The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 01, 1914, Page 12, Image 12

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    VOL. 14, NO. 12
The Commoner
Thanksgiving Day in Washington
Tho readers of Tho Commoner may bo inter
ested in knowing how Thanksgiving day was
''celebrated in Washington.
Siri,co tho. inauguration of tho custom the day
has been observed in tho national capital as
faithfully as in any other part of tho country,
and certainly nowhere does tho observance take
on so international a character.
Somo Ave years ago Monsigr,ro Russell con
ceived tho idea of bringing together at this cele
bration the representatives of the Gatholic coun
tries represented at Washington. In all of tho
Latin-American countries the Catholic religion
is tho prevailing religion and a number of tho
representatives of tho European countries are
also Catholics. To this Thanksgiving mass the
president and cabinet are invited. The president
has attended on several occasions and there are
always present a number of members of the
cabinet and other officials tho secretary of
stata has attended, probably with more regu
larity than other members, because of his inti
mate official relationship with tho diplomatic
This year tho Catholic services were at ten
o'clock and, as tho Protestant services were at
" eloven, it was possible for those desiring to do
so to attend services in two places.
Secretary Bryan, availed himself of this op
portunity, attending first the Catholic services
at ten o'clock and at eleven o'clock the services
in the First Presbyterian church. Below will
bo found tho sermons to which ho listened.
At the Catholic services the Reverend Father
John Cavanaugh, president of Notre Dame uni
versity, South Bond, Indiana, delivered the ad
dress which, as the reader will see, was an elo
quent plea for peace.
Rev. Doctor John Brittan Clark, pastor of the
First Presbyterian church, drew a beautiful par
allel between the stones used by Joshua for an
altar when the Children of Israel crossed the
Jordan, and Plymouth Rock, made famous by
the .landing of those who came in the -Mayflower.
At tho luncheon which followed the Catholic
services, the health of the president was pro
posed by His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons, who,
in the course of his remarks, strongly empha
sized tho distinction which is drawn in this coun
try between church and state, declaring that
while they run on parallel lines, each is inde
pendent of the other and has its separate work
to do.
The souvenir prepared by Monsignore Russell
for those who attended the luncheon waB a medal
representing tho ''Christ of the Andes" the
celebrated peace monument erected by Argen
tine and Chile on the boundary line between the
two countries.
Following is the address delivered by Rev
erend Father John Cavanaugh:
your Excellency, Your Eminence, Right Rev
erend Fathers and Beloved Brethren:
Today, at tho invitation of their president,
the people of this republic kneel In worship be
fore ten thousand altars, with united hearts and
! minds giving thanks to God for the blessings
of the past year. In exquisite cathedral and
; massive basilica they have assembled, in coun
try conventicle and in missionary hut; and where
even the missionary hut has not. yet lifted its
rude walls, simple frontier folk have made an
altaT of the family heartb to send up this day
the prayer of thanksgiving for the good things
tho Lord has sent. There Is gratitude for the
. preservation of those national institutions which
assure political and religlpus liberty to every
citizen of the republic; for the patriotic spirit
of the people, without which those institutions
could not survive; for the r.srennial life and
vigor of those lofty ideals at whoso bidding this
republic leaped into being; for the prosperity
of our cities seated on a1 thousand hills and tho
happiness of the multitudes dwelling together
in their fertile valleys; for tho wholesome moral
Condition of our people; for the sublime exam
ple of American zeal for education; for the
spirit of unity between North and South, and
East and West; for the wisdom of our rulers
and the patience of our people everywhere. Oh,
it is good to see a mighty nation bowed in ador
ation before the Creator, making this great act
of faith, returning thanks this day to the boun
tiful Giver of all good things!
But amid all these solemn scenes may we
not say that tho particular assembly that gath
ers under the peace of this consecrated roof is
one of singular interest and importance. Here
in this Christian temple are gathered about the
altar representatives of many peoples, folk of
many nations, brethren of many families, differ
ing in origin, in race, in tongue, in custom, in
historic memory, but united in worship of the
one true God, in obedience to the same moral
law, in aspiration after the best traditions of
government and the highest ideals of civiliza
tion. Separated from each other by natural
barriers, by mountains and waters, by national
limits and honorable commercial rivalries, we
have met here to chant a hymn of Thanksgiving
to the God of Hosts, to the Lord of Mercies, to
the Master of Republics and Principalities and
Kingdoms for the blessings of the year that is
passed. Our hearts are full of gratitude for the
peace that has reigned over us and about us;
for the tranquility that has rested on our bord
ers; for the genial spirit of co-operation that
,has marked our commerce; for the harmony
that has hovered like a spirit of bene
ficence over all our dealings. Most of
all we are grateful for the ever growing
friendship among the republics of the American
continent. Without any abridgment of individ
ual independence and initiative, without any
relinquishment of the rights and prerogatives of
the separate nations, without encroachment by
any on the dignity of another and without
abandonment of her own duty or destiny, each
sovereign republic on the American . continent
has drawn closer to her neighbor, closer in sym
pathy and in understanding, closer' In the suu'
lime hope that this friendship may never be lost
or diminished but rather that it may grow and
strengthen under conditions equally honorable,
advantageous and pleasing to all. Is it too much
to hope that here in this new world, aloof from
inherited animosities and ancient grudges, there
may arise a new civilization whoso watchword
shall be brotherhood, whose ideal shall be ser
vice, and whose dream shall be the reign of
peace and universal good-will?
