Uncle Eddy's E-mail -- July 17
Saint Speratus, and his companions, The Scillitan (modern Tunisia, in northern Africa) Martyrs (entered heaven in 180)
If you had lived under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, you would have had to pay for publicly acknowledging yourself as a Christian in the same way that today’s saints did: they got their heads cut off for it. Silence would have saved their skins, or infidelity (they could call themselves Christians as long as they still offered public worship to the Emperor – but that entailed a practical denial of Christian doctrine: “We believe in one God…”). These seven men and five women refused to remain silent, however, and they refused to worship the Roman gods. The Roman proconsul gave them multiple opportunities to weasel their way out of the death penalty, if only they would compromise their faith, and they stood strong – supported especially by the fearless humility of Saint Speratus. When the roll call of those sentenced to death was read off, each of the future martyrs responded to their name with a remarkable “Thanks be to God.”
Why do I remind you of this (I imagine you already know the story well, since St Speratus is your namesake and patron, whom I am sure you invoke frequently to help you with his prayers, right?)? Well, it’s really quite simple. As you enjoy the comforts of a cushy summer, I can picture you slowly but surely pushing your Catholic identity conveniently into the background, while the pleasures of increasing popularity and recognition take center stage. To be at all vocal about your faith and its often uncomfortable (not to mention politically incorrect) moral tenets could result in ostracism from your new crowd of friends and colleagues. Therefore, your watchful uncle is coming to the rescue. There is no need to be afraid of staying true to your friendship with Christ; there is no need to hide your faith. As long as you are exemplary in your duties and in the kindness and consideration with which you perform them, you will enjoy a kind of spiritual leadership, enabling you to help others come closer to Christ. If you are faithful to Christ, and are courageous in how you live out and defend his teaching, do you think he will let you down? Do you think the princes of this world can make you happier than the Prince of Peace? Of course you don’t – you just needed a little reminder.
So, instead of covering up your Christianity (and risking its total eclipse), take a lesson from St Speratus and companions: serve the Lord first, and even if you do fall from grace with your boss, you will enjoy eternal grace with The Boss.
Happily, your Uncle Eddy
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