The Gate of Glory
“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.
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
“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)
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.”
It was, however, Our Blessed Lord Himself Who promised
“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 suffer — for 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.
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:
Ridicule for His Sake (yes, even by ones own family
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
Can you give Him that gift? Every day? And in all company?
in all places?
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
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 Altar — how 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
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
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,
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.”
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.
It is the gate of glory and the pledge of things everlasting
Boston Catholic Journal
December 21, 2018
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