And while we kneel with bowed head before
the Almighty Father, our gratitude is enlarged
and quickened by the sorrows and misfortunes
of our brothers in other lands. On the contin
ent which holds those venerable, mother coun
tries from whose loins all American govern
ments have sprung, the gaunt and blood-dripping
wolf of war has made his terrible appear
ance. Millions of men rise up against other mil
lions, their brothers; every day there is holocaust
of countless lives; every day wives are bereft of
husbands, mothers of sons; every day homes are
desolated and property destroyed and uncounted
treasure squandered; every day comes again
sorrow, the one unbidden but inevitable guest at
every fireside and in every home. No more does
the populous factory send up its plume of sable
smoke, black witness of a nation's prosperity;
no more do the wheels of commerce hum the
song of a nation's industry; no more does the
ebullient earth sprout richness and fruit and
fertility; no more is heard the gentle shepherds
piping on the hillside nor the farmer singing
among his vineyards. Death has settled like a
pall over the ancient world, and famine and dis
ease and despair have entered in the wake of
war. And while we bow in stupified wonder
that these monstrous evils should be possible
among Christian peoples in this modern day, we
bend in deeper gratitude to the Father of Na
tions who has spared us this pitiless crucifixion,
and given us the gift of peace.
A few months ago and men comforted them
selves with the radiant hope that never again
should the wolves of war be let loose upon the
world. Men thought that the fires of passion
had burned low; that the blood of anger had
cooled; that the savagery in the hearts of men
had been softened; that never again would man
rise up to take his brother's life with the ap
proval and applause of government; that the
blushing down of universal peace was clearly
discernible in the heavens. Men had used noblo
gifts to persuade the world that war was an
ancient and worn out device; that whatever they
may have been in earlier ages, wars of conquest
are today as futile as they are indefensible; that
whoever seems to win in war, in reality every
body loses; that neither for the expansion of
commerce nor the support of overflowing popu
lations nor for the colonization of new lands is
war either necessary or desirable. On the other
hand from tho camps of the militarists in every
land came thundering back as from the cannon's
throat, the century-old argument that war is an
economic necessity and that nations will grow
poor and barren without it; that war is a bio
logic necessity and that nations will grow weak
and anaemic and moribund without it; that war
is a moral necessity and that nations will grow
corrupt and flabby and unheroic without it. The
hour of destiny 'struck and the most monstrous
war of human history began.
The truth is that the day of perfect peace
will come only with the complete and perfect tri
umph of the principles of the Christian religion.
Our Lord declared that He came to bring the
sword and not peace upon the earth, but the
sword that He came to bring was the sword of
the spirit and not the weapons of material war
fare. He announced everlasting conflict be
tween His principles and the philosophy of in
dulgence and of Paganism which held the world
in thraldom at His coming. Between His prin
ciples and the maxims of the world there could
be no peace; but wherever His principles were
accepted and worked out into complete and per
fect action, there could be np conflict. The
world looks on this raging struggle between
Christian nations today and sends up a shout
of horror at what it calls the failure of Chris
tianity; it should rather be appalled at the fail
ure of men to give Christianity its fair chance to
work out universal peace. Comparatively few
men and women since the time of Christ have
really adopted Christianity as a guide of life
and a rule of morals. The saints alone prac
ticed Christianity consistently. When Our Lord
said "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence
and the violent bear it away," they took His
words literally and they scourged evil impulses
and appetites into subjection; today men have
lost the very sense of sin. When' He said "Un
less you do penance you shall all likewise per
ish," they wrought through fasting and labor
tho purification and refinement of their souls;
today men have forgotten even the processes of
penance. When He set up as tho standard of
conduct the question "What shall it profit a
man if he gain the whole world and suffer the
loss of his soUl?" they frankly accepted soul
making and soul-saving as the chief business of
life, considering no other failure as real failure
if they succeeded and no other success as real
success if they failed. When He said "Blessed
are the meek" and "Blessed are the poor in
spirit," they accepted joyfully and literally these
sublime beatitudes at which the world has only
been amused or puzzled. If the primitive dis
cipline of Christianity could still be enforced and
if each follower of Christ shared with a needy
brother hijs surplus of the goods of life, what a
multitude of economic questions would be swept
out of the world in the instant of -the world's
conversion. The dazzling vision that the social
ist dangles before the eyes of humanity would
seem dull and tawdry compared with a world in
which the Christmas spirit preyailed every day;
the iridescent dream of a Utopia where the
richest are poor and the poor live in abundance,
would cease to be a dream if the love of Christ
dominated commerce and industry; the tryranny
of monopoly, the marauding of legalized bandits
and the brutality of unrestrained capitalism
alike would vanish if the Christian law of justice
and right governed men.
So too would the Christian law of love trans
form the world. The flag separates, the Cross
unites. It is the business of a flag, because it is
a4 flag to assemble about it only its own people
and to separate them from all the world beside;
it is the mission of the Cross to summon all the
nations to the feet of Christ, to exalt Him as the
common Saviour of mankind, the centre of the
faith and hope and love of men. No more may
men indulge that most brutal and diabolical
passion which makes them hate one another
for the love of God; Christianity can never truly
live till bigotry dies. No more may men harbor
racial animosities; the love of God can never
truly thrive beside hatred of men. The Angel
of Patriotism guoTding with flaming sword the
gates of the nation, demands brotherhood and
love only for the men of our own tribe: but
Christianity supplements patriotism; Christian
ity is universal charity. "By this shall all men
know that you are My disciples, if you have love
one for another." (John xiii. -6). Christ even