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A Leaven In The World… Faith For The Tribulation

October 23, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

“My enemies have often troubled me from my youth up: Deliver me, O Lady, and vindicate my cause from them” — St. Bonaventure, The Psalter of Our Lady.
Enemies without, enemies within: The Church is attacked by the world, but also weakened by the sins of her members and by those who would change the faith itself in a misguided attempt to help souls.
What’s a Catholic to do?
We stand on the shoulders of giants because of our ancient faith. The saints faced many disasters and temptations to discouragement in their own day. In every age of the Church the greatest threat for any believer is the loss of personal faith. No disaster could possibly exist greater than the loss of our own salvation.
What better answer for the confusion and delusion of our day than to refocus on what is essential? For saints of every period in the life of the Church no trouble or discouragement they faced had the power to turn them away from the path of salvation in Christ. The heroic virtue for which each was canonized calls us to the same high goal of Heaven.
A time of great evil as our own is an opportunity for renewed heroic virtue among the members of the Body of Christ.
The existence of evil is a powerful influence in the lives of all of us. The ability to know what is happening anywhere around the world at every moment has intensified our experience of and oppression by its malignant power. But the greatest evil is the one that made the salvation of mankind possible.
The disaster of the cross of Jesus Christ, the Deicide, is the greatest evil in the history of the world. From the cross, the Tree of Life is born in the Church, bringing for us the life of grace of every day.
Whatever may trouble us, we should never allow it to distract our gaze from the cross, our spiritual beacon and guiding light.
While we pray for deliverance and to see the Triumph of the Church and the Immaculate Heart, we must resign ourselves to the fact that we might not experience vindication in our lifetime.
Perhaps no other event in the life of the Church more dramatically represents the plight of Catholics experiencing opposition in their own Church and the inability to see the triumph of good than the life of St. Joan of Arc. She can encourage all of us in these days of testing.
Joan faced a trial at the hands of our own Catholic bishops.
“On May 23, 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age” (Wikipedia).
Joan of Arc, condemned as a heretic and a witch by bishops of the Church, was put on trial in a sham drama for political reasons. Taught to revere the Church and her leaders, as were most of us as good Catholics, Joan must have experienced unimaginable shock as she was placed on the stand by the men charged by Christ with representing Him on Earth.
Asked by these men if she was in a state of grace, Joan answered in words that belied her illiterate and uneducated state, “If I am, may God keep me there; if I am not, may God bring me there.”
Her glowing witness and sterling integrity teach us how to conduct ourselves. Times of testing call for courageous witness. Our Lord has commanded us that we are not to worry about the words we are to say when challenged to speak for our faith in Him. He promises that the Holy Spirit Himself will give us the words needed.
“But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak” (Matt. 10:19).
Joan lived this charism for the edification of the Church until the end of the world, but did not live to see her vindication in being canonized as a saint.
“In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte.
“She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis, St. Michael, St. Rémi, St. Petronilla, St. Radegund, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux” (Wikipedia).
Statues of Joan mark the globe from France to the USA and beyond. She was not spared in the recent iconoclastic attacks against heroes of history. She will never need statues, finally, to enjoy influence in our lives and hearts.
Joan of Arc, soldier for the faith as well as for France, can inspire us to face the trials each day that come with faithfulness to our Lord. The battles we face as believers find their contours around the choices we must make in cooperation with grace to reject all that is incompatible with Christ’s reign on Earth.
As we look forward to the upcoming feast of Christ the King that concludes the liturgical year, we give our prayer and attention to the many ways, large and small, that our efforts can serve to bring the Lord’s Kingship greater scope. We struggle here on Earth against the enemies of the Lord and most of all for own salvation. We love the Father and His will so as to be configured to the Son who rose from the grave in the ultimate victory, that over death.
St. Joan of Arc and all holy men and women, pray for us.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
@MCITLFrAphorism

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