I can think of many things today that are official and lawful and very tragic. Here's an example. A friend of mine who is serving in the army in Afghanistan sent me this message today:
Just finished a ceremony for 6 soldiers we lost to a suicide bomber this weekend. Say a prayer for their family and friends when you lay down tonight.
And I will pray for their souls too. But I can't do much more than that. In fact, in order to avoid being sucked into the vortex of despair, I try to pay attention to that which I can have an impact on more than on that which I cannot. I have to filter out much of what goes on in the world to do that. And paradoxically, that is one of the reasons why I am a Catholic today. Not that this post can explain that in any meaningful way.
|Sts. Anthony the Great|
and Paul of Thebes
In other words, they went about their business in a solitary fashion in the way that each one of us must do as well. Perhaps the word "must" is too strong, but I don't see any other way. Because hanging with the popular crowd, or the world-at-large, isn't going to provide you with the opportunities to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Being carried along with the world, see, you'll forget that the reason Christ allowed Himself to be crucified was so that you could inherit eternal life. He died so you could be redeemed.
But none of that makes sense to the world, because it admires strength, fears death, and abhors weakness. As the Holy Spirit reminds us through the words of St. Paul,
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside." (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)
|Thérèse as Joan of Arc|
Let us suppose that the son of a very clever doctor, stumbling over a stone on the road, falls and breaks his leg. His father hastens to his aid, and binds up the fractured limb with all the skill at his command. When cured, the son shows the utmost gratitude...and with good reason.
This must have been how the Apostles felt after Our Lord's Resurrection. She continues the story,
But, on the other hand, suppose that the father, knowing that a large stone lies on his son's path, anticipates the danger, and, unseen by anyone, hastens to remove it. Unconscious of the accident from which such tender forethought has saved him, the son will not show any mark of gratitude for it, or feel the same love for his father as he would have done had he been cured of some grievous wound.
And neither will you or the world. But the Little Flower goes on to say,
But if he came to learn the whole truth, would he not love his father all the more?
And that "whole truth," the Good News, is what the apostles gave their lives up for, dying deaths as martyrs while sharing Christ's message with the whole world.
But that message didn't go with them to their graves because the Church they started lives on to carry out the work until the end of time. Thanks be to God.
Update: The Last Testament of Dom Christian