Monday, December 29, 2008

Catholic Backbone


"For the name of Jesus, and in defense of the Church, I am willing to die."

-St. Thomas A Becket

Today is the feast day of Saint Thomas A Becket. He was archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century. He was martyred for defending the Church. Thomas Becket and countless saints before and since have what I like to call Catholic Backbone. Unfortunately it is something not seen often enough in our present time.

Most of us will not suffer the physical martyrdom like St. Thomas A Becket, but if we show that backbone in today's society we are very likely to suffer what is sometimes called "white martyrdom". If you are a practicing Catholic- you know exactly what I'm talking about; the looks and comments passed when grace before meals is said in public, being told you are taking your faith too seriously -just to name a few.

I am blessed to have friends who edify me in my faith. In the last two days I have heard from two of them who have suffered such "white martyrdom". One story came today while I spent some time with my friend who is a new mom and celebrated her baby's first Christmas. My friend told me that when it was time for desert after Christmas dinner, she put a candle in a piece of cake and invited everyone to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. She said that this is a tradition she promised herself she would start when she had children. This beautiful tradition was met with half hearted singing and remarks being passed. (She has the whole thing on video tape). These half hearted singers and comment passers are "Catholic". But here lies my point. Where is the backbone of these people and many like them? I don't mean to sound judgemental, but our faith is built on the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ- with a foundation like that we should fear nothing! I commend my friend for her Catholic backbone and awesome faith.

And finally we need to remember the words of Jesus on this matter: "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first". (John 15:18), "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and speak evil against you for my sake." (Matt. 5:11)

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Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.