Holiness of Life and Martyrdom for the Faith (Part III)

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke,
Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis 

June 3, 2012
Trinity Sunday

When our upholding of the moral law, as we must uphold it, brings forth resistance, we must recall that we, alive in Christ, are a sign of contradiction to the world’s way of thinking. Our lives are a rebuke of the violation of the moral law, not for the sake of rebuking, but for the sake of the salvation of our world. We must also remember that our witness, like the witness of the martyrs, will work a transformation in our society, will redound ultimately to the safeguarding and fostering of all human life.

Finally, there is the martyrdom of witness, the most common form of martyrdom, the martyrdom which is inherent to the Christian life. It can take the form of suffering personal hostility, or simply indifference in giving the witness of holiness of life. The Servant of God Father Hardon describes the martyrdom of witness with these words: “All that we have seen about the martyrdom by violence applies here too, but the method of opposition is different. Here the firm believer in the Church’s teaching authority; the devoted servant of the papacy; the convinced pastor who insists on sound doctrine to his flock; the dedicated religious who wants to remain faithful to their vows of authentic poverty, honest chastity, and obedience; the firm parents who are concerned about the religious and moral training of their children and are willing to sacrifice generously to build and care for a Christian family – natural or adopted – such persons will not be spared also active criticism and open opposition, but they must especially be ready to live in an atmosphere of coldness to their deepest beliefs.”

The hostility and even the most pervasive indifference to the beliefs we hold most dearly tempts us to discouragement and even to avoid the more public witness to our faith. But the martyrdom to which we are called and for which we are consecrated and fortified by the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, requires us to offer tirelessly our witness,  confident that God will bring forth the good fruit. Given the breakdown in human lives, the wholesale attack on innocent and defenseless human lives, and the violation of the integrity of the union of marriage in our society, the call to the martyrdom of witness is even more urgent.

As Father Hardon understood, to a remarkable degree, a fundamental and essential form of witness is dedication to the sound teaching of the faith, the condition of the possibility of the love and service of the faith. Before the great challenges of teaching the Catholic faith in our time, he urged catechists to
remember the first disciples, the early Christians, who with the help of God’s grace faithfully and efficaciously evangelized a pagan world, frequently at the cost of their lifeblood.
This is Part III of a three-part article “Holiness of Life and Martyrdom of Faith” by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis.


A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
June 3, 2012

Trinity Sunday: Is the Trinity Relevant? 
Many are ready to give a polite nod of some sort to Jesus of Nazareth.  Most honor him as a great moral teacher.  Many even confess him as Savior.  But the Incarnation of the Eternal God?  Second person of the Holy Trinity?  God can’t be one and three at the same time.  Such a notion is at worst illogical, at best meaningless.  “This was all invented by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 313 AD,” scoff a motley crew ranging from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the DaVinci Code.
Solemnity of the Holy Trinity: Baptized in the Name of the Trinity
The elderly Mother Superior was having a difficult time getting going in the morning.  The other nuns were concerned so they called the doctor.  After an examination, the doctor told the sisters that Mother Superior was having some circulation problems.  “Actually, what would work well for her would be for you to give her a little drink in the morning.”  The sisters protested that there was no way Mother Superior would ever drink alcohol.  So the doctor asked if Mother Superior drank milk. “Of course,” they said.  “In that case, mix a little vodka in with her milk in the morning.”  Well, the sisters did that, and Mother Superior had less trouble getting going in the morning.  After a couple of years, though, her age did take over.  All the sisters gathered around Mother Superior as she lay on her deathbed.  “Do you have any final advice for us, Mother Superior,” one of the sisters asked.  “Yes,” said the dear old nun, “Don’t ever sell that cow.”
Ultimate Freedom 
Bottom line: The Lord is God and there is no other. In him alone – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – will we find ultimate freedom.

During these past three Sunday, I have tried to maintain the theme of freedom. On Ascension Sunday I spoke about deep freedom: overcoming slavery to Satan by joining oneself to Christ – who already rules at the Father’s right hand. Last Sunday – both Pentecost and Memorial Day weekend – we addressed wide freedom: that Christ wants us to work for a society with the broadest possible freedom for all its members. If I can put it this way, a Christian is naturally pro-choice – except when that choice gravely harms another human being.*
What’s mine, is God’s. And What’s Yours is God’s. A presentation on the 7th Commandment 
Some one stole my iPhone today, so I thought, maybe it would be good to post on the the 7th Commandment: You shall not steal!
At first glance this commandment seems pretty simple and straight-forward: “Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you without permission.” True enough, the seventh commandment does call us to respect the rights of others in regard to their personal property. This understanding alone, however, is incomplete.
Joyful Evangelization
There is an approach to the Christian life that I find particularly tiresome. It is that emphatic cheerfulness in which all must take part, that demand that you will be joyful. But Christian joy is in fact a great part of our faith. In a few years we will mark the fortieth anniversary of a relatively obscure Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Paul VI, Gaudete in Domino, “Rejoice in the Lord” (1975). In anticipation of that anniversary, let’s look at some of his insights about Christian joy.
Pope: Live According to Unity and Truth of Holy Spirit 
“Vatileaks” and internal politics at the Vatican Bank have been monopolizing the media’s attention lately, crowding out other important news items such as the Holy Father’s homily for Pentecost, and the surprising news that he is to declare two new Doctors of the Church.

