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December 2001



The events of last September seem to be of a magnitude that denotes some kind of epochal significance. As always, it's hard to tell. Speculation is rife. Since there is no security that can't be breached by those willing to die, further atrocities seem inevitable. Talk ranges from nuclear or bio-chemical Armageddon to a spiritual awakening among the materially addicted Western masses. Whatever the outcome, there is general apprehension and fear that we are now to live in a state of permanent emergency. Yet this should not unduly concern the Catholic soul. We are always told that the life of a Christian is a warfare; that holy fear should keep us prepared at every moment lest we be overcome. It is because we fear all the right things - our weakness before temptation, our fear of God's punishment and above all our fear of offending the Father's love - that we need not fear mortal men, even suicidal infidels in our midst. In the The Epic of the Alcazar (1937), Major Geoffrey McNeill Moss recounted that a Spanish officer and an observing English officer had to cross a street under fire during the Spanish civil war. The Spanish officer dashed across; the English officer hesitated, and then reluctantly followed. When the Englishman got across, the Spanish officer looked at him and asked: "What's the matter with you? Aren't you in the state of grace?" "Fear not those who kill the body...fear him more, who has the power to ruin body and soul in hell." [Luke 12: 4-5]

On the contrary, it is because they have no belief or confidence in God that the peoples of the West alternately fear and then place confidence in all the wrong things and none of the right ones. In particular, confidence in relativistic New Age claptrap of the exotic eastern variety has so universally eroded their belief in the objective existence of good and evil that their lack of moral and religious conviction will, in the long-term, leave them easy prey to hostile powers of whatever totalitarian hue. Space-age military hardware might protect secularised Westerners momentarily from physical threat. Ultimately, however, it will not save them from themselves.

Nor will Buddha nor Krishna nor Mohammed, nor any other among the pantheon of false gods and prophets benighting the West, bring them peace. Jesus Christ alone can make good His promise of "peace to men of good will" - tidings joyfully proclaimed by angelic messengers as God Incarnate lay in swaddling-clothes upon His bed of straw, wrapped in the protective gaze of Mary and Joseph. Here was the sign and prototype of His "domestic Church," the fruit of selfless spousal love, which would henceforth incarnate and herald the salvific message of the angels. As the Holy Father said on 21 October after beatifying husband and wife Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini: "Dear families, today we have a singular confirmation that the path to holiness, followed together as a couple, is possible, is beautiful, is extraordinarily fruitful and is fundamental for the good of the family, of the Church and of society."

According to John Paul, this couple - the husband a banker and active Catholic, the wife a nurse who accompanied invalids on pilgrimages - "lived an ordinary life in an extaordinary way." Two of their sons, now priests, assisted the Holy Father at the beatification Mass in St. Peter's basilica, while two daughters, one a nun, also attended the ceremony. The first spouses to be beatified together for at least 500 years, there could not be a more Providential light in the present gloom. It is a reminder that Catholics can offer no greater service to this increasingly troubled and perilous world than Christian family life well lived; ordinary lives touched and transformed by the grace of mutual self-giving, drawing others, in turn, to the message, love and service of the Child of Bethlehem.

Holy Mass for the intentions of our loyal subscribers will be offered this month, in grateful thanks for your support and encouragement throughout the past year. May the peace, hope and joy of the Nativity fill you all during this holy season.
Rod Pead & Clency Mariapa


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