“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas
There is a restaurant I go to sometimes which is in another city, away from my home. They hire and help mostly employees who have mental issues. The person in charge has been working there for 17 years. I admire the stamina and I often wonder how a person can work so hard to help others. This takes so much effort. I work with the homeless sometimes and I find this small work challenging. Then, I read about some great saints. Recently before mass, I read about the faith of some great saints. Some had a devotion to our Lord and a long life while others seemed to have their life cut short as martyrs. To think that I could quote such a great saint as St. Thomas might take much courage, but each saint, despite their greatness also seemed to suffer in that devotion. Some of them to the point of death. Blessed Francoise Trehet was marched to the guillotine in France during the revolution. She sang the Salve Regina as she made her way to her death.
“God will not allow you to be lost if you persist in your determination not to lose Him.” St. Padre Pio
One saint that struck me was Blessed Leonid Feodorov, who was Russian Orthodox initially. But after a trip to Rome in the early 20th century, he was drawn to Catholicism. Upon his return to Russia, during the turbulent time of the Russian Revolution, he found himself persecuted by the authorities to the point where he was imprisoned in labour camps and even barred from ever entering many Russian cities. He died from the poor conditions he endured and broken health. Saint Simeon-Francois Berneux seemed to suffer a similar fate. He was French but spent much of his religious life in the Far East. He was beaten and tortured but continued to preach while he was being dragged to his death. This is the courage that I seem to lack. In a time when the Church is being attacked from all sides it seems, we must stand firm in our faith.
“Look for Christ Our Lord in everyone and you will then have respect and reverence for all.” St. Teresa of Jesus
On the same day as these two saints, the Church also celebrates St. Perpetua and St. Felicity. Both died a similar death since her maid died with her. I recall many struggles I have had with my faith and yet I still find myself at daily mass. I think of the people I meet who have not yet seen their faith tested in fire. I have been challenged in many circumstances and it has not been easy. But it is so important to be reminded of God’s love for each one of us. The saints and martyrs we continue to read about are not people who have lived in another time and have nothing more to offer us. Catholics are suffering in many countries around the world. We need to firm in our faith. To continue to live in this grace needs constant prayer.
“For God does not work in those who refuse to place all their confidence and hope in Him alone; but He does impart the fullness of His love upon those who possess a deep faith and hope. For them He does great things.” St. Jerome Emiliano