by David M. Carollo –
Good Friday is the day when Jesus Christ reconciled us to Almighty God. The culmination of His bitter Passion and the sacrifices that led up to it made satisfaction to the Father and bore the fruit of our salvation. The doubts and fears that overwhelmed His followers during and after the Crucifixion became a teaching moment. His plan of salvation and the expectations for His followers were made known – ‘To follow Me, your commitment must be complete and your charity must override all doubt and fear.’
Our Faith is no longer the dominant force guiding society, having reached the heights of influence in better times. But Christianity is still the foundation of our laws, despite the actions of the secular world. Deviating from that basis, we have enacted practices and normalized behavior, which does not reflect our human dignity. Some cultures that have travelled down this road have ended in ruin. Others have averted this fate through the noble actions of heroes.
We are living in a time hungry for heroes. The Catholic Church has been cultivating them for over 2,000 years. In pre-Christian times, God directly raised people destined to lead the righteous. Often, He raised up the least likely, not just those who seemed born for greatness. The Old Testament refers to Moses as a timid man who stuttered, not the dynamic character one would expect. The Twelve Apostles were ordinary men made great by the hand of God. Throughout history, He has, and continues, to raise ordinary people to extraordinary heights, showing all that it is Him acting through them.
Today we need heroism among the clergy and the laity. I am dismayed when I see governments restricting medical establishments from allowing visitations from family, and more importantly, clergy inside the room of a dying person, at a time when their presence is needed most. The objections from most leaders is minimal at best. Fr. Damian of Molokai willingly exposed himself to leprosy so that those suffering from the disease could have the compassion and saving grace of the sacraments ministered to them during their suffering and final hours. Many missionaries, women and men have offered their lives in both temporal and spiritual service to the needy. Service to others is the key. The most important service is that of saving souls.
We are a Church made up of heroes. The mold was cast on Good Friday. Many have gained the crown of martyrdom throughout these 2,000 years, but most have stood out by steadfast adherence to right action. The majority of people are everyday heroes, living by God’s laws and earning grace for the benefit of all.
We watched the brutality of the Communist regimes in Europe bring about a scourge of inhumanity during the Soviet era. Today in China and elsewhere, we see the brutal attacks on non-conformant people who do not follow in lock step with their atheist ideology. Nothing that stands against God, however, can stand for long, especially if the righteous stand with Him. The prayer warriors who devote themselves daily to this cause and act accordingly bring about the necessary change. These are the everyday heroes.
Lent is a time of preparation for Good Friday. Most of us will most likely never experience blood martyrdom, but the white martyrdom of the cancel culture is becoming the scourge of this era, as an establishment of intolerance and unforgiveness has blanketed our nation and world. With our message of hope and peace, we will overcome these efforts to silence us and force corrupt standards upon society.
Our entire life should be a Lent of sorts, bringing us to Good Friday and ultimately Easter Sunday. Those who keep their eye on the prize are not tethered to the concerns of this world. Heroism is not necessarily defined by spectacular actions, but more often by steadfast adherence to noble living. Those who follow this pattern of life will be attentive to God when He calls for heroic action. The martyrs did not necessarily focus on the moment when they were called to make the great sacrifice, but looked to please the Divine Will in everyday actions. Fatima calls us to live our daily duty as defined by our state in life. By being open to whatever He has planned for us, we are winning the war that we fight daily. And fear has no place in this battle.
Our mission as Catholics and more specifically as children of Mary requires us to look to her for guidance. In this year dedicated to St. Joseph, we can follow the steadfast life of the man whom God called father. The heroism to which any of us will be called is known only to God. The willingness to be prepared for this call is known to us. Let us focus on becoming heroes for the cause of Christ.
God bless you.
David Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.