St Charles Lwanga and Companions

The Martyrs of Uganda (east-central Africa) (entered heaven in 1886)

Dear Chuck,

Perspective.  What you need is a bit of perspective.  If your friends ridicule you for your commitment to Christian chastity, and if your own battle to be faithful to the Church’s teachings in this area is at times hard and demanding, don’t let yourself be discouraged.  God created us with a vocation to love, to give ourselves to another person; our sexuality is the physical manifestation of this vocation. Then the devil tempted our first parents, and when they shattered their communion with God, they also shattered the harmony with which God had originally endowed our sexuality.  Now purity is a battle to be won (with, of course, the help of God’s grace), not merely a gift to be enjoyed. In addition to your fervent life of prayer and frequent communion and confession, plus your constant effort to make good use of your time and utilize the entertainment media with prudence and self-discipline, you should derive encouragement from the prayers and examples of the saints.  Take today’s saints, for instance.

The first Catholic missionaries to enter Central Africa were the White Fathers (they dressed in white cassocks, which distinguished them in the eyes of the native peoples from the Protestant missionaries, who wore black), who started their work in 1879.  Things went well at first, but when a new local chieftain assumed power, martyrdom was soon to follow. Converts to the faith reprimanded the local ruler, Mwanga, for his cruelty and his vicious sexual habits. Recently baptized Christians who were members of the ruling household spread the faith through their words and examples, such that the young boys who were Mwanga’s favorite victims began to refuse his demands.  Egged on by officials who resented the Christian encroachment on power, Mwanga arranged for a general round-up of the Christians. On the eve of their “trial,” St Charles Lwanga finished instructing a group of Mtesa’s young pages (he had been protecting many of them from the king’s wicked advances) and baptized them. The following day, the entire household was lined up in front of the king and the Christians were asked to step forward.  Led by Lwanga, 15 young men (all under the age of 25) boldly did so, inspiring two of the guards to join them. When they pronounced their intention to remain Christians until death, Mwanga responded by sentencing them to be imprisoned and tortured for seven days, after which they were burned alive.

So you see, my youthful nephew, fidelity to Christ always involves fidelity to his plans for our sexuality, and that is rarely easy.  If those newly baptized brothers in the Lord were willing to give up their careers, reputations, and even their lives to give witness to Christ and his commands, will you be willing to accept a bit of ridicule and resist a bit of peer pressure?  I am confident that you will.

God bless, Uncle Eddy

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