The Why of Catholic Heroism

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The Catholic sense of priorities was summed up by the first words in the travel log of one of the greatest explorers of North America, a Protestant convert to Catholicism and a layman, Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635): “The salvation of a single soul is worth more than the conquest of an empire”. (SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN, Les Voyages de Champlain, 1613)

The saints, one after the other, through two millennia, have never ceased to put God’s honor and man’s eternal salvation as the bottom line:

  • “What do I desire? Why do I give sermons? Why am I seated here in my cathedral? What is the purpose of my life? My only purpose is that we should live together in Christ. This is my desire, my honor, my riches, this is my joy and my glory. But if you do not listen to me, since I have not kept silence, I shall save my soul. However, I do not wish to be saved without you.” (St. Augustine preaching to his people in Hippo)
  • “What, then, does it mean to save souls created to the image and likeness of God and redeemed by the Precious Blood of His Divine Son? It is the great work of God, the task of the God-Man and His Holy Mother. It is the mission of the Church, the desire of the angels and saints and of all chosen souls on earth. In a word, it is the supreme work of all works.” (St. John Eudes)
  • “There is nothing more holy in this world than to work for the good of souls, for whose salvation Jesus Christ poured out the last drops of His blood.” (St. John Bosco)
  • “O, let us not waste our time! Let us save souls! Souls are falling into hell innumerable as the flakes of snow on a winter day.” (St. Therese of Lisieux )
  • “Time spent in honor of God for the salvation of souls is never badly spent.” (Padre Pio)
  • “Zeal for the salvation of souls is so great a merit before God, that to give up all our goods to the poor, or to spend our whole life in the exercises of all sorts of austerities cannot equal the merit  of it.  There is no service more agreeable to God than this one. To employ one’s life in this blessed labor is more pleasing to the
    divine Majesty than to suffer martyrdom.” (Padre Pio)