I 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?
People like to be warned before they watch this video. So consider yourself warned.
Here are the words of the hymn:
Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.
Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.
By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever with the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.
7 Replies to “The High Price of the Faith, and Gratitude That Someone Paid That Price”
Reminds me of song I heard a long time ago, with these lyrics:
In the Colosseum By Tom Waits
The women all control their men
With razors and with wrists
And the princess squeezes grape juice
On a torrid bloody kiss
What will you be wearing there
The lion or the raven hair?
The flesh will all be tearing
But the tail will be my own
In the colosseum tonight
This one’s for the balcony
And this one’s for the floor
As the senators decapitate
The presidential whore
The bald headed senators
Are splashing in the blood
The dogs are having someone
Who is screaming in the mud
In the colosseum tonight
Now it’s raining and it’s pouring
On the pillaging and goring
The constable is swinging
From the chains
For the dead there is no story
No memory no blame
Their families shout blue murder
But tomorrow it’s the same
In the colosseum
A slowly acting poison
Will be given to the favorite one
The dark horse will bring glory
To the jailer and his men
It’s always much more sporting
When there’s families in the pit
And the madness of the crowd
Is an epileptic fit.
In the colosseum
No justice here, No liberty,
No reason, No blame
There’s no cause to taint the sweetest taste of blood
And greetings from the nation
As we shake the hands of time
They’re taking their ovations
The vultures stay behind
In the colosseum, in the colosseum
In the colosseum tonight
Songwriters: TOM WAITS
© JALMA MUSIC
For non-commercial use only.
I often think just how little we actually suffer for the Faith compared to the early Christians. I hope they were able to face those horrific deaths by way of a special grace given by God, because I don’t know how I would not faint with fear in the situation shown in the video you attached. I could not watch it. As soon as it got to the part where the lions were jumping over one another in the frenzy to get into the arena, I moved the screen up so I could hear the music but not watch what was happening. I’m even too much of a coward to watch a depiction of something like that. How the spectators could enjoy that in reality is beyond me.
I know one day, given the current circumstances in our world, I too could face a cruel martyrdom. I have prayed, should those circumstances ever arise, that God will give me the courage and strength I need to bravely confess my Faith in Him and suffer the cruel death, if that should be His will. But oh, I hope I will never have to. I certainly hope I will never have to.
Oh, how great the sacrifice of the Martyrs of the Church, the seed of faith, greatest even is the sacrifice of HIS SON we remember in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Even now, the Church is in tribulation with the martyrdom of the Eastern Church where GOD weeps and the Church wails for their pains. Here we are in our comforts and do not even respect the lives of the innocents and we wallow in our decrepit narcissism in search for happiness. We even have a superficial president who judged the valor of of those who fought for the Church in the Crusader times and purification of the Church during the inquisition without really understanding the peculiarity of their situation. Yes, the Church admitted the excesses of those people but it was never the Church’s intention and it was the quenching of those who lust for power and the iniquity of man’s heart that those excesses happened. In all these, in spite of the great sacrifice of the Martyrs relegated in the sides, we see a Church that will flourish until HIS coming. I believe in my heart that all these things must happen that the MASTER’s Teachings should reach the farthest corners of this earth even the places and hearts without GOD before HE comes in glory. Until then weep and wail with GOD we must and cry out to heaven that the sacrifices of the Christians come to naught and bring forth more souls to GOD. YHWH TSIDKENU.
Some people may want to watch this documentary made by the BBC that is surprisingly sympathetic to the Catholic Church: Timewatch – The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition (BBC 1994) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY-pS6iLFuc .
Monsignor, please give us the site where you got the video because it cannot be viewed from your post. Thank you, Monsignor. This is a great post I need to share with my community. GOD Bless you.
Here is the site. http://gloria.tv/media/bKmNznVnoHY
Does this hymn exist in any Catholic church hymnal? Powerful!
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