Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Passivity vs. Activity

Meditating on the life of Titus Brandsma this week, I am astounded as to how active, and how early, he was in responding to the growing totalitarianism of Nazi Germany. He refused to give the names of children in his school system who were Jewish to the officials and he refused to publish Nazi propaganda. Of course, these strong, clear stands led to his death at Dachau in 1942.

His life causes me to ask this question, "When should a Catholic be passive and obedient to authority and when should a Catholic stand up for the Faith?'

The answer cannot be "obvious". Some people are in positions, in careers and jobs, which demand a clear statement, such as the women clerks who have resigned in Indiana and face charges, for not complying with the witnessing of ssms. Catholics who are pharmacists in some states cannot refuse to pass out abortifacients. They are encouraged to resign by some good priests. These types of clear situations, as in the demanding of the Nazis to target Jewish children in Catholic schools in the Netherlands, lead to a clear response.

Some Catholic teachers, rightly so, will refuse to teach the new curriculum in the Autumn which begins with kindergarten coloring books pushing the ssm agenda, and so on.

Some families have been torn apart recently by some parents taking the Catholic doctrine regarding marriage, as between one woman and one man, who are open to child-bearing, seriously, and being, therefore, in conflict with their children or grandchildren, who, frankly, do not understand what the Sacrament of Matrimony is.

One must pray and reflect-when does a parent speak out against certain lifestyles?

In my own family, years ago, certain decisions against God and His Church were made by some family members. I spoke the truth, and those involved decided not to talk to me anymore. That was there decision, not mine.

Admonishing the sinner, at least once, is a spiritual work of mercy, but not one many people find this action a comfortable or doable work.

So, back to Blessed Titus, who was warned by the superior of his own house that he did not have to chase after martyrdom.

Sometimes, one cannot be passive. Sometimes one must speak out. My contention has been that if Catholics lived the Faith outwardly, openly, the majority of our various nations would be converted.

Compromise converts no one.

In my meditations on this good saint, the patron of this blog, I came to the conclusion that one cannot, in today's world, remain passive, silent, or tacitly in agreement with neo-paganism. The early Church evangelized vigorously.

We all make decisions daily concerning our faith life. Those who live in faith, examine their actions in the light of the teachings of Christ, Who said nothing for thirty years, spoke for three and was killed by His Own People.  What I learn His example, as in the life of Titus Brandsma, is that we prepare in silence and prayer, and then act. But, for those who pray, we know that prayer is not passive, either.

Prayer is the inter-action of God and man--and it is very proactive.

Meditating on the lives of the saints, and this particular one, Blessed Titus, leads me to see that the combination of active prayer and public action flow out of the soul together.

Let us take our place in the world, but with the backdrop, the framework of intense daily prayer.

Such, to me, is the message of the life of Blessed Titus. Here is one of his prayers.

Before an Image of Jesus Crucified

Dear Lord, when looking up at Thee, I see Thy loving eyes on me; Love overflows my humble heart, Knowing what a faithful friend Thou are.

A cup of sorrow I foresee, Which I accept for love of Thee, Thy painful way I wish to go; The only way to God I know.

My soul is full of peace and light; Although in pain, this light shines bright. For here Thou keepest to Thy breast.

My longing heart to find there rest. Leave me here freely all alone, In cell where never sunlight shone. Should no one ever speak to me,

This golden silence makes me free! For though alone, I have no fear; Never wert Thou, O Lord, so near. Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!

My deepest peace I find in Thee

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