Every martyr knows how to save his/her life and yet refuses to do so.
A public repudiation of the faith would save any of them.
But some things are more precious than life itself.
These martyrs prove that their 20th-century countryman,
C. S. Lewis, was correct in saying that courage is not simply one of the virtues
but the form of every virtue at the testing point, that is, at the point of highest reality.
(as seen on the CSSF site / Felician Sisters)
(Virgin entroned with angels and saints / Duccio di Buoninsegna 1285)
This past week has seen me so incensed over the absurdities that are taking place
all over this country…
Absurdities being shared as “news” stories, taken from across the land…
yet stories with one central missing theme…that being the key theme of common sense.
So incensed that I had a few volumes of the assinine posted in order to shed some
light on our glaring lack of common sense.
And I should note that the absurdities just keep coming as I now must confess that
I am actually finding myself feeling a bit sorry for the current Speaker of the House
as she toils to keep her Fab 4 newbies in line as they continue having
temper tantrum after tantrum.
They may be known best as formidable twitter warriors, but they fall woefully short in
the area of common sense.
Theatrics yes, common sense no.
Throw in a serious lack of humility and we have a wealth of trouble on our hands.
But I digress and must move on because their finger waging tantrums simply leave me
tired from all the eye-rolling and head-shaking I’ve caught myself doing as of late.
So today we won’t focus on the wealth of lack of common sense that is now engulfing our
land but rather we will look at something much more nobler than any one of
our legislators or governing officials seem to demonstrate,
acknowledge let alone possess.
So yesterday I was reading a post regarding the Saints of the Day from one of the
Felician Sisters blog sites.
The saints were actually two Englishmen…
John Jones and John Walls.
These two friars were martyred in England in the 16th and 17th centuries
for refusing to deny their faith.
John Jones was Welsh. He was ordained a diocesan priest and was twice imprisoned
for administering the sacraments before leaving England in 1590. He joined the Franciscans
at the age of 60 and returned to England three years later while Queen Elizabeth I
was at the height of her power. John ministered to Catholics in the English countryside
until his imprisonment in 1596. He was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.
John was executed on July 12, 1598.
John Wall was born in England but was educated at the English College of
Douai, Belgium. Ordained in Rome in 1648, he entered the Franciscans in Douai several years later.
In 1656 he returned to work secretly in England.
In 1678, Titus Oates worked many English people into a frenzy over an alleged papal plot
to murder the king and restore Catholicism in that country. In that year Catholics were
legally excluded from Parliament, a law which was not repealed until 1829.
John Wall was arrested and imprisoned in 1678, and was executed the following year.
John Jones and John Wall were canonized in 1970.
And so let me be clear, saints are no different from you or me…
We are all sinners and we are all also very capable of eventually becoming a saint.
For saints are simply the ordinary doing the extraordinary.
The one important thing we need to remember, however, is that saints
are of a humble lot.
And humility is often in short supply in our land these days.
Saintly is a matter of doing what is right when no one is looking,
listening or paying attention because what is being done is for the betterment
of others…with no regard to self and no recognition or applause.
Saints have no twitter accounts or Facebook posts.
It’s doing those things that are not popular, trendy or politically correct but are being done
because they are the right thing to do regardless of what the world may have to say.
Even despite the threat of harm or even death.
It’s a conviction.
It’s a drive that reaches far beyond personal desire.
It’s falling face down in the mire.
It’s being the sinner who picks himself up and says no more.
It’s doing what God calls to be done…not what the self would want done.
It’s discernment along with death to self.
It’s not easy.
It can be dangerous.
It might be life-threatening…
…but none of that seems to matter.
The thought of self is never even considered.
Self is never an issue.
There is no personal gain but rather personal loss.
The spotlight shines elsewhere.
There are no stats or likes.
No, saints are not far from sinners at all.
In fact, a saint is a sinner who simply turned his eyes outward rather than inward.
Some things are more precious than life itself…
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the
twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp,
and golden bowls full of incense,
which are the prayers of the saints.