Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Now That's a Mission!

Over the past couple of days, I've been searching for inspiration for a post. I opened my 'Laudate' app on my iPhone and went to the Saint of the Day section.

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Capuchin Priest and Martyr (1577-1622). In a nutshell, he became a priest and desired martyrdom. Yes, desired to die for the Catholic faith. He was sent on a mission. His mission was to correct the heresy of Calvin and he was attacked by Protestants who were trying to convince him to change his views.

His reponse is amazing, "I came to refute your errors, not to embrace them; I will never renounce the Catholic doctrine, which is the truth of all ages, and I fear not death." Then they killed him.
 Reference: Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Wow. I think of all of the wishy washy talk we have today between Catholics and other religions. The notion that "we just have to be good people" is everywhere. Not to mention the quote that's been whizzing around facebook by Ghandi: "We must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty" This quote seems to oversimplify things. Through our fallen human nature, we all have a little dirt. We will all fall to sin, even if we all don't turn into terrorists. A better statement might be, "Although fallen, humanity has a great capacity to do good"

Don't get me wrong, the quote from Ghandi and being a good person sounds nice, doesn't it? Toss in the word tolerance and I'll really make my blog a hit. But, I must focus in on the issues with these ideas. The above quote makes me think of an anology. When you buy a bunch of grapes, sometimes, you pick a few to eat and they are sour. But you try one more, and it tastes fine. In that respect, Ghandi's statement above is true. Just because a few are sour, it didn't mean the whole bunch is a loss.

We are not grapes. We are human beings, so we must rely on what we know from the instructions given to us by Jesus.

I can't recall, and please correct me if I am speaking wrongly, anytime where Jesus said "just be good", or "just make nice". I do recall He said to follow Him, keep His commandments, and that no one could go to the Father except through Him. I also recall the story in which He tells us, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and so on. It is better to be in Heaven and missing one part than for your whole body to be in hell.

I don't recall Him ever sitting at a table of Pharisees, and saying, "Well, I disagree but if you're happy, then that's okay". He taught them, tried to show them a better way, while always loving them. Even with tough love when he threw the tables that one time. Jesus was killed.

St. Fidelis did not say to those ready to kill him, "Wait, don't kill me, I'll go back home, and you can keep on teaching your new found understanding of Scripture". He boldly claimed, "I came to refute your errors...I fear not death."

I pray that I can become more like Christ and St. Fidelis, and boldly claim: I fear not ridicule, persecution, and most of all death, but I must speak the truth of the Catholic faith. May we all be bold witnesses on our daily mission in our lives. Just remember, how can we fear death when we know what Jesus won for us?

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