On the Motives of the North American Martyrs: Part 3
Many think we enjoy a culture of freedom.
But amidst enslavement resulting from our gross economic irresponsibility, we are killing ourselves through contraception and abortion at a rate alarmingly greater than any Iroquois tomahawk could have ever achieved. This is the reality the Catholic is confronted with today, and so we must beware of just going with the flow and burying our heads in the sand.
Granted, there is little we can do to stop certain things, but we can educate ourselves and evaluate how much we permit ourselves to be influenced by the culture we live in.
The Catholic is the sign of contradiction.
This does not mean we stand in opposition to everything, but rather that everything we do we strive to put under the influence of Christ. That is the mission spirit of Christ which compelled the Apostles to go and teach, a mission which must always begin with example, based upon that same grace-driven conviction that inspired the martyrs and all the saints to do it before us.
We all play a part in this – large or small, it does not matter – because each of us constitutes a cell of Christ’s Mystical Body. We all must daily be willing to die to self, to embrace the Cross, and love Christ no matter what, refusing to make the world’s maxims of happiness our own.
How do we read the trials of the martyrs? Are we inspired to be less motivated by convenience, comfort, or human respect? Although we will likely be spared the physical tortures they had to endure, the mental tortures do run a close second, so let us not forget how our efforts are supposed to seed the world for the blossoms of new faith.
God is permitting the fields to be burned, and they stand in need of re-seeding.
Even though we are not in mortal danger at the present moment, let the martyrs’ examples inspire us to make most important what is most important: Sunday Mass and Holy Communion – that contact with Christ through the Mass – should hold the greatest importance in our lives. As the world tries to kick us down, let us be inspired by the heroes the Church gives us to lift us up, so that we are convinced of the power behind the Church’s mission.
Perhaps we will find inspiration to make an extra Mass during the week if possible, even if a little inconvenient, or to get to confession more regularly, or immediately if the case calls for it.
Maybe their example will inspire us come to terms with some suffering we have to endure, or – better yet – need to embrace; maybe it will make us think twice about the movies we watch, or music we listen to, or the websites we view or the clothes we wear; maybe their example will inspire fathers to lead their families in prayer, to abandon occasions of sin, and take their role as spiritual head seriously; to inspire mothers to realize that the chapped hands of their labors proves that the stigmata is not reserved only to mystics.
Should not the trials of the martyrs, in their efforts to spread the love of our Lord, inspire reconciliation between spouses and renewed commitment under difficulties?
Remember, our faith is seeded by those who have gone and suffered before us. Let us make a return for what we have been given by praying regularly, by uniting our sufferings with the Cross, by doing that family Rosary at least once a week, by making the First Fridays, and by doing everything we can to keep ourselves in a state of grace and increase it through works of charity.
One theme that runs through the lives of all the saints and martyrs is consistency and resignation to the trials God’s Providence permits so as to gain profit for eternity, and so we must pray for the same spirit of the missionary-martyrs if we want to reap the same kinds of fruits, whatever our trials may be – and we should want to, because it could mean all the difference between a life without Jesus Christ and a life with Him.
Ever think why the hearts of those two disciples burned as they walked unknowingly with Christ on the road to Emmaus, as He expounded the divine truths about our Redemption?
It was because that was what they were thirsting for. Our own thirst for Christ will make others thirsty, and so we should all seek and cultivate that same desire, especially when the chips seem down – ask for it, pray for it.
For that is what mattered most to these saints and enabled them to endure the pains they did, a veritable labor of love for fruit they would never see in this life, a labor that magnified Christ in their bodies, so as to forfeit their lives on the battlefield of salvation for the love of Christ, only to gain Him forever after death and possess that true joy no one can ever take away.
October 2, 2020