I love this quote!
My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help.
I can do all in Him who strengthens me.
His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine.
His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived.
His Goodness is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.
- Pope St. Pius X
As evil and darkness appear to be growing ever stronger in our nation and in the world, it is easy to get discouraged and frightened.
As attacks on the family become ever more fierce, and our own families seem to be bowing to the pressures...
When we become fearful and discouraged, we must remember that Satan was at his strongest when he "killed God". Satan must have laughed when he saw Jesus die on the Cross, and thought in pride that all of humanity and the world had been won for himself.
Yet, Satan's 'ultimate victory' in Christ's death, became the everlasting and eternal victory of God - and Satan's eternal and everlasting defeat!
"For God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts!" Isaiah 55: 8-9.
I'm sure Satan believes he again is winning, but God is not dead!
Let us not listen to his laughter or his lies.
Let us not fear, for Jesus told us:
"Fear is useless, what is needed is trust!" Mark 5:37
God's power is infinitely greater than the trials we are enduring at this time!
Let us remember the wonders He has done from the beginning and how He was able to form His Universal Church through the same weak men, who had (all but one), been too traumatized and frightened to stand by Jesus at the Cross. This reading powerfully reminds us of this fact:
From a homily on the first letter to the Corinthians by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop:
The weakness of God is stronger than men
It was clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive, in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Their discourse was not of unimportant matters but of God and true religion, of the Gospel way of life and future judgment, yet it turned plain, uneducated men into philosophers. How the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and his weakness stronger than men!
In what way is it stronger? It made its way throughout the world and overcame all men; countless men sought to eradicate the very name of the Crucified, but that name flourished and grew ever mightier. Its enemies lost out and perished; the living who waged a war on a dead man proved helpless. Therefore, when a Greek tells me I am dead, he shows only that he is foolish indeed, for I, whom he thinks a fool, turn out to be wiser than those reputed wise. So too, in calling me weak, he but shows that he is weaker still. For the good deeds which tax-collectors and fishermen were able to accomplish by God’s grace, the philosophers, the rulers, the countless multitudes cannot even imagine.
Paul had this in mind when he said: The weakness of God is stronger than men. That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or a public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was leader of the others denied him!
How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ’s lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead—if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage? Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?” Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?
It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much.
RESPONSORY 1 Corinthians 1:23-24; 2 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 8:37
We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and an absurdity to Gentiles,
but to those who have heard his call,
— Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We are afflicted in every way possible, but in all of these trials the victory is ours,
because of Christ who loves us.
— Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
If God could build and form His Church with such weakness, how much can He do with us -- weak and sinful as we are, if we but put our faith and trust in Him and the power of the Resurrection?!
A few months back the Church remembered Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ and an amazing saint who brought the faith to Asia Minor, Ethiopia, India and Armenia.
Bartholomew became so strong in faith that he was able to endure martyrdom by being flayed alive!
Can you imagine?! I really cannot imagine something so horrific!
Bartholomew went from an apostle who ran away during Christ's darkest hour to being one who proclaimed him unto the ends of the earth -- unto a horrific death!
If this was true for Bartholomew, what can God do with us through the power of His Resurrection and the Cross?
No matter where we are right now...
No matter where are family is or how many struggles we may be having...
No matter how much Satan wants to shout to us that we have failed and things can never get better,
Or how many times he tells us our family
Or our country is doomed...
Let us hold fast to the hope that is found in this God's Power and Mercy!
Each day is a new beginning
-- really, every moment is an opportunity for renewal, because
"God's mercies are endless and are new every morning!" cf. Lamentations 3: 23
So, can we trust God that He is working good out of this evil we are now experiencing
-- whether it be in ourselves, our loved ones or in our country and the world?
Can we hold fast to trust?
Perhaps by physically entering through the holy doors designated in each diocese
to celebrate this extraordinary year of Mercy and our faith in the Father's extraordinary love and provision for us?
Proclaiming: "The victory that conquers the world is our faith!" 1 John 5: 4
"In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love, of tenderness. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things." Homily of Pope Francis, December 8, 2015
Please, St. Bartholomew, intercede for us in these dark and evil times, and help us remain strong and steadfast in our trials -- ever ready to proclaim the foolishness of the Cross while looking with hope into the mystery of God's mercy, which transforms darkness into light and death into life!
Jesus, have Mercy on us and increase our faith!
All the martyrs of the Church, pray for us!
Mary, Queen of Martyrs and Queen of Mercy, pray for us!
We know we will never hope in vain!
© 2016 Janet Moore. All Rights Reserved.
An earlier and shorter version of this article first appeared at the author's site: Enteringintothemysteries.blogspot.com.
- St. John Chrysostom's homily first found at divineoffice.org