Maccabeus assembled his forces, six thousand strong, and exhorted them not to be panic-stricken before the enemy, nor to FEAR the very large number of Gentiles unjustly attacking them, but to fight nobly.
Judas sums up their theological position before the battle succinctly: Our opponents trust in weapons and strategy, whereas we simply trust in an all-powerful God.
Fight or die
One of the greatest temptations in the Catholic life is that of complacency. We go through the motions, attending Mass on Sunday and maybe going to a parish program or two, but the Faith never really penetrates deep into our souls. It remains a superficial reality; just another thing to do in our comfortable, civilized lives. We love to complain about the problems in the Church—rending our garments over this bad bishop or this corrupt priest. We ask: Where are the saints of the modern Church? Where are the holy men and women who can be shining lights in this dark world? We lament the state of things, never realizing that it is that God has called us to be saints. It is we who must strive for sanctity as if our lives depended on it—because they do.
Fight for the Crown of Eternal Life
Jesus Christ is calling you and me to rise above satisfaction and mediocrity and to pursue greatness. He does not want us to muddle through the Christian life. He wants us to fight nobly for the crown of eternal life. “Fight your way in at the narrow door,” he tells us, “There are many who will try and will not be able to enter.”
Now, realize that this spiritual combat does not necessarily mean grandiose outward actions. Most of us are not meant to establish a religious order or to convert a far-flung nation. The saints constantly tell us that holiness is found in sanctifying our everyday actions, however small they may be. Even so the point is, no one coasts into heaven effortlessly. It doesn’t work that way. We have a powerful enemy who works day and night to destroy us. Every day we encounter temptations internal and external that, if consented to, will destroy our souls. Men, a survey has revealed that 50%—that is 1 in 2—Christian men are addicted to pornography. If you think I am exaggerating the spiritual dangers, you are wrong. There is a war for your soul, and if you are not watchful, if you are not vigilant, if you are not intensely focused on the pursuit of holiness, you will fall away.
Choose Today Who You Will Serve
Holiness begins with a choice: God or the world. Whom will you serve? You can’t have it both ways. As with any war, there is no middle ground. You either fight or die. “You cannot please both God and the world at the same time,” says St. John Vianney, “They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.” In other words, you can’t pursue the world’s values and ideals while calling yourself a Christian and a Catholic. You can’t hold on to pet sins, abusing God’s mercy by asking his forgiveness, all the while having no real intention to change.
Take up Your Cross
Christ is calling you to take up your Cross and follow him. Doing so will bring you more happiness and more joy than you can possibly imagine. But it will also cost you the comfort and ease the world promises. “You are like crusaders united to fight against the world,” said St. Louis de Montfort, “not like Religious who retreat from the world; lest they be overcome, but like brave and valiant warriors on the battlefield, who refuse to retreat or even yield an inch. Be brave and fight courageously.” Men, if you’ve been mediocre, if you’ve been comfortably complacent, I challenge you today to follow Christ passionately, with all that you are and have. Clothe yourselves in the armor of God and take up the weapons of prayer and penance, calling on the powerful intercession of Our Lady, Help of Christians. Resolve in your heart to do battle, for eternal life, and then “Be brave and fight courageously.” Your soul depends on it.
Mother Cabrini, the Saint of Italians in America
Frances Xavier Cabrini, born in the province of Lodi in Lombardy, eventually came to the United States toward the end of the nineteenth century. It was due to total serendipity that she became the saint for Italian immigrants in this country. It is also a sweet paradox that she, from the north, arrived during the great wave of southern Italian emigration to the United States. Having taken her vows in 1877, three years later she and six other nuns founded the religious institute Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As we read earlier, wanting to provide help to immigrants beginning in the U.S., Pope Leo XIII suggested instead that she go west, where, according to him, the already thousands of Italian immigrants in the U.S. were in great need of assistance. Mother Cabrini and six others arrived in the United States in 1889 and hit the ground running, so to speak. As they did in Italy, here, too, Mother Cabrini and her team founded the requisite housing, a series of schools and orphanages, and the necessary hospitals that chiefly served the Italian immigrant communities. Actions supported by the Church, for sure, but actions also emblematic of what Italians can do in order to help other Italians in need.
In all, they founded close to 70 institutions of all types in numerous cities throughout the United States — Chicago and New York the two principal cities associated with Mother Cabrini today, as well as Cabrini College in Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly, Mother Cabrini was an exemplar of all things possible and thus a symbol of hope for all. She herself had crossed the ocean in 1889 and, in so doing, had followed the same route that thousands of other immigrants had and were taking. Privileged as she was in her role as nun — and let us underscore at this juncture her gender — she was a woman of great acumen, having succeeded in overcoming great obstacles of the time and demonstrating how all things were possible. In this sense, then, she was also an example of how one can get things done and, more important, how we can still today — and let us say should — open doors for all people who are in need of such assistance.
Her legacy clearly lives on both within and beyond the Italian/ American community. Italian Americans continue to serve and donate to many Catholic and social institutions today, at times even beyond. If there is one thing to bemoan, it is that her medical institutions of New York — Columbus Hospital and the Italian Hospital, which eventually became the Cabrini Medical Center — could not be sustained and consequently closed in 2008. Nonetheless, Mother Cabrini remains that shining light not only for all those whom she helped, but to be sure, that exemplar par excellence that we, today, should emulate for the dedication so necessary to get things done for the better good.
Things to Do:
· If you live in or pass through Colorado, visit the western Mother Cabrini Shrine.
· Read more about St. Francis Cabrini.
· Prepare an Italian dinner in honor of St. Francis Cabrini. For dessert make a ship cake (symbolizing her missionary work), a heart cake (she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart) or a Book Cake (symbolizing her founding a religious order).
· Say the Little Rosary of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini.
· Read the Encyclical, On Consecrated Virginity, by Pius XII and if you are single consider the possibility of a vocation to this life.
· Read the Pope Benedict XVI's Address for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2007.
· If you know someone who has immigrated to this country, try to help them feel welcome, perhaps by inviting them over for the Italian dinner.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER THREE-THE SACRAMENTS AT THE SERVICE OF COMMUNION
ARTICLE 6-THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS
V. Who Can Confer This Sacrament?
1575 Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority. Raised to the Father's right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today. Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops.
1576 Since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the apostles to hand on the "gift of the Spirit," The "apostolic line." Validly ordained bishops, i.e., those who are in the line of apostolic succession, validly confer the three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders.
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
· Monday: Litany of Humility
The Collegeville Bible Commentary, 1986.