Agatha’s Goodness

Saint Agatha (+251) is one of seven women whose name appears in the Canon of the Mass (that is, the first and longest one, also called the Roman Canon, all too rarely said nowadays in the Novus Ordo, where there are least three other canons).  She was tortured to death (in part by having her breasts cut off), after a miraculously unsuccessful attempt to have the consecrated virgin consigned to a brothel, while the persecution under Emperor Decius raged for a few years in the mid-third century. Her life is one of the most historical and authentic of the early saints, testifying to the truth of the barbarity of paganism, a barbarity to which we are so ominously returning. Her name in Greek means ‘good’, the same word that Christ uses when He declares to Martha that Mary has chosen the ‘better’ (agathen) part. We could use a bit more goodness in this world too often apparently immune to it.

On that note, the serial murders in Toronto’s ‘gay’ village are disturbing, but unveiling a very troubling undercurrent to the homosexual lifestyle of cruising for ‘sex’, multiple ‘partners’, and an overall vulnerability to abuse, manifested here in the most tragic of ways. Alas.  We must pray for the repose of the souls of the victims who died in such tragic circumstances, and for the perpetrator, that the grace of God touches the depths of his soul.

The solution to the sexual malfeasance and all of its deleterious consequences, shattered lives, mistrust, animosity, disease, strive, enmity, and even murder, is a return to properly ordered sexuality, whether in a chaste, fruitful, monogamous marriage or a joyful and spiritual celibacy. On whatever path, whether freely chosen or thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control, we must dedicate our lives to a work ‘beyond’ ourselves, whether that be raising children, and/or working for the Lord in some apostolate, in whatever path God wills.

As Pope John Paul taught in Centesimus Annus life is a ‘work to be accomplished’, rather than a ‘series of experiences to be enjoyed’ (#39).  What really is our ‘work’?

A focus on eternity, dear readers, is the only way this question can be answered, to spend our lives well, and it is never too late to provide an answer.  As Gandalf said, the question before us is what to do with the time we have left: vita brevis, aeternitas longa.  Whether we die young, like Agatha and Pier Giorgio, in a blaze of glory, or live out our days three-score-and-ten, may we be able to offer some fruit to God from a good heart, in what circumstances we find ourselves, and with what talents we have been given.

Saint Agatha, ora pro nobis!