An Open Letter to Engaged Couples

You’ve been dreaming of this day for so long, and now it’s only a heartbeat away. No doubt at least one of you has spent countless hours working out every microscopic detail to ensure that your amazing day is everything you’ve imagined it to be. But while all the particulars have their place, your special day will be gone in the blink of an eye. After that, you will stand hand in hand, looking down the winding road that is your future, ready to travel every step of the way together. “If true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears.”

June will soon be upon us. That means wedding planners are working overtime, brides are getting overwhelmed as they count the days and grooms are looking forward to the honeymoonhoneymoon. Or at least that’s how it was 21 years ago when I got married. Could be that these days grooms are getting overwhelmed and brides are looking forward to the honeymoon (I did hear the term “groomzilla” for the first time this year).  Most likely it’s a little of both.

Whatever the case, this letter is for you – the bride and groom. You’ve been dreaming of this day for so long, and now it’s only a heartbeat away. No doubt at least one of you has spent countless hours working out every microscopic detail to ensure that your amazing day is everything you’ve imagined it to be. Perhaps you have Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings DVR’d and your reception hall on speed dial. And if the days leading up to your wedding are anything like ours, you must be up to your veils and bowties in flowers, programs, music and invitations.

But while all the particulars have their place, your special day will be gone in the blink of an eye. After that, you will stand hand in hand, looking down the winding road that is your future, ready to travel every step of the way together.

Your final destination? Heaven.

Whoever said life is about the journey is wrong. Life is about the end game. Your mission in marriage is to lead each other to heaven. And along the way, that winding road may lead you in directions yet foreseen.

Twenty-one years ago when I married my husband, we were excited, joyful and madly in love. Could we have imagined what our lives would bring over the next two decades? Surely I could never have guessed the joys and wonders that would more fully unite us as we were blessed with six amazing children to raise. But intermixed with the joy came job loss, financial strain, the grief of five miscarriages, the death of friends and family members, our crazy spur-of-the-moment decision to homeschool in a world of two incomes (to date we’ve persevered for 14 years), living in four different states, and hanging our hats in seven homes thus far.

But much to my surprise, every challenge has produced increased joy and a stronger commitment to one another. I was surprised because, you see, unlike my husband, I did not grow up with two parents who were married for the entirety of this earthly life. While I had the best of intentions,  I had no idea what marriage was supposed to look like. Chances are, at least half of you are in the same spot. It is for you that, in all humility and openness, I’d like to share an experience I had with my husband many years ago, before we were married.

Shortly after our engagement, I was concerned because my then fiancé was not overly affectionate with me. We rarely held hands and we behaved more like close friends than the adoring lovers I’d seen in the movies. I raised the issue with him. Almost pouting, I asked (in all sincerity), “If this is how affectionate we are now, imagine what things are going to be like in twenty years?  I mean, this is supposed to be the most romantic and wonderful time of our relationship – when it’s new and exciting!  Love only goes downhill from here.”

I can still see the expression he gave me.  One of puzzled amusement.  His eyes sparkled and his mouth turned up slightly as he took my hand.  “Vicki,” he said.  “My parents have been married for nearly forty years.  They are probably more affectionate now than they have ever been.  Now that the kids are grown and they are each other’s sole companion through life.  I absolutely guarantee you that they love each other now a thousand times more than they did when they were first engaged.”

He must have seen the doubt in my eyes, because he took my other hand too, before he continued.  “Think about it.  My parents have raised children together.  They’ve watched neighbors experience the tragedy of losing everything they had through the eighties when farming was at its low. They have been through good times and terrible times.  They have gotten to know each other’s families in an intimate way so that it’s not just the two of them, but a web of relationships that solidifies their own.  They have seen each other at their worst. They have seen each other at their best. They have forty years of memories together, both good and bad.  They buried a baby together.  They can honestly say that they know each other better than anyone else in the world.  That in itself ties them together.  I can assure you that my parents are absolutely one hundred percent in love, and they would take their relationship today over their little flirtations forty years ago any day of the week.

