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Journal of a Soul p3

November 26, 1940, reflections on World War Two, featured in Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII…

The law of life, alike for the souls of men and for nations, lays down principles of justice and universal harmony and the limits to be set to the use of wealth, enjoyments and worldly power. When this law is violated, terrible and merciless sanctions come automatically into action. No state can escape. To each its hour. War is one of the most tremendous sanctions. It is willed not by God but by men, nations and states, through their representatives…[unlike what he calls the “blind laws of nature” e.g. earthquakes]. War instead is desired by men, deliberately, in defiance of the most sacred laws. This is what makes it so evil. He who instigates war and foments it is always the “Prince of this world”, who has nothing to do with Christ, the “Prince of peace”.

And while the war rages, the peoples can only turn to the Miserere [Psalm 51, a prayer of repentance] and beg for the Lord’s mercy, that it may outweigh his justice and with a great outpouring of grace bring the powerful men of this world to their senses and persuade them to make peace.

-See Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII, published by Four Square Editions, 1966. He sometimes mentions another book which influenced him: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, which is also available in paperback. In another charity store, I found a very good edition of this book, published by Fontana.