Thought for the Day – 15 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Two Standards
“Apart from the throngs of the apathetic, we can see today, as in every stage of the history of Christianity, two armies in battle array, the enemies of Christ and His faithful. Both the forces of good and evil and, the weapons which they have at their disposal, have increased tremendously in modern times. Between them, there is Christ, “a sign that shall be contradicted,” (Lk 2:34) as Simeon prophesied. There are those who give themselves completely to Jesus, their abilities, their health, their virginity offered as a sacrifice for a higher ideal and, if necessary, their life’s blood. But, there are also those, who use every means which progress has provided, such as the press, cinema and television, in order to destroy God’s dominion over human souls.
Evil today, is organised on a vast scale. Why, then, can we not employ every modern means, in order to diffuse goodness throughout the world? This may require sacrifice but, we cannot refuse to make sacrifices on behalf of Jesus Christ, Who did not spare Himself for us!”
Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Two Standards
“The well-known meditation of St Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercies on the two standards, remains applicable to our times. We need only glance at the world to see, that it contains two different kinds of people – the good and the bad, the enemies of Christ and His faithful followers. But, there is also a third group, those who are indifferent and apathetic, those who think of their own comfort and convenience and of nothing else! When one considers it, it is plain that those people who think only of themselves – and their number seems to grow every year – belong to the rearguard of those, who fight beneath the banner of Satan. That man is an enemy of Christ, who has no generosity, no spirit of sacrifice, no desire to combat the evil which threatens to submerge the world. “He who is not with me, is against me,” (Mt 12:30) said Jesus. He who thinks only of his own convenience and remains indifferent to the spread of evil, is not worthy of Jesus. One cannot be indifferent when faced with the alternative between good and evil because, indifference is tantamount to a betrayal. “The Christian,” writes Tertullian, “is another Christ.”
The fact that we are Christians imposes on us, the obligation to fight openly and courageously under the standard of Christ. The battle must be waged on two fronts. On one side, the struggle is internal. We must resist our rebellious inclinations and self-centred egoism. At the same time, we must make a constant effort to advance in Christian perfection. On the second front, the struggle is external. It is not sufficient to sanctify ourselves but, we must try to sanctify others. When we consider the sacrifices made in the cause of evil by the enemies of Christ, how can we remain indifferent? We should work with zeal and with the help of God’s grace, to achieve our own sanctification and the reign of Christ in the universe. We should examine what we have already done and resolve to be more determined in our future efforts!”