Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Strength of the Faith

A year or so ago, I stumbled onto Warren Carroll's book The Founding of Christendom. It was a delightful find. Carroll is a fellow Catholic, and writes history which is accessible--in comparison to say, Gibbon, whose prose can be very difficult to endure--though far from overly simplistic.

Recently I received the next three volumes in the series: The Building of Christendom, The Glory of Christendom and The Cleaving of Christendom. I quote from page 159 of the third volume:

One of the greatest paradoxes of the spiritual condition of humanity--and an essential element in the mystery of the Cross--is that prosperity of any kind tends to draw men away from God. The poor keep the Faith when the rich apostatize. The dark ages are ages of faith, while progress brings doubt and even scorn toward the truth which is God's and the God Who is Truth. Martyrdom builds the Faith, oppression strengthens it, while to be "at ease in Zion" opens the gates to every kind of temptation. The graces of the Redemption which came from crucifixion flowed at their fullest during the persecutions of Diocletian, when the barbarians sacked Rome, when the Vikings scourged the coasts, when the Moors hammered Pelayo and his tiny band back to their last mountain from which they still proclaimed the the salvation of Spain would come. Never in modern history did men so love the Mass as in Ireland during the eighteenth century when it was a capital offense to say it. These times, these persecutions produced saints innumerable. But it may well be that the greatest saints of all are those sent in times of progress and prosperity, to recall men from sloth and greed and moral corruption, and call them back to their duty as children of God. For in those ages it is easiest for a man to lose his soul, and hardest of all to be a saint.

In all likelihood a similar sentiment will be echoed by Carroll in the still to be completed sixth volume. Dark times again lie ahead, but if history is consulted, the future looks good for Christendom. It somehow always does.

1 comment:

Doom said...

I certainly am hoping I am being led rightly in these times, and believe I am, if imperfectly. I do note that bad times and good times are bad times or good times depending on what or who you are. I put it simply and in that way for a reason.

It fits with an oddity of circumstances that have brought me to a minor understanding which seems to fit that of my own. Though it is a superstition, and to be avoided by some who say so, I have this thing with lucky and unlucky numbers and items. If it is said to be unlucky, like the number 13, it is a better number for me to choose than typical numbers and far better than "lucky" numbers. Odd is even, bad is good, and there does seem to be a play of some sort there which twines with his words.

I guess I am Catholic! ;)