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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Exclusive Representation of the Nativity Scene.
A priest was returning from a pilgrimage with several pilgrims. At one of the stations a stranger got into the same car, and noticing the rosary of his fellow travelers, he cried out: “Oh, I believe in nothing! – Sir, said the priest, on the contrary, you believe in many things, you believe even more than we do.” This gentleman then put a great deal of insistence on knowing what he believed more than the others, and promised not to be formal about the answer. “Well, said the priest, since you will not take offense, I will tell you: You believe you are full of spirit, and I assure you that we do not believe anything at all.” All the passengers in the carriage started with a burst of laughter, and the unbeliever got off the train, all furious, at the next station.
Unbelievers often imagine themselves to be very spiritual, when they are only grossly ignorant; as the Scripture says: they blaspheme what they do not know. The man who believes in nothing and is more credulous than all the others.
An old soldier liked to tell the following story. In 1858 I was in garrison in Frankfurt. On the day of the Immaculate Conception, all the soldiers who asked to go to church were given permission. When they returned to the barracks, the captain had them all sent to the punishment platoon. At the next celebration, they asked again who wanted to go to church: only twelve showed up, barely half of those who had shown up the previous time. When they returned, the captain asked them, “Have you all been to church?” On their answering in the affirmative, the captain said to them, “You are brave soldiers, who do not allow yourselves to be intimidated; I give you permission for ten hours.” They gladly took advantage of this, while the others atoned for their cowardice.
The son of very pious parents, a conscript had, before going to the regiment, the habit of making his morning and evening prayers on his knees. From the first night he performed this act of piety in the barracks; nothing like it had ever been seen in the barracks, and everyone laughed at him. He did not let himself be intimidated and his comrades made a real hullabaloo of him. He and they did it again the next day and the day after that, and seeing that he remained steadfast, one of the rowdies exclaimed: “Here is one, who stands well at the fire.” From that moment he was left to pray quietly, and more than one of his comrades made his prayer if not on his knees, at least in silence. The devout soldier was a very capable boy and was quickly promoted.
Often the courage of faith is at first met with mockery or trouble, but sooner or later it wins the esteem and respect of even the most ill-intentioned.