by David M. Carollo –
In the movies, we often see the heroes laugh in the face of danger by rushing into an impossible situation to save the lives of others or to slay the bad guys. With theatrical exuberance we see them emerge through a wall of fire, escaping the conflagration, dirty and bruised but with minimal injuries as the building blows up behind them! Dusting themselves off, they are embraced by the rescued person or by a grateful family member. Smiling, they walk off to the sound of triumphant music. Hooray for Hollywood! No one enjoys an action movie more than me, but not all of us are John Wayne or Bruce Willis, and we do not have technicians choreographing our movements.
In real life we hear daily of soldiers, police and firefighters who risk their lives in service to others. With little or no fanfare, they conduct their daily duties and find themselves in physical jeopardy at times. Despite being trained for the job they know of the inherent dangers that shadow their line of work. Priests are often called out to the site of an accident or to the bedside of someone dying of a difficult and contagious illness. Embracing their duty to minister to the souls entrusted to their care they put aside self for others.
The Church has produced many warrior saints throughout its history. St. Ignatius, St. Joan of Arc, St. Sebastian and St. George, for example. All of these were heroes both spiritually and physically. They fought the enemies of the Faith with the sword, with the strength of their will and with a willingness to give their very lives for God. Their motivation was to bring souls to heaven. The underlying sentiment here is charity, a desire to help others.
God is the author of life. He is the source of all good, but He also allows difficulty and evil to exist and even to flourish. This is His permissive will. He does not, however, allow evil to exist and operate without opening the door for good to overcome these maladies. He raises heroes who take on evil and allows them to achieve greatness by their actions. We are all called to heroism, and it takes many forms. Not all heroes fit either the theatrical, practical or even the spiritual stereotypes mentioned, but charity defines true courage. This is the earmark of heroism.
While dying in a hospital in Lisbon, a day’s journey from her home, Jacinta, the youngest of the three seers of Fatima, focused so totally on her mission of saving souls that she entered into the Passion of Christ with a determination that should make us all assess our commitment to our Faith and the mission that we have signed on to. Are you willing to offer your lives in prayer and reparation for sin? This was the question that Our Lady asked the children 105 years ago. It is the question that she asks us today.
It is believed that Jacinta and Francisco saved numerous souls, meriting grace by simple submission in their sufferings. I communicate regularly with elderly people who can feel useless at this point of life, but who have come to understand that they are now posited to offer their sufferings for the salvation of souls. Often, they feel desperate and insignificant, but they need to realize that they are now able to merit great grace for themselves and for those who desperately need it; not fully realizing that they are instruments in the toolbox of the Lord. Charity is what motivates all heroes, the dynamic ones who make the headlines as well as the seemingly insignificant ones who please God by the acceptance of their condition.
We are all being called to charitable courage during this time of great trial for our culture and for the Faith that supports it. Skyrocketing inflation, out of control crime and uncertainty in the Church, a disintegrating society; this defines our world today. True heroes are needed now more than ever, and we can be counted among their numbers. Emerge like the cinematic heroes who entertain us with their death-defying feats. We all have it in us to be the superheroes of our day.
HRH Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza
As a longtime member of the Order of St. Michael of the Wing, I participated in the investiture events of the order earlier this month. It was founded by the first king of Portugal 850 years ago to defend the Faith. HRH Dom Duarte, the Duke of Braganza, came from Portugal and presided over the events. He is a long-time member of the World Apostolate of Fatima/Blue Army. I sat down for an interview with him. Please see the link to the podcast.
St. Michael has been the defender of truth since the time of creation. It is appropriate that this order is under his protection, especially as we continue to fight the battle begun in heaven and now fiercely raging in our times on earth. St. Michael is the personification of heroism.
We also sat down with His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke at the Shrine during his visit on June 13. Please watch Six Minutes with Cardinal Burke.
God bless you and Mary keep you in her Immaculate Heart.
David M. Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA and National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. He wrote this for his Voice of Fatima column.