There is a story of an American who travelled to Switzerland to climb his first mountain. First, he bought all the right equipment and hired several guides. Then in order to begin their ascent at daylight, they camped at the foot of the mountain.
The next morning, they were awakened by a tremendous roaring and crashing. In great fright, the American jumped up, shook his guides, and yelled, “Wake up, it sounds like it’s the end of the world!” But the guides, who had also heard the roar, merely stretched and yawned and said, “In the morning when the first rays of sun strike the glaciers on the tops of the mountains, they shift and rub and create that roar throughout the valley. It’s not the end of the world; it’s just the beginning of a new day.”
Deep down inside everything is tremendous life and vitality. Just as we cannot really create anything but can only rearrange elements that already exist, so too our efforts at destruction are only superficial. A forest can be destroyed by fire, but it will grow again. Given time, the deep-down life in things will re-emerge.
Destruction and evil often make a lot of noise. Most articles in the newspapers describe the clashing of violence and destruction, but the truly important events of the day are not these rumblings. The shifting of the glacier roars; the sun rising in the morning is silent.
For the most part, the myriad quiet and humble acts of love, like the first rays of the sun, go unnoticed. So too life grows in silence and darkness—the seed in the ground, love in the heart, the baby in the womb.
Always, some place in the world, it is dawn. And always, some place in the world, God is preparing new life to overcome the present chaos.
At a certain point in the Church’s history, for example, a man, Karol Wojtyla, was elected pope. Who was he? Most Catholics had never heard of him. And yet, for fifty years or so, God had been preparing, in the secret recesses of this man’s mind and heart, a character and personality capable of guiding the Church through one of the most critical periods in its history.
At the very moment when many things in the Church seemed to be crumbling, in the heart of this man, a new dawn was already glimmering.
This is true today and every day. Somewhere in the world, not only is the sun rising over the mountains, but new sources of life and renewal are dawning in countless men and women. And there is absolutely nothing—no ideology, no movement, no dictator, no spirit of the world—that can ever destroy this life. For it is the life of the Holy Spirit, the life of God himself.
G.K. Chesterton once said that people are always predicting the demise of the Catholic Church. Their reading of history, he says, is very superficial. If they would read more extensively, they would discover that the Church has always risen. “That’s because we worship Someone who knows his way back from the dead.”
And this great Hero is always present in the world, always leading people from death to life. Always, the eyes of faith are able to see that somewhere in the world, it is morning. They are able to see that it is never the end of the world. They are able to see that it is always the beginning of a new day.