by Larry Peterson
|Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek
The abuse, torture and killing of men, women and children continues. Throughout the history of humankind this has been so. Why? We might say it is because of prejudice or pride or ego or just unabashed hatred. Maybe contempt and envy enter into it. Whatever it is, whatever causes human beings who are supposed to have the use of reason to turn against their own kind, eludes me. It also sickens me.
What causes others to purposely and oftentimes, gleefully abuse, torture, rape and kill their own kind, makes no sense. Scorn, loathing and derision can combine and form a hatred so deeply imbedded that people actually kill themselves (suicide bombers) to destroy their perceived enemy even if that person is a little child. Where can such hatred come from? How can it be so deep and vicious? And why, why is it, that so many times the killings are carried out using God and virtue as justification. The God I know is all about love and forgiveness. We must not forget that He has given us free will and we choose our behavior.
Killing out of hatred while using God as the reason is an abomination of all that is good and pleasing to God. It is the ultimate hypocrisy committed by men and women and this even applies to avowed atheists who deny God’s existence. They fit the profile simply because everyone knows, believer and non-believer alike, that NOT killing is the right thing. It is part of our genetic material.
If you do kill due to pride, envy, anger, greed or lust you have abdicated your very self to the forces of evil. Of all of these, pride is the greatest because it is the king of self-destruction and the primary portal to the evil that lurks waiting to embrace each and every one of us..
The word “genocide” was coined in 1948 by Raphael Lemkin. His word has been with us ever since. Scholars and historians can trace genocide all the way back to prehistoric man and some believe that even the Neanderthal was wiped out by genocide. The 20th century alone has seen seven periods of genocide. It started with the Armenians who were systematically murdered by the Turks between 1915 and 1918. The Turks managed to kill 1,500,000 of their “enemy”.
In 1933 the Nazis opened their first concentration camp, Dachau. Here over 25,000 Jews and Christians were killed as the Nazi genocide began. The atrocities continued until 1945. When the allies finally liberated Germany it was found that Hitler’s death machine had managed to kill more than 6,000,000 Jews and millions of others including Catholics and Christians, Gypsies, Hungarians, Romanians, Dutch, French, Poles, Russians, and the sickening list goes on.
We have seen genocide in Rwanda where, in 1994 alone, 800,000 people were brutally murdered. Pol Pot in Cambodia managed to torture and kill over 2,000,000 people between 1975 and 1979. Under Joseph Stalin’s forced famine over 7,000,000 Russians died between 1932 and 1933. Many millions more died under his brutal and paranoid dictatorship. The 20th century alone has seen literally countless millions of people, people just like you and I, systematically exterminated usually because some maniacal individual has seized power and the people who follow him are ready and willing to do his killing.
During the Nuremberg Trials how many of the accused Nazis used the excuse that they were just “following orders”. How cowardly to hide behind such an excuse. Yet, how many do that the world over? Just because something has been declared a “law” does not necessarily mean it is right. At what point do we as individuals stand up for what IS “right”? How many of us would put ourselves on the line to defend what is ‘right”? The fact is, most of us know what “right” is but what price honor and integrity and freedom? When it comes right down to it, many choose to turn their backs.
The picture in the upper right is of eleven nuns. These Sisters had honor, integrity and loved their fellow man. They were prisoners of the Nazis in the town of Nowogrodek in Poland. The year was 1942. The Nazis had already exterminated or sent to work camps all of the 10,000 Jews in Nowogrodek and now they were killing the Polish people.
The Sisters volunteered to die in place of 120 other prisoners who were scheduled for execution. The Nazis agreed and released half of the Polish prisoners, sending the rest to work camps. The nuns were taken out into the woods, made to stand next to an open pit, and individually shot to death. The date was August 1, 1943. They had such respect for life they willingly died to save ten times their number.
We can only imagine what they were feeling as they watched their friends before them fall into that pit, holding hands with each other one moment and dead the next. Today they are known as the Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek. They were beatified by St. John Paul II on March 5, 2000. How many of us would do that for people we did not know?
Today we watch mass killings taking place throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa. The murder and attempted annihilation of Christians continues unabated and is on the increase at this very moment. From the individual killing of Father Frans Van der Lugt, beaten and murdered in Syria in April for being a Catholic priest, to the 80 people in North Korea executed last November for owning Bibles to the imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim with her two babies for being Christian to the massacres of Christians taking place in so many places around the world, the hatred and demonic behavior increases day by day. It has been going on since the existence of mankind has been recorded. It is a behavior that flies in the face of what we are as a species. Somewhere, it is happening at this very moment.
Father Frans van der Lugt
I believe there is a self-centeredness and false pride that exists in all of us. It is the gateway for evil to enter into us. Many reject this evil. Many have too much love in their hearts to be influenced by such temptation. Many do not. Lucifer is alive and well and using these open “gateways” that are available to him all over the world. Quite often he is very successful at gaining entrance into available souls.
Bottom line, Lucifer, aka Satan, was the greatest of all God’s angels. But his pride made him choose to challenge his Creator. He lost that battle and was cast out. He is filled with a vitriolic hatred for God and Love and has been waging his evil war against God and Love ever since. Often time he finds an open “gateway” and has successfully used this path to recruit millions of willing souls. But, he can never win.
©Larry Peterson 2014 All Rights Reserved