At times it feels like my mind is moving at 1,000 miles per hour. There is so much I’d like to accomplish in the time I have left on this earth. Then I remember what Jesus said on the cross, “it is finished.” The truly important work has already been accomplished…
• He is Risen •
• He is risen indeed •
Jesus, in his mercy has completed the task he set in motion before the Foundations of the earth were laid in creation.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
In His wisdom, he even forknew the current state of apostasy in the world. It is for this reason that we don’t need to worry about what will come or even how come more people are not flocking to hear our message. God is in control.
Just as he Counts every hair on my thinning scalp, it is in his divine providence, who will be saved. When that last soul is counted, and Jesus returns us to our final reward. Then, and only then, will be our time to rest in the beatific vision. Until that time however, we must be about the Master’s business. That business is outlined in the ICC Mission and Vision statement, which briefly stated, admonishes us to remain faithful to the teachings which we have received.
To become an evangelion of Jesus Christ’s good news building an international community of National Catholic churches in full-communion committed to the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the authentic and historic deposit of faith against the multiple errors of modernism.
To be a contemporary voice in the rejection of rules of men as dogmatic articles of faith, in the spirit of the principles and founding vision of the declaration of the Union of Utretcht.
Nothing in our above stated goals indicates that we feel empowered to create new doctrine or dogma. Neither does it give us license to follow the social gospel of our day. Just the opposite is true. The mission we have before us places in direct opposition to the current secular world view. In many places in the world this also places us at odds with local laws.
My brothers and Sisters, we live in precarious times. Whom will you follow? What price are you prepare to pay? More and more, Christians are facing the ultimate challenge — conform to the world or pay the ultimate price. As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord.
This topic brings to mind a conversation I’ve been having recently regarding an article I wrote “In Defense of Self Defense.” This article and subsequent conversation are highly cogent today. Considering that we recently celebrated the remembrance of Christ’s death, burial, and now his resurrection. The reason for today’s celebration is that Jesus, the king of all creation, laid his life down for His friends. My brothers and sisters, everything he did in his lifetime was as an example to us.
I just returned from celebrating the Easter Vigil at our parish in Mesa Arizona, USA. The parish is named after Saint Maximilian Kolbe. St. Kolbe was a Polish born Catholic priest who was interned in a German Death Camp. This saint of God sacrificed his life to save one of his fellow inmates. No greater love hath any man than he should give up his own life for a friend.
The premise of my article was that the church recognizes that we have a natural right to self defense, and that extends to protecting the lives of friends and neighbors. Additionally, that may include the unfortunate potential of ending another person’s life. In the article I connect a few scenarios familiar to my culture in the USA, but I also discuss how this would relate to military service.
You see this topic can get kind of tricky. Especially considering that we purport to support the teachings of the Fathers, and Councils. Sometimes these teachings may be at odds with one another. This is just one of those times.
In the first few centuries the prevailing thought was that military service should be forbidden to Christians. A few early Fathers supported this position, as did the Council of Nicaea. Then, by the time Saint Augustine comes around, we find the attitude has changed. What happened? Is this a contradiction? Actually not.
During the first four centuries the Roman Army was intrinsically linked to the Cult of the Roman Emperor, who was worshipped as a deity. Additionally, prior to this time the military was instrumental with persecuting the faithful. The early church leaders believed that it many factors in that environment made military service inconsistent with the Christian faith. Even at the time of the Council of Nicaea, when the Church was rising in prominence, being officially recognized, old feelings and understandings were made the rule of the day.
The point is, that not every council canon and proclamation of particular fathers carry the weight of canon law. Those who hold strict pacifist points of view, base their doctrinal teachings solely on the teachings of the first few hundred years. We on the other hand, expand our window of discernment to the first thousand years of Church history.
Though we don’t rely on the Church of Rome for validation, we recognize much of her teachings a valid. Before Pope Francis, the just penalty for murder was Death. Since the time of Augustine, military service for Christians has not been particularly problematic.
The bottom line for those of us in the International Catholic Confederation is that our doctrinal positions are taken from a broad spectrum of church history, scripture and teachings of the fathers and councils.
Though we must never find it easy to take the life of another, when it is in self defense, or in the defense of a loved one, we have a natural right. Turning the other cheek in the face of spiritual persecution is another matter entirely. Self defense of defense of a friend, loved one, or neighbor is done out of love for the love of the one you’re protecting, not out of hate.
For this particular conversation, let’s leave it that we have an intrinsic right to self defense, defend the lives of our friends and loved ones. If necessary laying down our lives for our “friends” is the ultimate emulation of our Lord, Jesus, the Christ.
My brothers and sisters, let everything you be done out of love for God and neighbor. Love is the preeminent calling on the Christian heart. On this Easter let remember the greatest commandments — Love of God and Neighbor. these two comprise the totality of the teachings from Law and prophets.
Jesus gave up his life for his friends, shouldn’t we be prepared to do likewise?
San Maximiliano Kolbe pray for us…