“You are not who they say you are. Let me remind you of who you really are.” St. John Paul II
Towards the end of his life and pontificate, John Paul II continued to fight for human dignity in Christ. Years later, we continue to live in turbulent times and not from reading or listening to the news. We see it in our relationships, those around us and those whom we do not know. Confusion seems to be the order of the day. It seems to be rampant. Yet, this is the moment we must stand firm in our faith and double down so to speak. In other words, we must not be afraid to live out our own individual faith despite the obstacles. I recently visited two religious communities, one of men and one of women. Both struck me with such determination to live their faith.
“Everything in us must catechize and our conduct in life must make us living catechisms.” St. Cesar de Bus
Luigi Giussani, founder of the Catholic Movement, Communion and Liberation, spoke and wrote often of the ‘I.’ He wrote of the Religious Sense in one of his first books and insisted that this ‘religious sense’ that we all have forces us to ask the question as to why we exist. At times, it seems the deck is stacked against us in our faith. It saddens me sometimes when I go to daily mass and there are so few people. But, I am reminded by great friends that I am not at mass to socialize and take attendance. I am there for one reason only – to spend time with Our Lord. Spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament while I waited for the Carmelites to finish their None Prayer after which I visited, was another reminder of how important it is stay in front of the Infinite.
“Above all, always see Jesus in every person…’ St. Charles de Foucauld
Upon my visit to the two communities that I wrote about, it was suggested I read about St. Charles de Foucauld and another curious book, Brother Petroc’s Return. I need to read both. I researched about Blessed Salvio Huix Miralpeix. He was one of the first to be martyred during the Spanish Civil War's early days. The Oratorians wrote about him. “We find Christ again in the fact that on the morning of August 5th 1936, when Blessed Salvio and 20 others were digging what were shortly to become their own graves, he asked only one favour of his captors, which was granted him, that he should be the last to be shot, so that he could stay alive to bless his companions as each, in turn, was killed. Here again Salvio chose His share in the redemptive solitude embraced by Christ Himself.” There are so many great saints that can remind us of the real dignity of the person as we continue in our relationship with Christ.
“He who wants to win the world for Christ must have the courage to come in conflict with it.” St. Titus Brandsma
We must never resign ourselves to mediocrity. It is easy to do so but falling into that trap is like quicksand. It drags us down. The saints are given to us to continually remind us that God really is with us. As we enter the season of Advent, we can be sure that this is a sign for each one of us. Stay the course!
“Remember that the Christian life is one of action: not of speech and daydreams. Let there be few words and many deeds, and let them be done well.” St. Vincent Pallotti