In 1942, the battle of the North Atlantic was fully engaged. Nazi submarine captains stealthily hunted Allied ships, loosed their torpedoes on unsuspecting prey and watched with grim satisfaction as burning hulks slipped beneath the waves. In the summer of that year, German U-boat U-215, embarked on her maiden voyage, destination Boston Harbour. Her mission was to seed the harbour with deadly star-shaped mines. But, on her way to Boston, U-215 encountered an Allied convoy. On July 3, 1942, she attacked and sunk the Alexander Macomb, a U.S. freighter laden with explosives. British warships HMS Le Tigre, and HMS Veteran, accompanying the convoy, launched a counterattack. U-215 and her crew disappeared without a trace. It was not until early July of this year that a crew of marine archeologists and divers located the German craft lying off the coast of Nova Scotia.
In the present cultural, spiritual and moral war engulfing the West, the fate of the U-215 has become for me a useful metaphor. For though she was quickly attacked and sunk by convoy warships, ironically the British ships did not have complete confirmation until much, much later that their defensive action had indeed sent the sub to the bottom.
The British warships did their duty, engaged the enemy and won a victory for the Allied cause, even though their success was not confirmed immediately. In the present moral struggle, I have concluded that much of the good people do will not be immediately apparent. Indeed, our small victories in the cultural war, or our small victories in training children in righteousness and civility, may not be apparent to us until many years have elapsed; in fact, we may never see the good fruit of some small duties faithfully performed.
This truth should be a great encouragement to us. For we are all too prone to want to accomplish something spectacular that we can see immediately. But life and living are not geared to the immediate production of good fruit. Sometimes – in fact, many times – it will take years of steady engagement in doing the right thing and in attending to duty before it will be apparent that something beautiful and lasting has been produced. The rearing of children comes to mind here, for the parent in a sense must dutifully rear a child in faith that the little and big actions comprising parenting will in the end produce the adult the parent had envisioned.
Secular culture in our country seems to go from bad to worse. Evils like the killing of the innocent in abortion, the use of tiny humans for experimental research and the proliferation of culturally condoned sexual perversions abound in liberal, politically correct, tolerant Canada. Values that our ancestors fought and died for are under attack from all quarters.
How, then, shall we live as people of faith and hope? We who want to restore justice and minimize some of the darkness in our society, how shall we live in these times? Why, we must speak back to all the Tokyo Roses who proclaim to us that, “Resistance is futile.” We need to shout back, “We curse your darkness and we shall never, never surrender to your hellish vision of life.”
We must remind ourselves every day that God is still sovereign over Canada. We must not forget that in our day and age, we are called to faithful fulfillment of duty, to faithful witness, and faithful testifying that God respects – nay, honours – life and calls us to do the same.
And who knows, God may even right now be raising up a Harriet Beecher Stowe whose book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was a major blow against the accepted sin of slavery. Upon meeting her in 1862, President Lincoln is reputed to have said, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” Or God conversely may be using you as a faithful parent to so rock the cradle, to so inculcate your little boy or girl that he or she may be the one in a time at bat to write that book, to wage and win a significant battle so that the ugly evil of abortion may be pierced like Goliath’s head by the stone of David.Let us be faithful, then, in our duties, both small and large. Let us be steadfast in the struggle, knowing with delightful certainty that our toil is not in vain. God will rout evil in due time. And, marvel of marvels, He almost invariably will use people like you and people like me.