Sunday, September 27, 2015

His faith became known only after his death

Dag Hammarskjold, while serving as the UN Secretary General, was at his political peak, and the subject of countless media reports and his every move analyzed by nations large and small. Yet, through all of it, at the same time his attention was focused in his deeply rooted in Christian spirituality and mysticism, an ethos that became known only after his death.

His diary, published posthumously, with the title Markings, revealed his profound dialogue with God. It was a great surprise that the world learned that Hammarskjöld had been a silent professing Christian.

Sven Ljungholm

Mats Svegfors shares his study of Dag Hammarskjold, who died more than 50 years ago, in his book.

The book’s focus is on Hammarskjöld faith, nuanced and balanced, and places it in the context of his lifework.

The publisher's cover notes read: Dag Hammarskjold’s intellectual capacity and versatility made him admired in our time, as a leader and role model. Through his diary, we learn that he merged the external strengths with an inner insecurity and weakness - in terms of an existential reflection that gradually developed into a personal, albeit very complicated faith in God.
The commenter appears to reflect a, in our secularized society,  common view: belief in God as a security blanket. Being a Christian means in this scenario to allow an internal insecurity to be calmed by a belief in an imaginary god. Ideally is instead a rational man with a grip on his life and lord of all decisions. The dust cover text reflects the religious phobia that characterizes our nation, where the publisher wants to reserve its position on its own releases.

Hammarskjöld was in this sense not a man who knew how to unite a brotherly love grounded in Christian faith with intellectual breadth and depth, but perceived as a weakling with an unclear perception of reality. He is not seen as a rational person who allows himself be guided by the love for his neighbor. But is reduced to a weak individual with existential doubts channeled into a god, his secret blanket and comfort in a heavy, difficult and complex reality that he did not come to terms with himself and where he was not able to provide for himself the framework and measurement.

As things stand, the dust cover comments are inconsistent with the picture one gets when reading Hammarskjold's "Markings" and Svegfors’s book. Here emerges the image of a righteous man, but also a unique statesman who saw their existence as ordained by God.

Svegfors writes Dag Hammarskjöld's mission is the selfless service of love grounded in following Christ. And this mission is given by God. Here emerges the image of a righteous man, but also a unique statesman who saw his existence as ordained by God.

Svegfors writes Dag Hammarskjöld's mission is the selfless service of love bound in following Christ. And this mission is given by God.

Righteousness means for us Christians the ability in all circumstances to demonstrate our love for God and neighbor by doing right. To act justly means to give God and neighbor what is right and good in all situations, without ever putting personal or national interests of power, money or glory first.

Jesus Christ taught us what constitutes the guideline for what is true, righteous and good; an impartial objectivity and the ability to put the good first, in all circumstances. Such conduct is Christian love in its purest form and Hammarskjold’s example proved that, maintains Svegfors. When we hold Hammarskjold and his life in this light, we see a person who reflected the meaning of being a Christian. Dag Hammarskjöld was thus a strong, righteous man of courage and strong integrity who loved God and people, and dared to pray to God: "Give me a pure heart - that I may see you, a humble mind - that I may hear you, a loving mind - that I may serve Thee, A heart of faith - that I may remain in you. "
Mats Svegfors
(tranlated by :Sven Ljungholm)


Anonymous said...

How sad that one's faith in Christ is kept a secret- a sign of little faith in my view.
Active officer

Anonymous said...

One of the truly wise diplomats of my generation. Taken from us too early!