Sunday, June 03, 2012

Words for that Sunday -- and this one

Seventy-two years ago, at the same milestone in the liturgical year at which we currently find ourselves, Winston Churchill made his first radio address to the British people as Prime Minister. The situation was terrible: German armies were pouring into France, and the overmatched British Expeditionary Force was reeling back toward a little Channel port called Dunkirk.

But Churchill knew how to marshall the English language to serve his nation's need. I urge you to read the entire address here, but for the moment, here is his stirring conclusion:
Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: "Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be." 
Catholics, in particular, should ponder those words on this Trinity Sunday. Especially so since the grand sentences he quotes are from the First Book of Maccabees, a book still proudly contained in Catholic Bibles, but consigned to the "Apocrypha" in Protestant ones. They'll be good to recall, when the storms on our own horizon break -- soon.