June 29, 2012
Today we celebrate the two great apostle-martyrs of the Church, killed on the same day at Rome in A.D. 65. For much of the Church, it is a holy day of obligation, but not in the United States.
Celebrating this feast reminds us that the Church’s message is for everyone on earth – salvation and peace through Jesus Christ and submission to Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit in all things. The Collect from the 1962 Roman Missal reminds us of what these apostles bequeathed us:
O God, Who hast made this day holy by the martyrdom of Thine apostles Peter and Paul: grant that Thy Church may in all things follow the precepts of those through whom she received the beginnings of the Faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
In these days of the Fortnight for Freedom, we are fortunate to be reminded of the price paid by Sts. Peter and Paul for witnessing to Jesus. It’s a price many of us could easily have to pay if we Catholics don’t know and love our Faith and share it truthfully with others. Archbishop Chaput of Denver gave a great speech to launch the Fortnight in which he said:
Here’s my fifth and final point: Politics and the courts are important. But our religious freedom ultimately depends on the vividness of our own Christian faith–in other words, how deeply we believe it, and how honestly we live it. Religious liberty is an empty shell if the spiritual core of a people is weak. Or to put it more bluntly, if people don’t believe in God, religious liberty isn’t a value. That’s the heart of the matter. It’s the reason Pope Benedict calls us to a Year of Faith this October. The worst enemies of religious freedom aren’t “out there” among the legion of critics who hate Christ or the Gospel or the Church, or all three. The worst enemies are in here, with us–all of us, clergy, religious, and lay–when we live our faith with tepidness, routine, and hypocrisy.
Religious liberty isn’t a privilege granted by the state. It’s our birthright as children of God. And even the worst bigotry can’t kill it in the face of a believing people. But if we value it and want to keep it, then we need to become people worthy of it. Which means we need to change the way we live–radically change, both as individual Catholics and as the Church….
St. Catherine of Sienna, a Doctor of the Church, wrote a prayer that appeared in the meditation of today’s feast in Divine Intimacy. It seems just right for our times although it was written in the 1300s:
O infinite, eternal Trinity, do not delay any longer, but through the merits of St. Peter, help Your Spouse, the Holy Church…. I cry to You today, O my Love, eternal God; show mercy to the world and enlighten Your Vicar, so that all will follow him…. Enlighten also the enemies of the Church who resist the Holy Spirit, that they may be converted to You, my God. Call them, sitr up their hearts, O inestimable Love, and let Your charity constrain You to conquer their hardness. Bring them back to You, that they may not perish. And because they have offended You, O God of sovereign mercy, punish me for their sins. Take my body which I have received from You; I offer it to You. May it become an anvil for them, so that their sins may be destroyed.”
Ever since the 2008 election I have been praying daily for deliverance for our country, along with my other prayer intentions. Although I can’t participate physically in the Fortnight for Freedom, I can with prayer and sacrifice answer the public call for conversion Archbishop Chaput issues.
Europe has lost all moral authority. America has lost nearly all of hers. We have to harden our hearts against the world and renew our commitment to Christ in accordance to our state and condition in life. A question I must ask myself: Am I ready to follow in the footsteps of Sts. Peter and Paul, to hold to what they have handed down from Christ and be willing to be despised and even die for my faith?
Click on the link above to read Archbishop Chaput’s entire speech. It’s really worth it.
This post is linked to Saints and Scripture Sunday.
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R. Now and forever!
(Click on the link above to read why I end my posts this way.)
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