I knew, listening to my future husband in that moment, that I was learning something new.  Something I’d never heard before, but that was absolutely true.  I had been raised to believe that love was about emotion, not experience.  That love was about affection and not comfort.  But I knew that he was right.  I knew that when he married me, his love would only increase over the next forty years.  That, in itself, was a lesson I have carried with me through more than twenty years of good times and bad. Through moments where we were so annoyed with each other that I looked forward to his going to work, and I’m sure he looked forward to going. But despite the space we needed to work out our frustrations, we both knew that the tension was only temporary. (Very Important Note: That realization in itself is enough to dissolve most issues before they have a chance to dig in.)

You will love your spouse more over time, not in spite of your problems, but because of them.  Because you, too will each know going into this mystery that is Christ’s love, that your commitment is for life. And it is by sharing this life’s struggles that you will help each other to the next.

The greatest means of accomplishing your goal? Without a doubt, remember always that this relationship must find it’s security in the Love of God, Himself. For without God’s grace, the selfishness bubbling within our hearts from the sin of our first parents leaves us helpless to offer ourselves as a perfect sacrifice.

And sacrifice is the key to a happy and long-lasting marriage.

Recently I heard a speaker mention the following exhortation, so I looked it up. Before Vatican II,  this exhortation was read at every Catholic wedding. In those days, the priest did not take time in the Mass to offer a homily about the time he’d spent with the bride and groom, or make jokes about marriage preparation. Instead, he read the following. It is straightforward. It is a little scary (note how many times the word sacrifice is used). And it is A LOT beautiful.

Most importantly, it is true.

Exhortation Before Marriage
(All italics mine)

My dear friends: You are about to enter upon a union which is most sacred and most serious. It is most sacred, because established by God himself. By it, he gave to man a share in the greatest work of creation, the work of the continuation of the human race. And in this way he sanctified human love and enabled man and woman to help each other live as children of God, by sharing a common life under his fatherly care. Because God himself is thus its author, marriage is of its very nature a holy institution, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. [But Christ our Lord added to the holiness of marriage an even deeper meaning and a higher beauty. He referred to the love of marriage to describe his own love for his Church, that is, for the people of God whom he redeemed by his own blood. And so he gave to Christians a new vision of what married life ought to be, a life of self- sacrificing love like his own. It is for this reason that his apostle, St. Paul, clearly states that marriage is now and for all time to be considered a great mystery, intimately bound up with the supernatural union of Christ and the Church, which union is also to be its pattern.]

This union, then, is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future, That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.

Truly, then, these words are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that recognizing their full import, you are, nevertheless, so willing and ready to pronounce them. And because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice. And so you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you are to have in common. Henceforth you will belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this mutual life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy, and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, the sacrifice is complete. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, and the Son so loved us that he gave himself for our salvation. ” Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

No greater blessing can come to your married life than pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. And if true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears.

The rest is in the hands of God. Nor will God be wanting to your needs, he will pledge you the life-long support of his graces [in the Holy Sacrament which you are now going to receive].

God’s blessings upon you as you embark on this exciting journey together. Decades from now, may you look back on this time in your life and smile at the love you shared today, knowing that it has grown exponentially every day since. I can promise you that life will not always be easy. But in the profound words we just read, if true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears.

In Christ,
A Fellow Traveler



Squatter’s Rights and LGBT Movements: How We Allowed Adverse Possession and What We Can do About it

When it comes to our relationship with the LGBT community, our efforts to refrain from making waves and avoid being labeled bigots have wrought (or at the very least contributed to) unimaginable cultural losses that may effect the world for generations to come.

Americans are livid. The Obama administration has taken the transgender bathroom issue by storm, issuing a 600px-Bathroom-gender-sign
directive  via the Departments of Justice and Education to all public school districts across the country, warning officials that transgender students should be allowed to use the restroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify, as opposed to their “sex assigned at birth” (their language, not mine) – or risk having the federal government withhold school funding. And by the way, making separate facilities available doesn’t count.

