To improve our image of Christ a little more we will need some virtues. For the next few weeks we will see what virtues we need. The first of them is faith.
The Catholic Church in some parts of France in the eighteenth century was not very popular because some of her teachings were misunderstood. One of these teachings was the Rosary. Here are my beads. How many Hail Mary’s are there? Fifty. No. Fifty-three. You forgot the three at the beginning. How many Our Father’s? Six. Yes.
This is a story about a brave boy and his Rosary. In a military school in France, a non-Catholic cadet found a pair of beads on the ground. “Oho,” he said, “some Catholic must have dropped them. I’ll have some fun with these.” He hung them up on the branch of a tree and began to make a speech. “Look, friends, what I have found. Doubtless some weakling must have lost his pretty beads. I wonder who he is.” Everyone started to laugh. But suddenly they stopped laughing, as a young cadet named Jacques stepped out of the crowd. He drew his sword and lifted the beads from the branch of the tree with its point. “Thank you,” he said, “they are mine and I hated to lose them. But if anyone thinks I’m a weakling, I wish they would say so before I put my sword back in its sheath.” No one said a word. In fact, they all looked sheepish. A voice from the edge of the crowd spoke up, “Good boy! Let me shake your hand.” The group parted and the general stepped through. He said, “I admire bravery wherever I see it. It takes a brave man to face the ridicule of his friends.”
What is the lesson? Some children are ashamed of their religion and would be afraid to face the criticism of their friends as did brave Jacques. This sometimes happens when it comes to a case of eating meat on Friday, of keeping Lent, or wearing a medal, even of going to church. That is not the Catholic way of acting. You need not fear criticism when you stand in the truth. Faith is a divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed. If God has revealed these truths, why on earth should we be ashamed of them—or of any one of them.
If you are a weak-kneed Catholic, these words of Christ will give you something to think over. “He that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” Put yourselves in the position of Jacques in the story. How would you have acted? Would you have claimed your beads publicly or not? If you think that you would not have acted bravely, then make up your minds that next time you will be brave. People will admire you more for it. You can be sure of that. Here is a practical case. Suppose you are away on your holidays and you are staying with some people who are not Catholics. At night before you to bed you say to yourself, “If I kneel down by the bed and say my prayers the might laugh at me, so I’ll just skip them and jump into bed.” There is your test. How would you act? Remember brave Jacques. Have faith. By all means kneel down and say your prayers. Very few people will dare to laugh at you. “Every one that shall confess Me, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” Now I want you all to kneel down and recite after me the words of the act of Faith.
O my God! I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy divine Son became man and died for ours sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe all these truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.
~ "Heavenwords," Imprimatur 1941" ~