Thursday, November 26, 2015

Christ Before Family

The Roman Martyrlogy is always read in anticipation for the next day at Prime in the 1962 divine office. For today there is a section that I think will find enlightening to those who are going to be encountering people who may have apostatized from the faith, or perhaps have deliberately excluded them from their thanksgiving celebrations and wrestle in their minds if they have made the right decision. 

"In Persia, the holy martyr James, styled the Dismembered, a famous martyr. In the time of the Emperor Theodosius the younger, to please King Isdegerd, he denied Christ, wherefore his mother and his wife held aloof from him. Then he bethought himself, and went to the King and confessed Christ, and the King in wrath commanded him to be cut limb from limb, and his head to be cut off. At that time countless other martyrs suffered there also." The Roman Martyrlogy

I have not heard to many orators whether clerical or lay teaching on the importance of that part of the Gospel found in Matthew 18, that after multiple admonishments that we should treat a person as a gentile or a tax collector. That of course does not mean we treat them with cruelty, or that we continue to admonish them (which will only harden their hearts: "Rebuke not a scorner lest he hate thee." Proverbs 9:8), but that they be treated as both someone who is not one of us, as Christ referenced to the gentile, and as someone we keep at distance, as the tax collector. For a more in depth look at this, please look at my brother Bonifaces article on Christian Shunning.

Let us not also forget that to deliberately choose the company of those who scoff at the Catholic religion was viewed as an occasion of sin and an injury to faith.    It certainly can be a test of faith, because we cannot be silent in the name of peace while Our Lord who is everywhere present is cruelly treated at the table we eat at. 

Our Lord warned us that our enemies would be that of our own household (Matthew 10:36), and that we must love Him more to the point of our love for our families appearing to be hatred when compared to the love of Christ (Luke 14:26). Family get togethers should not seek some type of false unity where everyone gets a long.  What of a family where one relative is a satanist, another is living in sin, and another devout, while all started Catholic.  How would it be possible for such a gathering to dwell in peace?

This excerpt from the Martyrlogy shows that holding a person in aloof who has denied the faith can both serve as a means of admonishment, and that it was effective to the point of making a man both returning to the faith and suffering a horrible, but glorious death.  It also shows that when we put Christ first before our family ties, as St. James the dismembered's wife and mother did it is true love and charity, if we truly love others we can do no less. 

Strength and courage my friends, do not hesitate to defend Christ, to be aloof from those who have abandoned the faith, or to exclude scoffers. May thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is to be put first always at all of our tables.  Christ before family, Christ before friends, Christ before country, Christ before everything.  May we never prefer anything to the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving. 


Roseanne said...

Thank you for this. It is the perfect teaching of the Catholic Church .

Marie said...

Thank you very much for this post, and please pray for me.
My daughter left the Church and joined a non-denominational church. Then she demanded that "if I loved her," I'd follow her.

When I resisted, she yelled at me, scandalizing the neighbors. She spewed hatred against the Catholic Church and even threatened to kill me. This abuse happened twice while she and her small children were visiting me - in my own house. I told her to leave and not come back until she has regained her senses.

It's been two years and she hasn't come back. I have to admit and say I feel relieved of her verbal abuses because, honestly, I am scared of her. I am scared, too, for her children - how do I know she's not abusing them? I miss my little grandchildren very much, but I don't know what to do.

Please pray for me.

Ever mindful said...

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Psalms 126:5

Boniface said...

Bringing their sheaves before them.

Noah Moerbeek said...

Marie, God grant you strength.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Her threat to kill you is itself a felony. For the children's sake you might want to consider legal action.

Clear Waters said...

From personal experience I can say it is not a picnic being the only Christian in a rather large family. I would never wish this upon anyone, except for its bountiful spiritual rewards.