At work “while we sleep”

In Crossing the Threshold of Hope Pope John Paul II explores the question “Was God at work in the fall of communism?” He opens his reflections with this passage: Christ says: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn 5:17). At all points of history God is at work. In this there were sure signs of God’s work, such as the apparition at Fatima as well as the election of Polish Pope, who survived an assasination attempt on the feast of the Fatima apparition.

God is at work through the Spirit “as Love is ceaseless creative, saving, sanctifying, and life- giving action.” 

Pope John Paul II points out that Leo XIII “predicted the fall of Communism, a fall which would cost humanity and Europe dearly, since the medicine-he wrote in his encyclical of 1891-could prove more dangerous than the disease.” Indeed, the weight of history and the dynamic of conscience and politics pulled down the Soviet system. So JP2 remarks — “It would be simplistic to say that Divine Providence caused the fall of Communism. In a certain sense Communism as a system fell by itself. It fell as a consequence of its own mistakes and abuses. It proved to be a medicine more dangerous than the disease itself. It did not bring about true social reform, yet it did become a powerful threat and challenge to the entire world. But it fell by itself, because of its own inherent weakness.

In Centesimus annus JP2 spells out the internal weaknesses of the communist regime: the attack upon the rights of the workers, the control of free markets, and the suppression of religion.   It is the third one, suppression of God that he highlights in this text.

Additional Note — Pope Benedict XVI stated in his homily on the beatification of Pope John Paul II:

Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an “Advent” spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace.

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