God in the City

Madeleine Delbrêl

If, in my city and other cities, people say “God is dead,” and if, knowingly or not, Christians have been responsible, then I am responsible, because I am the one living today. Christians of all times are one, and I am not the only Christian to live. Myself and the others, what are we to do?

Place these dispossessed brothers and sisters at the center of our lives? Devote ourselves to their suffering, the suffering of the proletariat? Yes, because that is where they are. But if there hadn’t been this break with God they wouldn’t be there. What might we have learned of love, if we had realized that it suffices to suffer as they suffer? When will we get it through our heads that it was not resignation that Christ purchased with his death? To love is not to be resigned: not to oneself, nor to others. To love is to have the honor of joy—because it is to have the honor of God. Sometimes we ask ourselves whether our books are in good standing, whether we have suffered what we must. I ask myself whether we haven’t suffered too much, whether we haven’t suffered what we didn’t have to—sufferings which, if we were just a little less lazy, could have been transformed into joy.

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