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St Laurence O’Toole
Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland) (entered heaven in 1180)
Do I detect an air of surprise in your last note? But why are you surprised? Are you the first to be spoken badly of by the very people you are trying to help? Hardly. If they are trying to brand you “arch conservative” and “homophobic” and “misogynist” and “hypocritical” simply because you are doing what you can to get the Church’s teaching aired in that relativism-infested atmosphere on campus, that’s par for the course. “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you on my account…” (Matthew 5:11), our Lord pointed out. Surprise, forgive me for being blunt, is not at all the proper reaction in this situation; silence, patience, and perseverance are.
You may find the example of today’s saint instructive in this regard. St Laurence had a tough childhood, being taken hostage during an Irish clan war and treated badly for years by his captor. Eventually, however, his father retrieved him, and he expressed his desire to “have for my inheritance the service of God in the Church” – perhaps his up-close-and-personal experience of worldly affairs had given him some otherworldly wisdom. In any case, he learned the art of holiness quickly and by the time he was 25 was abbot of an important monastery, which he governed with prudence and virtue well beyond his age. As he orchestrated grand works of charity to succor the local inhabitants during years of famine and defended the monastery from the numerous bands of roving outlaws, he also instilled discipline and order in his community through his words and example. And that’s where the trouble started. Some of the monks who preferred a looser and less virtuous arrangement of religious life began slandering the young abbot. It was only through silence, patience, and perseverance that Laurence weathered the storm. And it’s a good thing he did, since he went on to become the second Archbishop of Dublin, as which he was responsible for a profound spiritual renewal throughout Ireland and ongoing peace negations between the English and the Irish.
So don’t be surprised at these nasty responses, just be virtuous.