The Saints that we celebrate today are our heroes. They inspire us to live out our lives with heroic virtue.We are all called to be saints. We are all called to be heroes. Now, more than ever, the Church needs new saints and new heroes.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - At an important point in the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi, a missionary gave him a book that contained the four Gospels. This of course, was the Indian leader's first exposure to Christianity. He read the Gospels with great interest, and was convinced that the principles taught by Jesus could resolve all of the political, social and economic problems of his country.
Gandhi had to travel throughout Western Europe in order to muster support for an independent India. Traveling through Christian countries, he was dismayed only to conclude that the Gospels are wonderful indeed, but he did not see anyone living their teaching. For this reason, Gandhi never converted to Christianity.
Today we celebrate All Saints Day. We are all called to be saints. Today's Gospel passage reminds us of the program.
The Beatitudes contain the essence of the Christian way of life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement - however beneficial it may be - such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love" (CCC # 1723).
The Beatitudes of the Gospel turn all worldly values upside down. The world pursues happiness in wealth, power, fame and sex, whereas the Gospel demands of us values that are essentially different.
The Beatitudes challenge us to choose: to live Christianity or to live by the standards of the world. Do you want to give in to the demands of a worldly way of life, or have you decided to live true and authentic Christianity? The choice to live the Gospel changes our entire life. It tells us how we are to act, how we are to dress, how we are to speak and how we are to interact with people. The choice to live the Gospel affects every aspect of our entire existence.
A number of years ago I was invited to give a retreat to a group of lay people in New York City. A seminarian graciously accompanied me in order to help with the practical details. Prior to the evening retreat, we had a number of appointments, and so that meant that we would have lunch in New York. The seminarian really enjoyed Asian cuisine, so I accommodated his palate by inviting him to lunch at a Korean restaurant.
As we went to our table, we were met by a Korean woman who graciously attended us with delicate courtesy. Having had many years of experience at my father's restaurant, I was able to notice that her kindness, manners and spirit of service were far from ordinary.
Towards the end of the meal, another Korean woman finished waiting on our table. When we were ready, I asked her for the check. She then proceeded to tell me that there would be no charge for the lunch because the first waitress took care of the bill. I was very surprised and I asked her why she had decided to pay for our meal. "She is Christian," was the unanticipated answer from the waitress.
"She is Christian," meant that all the other waitresses were not Christian, and that all though encountering a free meal in the middle of downtown New York City surprised me, they were not surprised at all. They knew that this woman was different. Because of her Christianity, she was different.
The Saints that we celebrate today are our heroes. They inspire us to live out our lives with heroic virtue. All of us have our favorite saints. Because of the challenges that we face today, I am most especially inspired by the martyrs of Spain and Mexico.
1936 - 1939 marked the greatest persecution against the Catholic Church. The place was Spain. The persecution was brutal and thousands of Catholics were martyred.
One of the martyrs was Blessed Victoria Diez Bustos de Molina. Victoria became a public school teacher. However, the historical times in which she lived became very difficult. Before the civil war actually began, there was a very anti-catholic environment in Spain. The government prohibited the teaching of the catechism in the classroom and demanded crucifixes be removed from the walls. Victoria refused to comply.
Eventually the civil war did spill over in the small town of Nornachuelos where she was teaching. Father Molina, the parish priest, emptied the tabernacle and entrusted the Blessed Sacrament to Victoria. Quickly Father was arrested; the church was ransacked and burned.
Around this same time, Victoria was teaching catechism to a group of women at around eight o'clock in the evening. During the class, two armed men entered the classroom and demanded that Victoria leave with them.
Victoria, together with Fr. Molina and eighteen others who were already in prison were awakened in the middle of the night. They were forced to walk for three hours to a new destination: an abandoned mine shaft. Each one was forced to stand upon a huge stone above a large pit where they were shot and killed.
Victoria watched as the men were shot and fell into the pit. Fr. Molina was the last man to be killed and then it was Victoria's turn. The soldiers tried to convince her to save her life if she would only renounce her Catholic Faith and cry out "Long live the republic" and "Long live communism." Victoria refused. Instead she knelt on the stone, and with her eyes raised to heaven and her arms opened in the form of a cross she shouted, "Long live Christ the King! Long live the Virgin Mother!" Victoria was only thirty-three years old.
We are all called to be saints. We are all called to be heroes. Now, more than ever, the Church needs new saints and new heroes.
By Linky C
Several incorruptible bodies of saints remain to be displayed and worshiped around several churches in Italy. These haunting images bring a different kind of eerie to the tourist and locals who are visiting these churches. Some of these saints are ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient decorated mosaic floor of an ancient church, underneath its modern incarnation, during an excavation. The Christian mosaic is believed to be about 1,700-years-old and part of the old Byzantine church of the fourth century. ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
While Pope Francis' new encyclical Laudato, Si' is enjoying wide publicity, few people are aware this year marks the 20th anniversary of another powerfully prophetic social justice and peace encyclical: Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life"). Trying to awaken the ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Former Auschwitz guard, Oscar Groening has asked for God's forgiveness after serving Austchwitz during his testimony in court, last Wednesday. The 94-year-old worked for Austchwitz when he was just 13 and later became the "Accountant of Auschwitz." MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading
By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)
Looking forward to Pope Francis' September visit to the U.S., the nation's bishops were exuberant on Tuesday, as the itinerary for the apostolic voyage was released. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - Fewer than three months before the scheduled visit, Archbishop ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Pope Francis' visit to both the United States and Cuba will be hectic. In addition to meeting with political officials in both countries, the Pontiff will meet with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and the homeless at the ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
There are lessons that can only be learned under the broom tree. The lesson St Paul gave to the early Christians in Greece about the reality of being shipwrecked and experiencing daily struggles in life is critical in our age. God is searching for men and ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
It is definitely going to happen -- but where and when has yet to be decided. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis have agreed to meet in an attempt to repair the major rift between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity. LOS ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - "Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves," Pope Francis explained June 28 at ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading