Week of 10/29/2017
This Wednesday we celebrate the feast of All Saints. The glorious patrimony of many saints in Catholic history is their heroic fidelity to Christ despite horrific suffering. In Nero’s time Catholics were made human torches to light Rome at night. Islamic armies militarily drove the 7th century majority Christians out of Egypt and North Africa. In 16th century England Henry VIII put to death many priests, monks and nuns, while confiscating monastic lands to benefit loyal subjects. Oliver Cromwell, who led the Puritan Revolution in England, persecuted Irish Catholics relentlessly. The Korean martyrs of the 19th century, the Japanese martyrs of the 16th century, the Armenian genocide of 1915 which killed over a million, and the many African martyrs of the 20th century remind us endlessly that Christian expansion occurred not through watering down Catholicism, but instead through an uncompromising witness to the Church of Christ.
Today is no different, save perhaps the fact that one can see Christian martyrdom via YouTube. It is a powerful meditation, only seemingly paradoxical, that to suffer and die for the Lord can be a great gift! Many saints prayed for this great opportunity. St. Teresa of Avila, as a young girl, deliberately took her even younger brother on a trek to southern Spain to encounter Moorish soldiers in pursuit of martyrdom. While a secular modernist might see childish delusion, the disciple recognizes a latent heroic desire.
This opens several reflections. First, while we are constantly tempted to compromise our Catholic faith, we must recall that millions died for refusing to compromise their faith; especially with seductions of being “neutral,” false prudence, or doing evil so that good can happen. These martyrs lived and taught the truth; going to their death with love and forgiveness for their executioners, but never compromising Church dogma. Secondly, we are reminded of St. Paul: the “sufferings of the present time are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.” It is only through a path of selfdenial that we achieve holiness and true peace of mind and soul.
Unfortunately, the media many times portrays Church doctrine as imposed opinions and not God’s eternal wisdom; it can change. It views the Church as primarily a political entity; that is, the will of the majority or the momentary will of the pope is what Church teaching is. This is false; the teach- ing of the Church is the message of Christ for 2000 years. The bishops and the popes are custodi- ans of the faith, not innovators such as the Supreme Court. Why bring this up? Because such thinking devalues the many martyrs who died precisely for the teachings on marriage, the papacy, and for the moral teachings of the Church.
This is going on today. In the Middle East we have seen countless Christians beheaded for their faith with too little outcry from the leadership in the West. A common question: what can I do?? Pray in community before the Blessed Sacrament; it can bring enormous grace to our persecuted brothers and sisters. Please come to our perpetual Adoration chapel! Prayer is always our greatest strength and weapon; it can never be taken away. This coming First Saturday, November 4th,
we will have First Saturday Rosary in the Church immediately following the 8:00am Mass. Please bring the family! Let’s pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, who suffer so much for Christ. Let us pray for peace in the world, as Our Lady of Fatima implores us; that through her intercession many hearts can turn to the beautiful healing of her Divine Son and Our Savior Jesus Christ.
God Love You, Fr. Brian Gannon