have had to bear up for so long.

To admit that this is a world to which God seems not to be speaking is not a renunciation of faith: it is a simple acceptance of an existential religious fact. It should not disconcert anyone who knows, from the Bible and the mystics, that the silences of God are also messages with a definite import of their own. And this import is not necessarily reassuring. One thing it may imply, for instance, is a judgment on the self-righteousness of those who trust in themselves because they are fully respectable and "established." It may imply a judgment of their affirmations and suggest that a great deal is being said by God in language that we have not yet learned to decode. Not that there are new dogmas being revealed: but perhaps things that we badly need to know are being told us in new and disconcerting ways. Perhaps they are staring us in the face, and we cannot see them. It is in such situations that the language of prophetism speaks of the "silence of God."
Thomas Merton. "Apologies to an Unbeliever" in Faith and Violence. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: 211-212.

1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    I just put up a series of posts about Thomas Merton that I think you'd enjoy at: