Saturday, April 24, 2010

ST. FIDELIS OF SIMARINGEN


In the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, there’s a line that gives a great promise: “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (2: 10). It was this passage to which today’s saint referred when he became a Capuchin Franciscan and changed his name from Mark to Fidelis, which is Latin for “faithful”. In 1622 the Pope created a special congregation in the Vatican to coordinate the Church’s missionary activities—the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which sent St. Fidelis to Switzerland. His goal, for which he ended up being martyred, was to reconcile with the Church those who had left Catholicism. We pray that we, united in prayer with persecuted Christians throughout the world, will be strong in the faith no matter how the world treats us. The following is a reflection from Pope Benedict XIV who served from 1740 to 1758.

St. Fidelis was faithful in truth as well as in name. His zeal for defending the Catholic faith was unsurpassed and he preached it tirelessly. A few days before he shed his blood to bear witness to his preaching, he gave his last sermon. These are the words he left as a testament: “O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never pass away. From the beginning the whole world opposed you, but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

“What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”


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