“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Why are the Philippines, Malta, Costa Rica and now Ireland succumbing to the population control mentality and anti-religious sentiment?
Compared to so many other Catholic nations, these have long held firm. What has kept the anti-life agenda at bay for so long has been the vibrant living of the gift of faith. It permeated every part of life and guided daily living within the family, society and even governments. As the anchor of faith that has secured generations has lost its firm hold, radical secular currents have brought materialism, indifference and what Pope Benedict accurately called the “tyranny of relativism.”
The process has been slow but successful. Even a short time ago, it seemed unimaginable that a country like Ireland would abandon its ardent defense of life in order to follow the “new way”; that Mexico City, under the watchful gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe, would legalize abortion (up to the twelfth week) or that Costa Rica would legalize in vitro fertilization.
Yet here we are, with what seems at times to be a paradoxical commitment to hope even among societal decay. The answer the Lord gives us to our question “What can we do?” is both ancient, and relevant to our struggles today.
We need Saints.
In every age the Church’s response to the threat of evil has been to call the faithful to holiness and sainthood. Pope Francis, from the very start of his Petrine ministry, has followed this tradition in response to the current threats facing our world.
In his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), Pope Francis reminds us that faith in Christ is the true light that illuminates man’s existence. This light assists us in distinguishing good from evil. The light of faith invigorates, transforms and brings authentic freedom. Man seeks answers, and these answers are found in Jesus, the Light of the World.
The voices of modernity tell us to ignore the light of faith. True happiness, prosperity and peace, they tell us, are found in the rejection of religion and God. Sadly, these voices have made gains, enabled by widespread confusion and ignorance. The scandal today is the denial of the necessity of faith for any sustainable peace to take hold. For we see that as faith retreats in society, distorted notions of “justice” and “freedom” become prominent, and true justice and freedom are banished.
Our Holy Father, like his predecessors Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II, recognizes the remedy so desperately needed if the Church is to confront the lies and half-truths of modernity. Each experienced the ideologies that corrupt and destroy, as well as the heroic witness of countless holy men and women.
Consider the words of Pope Francis as he reminds us that faith is not for the fainthearted. Courage is required.
When faith is weakened, the foundations of life also risk being weakened… If we remove faith in God from our cities, mutual trust would be weakened, we would remain united only by fear and our stability would be threatened… The intention is to say that God, by his concrete actions, makes a public avowal that he is present in our midst and that he desires to solidify every human relationship. Could it be the case, instead, that we are the ones who are ashamed to call God our God? That we are the ones who fail to confess him as such in our public life, who fail to propose the grandeur of the life in common which he makes possible? Faith illumines life and society. If it possesses a creative light for each new moment of history, it is because it sets every event in relationship to the origin and destiny of all things in the Father. (LF 55)
If we want a Culture of Life, if we want to end the evils threatening life, if we want to end abortion, then…
We need saints!
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