In our just-completed installments on the Communion of Saints, we alluded to "Heroic Acts of Charity." Now we would like to go more into detail on what this means for we can all be heroes for Jesus through Our Heroic Acts of Charity. November is truly a month to express thankfulness. Most of us think of November and our national holiday of Thanksgiving. Actually, the month began with two feasts that we have convered in depth in the previous installments - All Saints Day and All Souls Day. We also covered Purgatory and its definite existence because it is an undeniable teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet it has been so watered down today that few, sadly, give it any credence. It is completely lost on some, whose thinking has become so modern as to exclude the possibility that such a place of atonement could exist by a God Who is All-Loving. It is vital to remember that this quality of God as All-Loving, consists both in His Mercy and in His Justice. No one can come into the presence of Almighty God who has not been made pure through a life of suffering, good works and total giving of one's self in obedience to God.
We do not understand properly the reality of sin and its ramifications upon our souls, and upon our own mortal bodies. We are so weighed down with the prospects of getting through life the easy way and pain free as possible that we do not want to consider any other aspect. We must be very careful not to get caught up in the interpretations of Sacred Scripture, but rather to discern with the grace of the Holy Spirit. In this regard, consider the many who are eagerly awaiting the Rapture, believing they will not have to go through the chastisement but will be lifted up by God and preserved from this purification. Nowhere in Sacred Scripture does God indicate such an event. Sacred Scripture tells us very specifically that there is no other way except suffering, as Christ said in Matthew 16: 24-27, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he who would save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for My sake will find it. For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will render to everyone according to his conduct."
Our society has become so taken up with the material things of life that we easily neglect our souls whil will live forever. Thus, in this month of November, it is prudent to reflect upon The Heroic Act of Charity, which we can make for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and this one Heroic Act consists in all of the good works which we have, or will ever make, in our earthly lives. In this Heroic Act of Charity we are asked to become so abandoned to God that we surrender to Him absolutely everything, the satisfactory value of our works of our life and of all the suffrages which shall be given to us after our death, without receiving anything. In this Heroic Act of Charity we give all into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary to distribute them, according to her intentions, to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
To do that takes a real hero and there are so few left on this earth. Gone are so many of the priests and nuns, and yes parents and grandparents who emulated these virtues, who, despite the consequences, were not afraid to utilize "tough love" for the sake of the person's soul rather than their material wellbeing. They were not as concerned with how they themselves would be accepted or perceived by the ones they were helping as was the point that they wanted to instill the Will of God into their subjects so that it would become a "way of life" and not go "in one ear and out the other." They weren't concerned that they wouldn't be popular, but more concerned with turning out reliable, responsible Catholics who would repopulate the world with more good Catholics or enrich the Church with more priests, nuns and lay brothers. That took heroism, a heroism that is sadly lacking today. Today heroes are equated to movie, rock and sports stars. Guess what? They aren't heroes or role models, they are simply fallible humans with feet of clay who have cast their lot, for the most part, with satan, not with God. They've taken the easy way out, opting for fame and wealth without taking on the responsibility of truly giving back, of truly accepting suffering, of truly imparting values and virtues that will make today and tomorrow's generation stronger and more worthy to be called children of God.
That sad scenario leaves us terribly void of heroes today. Vocations are alarmingly down in wealthy, advanced nations in Europe and America while they are skyrocketing in poor, third world countries like Africa, India and South America. Why is that? Because we have not suffered, whereas those in impoverished countries have suffered greatly and grown from it. From suffering heroes are born, not from excess and smooth sailing. A very wise priest once told this editor "It takes a lot of wind and rain to make a tree grow strong and straight." So also in a person's life, the more adversity one experiences, the stronger that person will be for it and grow to be a mature, solid citizen both for their country and, primarily, for God. The problems today are that too many within the Church are trying to make things too easy, forgetting what Christ says about suffering and carrying our cross and being obedient to Him. Compromise and softness have replaced the tough faith of yesteryear in the minds of many Catholics and, were it not for our present sovereign pontiff Pope John Paul II who knows how soft the underbelly of the Church might be today. If it were up to the liberals and modernists, you can bet Catholicism would be totally "cafeteria" where the faithful could pick and choose as they pleased. But that is not what Our Lord intended when He established His Church in Matthew 16: 18-19. Nor did He beg and cajole those who walked away from Him when they realized it wouldn't be easy. Being the Son of God He could easily have called them back and explained further what He meant, but He did not compromise, He did not water anything down. And neither should we. In order to be genuine heroes today we must submit ourselves totally to the Divine Will. Then, and only then will we be able to generate the kind of attributes attributed to true heroes.
In the next installment we shall delve further on what The Heroic Act of Charity really is and the Formula for this Heroic Act.