One who lives, eats and breathes the Faith?
|We need more than pious expressions|
I mean that, in every action of your working or social day life, do you weigh up responses and actions and words so that you both reflect the light of Christ and convey to those around you that you are one of the Flock, not one of the herd?
It's not easy.
It's going to get tougher.
The pressure on Christians, and on Catholics in particular, is becoming more intense daily.
This is not an 'Apocalypse Now' sort of a post, but, it must be admitted, that the end of times should ever be in our thoughts.
This is a post concerning the downward spiral of morals and morality; the decline of decency and the upsurge of war, terror, famine and pestilence.
Back in the 1970s, the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen was proclaiming that "Christendom is dead.....Christendom is finished" - but he went on to say that Christianity was still alive.
45 years later it may be true to say that Christianity is in its death throes; the Holy Father has said that the Catholic Church could fall like a house of cards. He does not mean (I trust) that it will disappear off the face of the earth, we know that, in the end "my Immaculate Heart will triumph" but we are likely to be flattened and scattered just as a house of cards, when it collapses.
I trust that I will not be around to see Holy Mother Church in extremis.
But the young Catholics of today will have to face....what?
Not just abuse and derision, we have had that ever since Christ trod the earth.
They will have to face actual persecution, imprisonment and, as in Egypt, Syria, Kenya and Pakistan at present - a real and bloody martyrdom.
Persecution, in the western world, will take the form of accusations and trials for those who resist the incoming tide of sewage.
Same Sex "Marriages", collaboration in abortions, opposition to fundamentalist Islam (which will, mark my words, morph into everyday Islam) - in short, any form of opposition to the politically correct agenda, whether outwardly secular or, inwardly, from within the Church, will result in Catholics suffering for the Faith.
Not just Catholic Doctors and Nurses but also clerical and administrative workers, social workers, hoteliers and those in the hospitality industry, pharmacists, the list is endless.
Sooner or later, all will be called to witness their Faith.
What can be done?
Right now we can pray the Rosary, live the Fatima message of penance and reparation.
We can also recognise that apparently minor drift such as allowing Muslim prayer rooms in Catholic Schools and 'Inter faith' visits to the local mosque or temple, are actually far from being 'inter faith' and are purely one sided, encouraging Catholics to participate in idolatry and heresy.
Priests who stray from Canon Law in their dress, behaviour or liturgical abuses need to be brought to account.
Bishops should be reported to the Nuncio or Rome direct.
And our fellow Catholics must be made aware, not by shoving latin texts down their throats but by reasoned, charitable debate - they have a very long journey to make, not having looked in the mirror for quite some time.
We need to make our Faith shine out so that, by our deeds, words and actions, we show that there is opposition to moral decay; that the forces of darkness cannot command the high ground - that ground belongs to us and we will not surrender it.
It may surprise some to learn that the majority of Muslims believe that we church going Christians are a degenerate, immoral bunch of savages.
One small way of rolling back those misconceptions is to say Grace before meals when in mixed company; inaudibly to ourselves (and God) and by making the sign of the Cross.
If you have not done that in public before, it takes a little bit of teeth gritting until you get used to it.
I remember having a coffee at Heathrow Airport a few years back when my attention was caught by a young woman at a nearby table, about to tuck into her meal. She paused for a second, blessed herself, said Grace and then blessed herself again.
That example gave me the courage to start saying Grace before meals in public.
It is the young Catholics who will inspire and enthuse and ensure Our Lady's promise will be fulfilled.