Yesterday was the feast of Saints Peter and Paul…two of the men who built the faith I love and ended up dying for what they believed in…and today we celebrate the first martyrs of the Holy Roman Church. One of my favorite parts of being Catholic is being able to say their Catholic Church from almost 2,000 years ago, is the same as mine today. How cool is that?! We can trace Pope Francis back to St. Peter and say he is his 266th successor. How cool is that?!
In our current culture, everything is changing. We are constantly moving, adapting, giving in to new ideas, buying new things, trying to stay current and in-the-know. Through the constant change, we have begun to lose sight of the beauty of traditions and it’s scary. It’s scary to me how anti-traditional our culture is. Truly, the Catholic Church is one of the only entities that has stuck to our roots and we are being attacked for it. That’s scary, but I find so much comfort in knowing the Church has been through this before — and we’ve survived.
About a month ago relics from the Passion came to my parish (if you don’t know what a relic is, look here). As I was sitting with the woman who travels with the relics, all I could think about was how COOL Catholicism is. Of course there are many more adjectives to describe the depths of our faith, but if you really think about it, the age of the Church and its ability to honor its roots is so awesome, especially in our modern times. Sure we have adapted in different ways, but we are still the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul’s day.
In yesterday’s Magnificat meditation for the feast, Pope Francis put it best, and since he is the true successor to St. Peter I want to share his words with you about the state of our church in a changing, violent world:
“I do not wish to dwell on the atrocious, inhuman, and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all. I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles and that of the first Christian community. This courage carried forward the work of evangelization, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith, and to witness.
A call to prayer: the first community was a Church at prayer: Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church (Acts 12:5)…The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed, a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone…
A call to faith…How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains ALIVE and FRUITFUL! She remains INEXPLICABLY SOLID, so that, as Saint Pail says, she may acclaim: To Him be glory for ever and ever! (2 Tim 4:18).
***Everything passes, only God remains. Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, BUT THE CHURCH, founded on Christ, not-withstanding the many storms and our many sins, REMAINS EVER FAITHFUL to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment BELONGS SOLELY TO CHRIST. One the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul…
A call to witness…there is no witness without a coherent lifestyle! Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing, witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His cross, not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world. And this follows the example of Peter and Paul and so many other witnesses who, yet belonging to different Christian confessions, have contributed to demonstrating and bringing growth to the one Body of Christ.”
Let us continue to be the Church of Peter and Paul, on fire to continue the traditions Christ Himself gave us in a world that desires anything that is new. Let us not be frightened when faced with adversaries because of our beliefs, but instead look to the early Church’s ability to survive when persecuted so much, for Christ warned us we would be persecuted. Let us be witnesses like Saints Peter and Paul of the awesomeness of the Catholic faith.
How are you glorifying God today?