This is what happens, ladies and gentlemen, when we fail to stand up and declare the truth. When we sit back in fear of confrontation and refuse to speak the truth in love, we risk being violently overtaken in the public square.

In the world of pubic opinion, the faithful have completely lost the argument. But worse, when it counted, few of us showed up. Do you know what we have done? We have allowed something that in the real estate business is called adverse possession, otherwise known by the somewhat crass if visually descriptive term, squatter’s rights.

Let me explain. Say your neighbor lets you know he’s going to build a six foot fence around his property. In an act of good will, you give him your blessing and compliment his choice of building materials. A few days after he begins building, you notice that he has crossed the property line by a few feet. You know this because when you moved in several years ago, the lots were staked out, and you measured ten feet from the lot line so you could plant your garden. It’s not terrible, but you measure, and sure enough, your garden fence is only seven feet from your neighbor’s new construct. You’re in a tough spot. You don’t want to cause any friction or offend your neighbor, who has already begun building. In the end, rather than risk stirring up bad feelings, you let it go.

The problem is that you have not simply allowed your neighbor to build on your property. Five years later, when he moves, he will lay claim to that additional three feet. He will be hard pressed to believe he stepped out of bounds at that point, and the courts will agree. Unbeknownst to you, by your silence, you have ceded part of your property to your neighbor.

When it comes to our relationship with the LGBT community, our efforts to refrain from making waves and avoid being labeled bigots have wrought (or at the very least contributed to) unimaginable cultural losses that may effect the world for generations to come.

As Christians, we tend to be compassionate (contrary to the image we’ve been given in recent years). We know we are called to love. So rather than risk offending anyone, we let things go. After all, the entire LGBT community was comprised of a mere 2-3% of the population. There was a time when many of us didn’t even know someone who was gay or transgender, so we stayed out of the conversation. And if we did know someone, we knew they were good people and meant no harm to anyone – so we stayed silent.

In fact, if we did speak up, many of us (correctly) supported individuals who were mistreated in the name of sexual orientation, advocating love of neighbor as one of the greatest commandments. We thought, correctly, all human beings are deserving of respect (CCC 1700). But we held our tongues regarding the teaching of the Church on human sexuality. After all, we thought, who am I to tell others how to liveWhat they do in their own homes is between them and God. 

And that’s where we went wrong.

The fact is, average Americans have never wanted to address the moral argument. Because – hey – that would be judging. But by keeping the argument on purely legal terms – definition of marriage, a child’s right to two parents, and now, discomfort in the restroom – we have subtlety communicated that we didn’t believe the lifestyles of the LGBT community were immoral; we just didn’t want them to affect our way of life. (Because, after all, everyone knows the “greatest” commandment has become, “thou shalt not impose your morality on your neighbor.“)

Having failed to reasonably discuss the possibility that these individuals who are seeking equal status should actually be seeking help (it took me forever to type those words – I have been avoiding the discussion too), we have allowed enough time to pass that we have unwittingly allowed the LGBT community to advocate its position to the point that now, anyone who argues that there may be “disorder” involved with being gay or transgender is a bigot. Uneducated. A hater.

Cultural Shift

While we were hemming and hawing over how to avoid giving offense, the LGBT community has been busy making great inroads in the public square. In as little as 15 years, public opinion has done a complete 180. For example, in 2001, 57% of people in the general public opposed gay marriage. Today, even 58% of Catholics support it.

My goodness, the left has been completely indoctrinating the young right under our noses – using our tax dollars, no less! They have even convinced them that there is no such thing as truth (moral or even physical – watch this and this), while all this time we have been pussyfooting around, trying to find the courage to declare it.

Transgender rights are just the latest in a stream of efforts to overturn any semblance of traditional values. Pressure has been mounting at a steep rate. An issue that was little known six months ago has suddenly become a matter of civil rights. To say the trend is disturbing is an understatement. Just a couple of weeks ago (as mentioned in a previous post), an employee of a Catholic university was under investigation for a hate crime after stating that there are two genders.

