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Ultimate Failure

September 14, 2023 3 min read
Mary and Jesus amidst rubble

In the Catholic understanding, “enemy” is a complicated concept. The early example of St. Paul revealed that everyone on earth is a person made in God’s image and desired by him to be saved from their wicked ways and to be with him forever. Even Saul who breathed murderous threats against the Christians was not ultimately an “enemy” in the absolute sense. We would surmise that even Judas who betrayed Christ would have been treated like St. Peter was when he repented for denying Christ: with forgiveness and a task for the Church.

Many men and women are seduced by the Evil One to perpetrate crimes against God’s people. Yet the martyrs witness to one important reality: Christ has conquered his enemies. Even though the nations rage, the end is known. The witness offered by those like the brave Catholics in Nigeria who risk their lives for the faith today reveal to us a certain attitude that we should have when things ecclesial and political look bleak. Though we are persecuted, misunderstood, and even weak ourselves, our victor has purchased our salvation by his own life. And those powers that are enemies of the Church, though they flash and roar, they must ultimately fall.

This week, a Nigerian seminarian was burned alive. As his bishop said of his death and the attacks experienced by his priests: “Let us prove to our enemies with all their arsenals that they have failed again. Let everyone hear our songs of praise and thanksgivings…”

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).

An entire Polish family was beatified this week. The entire Ulma family – including their unborn son – was martyred by a Nazi patrol in 1944 when it was discovered they were sheltering Jewish refugees.

In a society without a story, we encounter boredom and the pressure of having to create ourselves. Catholicism, on the other hand, makes everything interesting. The distinction between Creator and creature gives creation a kind of ordered freedom that is utterly fascinating: “Catholicism provides a deeply coherent and deeply beautiful vision of reality. It is a vision that, understood in its full depth, satisfies the human person – body, mind, and spirit.”

Smart phones and social media reduce communication to a desire for likes, leading us to lose the ability to read (or see) in context, losing irony and nuance: “It’s as if modern technology is taking us back to a communicative repertoire of grunts and literal gestures.”

Houston, Texas, is experiencing a Catholic renaissance. Learn more about how the city’s culture is being changed by the Church.

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