The lamp of love for Tradition will guide us to men and women of the past who will inspire, enlighten, make us sensitive to Christian greatness, and guide us in our decision-making.
Indeed they will put “nerves” in us! They will make us restless, put passion where there is apathy and nonchalance! Reading the histories of the men and women of genius in the history of the Church is always somewhat risky since time and again they persuade us to take up the torch that they carried regardless of the evident dangers this implies.
By standing alongside our spiritual ancestors, the Macchabees; by joining the first Christians in Rome as they gather in secret; or by travelling the Pacific coastline building mission chapels with the “Father of California”, something rubs off on us.
Face to face with the great ones of Catholic Tradition and their deathless deeds, our minds give way to admiration, admiration provokes desire, desire a sense of adventure and a “contagious” attraction towards imitation and emulation – a fine foundation indeed for the secret triumphs of grace in our hearts.
We will be encouraged by the Church’s history to work for the Church’s future because we will realize that the Church has huge reserves of treasure within her vaults to overcome any momentary “monetary” crisis.
Then we will be resolute about inspiring the lay faithful to propose the Faith to non-Catholics and we will provide them with the shield of knowledge against the poisoned arrows of the world’s criticism. Even when treacherous priests and laity have given grounds for this criticism, we will be able to teach our people that the Catholic “loves Christ who loves his Church which is his body, even if this body is wounded by our sins.”(Benedict XVI).
Moreover, although any clear-eyed observer of the Church’s history recognizes defects, they are the defects on the most magnificent masterpiece of collective human greatness that the world has ever known.
For where else can men find such noble ideals as inside Catholicism? “The Church of Christ”, wrote the warrior-pope, Pius XI, in his anti-Nazi letter of 1937,Mit Brennender Sorge, “which throughout the ages and to the present day numbers more confessors and voluntary martyrs than any other moral collectivity, needs lessons from no one in heroism of feeling and action.”