When the state of North Carolina took a preemptive step in declaring by law that one must use the restroom of his biological gender (something that used to be common sense), the transgender bathroom issue came to a head. Outrage against the state has been palpable.

Then the federal government dove into the controversy, invoking Title 9 and involving the courts. North Carolina fought back. Livid, Obama, sensing a changing tide in public opinion, has thrown down the gauntlet, not only against North Carolina, but daring any state in the country to initiate similar legislation. In a massive overstep of intimidation, the administration has now drawn the big guns, using the power of the purse to threaten schools across the country.

So what now?

I read a quote recently that captures the current pulse of America today:

“Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then it tries to silence good.” — Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

So what can we do about it?

After we collectively pick our jaws off the floor, having been stunned by the sheer audacity of the federal government telling us that our daughters must share locker rooms with boys of the opposite sex, we must go back to the beginning.

The Church is first and foremost a mother and a teacher. A loving mother has compassion for her children. But it is out of that compassion that she teaches them the truth. We must, as Christ’s body, the Church, teach the truth about human sexuality.

In order to teach, we must be informed. It is not enough to know that God has a plan for marriage. For the family. As Catholics, we must know that plan. We must be able to articulate that plan.

We must live out that plan.

Truth is undeniable when light shines upon it.

There is nothing better to display the truth in an excellent light, than a clear and simple statement of facts. – Saint Benedict

Get Educated

Here are some resources that I plan to learn inside and out. Study them and see if they help you to better articulate a simple statement of facts:

  1. The Catechism
  2. Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (now Saint John Paul II) – what is truly meant by human sexuality
  3. Familiaris Consortio by Saint John Paul II – because what is most at stake in this discussion is the human family, which is the foundation of all of society
  4. Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family by Dietrich von Hildebrand
  5. Men, Women and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility by Edward Sri
  6. Address to Roman Curia by Pope Benedict XVI, specifically addressing the dangers of the gender identity movement (and also commentary on it)
  7. Catholic Answers Resources:
    – Video: How do We Relate to People who Struggle with Sexual Identity
    – Article: Five Questions for Supporters of Gender Transitioning
    – Article: Bathroom Bill is Not Hateful Bigotry

7.  Popes and Catechism on Gender Theory

[Note: If you have other recommendations that are in line with the Magisterium, please offer them in the Comments section.]

What You Can Do Today

In the meantime, now is the time to take civil action. Force yourself to leave your comfort zone, step off the sidelines and get involved. Write your governorssenatorsrepresentatives, school boards, and anyone else of consequence, encouraging them to stand up to the administration. Texas and Arkansas have already said they refuse to comply. In a profound statement, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick of Texas asserted, “We will not be blackmailed by the president’s 30 pieces of silver.”

There is hope that a groundswell of public opinion summarily rejecting the administration’s reach will prove fruitful. Encourage your state not to give into political correctness.

[Note: If you have other ideas for civic action, please recommend them in the Comments section.] 

Mother: The Most Beautiful Word

Is there anyone who can look forward to the Last Judgement with more confidence than a mother? The crown of eternal glory is awaiting her.

Inspiration from Cardinal Mindszenty’s beautiful work, The Mother:

The Most Beautiful Word

A number of children are tired of their game. They want to learn a new game. So they decide on this. “Everyone must try to find the most beautiful word in the Émile_Munier,_1892_-_Mother_and_childworld,” one suggests and continues: “When father comes home he will decide who has found it.” All agree.

Both boys and girls take pencil to paper, look for a quiet corner where no one can see what they write. They think and ponder and finally put down the chosen word. After the evening meal, father is to make the final decision. After a pause he says: “The most beautiful word is mother.” The little seven-year-old boy has won.

