Christians of the first centuries did not hesitate in saying that “The world was created for the sake of the Church.” Saint Clemens of Alexandria (died in 215 AD) stated:
“Just as God’s will is creation and is called “the world,” so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called “the Church” (CCC 760).
Many children of that loving Mother knew how to be faithful to Her up to the end. In 1988, Monsignor Ignatius Ong Pin-Mei, Bishop of Shangai, after being kept in jail for 30 long years in China because of his love for the Christ and faithfulness to the Catholic Church, declared on the following day of his release from prison:
“I stayed faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. Thirty years of prison did not change me. I kept my faith. I am ready to go back to prison tomorrow to defend my faith.”
The Cardinal of Czechoslovakia Frantisek Tomasek, Archbishop of Prague was living hard times of communist persecution in 1985. A reporter asked him: “Your Eminency, are you not tired of combating unsuccessfully?” And he answered:
“I always repeat: those who work for the Kingdom of God do a lot; those who pray, do more; those who suffer, do everything. That everything is exactly the little we do here in Czechoslovakia” (IL Sabato 8, 14/06/85, p.11), (PR, 284, Jan 1986).
It is opportune to remember here that a few years later, in 1989, communism started to crumble all through the Iron Curtain…
Christians of all times shed their blood because of their faith in the Church; starting with the martyrs of the Roman Empire, followed by the martyrs of Nazism and Communism and also of modern times.
Tertullian, Bishop and Historian of the Church during the III Century, wrote to the Emperor of his time telling him that it was useless to kill Christians because “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of new Christians”. The more Christians were devoured by beasts, burnt at the stake and slain by the sword, the bigger was Christianity in Rome, up to the time when the Roman Emperor Constantine himself converted to Christ, around the year 313 AD, and finally banned the persecution of Christians.
In the year 390 AC the Emperor Theodosius made Christianism the official religion of Roman Empire. Years later, his successor Julian, the Apostate, wanted to revive paganism but it was too late; he died with this exclamation in his lips: “You won, o Galileo!”
Prof Felipe Aquino
Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino