Unless you are either a true student of a) history, b) hagiography, or c) liturgy, you might have no idea what the phrase “Church Triumphant” means.
Of course that phrase ultimately has an eschatological meaning, but for us in the Church Militant – another nearly entirely forgotten concept – it means immediately our connection with the glories of Heaven and how they trickle, sometimes gush down to us here in this earthly, teary vale.
We have a foreshadowing of the glory of Heaven in the way the Church has, through the ages, always overcome, even after internal upheaval. History reveals that to be true.
We have a foreshadowing of Heaven in the lives of the Saints. Study of the saints and of their relics reveals that to be true.
We have that foreshadowing in an exceptional way in our sacred liturgical worship, preeminent because we are by our baptism actively receptive participants in the primary way by which we fulfill the virtue of Religion, thus acting more as we are supposed to act as images of Christ, now gloriously risen.
Today, you would hardly know that the Church of this vale of tears is either Militant or has anything to do with the Church Triumphant.
Our leaders are feckless cowards, sometimes corrupt. Even official teaching documents seem to give more and more place to the “wisdom of this world” that Paul inveighed against. Our worship is in disarray and the virtue of Religion nearly totally eclipsed with narcissistic anthropocentrism. And the most powerful corrective we have working in the Church to get her back on track is under savage attack by those whose duty it is to guide us to Heaven.
With that as a preamble, there are some beautiful foreshadowings of Heaven listed in the Marytrologium Romanum today. They help us to have hope and to persevere.
Today in the MartRom is an entry for St. Joseph of Arimethea and St. Nicodemus, from the New Testment. Think about how they went against the current of the Sanhedrin. Consider the enormous pressure they must have experienced to condemn Christ. Instead they helped Him in the only way they could and even had dealings with the Romans to accomplish it. Do you image that, afterwards, they were treated well by their Jewish brethren?
Today is also the feast of St. Aristides, a philosopher who wrote to the Emperor Hadrian.
There is an amazing Paulinus, bishop and martyr, who was deeply involved with the Arian controversy. The MartRom calls him ariana infestatio. Infestatio! A delightful word, meaning “disturbance, annoyance”. We might say a “plague” in the sense of some person who “plagues” another. Paulinus was an “Arian annoyance/plague”, that is, he was a thorn in their sides, who plagued them in their error.
At Lindisfarne, St. Aidan, bishop and abbot. I greet a friend of mine today on his name day.
Blessed Andrew of Borgo San Sepolcro, which was the birthplace of one of the most perfect paintings ever conceived by the mind of man. I am sure one of you can tell me what this painting is. It is in Borgo San Sepolcro, btw.
And today we have the amazing St. Raymond Nonnatus (yes, from Latin non natus). Insofar as he is a Raymond, like Raymond Penafort, he is a patron saint the now-recovering Leo Raymond Card. Burke. St. Raymond became Master General of the Mercedarians who labored to raise money to ransom slaves from the infidel Muslims, took up the sword to fight for them, or offered their own persons in their stead. St. Raymond, get this, when he exchanged himself for a captive in North Africa was tortured. He was eventually ransomed. He was named cardinal by Pope Gregory IX but died on his way to Rome at the age of 36.
Members of the religion of peace spiked St. Raymond’s lips and sealed his mouth to keep him from preaching.
Perhaps St. Raymond Nonnatus could be a patron saint of cancelled, muzzled priests>
Think of St. Raymond Nonnatus today and say a prayer for the continued recovery of Card. Burke from the Wuhan Devil, the demonically accursed (I believe) COVID.
Think of St. Raymond Nonnatus today as hundreds of American citizens and Afghanis who collaborated with US and international forces are now abandoned by the Biden Administration to the Taliban. They must be terrified. They are being rounded up. There are efforts to smuggle them out now… now that they have to be smuggled rather than evacuated in an orderly way. But… no. Having robbed the American people at the polls, they now rob Americans in Afghanistan of their lives. So much for sacred honor.
Think of St. Raymond of the spiked lips and pray for “cancelled” priests.
St. Joseph of Arimethea, pray for us.
St. Nicodemus, pray for us.
St. Aristides, pray for us.
St. Paulinus, pray for us.
St. Aidan, pray for us.
Bl. Andrew, pray for us.
St. Raymond, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
St. Joseph, Patron of the Church, take the reins!