Evelyn Pleads for Peace in 1939

Evelyn Underhill intensified her pacifism in the dark years preceding the outbreak of WW2. She had an almost saintly sense of forgiveness even for the most evil. She referred to Christ’s call for peace, and thought pacifism the right Christian attitude: “But the test comes when this peace must be matched against the world’s contradictions and cruelties, troubles, evils and assaults: when we must be peaceful, not in contrast to the warlike but with the warlike, showing to their victims a compassion which is without anger and bitterness, and bearing in tranquillity the awful weight of the world’s bewilderment, suffering and sin… The true pacifist is a redeemer, and must accept with joy the redeemer’s lot”.

She saw how much easier it was to be angry, aggressive and demeaning than it was to show genuine compassionate and peacefulness – a scenario we see only too often today.

[“A Meditation on Peace”, 1939]

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