Perhaps what we modern people need most is to be genuinely shaken, so that when life is grounded, we would feel its stability; and where life is unstable and uncertain, immoral and unprincipled, we would know that, also and endure it. Perhaps that is the ultimate answer to the question of why God has sent us into this time, why he permits this whirlwind to go over the earth, and why he holds us in such a state of chaos and in hopelessness and in darkness--and why there is no end in sight. It is because we have stood here on the earth with a totally false and inauthentic sense of security. So now, God lets the earth resound, and now he shudders it, and then he shakes it, not to call forth a false anxiety...
He does it to teach us one thing again: how to be moved in spirit. Much of what is happening today would not be happening if people were in that state of inner movement and restlessness of heart in which man comes into the presence of God the Lord and gains a clear view of things as they really are. Then man would have let go of much that has thrown all our lives into disorder one way or another and has thrashed and smashed our lives. He would have seen the inner appeals, would have seen the boundaries, and could have coordinated the areas of responsibility. Instead, man stood on this earth in a false pathos and a false security, under a deep delusion in which he really believed he could single-handedly fetch stars from heaven; could enkindle eternal lights in the world, and avert all danger from himself; that he could banish the night, and intercept and interrupt the internal quaking of the cosmos, and maneuver and manipulate the whole thing into the conditions standing before us now.
That is the first Advent message: before the end, the world will be set quaking. And only where man does not cling inwardly to false security will his eyes be capable of seeing the Ultimate.
--Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J.
This is meditation for the first Sunday of Advent in Magnificat. I don't understand all of it but I'm really struck by the idea that God is shaking the world even as man believes he has control of it. The words meant more when I realized, checking their source, that they were written during World War II, possibly while Fr. Delp was a prisoner of the Nazis, soon to be executed.
I've seen Fr. Delp's name in Magnificat before, but nowhere else that I can remember, and I didn't know that he was active in resistance to the Nazis. which I guess makes him a martyr. There's more information at Wikipedia. The words above are taken from a collection of his writings called Advent of the Heart, which I think I want to read.