St Chromatius

Bishop of Aquileia (entered heaven in 407)

Dear Silvia,

If you feel isolated and alone in your efforts to follow Christ, it is your own fault.  Even if you are the only faithful Catholic on your entire campus (which I sincerely doubt is the case), you certainly have plenty of potential friends and allies in your fellow Compass members throughout the country.  It is up to you, however, to stay plugged into that network, to keep the big picture in view, and to extract from it all the spiritual booster shots you need to feed your evangelizing efforts. If you do, you will little by little deepen your own faith and attract others on campus to join your efforts.  Then your Chapter will in turn become a source of encouragement and inspiration for others who may find themselves in the predicament you are facing right now.  The key is to make the effort to stay plugged in.

Today’s saint, in a funny way, is a good example of this.  Chromatius came from an exemplary Christian family in central Italy.  His widowed mother brought all the children up in the faith, and both he and his brother became bishops.  He distinguished himself as a staunch defender of orthodoxy against the Arians, and as an effective preacher and commentator on the Scriptures.  His diocese of Aquileia soon became a pillar of holiness and stability for the whole Church.  We know about him because we have many of the letters he wrote and received.  He maintained a correspondence with St Jerome, St John Chrysostum, St Ambrose, Rufinus, and a host of other energetic Christian disciples of his age.  And that, I daresay, was his secret.  He never isolated himself – it would have been fairly easy to focus only on the many needs of his diocese and cut himself off from the rest of the Church.  But he didn’t.  And because he didn’t, he was able to thrive on the exchange of ideas and faith and edification that flowed through the ink exchanged by these great souls.

I wouldn’t hesitate to say that you and your fellow Compass members are the great saints of tomorrow.  And your mission is no easier than the mission that Chromatius and company had to undertake.  Stick together, then, and don’t let the devil convince you that you’re “all alone” in the fight.  A filthy lie, that, and I won’t stand for any niece of mine getting tricked by it. Keep in touch.

Your affectionate uncle, Eddy


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