Friday, April 24, 2015




Matthew, Chapter 10, verse 28
28And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

Today is the Feast of Saint Fidelis who became a martyr and was murdered for his faith on this day in 1622, while traveling back to his home church after preaching in Seewis, Switzerland to former Catholics who had converted to Calvinism.

Saint Fidelis on the day of his martyrdom preached with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to GrĂ¼sch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees, and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!" Another sword stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives, and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.[1]

In today’s book study of Character is Destiny[2] the 16th President of the United States is McCain’s example of a man who demonstrates for us the characteristic of RESILIENCE. Resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.

Abraham Lincoln had known loss and grief all his life yet rather that than succumb to defeat; he somehow, always found a way to rise back up. He was inarguably a man of action. Although he was known to have chronic depression he never yielded and in some way resurrected from his melancholic states thinking, “To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better.”

Lincoln rose to the highest office in the land after surviving a hard and poor childhood in the Indiana wilderness, a harsh father, little education, and deep loneliness. He survived the death of his brother, a sister, his mother, his first sweetheart, and his own children and his marriage to Mary Todd was troubled. As president he was considered dismal by most.

How did Lincoln persist? He willed it. He was neither swift nor brilliant at work but he was exhaustive; he continued. His resilience sprang from his deep conviction that America was, “the last, best hope of earth.”

In the end he paid for his devotion with his life; so that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Next week we will be studying the character trait of self-control of George Washington. Self-control is the ability to control one's emotions, behavior, and desires in the face of external demands in order to function in society. (Matt DeLisi)


[2] McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York


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