Feast of Fidelity: Weekly Message for 02-07-2023

Dear Friends in Christ,

Father Richard John Neuhaus, founder of the journal First Things, once offered a solution to the abuse crisis in the Church: “Fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.” That solution, simple in theory yet demanding, might be the answer for all the faithful who wonder where the world and the Church are going and what we can do to help.

To say that we face a crisis is something of a numbing understatement. The tone of the age is reflected in recent book titles, such as The Springtime That Never Came.

So, what might be the way out of this morass? Fidelity, fidelity, fidelity. Fidelity to our prayer life. Fidelity to a life of sacraments. Fidelity to our marriage vows or priestly promises or religious vows. Fidelity to the Gospel demands of service to the poor. In a word, fidelity to an integral Christian life, free of attachments to material goods and racy media and immodest talk and immodest clothing.

A modern model of Christian living is Saint Josephine Bakhita, whose feast day we celebrate on February 8. Her example of gentleness and perseverance amid sometimes brutal treatment boggles the mind. Most of us won’t face the overt brutality that Saint Bakhita endured, but the world’s vice grip will likely make its pressure felt on those who want to follow the Gospel.

To help prepare our hearts for the humble witness we will be called to give in the brave new world, Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, A Retreat Guide on the First Beatitude, might be useful. Let it intensify our hope in Jesus rather than in a world that is passing away.

Fidelity to Our Lord is a fitting way to mark the feast of Saint Bakhita.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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