I Will Bless The Lord At All Times

I’m reading a biography of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States from 1913 till 1921, who led the country through the brutal years of the First World War, which we remembered yesterday, November 11, Armistice Day.

Wilson was a deeply religious man, the son of a Presbyterian pastor, a wonderful writer and an eloquent speaker. Biographers today tend to use the tools of psychology to explain their subjects but the biographer of this book explains Wilson mostly through his religious beliefs– a refreshing approach.
{ Woodrow Wilson, A Life for World Peace, Jan Willem Shulte Nordholt, Berkeley. Ca. 1991}

Wilson believed that God was good, that people were good, that God was calling all nations to live in peace, and that God had given our country, the United States, a providential role among the family of nations, as a beacon of goodness and righteousness.

He was too much of an optimist, his biographer says. He didn’t see the dark side of humanity or the dark side of our own country. He thought that if you appealed to the better nature of people they would do the right thing. He couldn’t believe people would throw themselves into an awful war, or America could exploit other nations. He saw the world as the beautiful world described by Wordsworth in his poems, not a world devastated by storms (like the one that just struck the Philippines}. He was too optimistic, a Christian without the cross.

And that caused him to underestimate evil and to overestimate political solutions and possibilities. He saw the world incompletely. How many Christians are like him today?

“I will bless the Lord at all times.” (Psalm 34) The psalm is the response to our reading from the Book of Wisdom at today’s Mass; God is with us at all times, good and bad, it says. No need to be blind to evils like death and destruction, the psalm continues. “The Lord has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry… The Lord confronts the evildoers…The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” The Lord is with us in bad times as well as good.

We can “bless the Lord at all times.”

1 Comment

Filed under Religion

One response to “I Will Bless The Lord At All Times

  1. Gloria

    Ever since I read this on Wednesday I’ve been singing “The Cry of the Poor”
    a beautiful hymn. Also, I saw Doris Kearns Goodwin on “Charlie Rose” the
    same night. She replied “no” to his question about writing a book about Wilson.after writing books about Lincoln, the T. Roosevelt & Taft, Kennedy and Johnson. A Christian without a cross… (wearing rose-colored glasses).

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