The VerbumQUO (may2quo.htm)

May 2, 2006
vol 17, no. 109

The Godfather of Dry Martyrs

The VerbumQUO for today on the Feast of Saint Athanasius is "persecutiónem" which is the Latin noun for "persecution" and so applicable to what the holy Bishop and Doctor of the Church encountered in his bitter battle with the Arian heresy. So also today Traditional Catholics in the same faithful mindset experience the persecution of being debased, ridiculed and blackballed because they will not go along with the crowd rushing toward the infernal abyss in the carriage called the "Civilization of Love" on the conciliar express. In these dark times of apostasy, those who resist are the dry martyrs and from their perseverance the Faith will grow stronger and overcome the mother of all heresies: Modernism.

Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: We resume this reflective series which highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etymology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this glorious time of Pascaltide we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    The VerbumQUO for today - the feast of the holy Bishop and Doctor of the Church Saint Athanasius - is "persecutiónem" which is the Latin noun for "persecution" taken from today's Epistle from 2 Corinthians 4: 9 and referenced by our Lord in today's Gospel from Saint Matthew 10: 25. Indeed, Athanasius, the very first Doctor of the Church, was a treasure which his enemies could not fathom. As many times as they tried to thwart him through persecution and outcasting him, he always bounced back, persevering to the end through thick and thin.

    Both the noun and verb are employed in today's Proper. The noun first by Saint Paul in his Epistle 2 Corinthians 5: 5-14 for the feast of Saint Athanasius:
Non nosmetípsos prædicámus sed Jesum Christum Dóminum nostrum: nos autem servos vestros per Jesum: quóniam Deus, qui dixit de ténebris lucem splendéscere, ipse illúxit in córdibus nostris ad illuminatiónem sciéntiæ claritátis Dei, in fácie Christi Jesu. Habémus autem thesáurum istum in vasis fictílibus: ut sublímitas sit virtútis Dei, et non ex nobis. In ómnibus tribulatiónem pátimur, sed non angustiámur: aporiámur, sed non destitúimur: persecutiónem pátimur, sed non derelínquimur: dejícimur, sed non perímus: semper mortificatiónem Jesu in córpore nostro circumferéntes, ut et vita Jesu manifestétur in corpóribus nostris. Semper enim nos, qui vívimus, in mortem trádimur propter Jesum: ut et vita Jesu manifestétur. in carne nostra mortúli. Ergo mors in nobis operétur, vita autem in vobis. Habéntes autem eúmdem spíritum fídei, sicut scriptum est: Crédidi, propter quod locútus sum: et nos crédimus, propter quod et lóquimur: sciéntes, quóniam qui suscitávit Jesum, et nos cum Jesu suscitábit, et constituet vobíscum.
Brethren, We preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord; and ourselves your servants through Jesus. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God and not of us. In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed; we are straitened, but are not destitute; we suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not; always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake; that the life also of Jesus, may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, as it is written, I believed, for which cause I have spoken, we also believe, for which cause we speak also: knowing that He who raised up Jesus will raise up us also with Jesus, and place us with you.

    And in today's Gospel from Matthew 10: 23-28, Jesus uses the word as a verb in advising the faithful on what to do when they are persecuted; this is exactly what Athanasius accomplished in evading his enemies:
In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discípulis Suis: "Cum persequéntur vos in civitáte ista, fúgite in áliam. Amen dico vobis, non consummábitis civitiátes Israël, donec véniat Fílius hóminis. Non est discipulus super magístrum, nec servus super Dóminum suum. Súfficit discípulo, ut sit sicut magíster ejus: et servo, sicut dóminus ejus. Si patremfamílias Beélzebub vocavérunt: quanto magic domésticos ejus? Ne ergo timuéritis eos. Nihil enim est opértum, quod non revelábitur: et occúltum, quod non sciétur. Quod dico vobis in ténebris, dícite in lúmine: et quod in aure auditis, prædicáte super tecta. Et nolíte timére eos, qui occidunt corpus, á nimam autem non possunt occídere: sed pótius timéte eum, qui potent ánimam et corpus pérdere in gehénnam."
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "When they shall persecute you in this city, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel till the Son of man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? Therefore fear them not; for nothing is covered that shall not be revealed; nor hid that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light; and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him that can destroy both soul and body into hell."