Tell me can you find a word,
replete with music and sound,
adorned with legend and song,
full of smiles and tear drops,
wrought of treasures and fine pearls,
bright with sun rays and moonbeams,
that reflects the sea, with the scent of roses,
yet full of tearful yearning and longing,
search the world, ne’er will you find another
word, as precious, fine and pure as, “mother.”
(Vitnyedi Nemeth Istvan)

This word has its own special sound in every language. It weeps and laments like a distant magic trumpet, it rejoices like the small golden bells in the chimes, and when we pronounce this word our heart is on our lips. There is in it the laughter of childhood, even when spoken by an old man. Is there a creature to whom we are bound more intimately, heart and soul, than mother? Is there another word that can move us more deeply? The longer we live, the more the world unfolds before us, the more we are overcome with the wonder of motherhood. The more we learn about life, the more beautiful and more replete with meaning is the word “Mother.” What is mother?

Thou art the source from which I sprang
Thou art the root from which I grew.
Thou, O mother, art the threshold
Over which I passed into life.
(Bisztray Gyula)

The mother – so I read – is the fire, the children are the light. By the brightness of the light, we know how great is the fire.

The mother is the vine, the children the branches. By the branches we judge the value of the vine.

The mother is the tree of life, the children the fruit. The Savior said: “By their fruits you shall know them.”

The mother is the clock, the children the hands. They point out the time.

The mother is the pen, the children the script. By the writing you recognize the writer.

The mother is the rudder, the children the boat. The boat goes wherever the rudder directs.

The mother is the queen, the children the subjects. Under the scepter of a wise mother, the children are satisfied and happy.

The mother is the great enigma and mystery. the happiness of mankind, the sufferings of mankind vibrate and tremble in that one word, Mother.

[Blessed is the Merciful Mother]

…Is there anyone who can look forward to the Last Judgement with more confidence than a mother? The crown of eternal glory is awaiting her. St. Paul, speaking of woman, says: “She shall be saved through childbearing.” 1 Tim. II, 15. Motherhood is not limited only to giving life of the body to the child; the mother also gives her child the life of the soul, by leading it to God and to Christ. She again becomes its mother by unfolding before her child’s mind the wonders of existence.

In the blessedness promised by St. Paul, we seem to hear the blessedness promised by Our Lord in his sermon on the mount when He said: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.” The hands of mother have brought music as from the registers of an organ, by all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. She fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the poor, housed the stranger, visited and tended the sick. She admonished the sinner, counseled the doubtful, instructed the ignorant, consoled the sorrowful, was patient with the foolish and was incessant in prayer for the living and the dead.

The mother is God’s co-worker, the first and the best apostle of the Church. She is a ray of light from the Mother of Mercy.

“Mama’s beauty never dies”…and life on earth will be beautiful as long as there beats a mother’s heart.

– Passages above were borrowed from  The Mother, by Cardinal Mindszenty.

Hope, Despite Loss after Loss after Loss

In the end, the Church is not merely there to help us get along in the world. Rather, it serves as an alternative to the world. A beacon of truth. A compass to lead the way – not to necessarily to success in this world, but to our Heavenly home.

It’s been two weeks since I’ve been able to write. So many things have happened that 1,000 words don’t begin to break the surface. Frankly, after all the losses that have been suffered recently in the name of progress, my keyboard has endured the abuse of angry, frustrated and embittered fingers, banging out thousands upon thousands of words, very few of which have been worth sharing. It is overwhelming to comprehend the speed Men_throwing_black_paint_at_a_woman_seeking_justice_Wellcome_V0050338at which our nation is changing. Or being changed.

I am but one voice in a million. But sometimes I wonder, is there anybody out there? Are we all but empty voices echoing through the darkness?

I am the daughter of not one, but two, retired Air Force veterans, each of whom spent over 20 years serving this great nation. For years my mother collected statues of eagles and virtually anything she could find with an American flag, two things that have always been revered symbols of freedom in our home. Growing up, I was taught to drop everything, stand at attention, and place my right hand over my heart whenever and wherever the National Anthem was played.

Somewhere along the line I “inherited” my mother’s habit of welling up with tears wherever the Anthem is heard in view of the flag. For most of my adult life, that combination has induced tears of pride and unmitigated awe at the amazing experiment that is the United States of America. But lately, the tears have been tinged with sadness. Sadness stemming from an overwhelming feeling of defeat. Of dread.

