26 May 2013

A Traitor's Name is Forgotten


This morning on Trinity Sunday, our pastor gave a homily beginning, "A traitor's name is forgotten."  It makes some interesting points that I thought I might try to share them with anyone who might find this, and so I, myself, can remember the same points.  There are many points and I will try my best to recall them all here.

Over 2 thousand years ago and for some time on, the Romans were known to erase names from tablets of those that were not faithful to the kingdom.  This was a huge public disparagement of that person's character, as it meant they were to be no longer regarded with any dignity and they were to be ignored.  This was not only a practice of the Romans, but also of those who were not Romans and even just regular citizens.  Today, there are many architectural findings from this time period among regular people who would carve crude images of their family and others with whom they closely associated, and scratch out their faces.  This would indicate the same as the erasing of someone's good name.  These were traitors who were to be shunned and forgotten by others.  They were to be ignored and forgotten.  Also, for many thousands of centuries, people scratched out names on tablets of associations of families and extended families.  This was the evil act intending to place a curse on that person because it was meant to bring them harm both in this life and in the next by declaring them ignominious and only worthy to be forgotten.

What a terrible thing for someone who was once known and a part of our lives, even a close part of our lives, and to be forgotten!  It says that once you were part of people's lives, but now any memory of you, any good deed no matter how selfless, no virtue, is to be regarded at all, but that you are not worthy of ever being remembered.  It is basically like saying, "Not only your death does not matter to us, but neither your very life." 

But this happens yet today, not only to traitors, but to those who live good lives, and intentionally order their desires and appetites to God and His Church.  They often become as if they were traitors whose names and very existence are blotted out by the living.  They are forgotten, but by who?  I will get back to that question in a minute.

Those who live NOT for their glory, but for GOD's glory, do not seek for themselves to make a name that it be known.  If a person is called to great things, it is because God has called them to it --- but because they are faithful to the small things, because they have what is known as integrity.  This means that they have a consistency throughout all aspects of their life in doing what is ordered to God, if not prior to the call, immediately at the time the call from God comes.  IF, however, there is a grave lack of consistency by a persistence and/or return to mortal sins, then the call is certainly NOT from God and therefore does not serve for His glory nor for the good of the man in question.  Rather, the undertaking is a danger to his soul and an insubordination to the Holy Will of God.  It is, instead, subordination only to one's own will, much like Satan, and does his own will for his own name out of human respect, and does not gain any supernatural merit or reward.

We live in an age where we have had more martyrs for the faith in the past 100 years than we have had before that in the history of the Church.  Yet so little are they remember even among the faithful!   Often, if a practicing Catholic invokes a saint, it is always only a saint that is most well known for a particular cause, but ask that same Catholic how much they know about the life of that saint, and they cannot tell you.  (A typical example of this is St. Francis of Assisi, and at best they will tell you a distortion of his life distilled to some anesthesized, Disney World character version:  "He always preached peace and was kind to animals" they will say.)  People will even neglect praying for their own ancestors, and what a terrible thing it is to be forgotten after death and not prayed for even for the next few generations.  But frequently this is the case, even with practicing Catholics, who fail even to have masses said for their deceased near relations, much less a simple prayer for their ancestors.

Think too of the twentieth century martyrs in Spain: Teófilo Fernández de Legaria Goñi, Isidro Íñiguez de Ciriano Abechuco, Gonzalo Barrón Nanclares, Eladio López Ramos and Mario Ros Ezcurra
And yes, names are 'erased from memory', even exactly for having defended the faith, or lived a life in such a way faithful to God and His Commandments.  [Now, I do not even mean the "Career Catholics" who, while they take on tasks of great magnitude for Christian causes and in Jesus name outwardly, they spend little time in remaining out of sin, or taking their spiritual life seriously at all.  Yet, they pursue with great fervor their own reputation (wrongly in God's name) without having been called, and do not even humble themselves to by faithful in small tasks. I am speaking of those who usually are 'small' but dedicated to doing God's will even if it costs them their reputation, whether they are known or unknown.]   So, if we forget the recent martyrs, of course we will forget to esteem and honor the God-given dignity of those who live lives according to God's Holy Will, whether of the priesthood, consecrated or lay.  Often people's 'names' (reputations) are erased and/or denigrated if not for directly defending the faith in some great, public project, but because by their example of keeping the Commandments, they are a great affront to the consciences of sinners. If they are 'small', all the more do the proud sinners attack them, because not only is it an affront to their conscience, but also to their own ego and self-importance.  Often with a nearly murderous rage, people who cannot get away with murder, will murder another's good name for having dared to be an affront to a sinful conscience. It is terrible forgetting the faithful people of God or simply dishonoring them that are still living.  Rather, they should be regarded with some honor --- not for their glory, but for God's glory who, by the Holy Ghost, grants the graces for people that they may live for Him and honor Him and remain out of sin.  Today, it is acceptable by the world's standards, to blot out the memories of those who lives lives for Christ.  Yet, as we owe God glory, we each owe reverence to His graces in those who live for Him and are a witness by the way they live their lives wholly with God's glory in mind.  So little gratitude is shown to God and those who witness to Him!  They are treated as though they are of less worth than the condemned, and those that live lives of sin and look for their own glory are remembered, even cherished, and held in esteem by many, some who even mistakenly call themselves followers of Christ.  No, we are not to judge people's eternal destiny, but we are to discern right from wrong, and good from evil, and not give high place to those committed to sin (and by this, slaves who do the bidding of Satan), even in place of those whom we ought to show respect for the sake of giving reverence to God Almighty.

