Trust in Others
The saints, who were Christianity at its perfection, at once developed a childlike trust in God and a perhaps more astoundingly childlike trust in their fellow men.
It was natural that they should be happily confident of the protecting and unfailing love of the Father, who made them, the Son, who redeemed them, the Holy Spirit, who dwelt in their soul. But history has regarded saintliness as naively childish.
It has been amazed that the saints were confident that they could live and that they could ask others to live like angels; that religious founders could ask their followers to look upon money as a child might look upon pebbles with which he has tired of playing; that heroism should be demanded as the commonplace of weak men—purity, martyrdom, service to fellow men.
But being childlike, the saints were trustful. And their confidence made them attempt and carry through the glorious triumphs that are recorded in the calendar of the saints and made them actually imbue others with the same glorious spirit.
Why should they fear any power in all the world? The Apostles, like trusting children, walked calmly out to win an entrenched Roman empire.
Missionaries, smiling and unafraid, moved into the heart of pagan nations. The devil lost his awesomeness; even children’s hands could push him from his ancient pagan altars; he and his followers were to be met, not with leveled lances, but with prayer, smiles, and a few drops of holy water. There was no longer reason for fear.
These Christians were not babes in the woods, lost and afraid. They were walking a pathway that was marked by the feet of Christ, their elder brother. Heaven leaned down to help them. God was solicitous about the success of each of them, personally solicitous.
Their victory was guaranteed by His victory on Calvary. No power in all the world could successfully assail them. Fear was ended.
Childlike and unafraid, they faced the temptations that rose in their hearts, the army corps that were sent down to smash their altars and lead them to bloody death, the learned books that were flung at their faith, the scorn of those who thought them stupid and childish.
From Young Souls
All of which is, of course, just another way of saying that the saints had found the confidence and calm that rest on innocence and that dwell only in sinless souls. Many of them were sinless till the day of their death; they never knew the crushing, aging effect of sin. And those that had sinned put sin away and looked back on their sins, not with fascination, but with sorrow.
Innocence was so much sweeter than the most fascinating sin. Sinlessness was the state that was originally intended for man. How could sin ever have tricked them so? How could it have held men and women once they had tasted its bitterness and felt its poisonous breath?
The saints were uniquely young, young with all the dear youth of childhood. For they had become as little children. Though they walked the rugged ways of earth, they had already entered into the kingdom of heaven.
What Makes Men Old?
For history grimly records the fact and experience painfully teaches each of us that there are only two things that really make a man or a woman old.
One of these things is sin. The other is a chilly doubt of God and fellow men.
And because our generation worships in the temple of sin and sits at the feet of cynical doubt, ours is a strangely, terrifyingly old world.
Why we even witness the incredible sight of leaders attempting to pull the world back from the young Christ to the ancient and dead gods. Hitler draws from unhonored graves the gods and goddesses of Valhalla, ancient mythical figures that faded away before the warm smile of the youthful Savior of the world.
The old gods, greed and lust and power personified, shorn of the attractive false forms that they wore in Greece and in Rome, today walk the world stark and unashamed: Might is right; lust moves in high society; power is worshiped with clanging machines and zooming planes.
And sin? Sin is everywhere making our young people old. Passion is wakened long before its time. Tired eyes look out from lovely, brilliant faces. Our little children, become sophisticated, have been inoculated with false and tricky wisdom. Lust demands tribute from the old and the young.
Mother love dies before ever it is born, and men are unwilling to accept the responsibility of fatherhood. Gangsterland rises in might. Crime writes its record so boldly that even the child can spell it out letter by letter. And the world grows old, not with years, but with sin that molders in the souls of men.
There is nothing that so quickly makes a man old as does sin; nothing else so swiftly rips the loveliness from a woman’s face; no other power so speedily drags strong nations to dishonored graves, graves marked as a warning by the hand of history.
And chilling, cynical doubt? Millions lift their eyes to heaven but are blind to its glories. They turn toward their own hearts and deny that God is there. Loss of faith in God has given rise to faith in high-powered guns and increased armament. God has been driven from the world of affairs.
The bankers are the high priests that matter. Clamorous tongues shriek their denials of the Christ as hairy arms lift sledges to smash His altars. And remember that the God who is denied and openly attacked is the Father of the human family, the Father of Jesus Christ, our elder brother.
With the loss of faith in God has come the loss of childlike faith in ourselves. Communism declares that a man is not fit to own even a little piece of property. Fascism declares that man has not sufficient intelligence to choose his government. Nazism declares that man has no rights outside those that the state allows him. Evolution denies man kinship with any but the animals. A cynical philosophy declares that man is nothing but the slave of circumstance and inherited blood.
No wonder that our world is an old, tired world waiting hopelessly for the war that will destroy the present civilization and crush the future. Sin has been given a free hand, and it has etched deep wrinkles in the face of humanity.
Cold doubt has blotted from man’s heart the vision of God in His heaven and has pulled him down from the height to which Christ lifted him.
Saints Stay Young
But always, in every generation, now as in the first ages, the saints stay young. They keep the innocence of the Little Flower. They cling to the loyalty of the young Apostle John. They hold fast to faith in the heavenly Father. On youthful feet they run alongside the swift young Christ.
The weight of years does not press upon their shoulders. Their souls are young and childlike. They have found the innocence and faith, the cheerfulness and trust that Christ gave to the world. The proud certainty in their minds leaves no place for the ice of skepticism. They find the world the beautiful place that God prepared for those who love Him.
The Easy Means
No doubt of it, I should be unfair to you, my good friend, if I failed to point out that not only has Christ, commanded you to stay young but He has given you the infallible means of staying young. You are to be like little children. That is His wish and His command.
And you can remain children by hugging to your hearts the joy and faith, the trust and innocence, the sense, of your Father’s nearness and of your brother’s dearness. You are to look up and see the smiling face of Mary, your gracious mother. You are to look on the world that God made and regard yourself as a member of God’s vast human family..
No fear should touch your heart, for your way is clear, the road well marked by the pioneering feet of the Savior. Mother Church holds you protectingly close. An angel is at your side.
You can return as often as you wish to renew your life by the divine life that flows from the Blessed Sacrament. You can keep your mind keenly alive with the constantly expanding, ever-widening vista of Christ’s revealed truth and beauty. You are in the truest sense immortally young.
By virtue of your union with the Mystical Body of Christ there flows through you the ageless life of God Himself. And you march surely and safely toward heaven, which may rightly be defined as nothing less than the eternal youth of God shared by His beloved sons and daughters.
There is no need for one who loves God and believes in Jesus Christ, who has within him Christ’s divine life itself, and who moves toward eternal life ever to grow even slightly old.
“Patience is a powerful help in married life. It controls and restrains strains angry feelings and outbursts of anger. It is a mature virtue that shows superiority of intellect, practical wisdom in daily life, strength of will, and a good, humble, and benevolent heart.
The more spiritual progress you make, the more patient and gentle you will become. Patience procures for you love and influence. It attracts people to you and is of the utmost importance in the family, since you spend so much of your lives together.” – Fr. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook https://amzn.to/2Dbcimb (afflink)
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Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.
Now with photographs from the original edition.
Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!
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