The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

Memorial of Saint Clare

Date: 
Fri, 08/11/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

This issue at the center of today’s gospel is the avoidance of martyrdom.
One way to avoid this possibility is by suppressing within one’s self
the requirements of Christian discipleship.
In the face of persecution, the disciple has a choice to make:
continue to remain faithful to the tenets and practices of the faith;
or, preserve one’s physical life by satisfying the desires and expectations of one’s persecutors.
This usually means denying components of Christian faith and practice
through observable and verifiable words and actions
that contradict the commands of Jesus Christ and/or the will of God.
The persecution may entail hardship, oppression, imprisonment, torture and even death.
These are imposed by force.
On a theological level,
the greatest command to love God with one’s whole heart, soul and strength
and to love neighbor as self is confronted by sin.
In the face of persecution the disciple must choose either faithfulness or sin.
 
If faithfulness is chosen then life is forfeit but happiness is ultimately experienced.
If sin is chosen, physical life is preserved but happiness is sacrificed in the process.
 
Said another way, true human happiness is inversely proportional to sin.
If you want to find and experience true happiness then remove sin from your life.
 
The world would convince us that wealth and power and indulgence make for happiness.
The world supports and promotes hedonism.
Christianity is an invitation to consider and adopt a different vision,
a different understanding of human life.
For the Christian, happiness if found in the perfect love of God.
This love has been revealed to the world in and through Jesus Christ.
Anything that contradicts this love is sin.
For the disciple of Jesus, nothing finite will ever satisfy the human longing,
the human yearning for completion and perfection.
This is only satisfied by seeing God face to face
and living forever in His eternal love.
And the one thing that will prevent this from happening is sin.
 
Human happiness is not static.  It’s not something we acquire and then hold on to.
We can’t preserve it by protecting it and storing it in a safe location.
It is dynamic.  It is a matter of realizing our created potential on an ongoing basis.
Happiness is experienced as we move toward God.
This movement can be spiritual, or intellectual, or social, or emotional, or even physical.
But it must always be experiential.
For the Christian happiness is founded in ongoing personal encounter with God.
The greatest thing that can happen to any human being is personal encounter with God.
There is nothing we can do to merit such an encounter.
It is a matter of grace.  It is an unmerited and gratuitous gift from God.
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, give us the desire, the strength, the courage to choose grace over sin.  Help us to understand what we believe and to live according to what we understand.  Bless us this day with faithfulness to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ Your Son.  Amen!”