Standing Up for the Faith
How do we stand up for our faith? Jesus said in today’s Gospel, “everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.” For the first disciples of our Lord, by following Him, or by saying, “I am a Christian” means leaving one’s comforts and family, live a life of sacrifice by facing persecutions and trials. If this is the cost of following the Lord then, how about today? For us who say that we are followers of Jesus, as Christians, as Catholics, do we have the courage enough to live as we have professed? If we want to be acknowledged by the Lord as His disciples in heaven, we too must be known as His followers, true Christians even here on earth. A spiritual writer said, “If you believe in Christ and call yourself a Christian, your actions should show it.”
One Sunday Mass, a priest asked the people this question, “How proud are you to be a Catholic?” Many of the faithful responded, “with all my heart.” Then the priest responded, “with all your heart? Let me lead you to consider these other questions: why do some of us do not go for Mass when it’s raining? When we are asked to lead the prayer, we tend to volunteer, not ourselves, but others? When attending the Mass, especially during the pre-pandemic times, sit at the pews far from the altar? Why is it that some, before eating at a restaurant, are ashamed of making the Sign of the Cross and say the prayer before meals? If that’s the case, why do we say that we’re proud of being Catholics with all our hearts? The faithful spent some moments of silence and reflected on the response that they gave earlier. If we believe in Christ and call ourselves Christians, our actions should show it.
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French Roman Catholic Visitation nun and mystic, is greatly recognized for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was born in 1647 in France and since as a child, has shown an intense love for the Blessed Sacrament and preferred silence over typical childhood play. She began practicing severe corporal mortification after her first communion at 9-years-old. Later on, she suffered from rheumatic fever which confined her to her bed for four years. She made a vow to the Blessed Virgin Mary to consecrate herself to religious life. With that, Margaret instantly returned to perfect health. In recognition of this favor, Margaret added the name Mary to her baptismal name. Margaret experienced visions of Jesus Christ for most of her life, but thought they were a normal part of life and continued to practice penances. She became a nun and received several private revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These visions showed her the “form of the devotion, the chief features being reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month, Eucharistic adoration during a ‘Holy hour’ on Thursdays, and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.” The Lord Jesus requested His love be made evident through her. Margaret Mary died at the age of 43 saying these words, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.”
Brothers and sisters in the Lord, if we believe in Christ and call ourselves Christians, our actions should show this faith that we hold. Like St. Margaret Mary, who became instrumental in the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are also called and invited to encounter Him, allowing the Lord Jesus to love us. Let us renew this love story between God and us so that we will have the strength and courage to acknowledge and proclaim Jesus today and always.
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