The High Price of the Faith, and Gratitude That Someone Paid That Price

 

Paul stonedI wonder if many of us have considered the true cost of the faith that has been delivered to us. We so easily complain if the Church is not air-conditioned, or the P.A. system is poor, or the service too long.

But have you or I ever really considered the difficulties endured by those who went before us and labored to hand down the faith to us? Every time you read the Creed, consider that martyrs died for the truths we so easily declare.

This Sunday, at the Traditional Latin Mass, I celebrated Sexigesma (60 days before Easter) Sunday. And in the epistle, St. Paul listed just some of the hardships he endured to bring the faith to others. Here is an excerpt from Second Corinthians 11:23ff, which I present as a kind of list. Read what St. Paul endured to deliver the Gospel to us and how he described his ministry:

In many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death:

  • From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one.
  • thrice I was scourged,
  • once I was stoned,
  • thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was adrift on the sea;
  • in journeyings often,
  • perils from floods,
  • perils from robbers,
  • perils from my own nation,
  • perils from the Gentiles,
  • perils in the city,
  • perils in the wilderness,
  • perils in the sea,
  • perils from false brethren;
  • in labor and hardships,
  • in many sleepless nights,
  • in hunger and thirst,
  • in fastings often,
  • in cold and nakedness.
  • Besides those outer things, there is my daily pressing anxiety, the care of all the churches!
  • Who is weak, and I am not weak?
  • Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed? (2 Cor 11:23-29)

Such an amazing list! And here I worry if I have too many phone messages! Many of the punishments such as stoning and scourging were not often survivable. But St Paul withstood them more than once. The price of the Gospel we read so effortlessly, and even carelessly, is high!

Add to this the many martyrs who shed their blood along with Paul’s. Add the many efforts of missionaries. Add the sacrifices of peasants down through the centuries who contributed nickels and dimes toward building the great churches, universities, parishes, and parochial schools that we, who are so rich, can no longer “afford.”

Never forget the price of the faith. Every time you walk into a church, recite the Creed, or open a bible or catechism, consider the price of what you now enjoy. Remember the blood, sweat, tears, labors, resources, and money that stand behind every building, book, and proclamation of the Kingdom. Someone paid dearly to give you the faith.

Are you grateful? Am I?

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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One Response to The High Price of the Faith, and Gratitude That Someone Paid That Price

  1. Monsignor Pope’s essay makes me think of the open letter by Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga that was published here a few days ago. It reminds me of how easy I have had it in life as an ordinary layman.

    Defending the efforts of faithful Catholics to preserve the Church and her doctrine against assaults by the modernists, Archbishop Lenga wrote, “I had the experience of living with priests who were in Stalinist prisons and camps and who nevertheless remained faithful to the Church. During the time of persecution they fulfilled with love their priestly duty in preaching Catholic doctrine, thereby leading a dignified life in the imitation of Christ, their heavenly Master. I completed my priestly studies in an underground seminary in the Soviet Union. I was ordained a priest secretly during the night by a pious bishop who himself suffered for the sake of the faith. In the first year of my priesthood I had the experience of being expelled from Tadzhikistan by the KGB.”

    On a completely different topic, I am glad that Monsignor Pope is able to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, which must not be easy for him in the Archdiocese of Washington. Just out of curiosity, though, where does he do that? I looked at the web page for Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish, where he is pastor, but there was no Traditional Latin Mass listed. Anyway, I think that for him to celebrate that Mass while Cardinal Wuerl is his archbishop must represent no small sacrifice. Surely Cardinal Wuerl would discourage that if he could – although I hope I’m wrong about that.

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