Thomas A. Droleskey
Catholics all across and up and down the vast expense of the ecclesiastical divide are prone to live in fear of the statists who are attempting to control all aspects of national life as they monitor a good deal of our own daily activities. This fear is very misplaced.
Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ told us not to fear those who can kill the body but who cannot kill the soul. We have only to fear the devil, who can destroy both body and soul and throw us into Hell for all eternity. In other words, the only thing we have to fear is dying in a state of unrepented Mortal Sin, dying in a state of final impenitence:
Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the goodman of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?
Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. (Mt. 10: 16-40.)
The Cross is ever present in our lives. There is never any fleeing from the Cross. If we truly understand the Faith and reject all naturalistic influences, we will come to accept the fact that the Cross is waiting for us at every moment of our lives. No matter what decisions we might make as to which fork in the road to take at a given time, we can be sure of one thing: the Cross will be waiting for us all along either path. The Cross is our hope. The Cross is the means of our salvation. The Cross of the Divine Redeemer is the glory of our Catholic Faith. Catholics glory in that Cross. They do not shrink from it, and they recognize that every difficulty, every misunderstanding, every physical or emotional or spiritual pain, every humiliation, every calumny, and every rejection is meant to give us a share in the Cross of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as we give whatever merit we earn to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. And we must recognize the simple truth that there is more merit for us when the crosses that we are asked to bear are hidden from public view and others make judgments about us based on a complete ignorance of those hidden crosses that are meant to be revealed only on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead.
It is certainly true that Catholics in previous times of persecution took prudent measures to protect themselves. Catholics during the episodic persecutions undertaken against them by Roman emperors and their minions between 67 A.D. and 313 A.D. (and for a while longer in some parts of the Roman Empire) assisted at Holy Mass in the catacombs. Catholics during the time of the Protestant Revolt in England in the Sixteenth Century had Holy Masses offered in their homes clandestinely. Some of those Catholics had what were known as "priest holes" in their homes, hiding places to keep their priests from the minions of King Henry VIII or his immediate successor, his son, King Edward VI, or, very notoriously, his daughter by the Jezebel known as Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I, who hired the wretched Richard Topcliffe, known as the "priest-catcher," who captured and tortured numerous priests, including Blessed Robert Southwell, S.J. Among Elizabeth I's other famous Jesuit victims was, of course, Blessed Edmund Campion, S.J., who used various disguises to stave off what he knew would be his inevitable arrest and execution (see
A Champion for All Ages). And, of course, Japanese Catholics maintained the Faith for a period of two hundred fifty years following the persecutions against them at the beginning of the Seventeenth Century.
Although Catholics in these--and many other--periods of persecutions took prudent measure to protect themselves, they were ever willing to embrace the Cross and to accept martyrdom with joy as the means by which they could glorify the Most Blessed Trinity and to save their immortal souls as they bore witness to the one and only true Faith, Catholicism. Catholics in each of these periods of persecution knew that the civil authorities and/or enemies of the Cross of the Divine Redeemer in various false religions employed sophisticated networks of spies to try to catch them in a "forbidden" act of worship or some "forbidden" speech that sought to proselytize in behalf of the true Faith. These Catholics did not leave in fear of the spies. Neither should we.
That is, there are far, far more sophisticated and intrusive means today by which the enemies of the Faith can spy upon us. Even the very instrument on which these words are being typed, a computer, can be used against us. Although there are various "spy-busting" software programs designed to "catch" efforts to plant "bugs" in our computer that monitor our use of the internet, it is a fact of life that those intent on gaining knowledge about us and our beliefs can do so more readily than ever before.