This country that I so love has become foreign to me – perhaps the language that I speak has become obsolete. The ancient language of Latin in a post-Christian America.

Here’s a brief recap of events from recent weeks:

  • The lambasting of North Carolina for passing a law requiring people to use restrooms according to their biological gender (who would have thought this was a bigoted move?). [And the disappointment never ends – as I am typing I just received a notification that the Department of Justice has declared the NC law to be a violation of civil rights – lovely.]
  • Target, one of the largest retailers in America took center-stage with their statement in support of trans-bathroom use. This quote pretty much sums up their stance:

In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.

  • An employee of a Catholic University (yes, Catholic) was laid off her job and is now under investigation for committing a hate crime. Apparently, it’s now considered a hate crime to say at a Catholic university that there are two genders.

And in the world of politics – things vacillate between unbelievable and unconscionable.

  • For the fist time in the history of the United States, a socialist is gaining momentum in the race for the presidency. A socialist. In Iowa, Bernie Sanders walked away with over 80% of support among 17-29 year olds. And the trend only continued from there. If it weren’t for super delegates, Democrats would most likely have a socialist representing their party this cycle. This trend doesn’t bode well for freedom.
  • Last night, for all ostensive purposes, Americans nominated as a candidate representing the Republican Party, Donald Trump, a man who speaks in a more  crass and disrespectful way than I’ve even seen of a public figure in the history of this country. A man who is determined to roll around in the the mud in the name of “winning.” A man who personifies everything I find distasteful about reality television. But perhaps I stand alone; for it seems that a significant number of Americans are fine with this man’s character. Based on widespread commentary, many in our country have aligned themselves with Trump, telling themselves and others that all is well because the ends justify the means.

The above list would have been unthinkable a decade ago; and yet, today it barely brushes the surface. As I said, things are changing and they are changing fast. I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown more downhearted by the day.

Nevertheless, I’m not here to drag you down with me. Instead, I’m writing to share a little encouragement. Encouragement that for me, could not have come at a better time.

Today, my kids and I finished reading Jesus of Nazareth by Mother Mary of Loyola. Her words at the book’s conclusion were a salve for my wounds. They offered hope in a time of despair. If you share my feelings about the direction of our country, perhaps they will comfort you as well:

There are men in these days who are trying to undo all that Jesus Christ has done, who deny whatever in His Life they cannot understand, and teach children that such facts as His Resurrection and Ascension could not have happened because they do not see how they happened. It is very wrong and cruel thus to rob the little ones of their faith in Him who died to save them from sin and hell.

Do not listen to such teaching. When men or women, companions, books or newspapers, would shake your faith in Jesus Christ – up, then with the shield of faith: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ His only son our Lord.

Cling to Jesus Christ. Let no one – let no thing – separate you from him. He alone, His Precious Blood, can wash away your sins. He alone can comfort you when you are poor, or sick, or desolate. He alone can give you courage in the hour of trial, victory in temptation, and help in the awful hour of death. When all desert you, then, He will stand by you and keep you from harm if you have clung to Him all your life through as our Savior and your Friend.

Cover yourselves, then, with the shield of faith when danger threatens. Be glad that as children of the Holy Catholic Church you are preserved from the ignorance and the disbelief which is taking Jesus Christ out of the hearts and lives of so many who are outside. Say to Him joyfully with Peter and with Martha: “Thou art Christ the Son of the living God.”

And be not afraid to profess your faith boldly:

Jesus is God! If on the earth
This blessed faith decays,
More tender must our love become,
More plentiful our praise.

By your reverence in His Presence, by the frequency and the fervor of your Communions, by the observance of His Commandments and of the precepts of His Church, profess your faith in Him.

And if at times it costs, as it most certainly will, to show yourselves the followers of Jesus Christ, look forward to that Day when He in His turn will confess you before the whole world. Remember that this Jesus, who has been taken up from us into Heaven, is to come again. Look forward to meeting Him with joy at His second coming, to being owned by Him then for one of His, according to His promise: “He that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven and before the Angels of God.”

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