Judgment Day

God promised that calamity would follow disobedience. So why are we quick to dismiss it as a reason for the September 11 attacks?
On the day after the tragedy I drove through Washington, surprised to find it uncongested and tranquil. I drove past the battered Pentagon, where cars crept along the interstate at a few miles an hour as people craned their necks to see and comprehend our national wound. A few miles further, down among the suburban office towers, is a tiny old white clapboard church.

I stepped inside the cool interior, which was dimly lit and covered on walls and ceiling with paintings of Christ and the Apostles, of biblical figures and heroes from long ago. I took a seat to wait for my spiritual father and looked around. I saw faces of men and women who had known suffering, much more severe than what I had ever experienced, even as rocked as I felt just then. They stood serene around the walls, many holding symbols of victory.

Father George Calciu came out from beside the altar and greeted me. He is a small, resilient man, unusually vigorous for his 76 years. His hair and beard are thick and white, and his face is permanently creased with the marks of indomitable good cheer. Cheerfulness is an unlikely attribute, given his story. In his native Romania Fr. George challenged the communist authorities repeatedly and forcefully, with a courage that defied self-preservation. He was confined in brutal prisons, subjected to brainwashing, and formed a lifelong friendship with a fellow prisoner, Richard Wurmbrand, author of Tortured for Christ.

Today the first thing he asked me was, "Why do you think that happened yesterday?"

I was stumped for a minute. I hadn't thought of exactly that question. I said, "I don't know."

Fr. George said, "It was the punishment of God."

Well, there's something I hadn't thought of. Though I wondered why I hadn't; I've just ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

September
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
close