What can we do? Go into a cocoon? No. We must recognize that the intrusiveness that exists at this time is part of the Chastisement that is being visited upon us for our own sins--and some of us deserve a Chastisement far worse that God in His infinite and ineffable Mercy permits us to suffer!--and those of the whole world. Rather than be intimidated by this intrusiveness (the monitoring of e-mails and websites and internet searches and cellular and land line telephone calls, the monitoring of our bank accounts and of the movements of our vehicles by means of various "global positioning systems" and OnStar and devices such as EZ-Pass or EZ-Tag or I-Pass that "permit" us to pay the usurious tolls on the nation's highways and bridges without having to stop at toll booths), we can use the constant electronic monitoring that is now upon us to defend the Faith with a noble confidence in Our Lady's loving maternal intercession. Let us use the conversations and the correspondence that may indeed be under monitoring for the eternal good of those who might be monitoring us.
Our first Pope, Saint Peter, writing under the inspiration of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, has given us our marching orders about how to deal with the statist spies who have a variety of different--and mostly subtle, at least up to now--ways of applying pressure upon us to conform to the "received wisdom" of their statist paymasters:
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; Or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if for conscience towards God, a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently; this is thankworthy before God.
For unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly. Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls. (1 Peter 2: 11-25.)
There are countless examples of saints who converted unbelievers or apostates to the Faith during the midst of persecutions. The confident bravery of Catholics who weathered torture with trust in Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother, the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and Contrition uttered by Catholics facing execution for their beliefs as they refused to pay any esteem whatsoever to the very false religions that are esteemed so readily today by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and his conciliar "bishops," the quiet acceptance of the loss of friends and even family members for the love of the true God Who has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Catholic Church, the kind words offered to their jailers by Catholics who have been imprisoned for the Faith, the performance of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy in the midst of the most excruciating torments imaginable, yes, all of these and so many other means have been used by Catholics in the midst of being spied upon and persecuted simply because they desired to obey God rather than men and would not give up the Catholic Faith.
Holy Mother Church gives us these saints to be our intercessors, yes. She also gives them to us to be our examples as to how to accept our daily crosses, whether large or small, and to give thanks to God for each and every one of them, rejoicing that He loves us so much as to give us opportunities to manifest our love for Him as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church as we make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world by giving all of our prayers and sufferings and humiliations and penitential acts that are seen and known only by Him to Him through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
The first Successor of Saint Peter as the Bishop of Rome and the Vicar of Christ, Saint Linus, gave up his life willingly in imitation of the One Whose Vicar he was, imitating as well the martyrdom of Saint Peter himself. The Chief Shepherd of the flock of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave up his very life for the sheep for whom his Divine Master had shed every single drop of His Most Blessed Blood to redeem. We should pray to Saint Linus every day to help us to cooperate with the graces that Our Lady sends to us that have been won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross, which must be our glory each day of our lives, just as Saint Paul taught us in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Cor. 1: 23-25.)
A disciple of Saint Paul's, Saint Thecla, Holy Mother Church's female protomartyr (who did not die immediately from her many sufferings but is classified as a martyr as result of those sufferings and her willingness to die for Our Lord, which is why our Lucy says that Saint Thecla, one of her favorite saints, is "martyr-non-martyr"), also considered it to be her privilege to suffer valiantly for the Faith. Dom Prosper Gueranger gives a brief precis of the love for Love Incarnate, Love Crucified and Resurrected, that prompted her to endure unspeakably horrific tortures at Iconium for the Holy Faith:
While honouring the first successor of St. Peter, Rome commemorates the protomartyr of the female sex. Together with holy Church, then, let us unite in the concert of praise unanimously lavished upon Thecla by the fathers of east and west. When the martyr pontiff Methodius gave his 'Banquet of virgins' to the Church, about the end of the third century, it is on the brow of the virgin of Iconium that he places the fairest of the crowns distributed at the banquet of the Spouse. And justly so; for had not Thecla been trained by Paul, who had made her more learned in the Gospel than she was before in philosophy and every science? Heroism in her kept pace with knowledge; her magnanimity of purpose was equalled by her courage; while, strong in the virginal purity of her soul and body, she triumphed over fire, wild beasts, and sea monsters, and won the glory of a triple martyrdom.
