Youth Really Longs for a Call to Heroism From the Church
Roberto de Mattei: Rebuilding Christian society by living and professing one's vocation in the Church.
By Roberto de Mattei *
Everyone has their own vocation. What God desires of every soul is its vocation. It is the particular form in which providence wants everyone to work and unfold. Every human being has a special vocation, because he is different from God and loved by him. There are no two creatures in history that are identical. Neither are there absolutely identical vocations, because the will of God is different for every creature, and every creature called into eternity by Him out of nothing is unique.
Father Frederick William Faber dedicates one of his spiritual lectures to this theme: "Every human being has a special vocation" (Spirtual Conferences, Burn & Oates, London 1906, pp. 375-396). Each person has a special calling, different from that of any other person, because God loves each one of us with a special love.
What is this special love of God for me? Above all, God created me by giving my body and soul the essentials and qualities He pleases. God not only created me, but also keeps me alive by giving me the being that makes me live. If God stopped for a moment granting me being, I would fall into that nothingness He created me from. God, after creating us, does not abandon us to the arbitrariness of events.
"But with you all the hair on your head are all numbered" (Mt 10:30) "and yet no hair will be bowed to you" (Luke 21:18).
If the number and loss of my hair is numbered, then what should not be counted in my life?
In a word, God has staked out the laws of our physical, moral and intellectual development as well as our supernatural growth. How did he do that? Through some instruments. These instruments are the creatures we encounter in our lives. The Carthusian monk Dom François de Sales Pollien invites us in his famous book "Vive Dieu", also known as "Living Christianity" (published in Italy 2017 in a new edition by Edizioni Fiducia, Rome) to calculate the number of creatures who are worked into our existence.
The physical influences of time, seasons, climate; the moral influences of relatives, teachers, friends, and enemies we have encountered; all the books we've read, all the words we've heard, and the things we've seen, as well as the situations in which we've found ourselves: nothing is due to chance, because chance does not exist. Everything has a meaning.
These influences, these movements are the work that God works on us. All these creatures, explains Dom Pollien, are moved by God and work on us what He wants them to do. Everything happens in a certain moment, acts at the right moment, brings about the necessary movement and exerts a physical, moral or intellectual influence on us.
This influence is the current grace. The current grace is that supernatural action that God exerts on us at any moment through the creatures. The creatures are the instrument of God for a single purpose: the formation of saints. Everything that happens, everything that is done, says St. Paul, everything without exception, is part of the same work, and this work is the good of those whom the will of God has called to holiness (Rom 8:28).
Nothing fails for this purpose, everything strives for this result. The current grace is everywhere and intimately connects the natural with the supernatural. And God weights the quality of His graces for the necessities of our lives, according to the plans of His mercy toward us, and according to the correspondence with which we respond to His action.
How can we respond to this uninterrupted work of grace on our soul? A religious close to Saint John Bosco was asked if Don Bosco was ever worried amidst his many works and his sometimes stormy life. The religious replied:
"Don Bosco never thought a minute before what he would do in a minute."
Don Bosco understood the work of grace. He always tried to do the will of God in the present moment. In following this path, he realized his vocation.
Sacred Heart Basilica in Rome
In Rome, near the central station, is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, built by Don Bosco among the greatest victims shortly before his death. The basilica was solemnly consecrated by the Cardinal Vicar on May 14, 1887 in the presence of numerous secular and ecclesiastical dignitaries.
On May 16, 1887 Don Bosco celebrated the Holy Mass even at the altar of Mary of the Church. It was to be his only celebration in the Sacred Heart Basilica, and as a commemorative plaque commemorates the 100th anniversary of the event, it was interrupted fifteen times by sighs from the old priest, who understood the meaning of his famous "Dream of the Nine Years". God had shown him a panorama of his life and revealed to him how it had been prepared and guided by God from his earliest childhood to fulfill his earthly mission.
Every soul has its vocation because it has a different purpose in the body of the Church. He who has the vocation for marriage does not have it for himself, but for the Church. Anyone who has the vocation of the Order does not have it for them, but for the Church.
There are vocations of the individual, and there are the vocations of families, meaning not only the natural families, but also the spiritual families with their charisms. There are the vocations of peoples of which Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira spoke so often. Each nation has a special vocation in the role entrusted to it by providence in history. But we are not born into just one family and one people.
Tower of the Basilica with Redeemer statue
We also live in a historical epoch. Since history is also a creation of God, God demands something different from every historical epoch. Every historical epoch has its vocation. The predominant vocation of the first century of the Church was the readiness for martyrdom. Is there a 21st century calling in which we can find our vocation?
The vocation of our epoch is to respond to the desire of heaven, which the Mother of God herself manifested in Fatima: in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. It is the vocation of those who fight in a cloister, in public places, with prayer, penance, written and spoken words, or actions for the realization of this desire.
The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is also a triumph of the Church because the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the heart of the Church Herself. Triumph presupposes that it is preceded by a great battle. And since this triumph will be of a social, public and solemn nature, the battle will be social, public and solemn. Being holy today means fighting this battle, which is primarily fought by grasping the sword of truth. Only on the truth can the life of men and peoples be established. Without the truth, a society decomposes and dies.
Today Christian society must be rebuilt; and the first need to rebuild it is to confess the truth and live with a combative spirit. If a Christian, with the help of grace, shapes his own life according to the principles of the Gospel and fights for the defense of the truth, no obstacle can stop him.
In his speech of 21 January 1945 to the Marian Congregations of Rome, Pius XII said:
"The present day calls for fearless Catholics, for whom it is quite a natural thing to openly confess their faith in words and deeds whenever the law of God and the feelings of Christian honor demand it. Real people, people of integrity, determined and fearless! Those who are only half of them are thrown away, rejected and kicked by the world today. "
Dom Pollien writes:
"God and the Church call for defenders, but real defenders, those who never step back; those who are faithful to the mission until death; those who prepare themselves for all hardships of discipline in order to be ready for any heroism of struggle "(p. 162).
The youth of the 21st century can not be attracted by calls for compromises with the world. It demands an appeal from the Church for heroism. In the Middle Ages, architects, masons, carpenters, carpenters, bishops, princes, famous and unknown figures participated in the construction of a cathedral. They all shared the same wish: to give the highest glory to God through the stones that raised them to heaven.
We too are part of a big project. Each of us is called today to build on the ruins of the modern world the immense cathedral dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is nothing but her kingdom in souls and society. Our hearts are the stones and our voices proclaim to the world the dream that will come true.
* Roberto de Mattei, historian, father of five, professor of modern history and history of Christianity at the European University of Rome, President of the Lepanto Foundation, author of numerous books, most recently in German translation: Defense of Tradition: The Insuperable Truth of Christ, with a foreword by Martin Mosebach, Altötting 2017.
Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Wikicommons / Corrispondenza Romana
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