Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two Battles

Today the Church remembers St. Vincent, a deacon martyred for his faith under the Diocletian persecution. St. Augustine reflected on Vincent in one of his sermons and included the following:

Against Christ's army the world arrays a twofold battleline. It offers temptation to lead us astray; it strikes terror into us to break our spirit. Hence if our personal pleasures do not hold us captive, and if we are not frightened by brutality, then the world is overcome. At both of these approaches Christ rushes to our aid, and the Christian is not conquered.

Call to mind how Christ our Lord in the Gospel exhorted his disciples. It is the very king of martyrs equipping his troops with spiritual arms, explaining their battles, offering them support, and promising them their reward. He once said to his disciples: In this world you will suffer persecution, and then, to allay their fears, he added, but rest assured, I have conquered the world.

It has been said that if a Christian is not being persecuted, he should be careful that he is not being seduced.

Our Lord conquered by dying. May He give us the grace to die – literally if need be, and surely to die daily to all that is not like Him.

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