A fresh triumph is here at the mysterious banquet. Wisdom has taken possession of her, and, like a divine harp, makes music in her soul, which is echoed on her lips in words of wondrous eloquence and sublime poetry. When the feast is over, and the virgins rise to give thanks to the Lord, Thecla leads the chorus, singing: 'For thee O Bridegroom, I keep myself pure; and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.
I have fled from the bitter pleasures of mortals, and the luxurious delights of life and its love; under Thy life-giving arms I desire to be protected, and to gaze for ever on Thy beauty, O blessed One.
For Thee, O Bridegroom, I keep myself pure; and with burning lamp I come to meet thee.
I have contemned union with mortal man; I have left my golden home for Thee, O King; I have come in undefiled robes, that I may enter with Thee into thy happy bridal chamber.
For Thee, O Bridegroom, I keep myself pure; and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.
Having escaped the enchanting wiles of the serpent, and triumphed over the flaming fire and the attacks of wild beasts, I await Thee from heaven.
For Thee, O Bridegroom, I keep myself pure; and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.
Through love of Thee, O Word, I have forgotten the land of my birth; I have forgotten the virgins my companions, and even the desire of mother and of kindred; for Thee, O Christ, art all things to me.
For Thee, O Bridegroom, I keep myself pure; and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.'
According to Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, over thirteen million Catholics gave up their lives between 67 A.D. and 313 A.D. rather than to renounce the Faith and/or to partake in false worship. Pope Saint Linus and Saint Thecla were two of these saints, each of whom should inspire us not to take lightly these words of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that were included in the quotation at the beginning of this brief article that came from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew:
And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10: 28.)
We just have to be about the business each day of pleasing God as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church, seeking, wherever possible, to get to true offerings of Holy Mass by true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism, spending time in prayer before Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, praying to our Guardian Angels, who behold the very Beatific Vision of the Most Blessed Trinity as they serve us here on earth, to help us keep aware of the Divine Presence at all times, praying to Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church and the Protector of the Faithful, to help us see the Providence of God in all of the events of our lives, recognizing that our lives could be demanded of us this night (cf. Luke 12: 20: "
But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee: and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?").
The statists and their corporate sycophants and enablers who might be spying on us are not the real enemies, my friends. Saint Thecla's teacher, the Apostle to the Gentiles who was chosen "out of time" to follow Our Lord, Saint Paul, told us this quite explicitly:
Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:
In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6: 11-18.)
The devil and his minions are spying on us every day to find ways to trap us into losing our souls. An unkind word to a family member. A thoughtless act of impatience. A refusal to forgive some injury that we believe was done to us in the past by another. The nursing of a grudge as a result of that refusal to forgive another as we are forgiven so freely in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance. The hardness of heart that refuses to see in others the Divine impress. Sloth in our work and in our family duties. Our unwillingness to bear crosses willingly. Our failure to remember that our homes our enthroned to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to fulfill the obligations that comes with that home enthronement. Our resentment at being criticized or rejected. The pride born of naturalism and semi-Pelagianism that convinces us we can "solve" our own problems and those of society absent a complete subordination to everything taught by the Catholic church. Oh, yes, our true enemies are spying on us at all times, and these true enemies do not need electronic devices to do so. We should be concerned about these spies as we pray for the conversion of the statists and their corporate sycophants and enablers who might be monitoring our words and actions.
A former friend of mine told me in 1997 when I got EZ-Pass in New York, "Tom, they will know where you all the time." My response was a short one: "Let 'em!" God sees all of our words and actions, does He not? That's the only thing that matters. If we are called upon to suffer at the hands of the minions of the devil who serve in the institutions of civil governance, my friends, we should rejoice as the good God is giving us a means, despite our own utter unworthiness, to save our souls and to prove our friendship and our love for Him as members of the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Viva Cristo Rey!