    Like yesterday's VerbumQUO, there is no stretch in translation for the English word "persecution" is a shortened version of the Latin persecutiónem - pronounced PURS-EH-CUTE-SEE-OH-NEM with the emphasis on the accent, the bold in phonetics. For the verb, persequéntur - pronounced PURS-EH-QUEN-TOOR with again the emphasis on the accent, the bold in phonetics. Taking the last first, let us examine Webster's definition:

    "Persecute", verb [From Latin verb per throughout, away or over, + sequi to follow; thus to pursue, hound or stalk, or harass; hence: persequi, to persecute. 1. To pursue in a manner to injure; specifically to cause to suffer because of belief, especially religious belief. 2. To afflict, harass or annoy with urgent attacks, pleas, threats or the like. Syn. See WRONG. -- persecutive, persecutory, adjective

    Persecution, noun 1. The act or practice of persecuting as, the persecution of the early Christians. 2. State or condition of being persecuted or harassed. persecutor, noun. One who persecutes."

    The definitions don't really do justice to the scope of persecution which Holy Mother Church has always faced since the time Christ founded His Church upon the Rock of Peter. In the early years, pagan Rome inflicted terrible physical persecution, murdering Christians by the thousands, and yet, as the historian Tertullian wrote, "the seeds of Christianity came from the blood of martyrs." This outright killing of Christians was ended with the decree of Constantine the Great, but in so doing, another persecution began with the Arian heresy of which Constantine himself ascribed. This caused great persecution with those who would not go along with this heretical program and in these even darker times - for, as Christ says in today's Gospel, beware of those who can kill both body and soul - and that is what the Arian heresy did. The Romans killed bodies but not souls, the Arians killed souls. Far worse. Athanasius realized this and dug in, becoming a real threat to the heretics and was harassed, persecuted, stripped of his see and he had to flee, hiding wherever he went. The holy Benedictine Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger emphasizes this in Volume 8 of The Liturgical Year:

        Never did our holy faith go through a greater ordeal than in the sad times immediately following the peace of the Church, when the bark of Peter had to pass through the most furious storm that hell has, so far, let loose against her. Satan had vainly sought to drown the Christian race in a sea of blood; the sword of persecution had grown blunt in the hands of Diocletian and Galerius; and the Cross appeared in the heavens, proclaiming the triumph of Christianity. Scarcely had the Church become aware of her victory when she felt herself shaken to her very foundation. Hell sent upon the earth a heresy which threatened to blight the fruit of three hundred years of martyrdom. Aries began his impious doctrine, that He Who had hitherto been adored as the Son of God was only a creature, though the most perfect of all creatures. Immense was the number, even of the clergy, that fell into this new error; the Emperors became its abettors; and had not God Himself interposed, men would soon have set up the cry throughout the world that the only result of the victory gained by the Christian religion was to change the object of idolatry, and put a new idol, called Jesus, in place of the old ones."

    Note, the Abbot said "so far"; that included the terrible times of the Crusades, the Avignon Exile, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution and the scourge of Napoleon. We can see today that the state of the Church is far worse than even the Arian heresy for the current situation in which the true Church Christ founded has been eclipsed by the Modernists who now rule Rome following the sabotage at Vatican II has spread throughout the entire world and has claimed so many souls through the heresies promulgated by the conciliar popes. How can they be Catholic if they have deviated even one iota? And yet, the only ones who can answer that are those who know their Faith, and, like St. Athanasius, stand up to the imposters, going against the grain even though the entire world worships the conciliar popes and tolerates the maliciousness of the bishops as they hold hands and sing cum-bay-ya or a secularist ditty while they stand defiantly instead of kneeling. But then, the sheep have been fleeced and don't realize the wool has been pulled over their eyes as they blithely and blindly go about their 'Catholic'-lite practice of cafeteriaism. Gotta be comfortable, gotta do what the community desires; never mind what God has commanded, man is the voice they seek to hear and be comforted by.

