If you haven’t noticed this week, the Anti-Catholic rhetoric machine has been scattered over many mainstream media websites. The left-wing journalists…err…activists are out in full force attacking the Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. It makes me ill to see how evil and unjust human beings can act toward each other, especially towards someone they don’t even know. We have a strong educated woman that is a wife and mother of seven up for the Supreme Court and all the left can do is attack her beliefs. We always hear there is a War on Women. This is very true, but we are going to witness who really leads that war and it’s not who the mainstream media claims.
Anti-Catholicism is nothing new. It’s a prejudice that has deep roots and seems to be on the rise not only in the USA but around the world. Don’t believe me? Just look at all the churches that have been attacked around this country and around the world in recent months. According to the University of Baylor Professor, Philip Jenkins, “anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice.” He believes this so much that he wrote a book titled, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice.
So, as we face this anti-Catholic rhetoric and hate, and yes, it is hate, from individuals that claim they are “tolerant”, how should we as Catholics react?
We should seek holiness!
In Thessalonians 1:6-7, St. Paul says, “you become imitators of us and of the Lord…you became an example to all the believers…” To be holy and to seek perfection is not an option, but an obligation. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must always thrive to be saints. Every Christian has the capacity of becoming a saint. Our purpose in life is to be holy in imitation of Jesus Christ, who is all holy. He is to be our perfect model. As St. Paul says in Corinthians 11:1 – “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Holiness is the separation of the irreverent, seeking, and giving oneself to God. God is the foundation of holiness because God is all goodness. The invitation to holiness and goodness comes from God himself. A saint is a person who thrives to live a life of holiness with the help of God’s grace and attains the prize of eternal life (CCC 828). Sanctification is the process where one is made holy.
All Christians are called to holiness. We are called to holiness after receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. In Baptism, we are claimed and adopted by God as his children. We are restored to the filial (sonship) relationship that was established with our first parents. In our Baptism, we receive the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We also share in the three Old Testament offices that are fulfilled by Jesus – Priest, Prophet, and King.
To be a saint is to live a life dedicated to heroism. Heroism is about self-sacrificial deeds; it’s not about self-glorification and narcissism. It requires one to live with heroic virtue! G.K. Chesterton said the “saints are the heroes of the Church.” Living the life of a saint is not always the most popular lifestyle in our culture or period of history. To be a saint is to be counter-cultural just as the Church is counter-cultural.
In the face of today’s culture, how do we as Catholics become saints?
First, we must have a steadfast prayer life. Daily prayer, speaking to Jesus, Our Lady, and the Saints are fundamental. Every saint before us prayed and they prayed to Christ, Mother Mary, and the Saints. A prayer my family and I turn to often is the Holy Rosary. We also like the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Furthermore, we pray each night offering up petitions for our family and friends. As St. Benedict says, “Our prayer must be heartfelt and to the point” (The Rule of St. Benedict [RSB], Chapter 20).
Second, we must receive the Sacraments. Although all seven are fundamental, Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist can be received daily. The Sacrament of Reconciliation assists us in our relationship with Our Lord and allows us to restore our personal relationship with him when it is severed. If you have not been in some time, I encourage you to find a time and go. The Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is the life-giving bread of Jesus Christ. It not only nourishes our physical body but gives us spiritual strength. It is truly Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity.
Pope St. John Paul II said, “Be generous in answering Jesus’ call inviting you to put out into the deep and become His witnesses, discovering the trust He puts in you to devise a future together with Him. Above all, to fulfill this mission the Church is entrusting to you requires that you cultivate a genuine life of prayer nourished by the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession” (Italics mine).
Third, read the Holy Scriptures, the Lives of the Saints, and other spiritual texts. These works will engage us to know God in a personal way. They will also assist in our relationship with Our Lord and His Church. St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri says, “As the reading of bad books fills the mind with worldly and poisonous sentiments; so, on the other hand, the reading of pious works fills the soul with holy thoughts and good desires.”
Lastly, do everything you can to align your will with the Will of God and to remember that everything focuses on and around God’s grace. Let us remember the words of St. Therese of Lisieux, “Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father’s love – difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul’s miseries…Everything is a grace because everything is God’s gift.
I encourage you to pray for our country during this election and to pray for Amy Coney Barrett. She will need our prayers to endure the arrows of the evil one and his minions who have already begun to attack her and her family.