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The Gate of Glory


 

May you be mocked, ridiculed, and vilified this Christmas

 

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.
Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven.
 (Saint Matthew 5:11)
 

 

 

Christ came down to earth that we might go up to Heaven.

This, then, is our wish for you this Christmas: that you be rewarded for your life in Christ by joining Mary, all the Angels and Saints, and the Company of Martyrs in Heaven for all eternity!

No less a figure than Saint Peter told us how this is possible: If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honor, glory, and power of God, and that which is his Spirit, resteth upon you. (1 St. Peter 4.14)


Rejoice!

What is more, we read in the Acts of the Apostles that The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. (Acts 5.41)

It was, however, Our Blessed Lord Himself Who promised it first: Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake ... Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven!(Saint Matthew 5:11, Saint Luke 6.22)

We have reason, then — and the means through which to rejoice —  in this holy Season of Christmas!

But will we avail ourselves of it?  Will we as Catholics open ourselves to disgrace and mockery, ridicule and reproach, by doing what Christ would have us do — and sufferfor His Name’s sake ... and account as nothing the mockery and contempt of the world?

We know what following Christ will entail for us here on earth — especially in these dark and evil times — sadly, both in the Church and in the world. We have just been told: we will be hated, ridiculed, disdained, mocked, separated from the society of the “socially correct” — we may lose our friends and, quite possibly, our jobs! Such prospects alone will separate the wheat from the chaff.


What  can we give God?

We can give nothing to God that He has not given us first — with one absolutely vital exception: our uncompromising love for Him.

God has endowed us with a free will — and with that will, which is totally our own, we — we can choose to love and serve God (as the Holy Angels did long before Creation, and so entered into beatitude) — or we can willfully exempt Him from our love, deny it to Him, withhold it from Him — and choose, instead, ourselves as the axis of the universe (as the Rebellious Angels did and so were cast into Hell). God gives us that freedom! He respects our will and will not revoke our choices — to love Him ... or the world — and the two are not simply incompatible, but mutually exclusive. “Nemo potest duobus dominis servire No man can serve two masters.” (Saint Matthew 6.24)  

And we are completely free to choose!

If we choose Him, it will be a TOTAL LOVE — a love above everyone and everything else that we love: a love so proximately absolute that we can only attain to it by expressing it in the total oblation, the unstinting offering of ourselves to Him in everything we do, everything we say, everything we think, everything we will, everything we desire, everything we are:

Love that will accept:

  • Ridicule for His Sake (yes, even by ones own family and friends)

  • Mockery for His Sake

  • Being hated for His Sake

  • Being marginalized — especially by other Catholics ... for His Sake

  • Being considered spiritually retrograde because of your total devotion to Him and your defiance of the world.

  • Being deemed “regressive” because your piety and devotions, your prayers and gestures, do not conform to “modernized” and “progressive” practices that fail to reflect a genuine understanding of Who God IS, Where God is, and How He comes to us in the Seven Sacraments — before “piety” and “devotion” became “incorrect” and an embarrassment in today’s “progressive” Catholic Church of Accompaniment and the God of Surprises.
     

You Will Pay Tribute

Do not be deceived or naïve: you will pay tribute. The world will crown us according to our love: for the world a Crown of Laurels ... for God a Crown of Thorns.

 

Can you give Him that gift? Every day? And in all company? in all places?

It means:

  • Praying Grace before every meal — and making the Sign of the Cross in public restaurants — not the shrinking, “as-fast-and-as-hidden-as-possible” Sign of the Cross that declares how ashamed you are of your holy Catholic Faith — after all, people may be astonished, scandalized (and perhaps some even converted …)
     

  • Bowing your head at the Sacred Name of Jesus (Philippians 2.10) — no matter how often it is uttered — and if it is uttered blasphemously, “finishing” the blasphemous utterance with a silent “have mercy on us” and so make a prayer of a sacrilege.
     

  • Confessing Christ openly when it is least beneficial to you: you cannot take refuge in silence about Him “Who will deny you before His Angels in Heaven if you deny Him before men.” (Saint Matthew 10.33)
     

  • Genuflecting when you pass by Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altarhow dare you pass Him by without anything less than a bent knee! Do you not know that He is really and truly present — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity — in the Tabernacle and that He deigns to greet you ... who refuse to so much as acknowledge Him … because you fear being thought “pious” in the eyes of others — as though piety were a sin!
     

  • Believing — and so acting upon!everything Christ commanded us: taking the lowest seat, being the last, being despised … for His sake. In other words, all that deprives you of honor in this world and solicits the obsequious admiration of men.
     

Probably one out of a thousand — no, ten thousand — Catholics have the FAITH to do these things — all of which are obligatory to us! And because they are required of us, we must not dare applaud ourselves when we have done these things — and secretly esteem ourselves holy because we have done them. We have been admonished in no uncertain terms about this self-flattery beforehand:  “When you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are worthless servants; we’ve only done our duty.’ ” (Saint Luke 17.10)

 

This, then, is your only possible gift to God: acknowledging Him openly by loving Him sincerely and obeying Him diligently in all that you do. This — and only this —  you can give Him Who gave all else to you first.

Your will is totally free:  free to acknowledge Him and love Him — or to ignore Him and reject Him!

Freedom is meaningless without responsibility and responsibility is meaningless without consequences.

Not idly did God speak:

“Behold I set forth in your sight this day a blessing and a curse: A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God,
which I command you this day:  A curse, if you obey not the commandments of the Lord your God, but revolt from the way which
now I show you, and walk after strange gods which you know not.
(Deuterononomy 11.26-28)

 

We wish you a most Blessed Christmas and Christmastide … and pray that you have the willingness to be mocked and marginalized for His sake … that you may know immortally the inexpressible joy awaiting those who pass through the crucible of faith to the Collector of Crosses Who knows His own through the Sign by which they are forever sealed — the Sign that brought them cruel contempt from the world — and transfiguration into glory in Heaven. 

May you be humiliated for His Name’s sake! For so were His Apostles. (Acts 5.41)

It is the gate of glory and the pledge of things everlasting to come.


Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
December 21, 2018

 

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