    It is no secret that the balance of power favors the heretics and apostates globally, but as Saint Augustine said, "Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it, and right is right even if no one is doing it." We'd rather be right than popular. That is the cry of every traditional Catholic who suffers persecution of many stripes today. You'll note that with all the abuses, terrible sins, and total wreckovation of Catholic worship and doctrine, the only thing that riles the heretics and apostates is someone who dares to be Catholic. That is the red-flag to the wolves and that is the only time they bare their bitter fangs, seeking to sink them into innocent traditional Catholic flesh. Why are they so afraid of the devout orthodox Catholics who remember what Catholicism is truly about? Because they realize they have been living a lie. Just as Athanasius exposed the charlatans of his day, so also we who know the Faith are obliged to expose the charlatans of our day. Yes, we will be persecuted, harassed, demeaned, called crazy, and worse for our efforts to preserve the Faith. So what! What does it matter if they destroy reputations, destroy economic bases, destroy friendships, if they cannot touch our souls? That is what is vital, that they cannot destroy our peace of mind of knowing that we are right in our pursuit of the true Faith in the face of overwhelming odds where only 1 in a 100,000 is still truly Catholic. Strive to be that "one" and not join the crowd of one-hundred-thousand. Fear not that we will be last, for Christ has promised the last shall be first. Strive to stay the narrow path and strive also to educate the rest that they are on the wrong road. Hunger for more souls to join us on the narrow path. The more the merrier. If they will not, then, and only then, shake the dust from our feet and move on to other pastures where flocks are floundering, totally lost and shepherdless. Do not lose hope that, just in Athanasius' time, God will answer our prayers and intervene. We just need to be patient and persevere.

    That perseverance will pay off. Think of the dedicated men who died of martyrdom, not just some of the priests who have been mysteriously murdered for what they knew about the corrupt episcopate, but those who have died in exile such as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Archbishop Pierre van Thuc, Father Gommar DePauw and so many others who God knows and has ushered to the first place at the heavenly banquet table. Think of the parents who drive 100 miles every Sunday to assist at a Traditional Latin Mass. Think of those who do not have a Traditional Mass in their area who, rather than contributing to the "abomination of desolation", stay home alone praying and living their faith as best they can. Think of those who have lost so many friends because they refuse to conform to the prince of the world. Think of the sacrifices made by countless traditional Catholics because they realize their Faith is the most precious gift they have. They are the ones who are persecuted today and joyfully they suffer persecution for justice's sake for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven and they seek to please God, not man by adhering to Saint Paul's warning in Galatians 1: 8-10. Those persecuted today are the ones who have taken Paul's charge to the Ephesians to heart and put on the Armor of God, taken up the shield of Faith and girded with the belt of truth. God will hear the prayers of today's martyrs - the dry martyrs - whom Athanasius encourages from Heaven.

    It is most ironic that the current crisis of the Modernist heresy originated in the Rhineland, spewing downward into the Tiber where it washed over the Vatican and became Modern, apostate Rome. I say that because during the Arian heresy Athanasius sought refuge on the Rhine, as Gueranger says "in union with his people who keep their Easter on the banks of the Nile." Meanwhile the Tiber was infested with the poison of Arianism. It took a few more centuries to rid the rivers of this pollution so that sanctifying grace once again flowed freely through contrite and devout souls. This could only be accomplished by those who were willing to promulgate the true Faith, to suffer persecution - physically and mentally - deprived of the sacraments except in places of refuge, few and far between. So also today, we can take comfort and encouragement in knowing that persecution is part of the cross we must carry and that there is a reward for our efforts. We must persevere no matter the cost. Yes, the persecution will grow more fierce both from within the ranks of those who claim they are Catholic authorities while their actions and words shout that they are not, and from without where the secular sector has declared open season on all things Catholic from The Da Vinci Code to the blasphemous theatrical "The V----- Monologues" and "Mary, like a Virgin" and other sacrilegious, horrendous displays of outright hatred for God and all He has deigned holy and worthy of reverent respect. The attempt to remove crosses and other Christian symbols as well as demeaning the Kingship of Christ are all part of the agenda of the evil one who is so crafty, so clever, so devious. Yes, it will get worse, but it is not about doom and gloom, but rather a battle for souls, and a glorious victory awaits us. It is not for our generation to necessarily see the triumph, but to know that our efforts played a part in that eventual promised triumph. We can look to the example of the great Doctor of the Church St. Athanasius - Apostle of Tradition - for he assures us we have been given an offer we cannot refuse: everlasting salvation. Take it on good authority, for, in a way, the holy Bishop who was the first to stand up to the heretics is the Godfather of Dry Martyrs!

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

    May 2, 2006
    vol 17, no. 109