Following the conversation with my Christian friend, who I don’t think I saw again at college, I decided not to join the Communist Party. Furthermore, I became increasingly sceptical about the general policy of the left wing movements I had hitherto supported, to the point where I decided to do my National Service in the armed forces, although when I was eighteen I had registered as a conscientious objector in accordance with my Welsh family’s Quaker views.
During the two years of my National Service I often reflected on what my Christian friend at College, Tom, had said, but now I had an even more powerful Christian influence working on me as I had met the wonderful Catholic girl who eventually became my wife. I had hardly any connection with Catholics before I met her. She was a teacher and the happiest person I had ever encountered, ‘the sunshine of my life’. I started going to Mass with her and found I had much to learn.
I started to read about the history of the Church, the sacraments and the role of the Priesthood. But most of all I learnt about the divine and wondrous personality of Our Lord and how he came to absolve us from sin and to offer us Eternal Life in Heaven.
I found that I did not have to worry overmuch about political and economic problems, or even about nuclear war, the threat of which seemed very real at the time. Although we had to face these issues, ultimately they had to be left in the hands of our Lord who is the only one who could possibly be considered good enough to be offered as reparation for all our sins.
It is quite difficult to take this in because at one level it is almost impossible to equate God with sinful man; but as we celebrate Easter we have to acknowledge that truth. We are called fulfil the positive hope God has for his creation. Without that divine hope He would not have bothered with it.