“There is a Man on the cross” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Whenever there is a silence about me, by day or night, I am startled by a cry. It came from a cross the first time I heard it, and I went out searching and found a man in the throes of crucifixion. I said: “I will take you down.” He said: “I cannot be taken down until ever man, woman, and child come together to take me down.” “What can I do?” I said, “I cannot bear your cry.” And he said, “Go into the world and tell everyone you meet, there is a man on the cross.”
“The Next Voice You Hear;” is a movie that was released in (1950). It starred James Whitmore and Nancy Reagan. (Yes, the former First Lady of the United States.)
Joe and Mary Smith and their young son Johnny live in a modest home in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood. The Smiths lead simple lives defined by mostly their daily routines: Joe works hard at his steady job at the Ajax Aircraft Plant and Johnny attends school and delivers newspapers, while Mary, who is nine months pregnant, is a homemaker. One evening, while Mary is helping Johnny with his homework, Joe turns on the radio in the living room, expecting to hear his favorite program. However, instead of the usual programming, Joe hears a voice that identifies itself as the voice of God. Though perplexed by the voice and initially believing it to be a hoax, Joe later tells Mary that he heard the voice tell him that God will be broadcasting on the radio for the next few days.
The following morning, Joe reads in the newspaper that three thousand people reported hearing a strange voice on the radio the previous night, and that they all heard the same thing he heard. Later that evening, when Joe returns home from his bowling game, Mary tells him that she heard the voice of God on the radio and that it said that God was planning to perform miracles.
As the government begins an investigation into the mysterious radio voice, which is now being heard all over the world, the talk of the town is the voice of God. The next time that God addresses the world, a fiery thunderstorm suddenly advances upon the city, sending Mary and Johnny into Joe’s arms for comfort. Joe tries to calm them by insisting that the storm was a coincidence, but Mary is not convinced. As all scientific attempts to explain the voice fail, people all over the world begin to conclude that the voice really is God.
Joe eventually decides that the voice is real, too, and that he has been given a sign from God to respect his boss, Fred Brannan, and to be kinder to Mary’s sister, Ethel. On the fourth consecutive day of God’s radio broadcasts, the world is instructed to perform miracles of kindness and peace. The following day, while drinking in a bar with his friend Mitch, an intoxicated Joe has a epiphany and realizes that the time he spends with Mitch in bars is wrong. Before staggering out of the bar, Joe tells Mitch that he is the “voice of evil.” When Joe returns home, Johnny sees his father drunk for the first time and is ashamed. Joe quickly reforms his ways and, the following day, apologizes to Ethel for his past behavior. Johnny, however, becomes disillusioned and runs away from home. Joe finds his son at Fred’s house, and their frank discussion leads to a reconciliation.
The next day, the Smiths attend a special church service to hear the voice of God speak on the radio, but on that day, the seventh day, no voice is heard. Their minister concludes that God must be resting, and with that pronouncement, Mary goes into labor. Hours later, Mary gives birth to a baby girl, and Joe and Johnny are overjoyed.
The two examples above prompt a question. Is it in us to do such a thing? That thing being, the turning of the totality of humanity’s ear to God’s beckoning call to unity. A Divine unity calling us to love God and our neighbor. Yes, it is in us to do such a thing. Even, if only for an instant, can perfection be achieved, when humility overcomes pride. For it has not a thing to do with evolving to such a point, but rather it has everything to do with an act; an act of the will. Is it not possible to will ourselves to anything? Cannot a thought become an act? Of course this is possible. When a throng of sports patrons are asked to stand, in respect, for the playing of their county’s national anthem, is that not accomplished? So then, if we can all will ourselves to respond to a call to stand in unison; we have, even, for but a moment, found perfection. Image the immeasurable joy experienced if we were to will ourselves to let our baggage drop from our grips to heed the call of God.
Every one of us can change. It can happen in a flash. As with Joe Smith, and in Saul’s transformation to Paul. Nothing is impossible where there is willingness. Anyone who has ever walked the earth has had an ability to decide; hence everyone has a common will. And it is in this common shared will that we possess the capacity to act in concert at any given moment.
God’s call, whether heard as a cry from the cross of salvation to bring Him our love, or as a divine entreatment on some form of mass communication to love one another, should draw the attention of all. For His voice resounds in, and is familiar to, every heart that He loved into being. As the apple falls not too far from the tree, neither are fallen men and women so far removed from paradise that they cannot hear the call of their Creator to come home.