Uncompromising Catholic Courage in the Face of Adversity |
Let our Heavenly Heroes Be our Example in Guiding us toward Heaven
Today is the traditional feast of St. Thomas More, the King's Chancelor who would not budge in his loyalty to the true Successor of Peter no matter how much an earthly king promised. Temporal treasures are worthless in the spiritual realm and how we live on earth and how we die will measure our worth. That is why looking to St. Thomas and St. Joan, whose feasts are just over a month apart just as they lived just over a century apart in medieval time, they both stood strong against corruption and collusion, only to give their lives for God and their countries. It's all about never comproming our Faith no matter the lures.
"Both Joan and Thomas faced many enemies, viscious, plotting ones; fools who through jealousy, hatred, fear, resentment or greed sought their demise. But that demise was merely an earthly one, to that which matters in this ball of clay which is only our temporary home. Through that earthly demise, however, both saints rose to their greatest glory, exhibiting the material from which true Catholicism has always been carved."
Any true Catholic with eyes to see and a mind to think is aware that the true Church is following the steps of our dear Lord. We have moved towarda second Passion at the hands of our foes. Those foes include bitter enemies who have never stopped hating us and traitors who have sold their souls for earthly gain and acceptance. If we properly and expectedly seek solace, guidance and comfort through these trials, let us look to two giants of the Church, two glorious examples of the kind of fortitude, conviction, piety, dedication, courage and resolute determination to serve God over man needed in this veil of tears we call the modern world.
Different Paths To a Common Goal
St. Joan of Arc, whose traditional feast was just over a month ago on May 30, came from a poor family and was anything but educated, yet she always exhibited a piety and spiritual seriousness beyond her years. It is almost as if she intuitively knew that her purpose for existence was only partially of this world, and more importantly heavenly in scope. Her famous voices, reportedly from St. Michael, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Margaret, drove her to her divine destiny and mission against all odds and earthly reason. If one thinks rationally, it is a miracle unto itself that any leader or army would have ever listened to this teenager, yet that is precisely what they did, for insistence based in God finds no earthly obstacle its equal.
If Joan was uneducated yet pious, then St. Thomas More was equally pious yet as educated as one can be. This outstanding lawyer and advisor to King Henry VIII of England seems to have been the only contact with moral sanity and sensibility found in that court. Considering he was tutored by a corrupt, lascivious bishop at Canterbury, one Bishop Morton who fed him many, many lies, it is a miracle in itself that Thomas turned out to be so holy. He was raised among much unholiness and when he was offered the world, his iconic refusal to submit to public rejection of the Faith and his loyalty to stand up for God despite the cost is an exemplary model for all Catholics who face political and social distortion of truth and the true teachings of holy Mother Church.
These two paragons of Catholic sanity came from different paths, yet their true greatness was found in their steadfast dedication to serving God in defiance of any earthly measure. Both had a clear vision of the easy way out, yet neither one took that path, realizing that the only path that matters is that which leads to God. No other path will do. As Joan and Thomas discovered it was truly a lonely path, but the only path. By their individual examples and in their own way, both of these great saints led others toward God as well, serving as examples of how to truly become soldiers for God. His warriors, holy warriors. Each faced their enemies with the sure confidence that God was at their side, and if Joan faltered at times due to the terrible treatment imposed on such a young girl, she regained her grace and exemplary courage when it mattered most.
Traitors and Foes Defeated Through Martyrdom
Both Joan and Thomas faced many enemies, viscious, plotting ones; fools who through jealousy, hatred, fear, resentment or greed sought their demise. But that demise was merely an earthly one, to that which matters in this ball of clay which is only our temporary home. Through that earthly demise, however, both saints rose to their greatest glory, exhibiting the material from which true Catholicism has always been carved.
Just as our Lord was betrayed, so too these two icons of Catholicism were victims of traitors as well. Despite saving France - eldest daughter of the Church - from conquest, Joan was betrayed by French and Burgundian collaborators with the English and allowed to die by an ungrateful coward whose value as king may only have been visible from Heaven. As for St. Thomas, the king he advised so well and with such loyalty, the very sovereign whom Pope Leo X had declared "Defender of the Faith", turned on him as did others in the court and elsewhere, out of arrogant, selfish, timid, indifferent and despicable defiance of God's path.
In the end, both saints faced death and gained the crown of martyrdom with imposing fortitude and unequaled courage, moving witnesses to tears, respect and even conversion. In their last moments, both of these models of Catholic courage and dedication embraced the Christ they served so well, moving beyond this world and its false promises with their eyes and hearts firmly fixed toward the only direction that has ever mattered or will ever matter: total surrender to God's holy will.
Our Destiny Lies Before Us
The true Church is facing martyrdom in many ways today. We hear of physical, economic, doctrinal, social and other kinds of martyrdom. Increasingly, those who refuse to lose their faith, who refuse to compromise one iota of their faith, are being subjected to abuse, ridicule, rejection, isolation and all forms of fraud, lies and defamation. And this is maily from those who have compromised with the world and would usurp the Authority of the Church: the New Order conciliarists. Just as in the case of our Lord, Joan and Thomas, and scores of countless other martyrs, there is an easy way out of these tortures and abuses for those whose faith is weak and whose love of earthly things is strong. However, like these saints, we must reject the lures of the easy way and cling to Christ's way, which is the only way to God.
Just as these two saintly martyrs, we will, if we haven't already, face corrupt judgment and judicial corruption, not to mention perjury and worse. Christ told us in the scriptures of these very times. Are we wready? Every form of earthly dirt will be thrown at those who refuse to submit to the lies of a counterfeit faith. Every form of ridicule and mockery will be hurled at those who, like Christ, St. John the Baptist, St. Stephen, St. Peter, St. Paul, the Apostles, the early Christians, all the martyrs from 33 A.D. to 2007 A.D. including Joan and Thomas, refuse to remain silent amid the spread of evil and hypocrisy that leads to perdition.
Like those above, all following the path of our Lord, we will each face a fork in the road, a point at which we may choose to escape service to God, or proudly, bravely and gladly pursue it, assured that God will give us the graces to persevere. Our eternal destiny will lie in that choice, and that fork when we reject the wide path strewn with roses where the wolves wait for clueless prey to pounce and plunge, and instead opt for the lonely, narrow path that leads to everlasting life. May we each choose wisely knowing full well that the answer to all our problems lies at the end of that narrow road. For some, even many, it may take physical martyrdom to find out. To others a dry martyrdom awaits where we will not be killed but persecuted and mocked for doing what Joan and Thomas did in standing up for Truth. Whichever way God wills for each of us, we can be assured Jesus will be standing there with Joan and Thomas and the rest of the Church Triumphant at the end of that path to welcome us to the destiny that awaits those whose eyes will close only after they have reunited with God and whose hearts will stop beating only after serving Him with all our heart and soul.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.