In his homily, delivered in St. Peter’s basilica yesterday, Benedict XVI warned that when “men wish to set themselves up as God, they only succeed in setting themselves against one other. On the other hand, when they abide in the truth of the Lord, they open themselves to the action of His spirit which sustains and unites them”.
Should We Say Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit? Is there a Difference 
Nowadays, the only English speakers using the term “Holy Ghost” are 1) Traditional Catholics; 2) Charismatics (“Holy Ghost Revival”); 3) King James only Fundamentalists; 4) Anglicans who use the older liturgies (which retain Holy Ghost throughout).

My first three children who were baptized in the Anglican tradition were each baptized, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” Their baptismal certificates also read “the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

If hope is certain, why can’t I be sure of my own salvation?
Hope vs. Presumption
If we are saved through hope, and hope is certain; why is it that the Catholic Church teaches that it is a heresy to say that I am certain of my own salvation? How is it that theological hope can be certain without being presumptuous? 

The theological virtue of hope must needs be distinguished first from natural and worldly volition – “I hope it doesn’t rain today!” – and then from the vices of despair (which is a lack of hope) and presumption (a quasi-excess of hope).
Ten Catholic women who changed the world 
1. Phyllis Bowman  

On May 7 Britain lost arguably its most dynamic fighter for the unborn. Phyllis Bowman was a journalist on Fleet Street before she became involved in the parliamentary struggle for the rights of unborn children and people at risk of euthanasia. 

She was not always pro-life, working for a medical newspaper and seeing the plight of the disabled in hospital. But she became convinced by the pro-life position after researching the causes of disabilities in unborn babies. At the time she also suffered a terrible tragedy with the death of her first husband. 
6 Biblical Reasons Mary Is the “New Eve” 
Why did the sin of the First Parents affect humanity?
Many often ask why the seemingly simple sin of eating of a tree has condemned humanity to suffering in a fallen world. The truth is that humanity is one body, and Adam is the head of that body – and as the head goes, the body must follow. In being one body, all humans share the same human nature, and that human nature has been suffering a privation ushered in by the First Parents. Sin is nothing more than a privation of the good: it is a corruption, a lacking, a malformation of God’s good creation – and since the First Parents’ betrayal, humanity has had to deal with this privation in all human nature, this Original Sin.
Renew the Study of Aquinas to Renew the Church: 3 Videos by Fr. Robert Barron 
Listers, it does little good to know that St. Thomas Aquinas is the Angelic Doctor if you know nothing of the Angelic Doctor. Our Vicars of Christ over the centuries have called Roman Catholics to study the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas due to his incomparable depth and insight. Among a host of adulation, the following quotes stand out:

How Modern Heresies HaveIsolated and Left Us Unfulfilled  
I have mentioned here before a remarkable book by Ross Douthat that I would recommend as required reading for anyone who wants to grasp what has happened faith in the later half of the 20th Century and until now. It is Bad Religion – How we became a nation of heretics. In the book Douthat documents how the churches, (both the Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations), rose dramatically in the years following the War, and then, quite suddenly saw their numbers collapse as they were overwhelmed with successive waves of heresies he describes with great precision.
Rapture or Rupture? 
A year after Rev Harold Camping’s followers messed up on doomsday and the rapture didn’t happen Patrick Archbold links to a sympathetic article on the followers who were ”left behind” when Jesus didn’t turn up in glory. They didn’t experience the rapture, but they did experience a rupture–in their belief system. Matt notices that this article observes that “most mainstream Christians” believe in the rapture, and he goes on to point out that this just ain’t so. Read his post here.

The Ark of the Wilderness prepares to share its treasures online – St Catherine’s Mount Sinai enters the digital age 
One of the world’s oldest Christian monasteries, commonly known as St Catherine’s Mount Sinai, is about to enter the twenty-first century by allowing scholars to read its digitalised manuscripts online.

More properly known as the Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai, its world-famous library is home to the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts after the Vatican Library. St Catherine’s has also been in continuous use as a monastery for seventeen centuries, making it as ancient, if not more so, as the equally famous Monastery of St Antony, founded by the father of monasticism himself.
Meditations on the Rosary: The Visit of Mary to Elizabeth 
When I ponder the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth I’m struck by how pedestrian it would look to anybody who was present at the time. We don’t speak in capital letters of the Visitation of the Smiths to Joneses for Dinner. We don’t announce to our spouse, “Honey, the hour is coming and has now come for the Visitation of Your Mother-in-Law from Cleveland.” So it’s intriguing to wonder why this episode from Mary’s life would be so significant that it deserves a mystery of meditation devoted to it.

 It’s When We Look Back That We See the Blessings 
Thirty-plus years ago, during my first semester of college, I found out that my student loans didn’t come through due to a glitch in the paper work. I dropped out of college and joined the army. To be honest, at the time I wasn’t a serious student. Nevertheless, I thought that by dropping out I was more or less a failure. Little did I know that what seemed at the time to be a major setback would instead be the catalyst that would change the course of my life and of my faith for the better.


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