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.
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
“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
Be glad and rejoice, for
your reward is very great in Heaven!”
(Saint Matthew 5:11, Saint
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.
What can we
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 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?
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 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
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
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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