Now, back to my question, as to "who are the forgotten", but in the broader context.  Those whose names will be forgotten will be those who are traitors to God.  They will be forgotten in this sense:  They will not be among those who will be remembered and prayed for after this life.


Now, please allow me to indulge myself, but for God's glory...  :-)

Before I heard this homily, I really had come to accept that because I was a "nobody", certainly no aristocracy to my name, and I am not called to any great task by God, I would be forgotten after my death.  I came to accept that no one would pray for me.  See, I have a private devotion to the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and when I go to the Catholic cemetaries bringing holy water and prayers, and sometimes even small liturgical chants to encourage them in their sufferings, I would look at the headstones and accept that I would, most likely, never have anyone ever praying like that for me.  Sometimes, I would ask them to pray for this intention on my behalf, but I often felt that this might not happen for me because I have no Catholic family, and have not been able to afford a headstone and burial plot.  (I looked into it a few years ago when I had a serious health issue and was told I would probably have a more serious issue in the next 5 years that would take my life.  This was 3.5 years ago and I seem to be doing really well.)  But I thought about the saints that actually wanted to be forgotten, but only because of their tremendous humility, like (St. Joseph of Cupertino -- for whom I have a special devotion).  I would then come to pray then to God that it was good that I be forgotten.  However, realizing that I am not a saint, I realize the better good for me would be to be remembered for the sake of my soul that may enter Purgatory while shooting for Heaven in this life.  Ok, but after today's homily, I am encouraged.  I hope this homily encourages the readers (maybe, all 2 of you) to live each and every moment in order to make it sacred by doing everything for God as He wills for His glory,  and to remember to pray for all faithful Christians, living and dead, who live in various levels  of the spiritual life who remain out of mortal sin, or those who are meaning to begin the spiritual life that they be encouraged by the saints, and by remembering also the saints and even especially the recent martyrs who were given to us by God especially as an example at this time. 

All the latest news about the world, the famous, the infamous, society, the government, media, etc. takes too much of the time of Christians who ought to be spending more time on getting a real picture of WHO THEY REALLY ARE and LOOK TO THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS as their examples.   We ought to be living examples to attempting to convince others of the importance of the one, true, triune God, and not deflect from Him to show ourselves to the world for some lesser cause (even if in His name).

And yes, we are, in fact, all but dust, and nothing we can truly attribute to ourselves but our sins, because any good that we do or have within us comes from God.  But recall the most humble creature of God, who had said in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, 
Madonna of the Magnificat, by Sandro Botticelli
completed in 1481

"And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.* And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things**; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever."  Luke 1:45-54

[*Note: Shall call me blessed: These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin. Let Protestants examine whether they are any way concerned in this prophecy.

**"He hath filled the hungry with good things. -- this is about spiritual hunger, hunger for TRUTH both for the HIGHER truths that are ABOVE knowledge that is natural, but only supernatural and give to us by God handed down directly from Christ by means of the Holy Ghost, through the Apostles.  All that was revealed was necessary for salvation, and all that was needed for salvation was revealed from the inception of the Church, and is passed on both in dogma and doctrines supporting it, and in the Church's understanding of those teachings.]

One more note/a few last words:  God is NOT subordinate to us.  We are to be subordinate to HIM.  If we do anything for our own glory, we rob from the glory that He intended for us to give to Him.  And if you do such evil things in His name, you offend him even more by attempting to usurp the glory you are meant to give to Him and not attribute to yourself.

PRAY that we may always be faithful in small things, to give God glory in this life, and by this means, in the next.


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