Thirteenth Sunday: Accipe Crucem Tuam!

Saint Helena and the True Cross Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1525

‘Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me’ (Mt. 10:38). ⧾

The whole content of the gospel at least as it concerns us individually, is given to us by Our Lord today: ‘Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me’ (Mt. 10:38). As difficult as it is to bear our crosses, we should consider ourselves blessed beyond any measure because from all the many people of the world, Our Lord has chosen each one of us bear witness to the truth of God and of man before all the nations. The Cross of Our Saviour is both our salvation and our hope; and the invitation to imitate the humility, generosity and courage of Our Lord is an invitation to be one with Him in His saving mission that continues and unfolds in our day.

We were sealed with this sign of the Cross at our baptism: Receive the sign of the cross on your brow and on your heart. Put your whole trust in the heavenly teachings. And lead a life that will truly fit you to be a dwelling place for God. We place our trust in the gospel of salvation and though we may falter and fall as we endeavour to remain true to these teachings, we dare not alter them for to do so is to embark on a path that leads to perdition. Once great nations sealed with the Cross through the grace of martyrdom as our nation was in its first encounter with the gospel of salvation, are now experiencing the chaos and violence that overwhelm those who repudiate their Christian heritage. Our prayers today especially embrace the nation of France, the Church’s eldest daughter, as it experiences horrific violence perpetrated by self-styled enemies of the cross. In our own nation, it is not an exaggeration to say that Christian institutions and Christian doctrine are under attack even as churches are burned and defaced  in order to safeguard and defend diversity, freedom, equality and of course, tolerance. Beware of the intolerance of the tolerant.

We are also well aware of those who are attempting to have the Bible itself designated as hate literature because its contents do not condone contemporary mores. The lust to repudiate and revise anything that does not approve of purported enlightened modernity has become an obsession. We do well to note that the temptation to alter the word of God is not anything new. St. Paul the Apostle warned the earliest disciples of Our Lord of this: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:8). The disciple may neither add nor subtract from what he has heard from Our Lord; regardless of the provenance of these attempts to subject the word of God to violence. When there is an attempt to alter what has been received, what we create is our own church; the church of man that seeks more often than not to make the gospel more palatable, but with disastrous results.

In the second chapter of the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, we read these words of encouragement: So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thes. 2:15).   This chapter is worthy of our prayerful consideration and careful study for it speaks of the mystery of lawlessness [that] is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed  (2 Thes. 2:7-8). We have reached a critical point; certainly as it concerns our own cultural and civilizational struggle and to remain indifferent to this will only further the suicide of the faith and by consequence, the culture.   So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught.

‘Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me’ (Mt. 10:38). Our Lord is asking us especially in view of the chaos that surrounds us to make the Cross the measure of our life; to make self-giving, self-sacrificing love the foundation of our life both in our love for God and in our love of neighbour. This is the foundational principle of Catholic culture everywhere and it gave rise to the greatest culture and civilization in human history; and it will do so again. Nevertheless, as we continue to experience a gradual and studied emancipation from God on the part of our government and our culture, we must prepare for open hostility. It is now assumed that only the unenlightened believe in God. Nature however, abhors a vacuum; and in the absence of belief in the true and living God of revelation, His place is taken by the gods of atheism: secularism, eugenics, messianic environmentalism, political and cultural Marxism, idolatry of the self and the government.

With confidence in Our Lord’s love for us and His definitive victory over sin and death, we must pray for the grace of perseverance in the faith and pray for the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Practically, we must endeavour to assist and sustain one another through Christian charity. The sharing of our goods in mutual service and assistance is a direct affront to the spirit of the world and of the antichrist, the lust of domination. Spiritually, we must foster in ourselves a spirit of adoration and of humility before the Mystery of the Triune God; and we must trust in His promise of assistance: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my right hand (Is. 41:10). Adoration is profound love; and humility is the foundation of our human life. The world knows nothing of this love because it confuses it with lust; and with pride and self-righteousness the worldly are now demanding that everything, yes, everything be redefined to accommodate the whims and fancies of degenerate moderns. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught and are being taught.

In a spirit of profound adoration and humility we pray with confidence the prayer taught to the children at Fatima by the Angel of Peace: My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.