Uncle Eddy's E-mails -- May 23
Saint Desiderius, Bishop of Vienne (France), martyr (entered heaven in 607)
My dearest of nieces, Christianity is not “Comfort-anity.” Earth is not heaven, as I keep trying to convince all of you. If you take Jesus Christ seriously, and if you love him faithfully and serve his Church with all the vigor and creativity of your youth, I can guarantee two things: 1) deep, rich, indescribable happiness, and 2) hardship. Persecutions, humiliation, rejection, slander, opposition, ridicule – if our Lord suffered them, why should we expect anything less? The sooner you accept the cross of Christ as the path of a Christian’s life, the sooner you will discover the roaring rivers of joy flanking that path. Tell me, have you ever heard of a saint who regretted suffering something for Christ? We are members of the Church Militant! We are called to fight for the Kingdom during this life, not with bullets and bombs, but with the hard labor of Christian virtue and apostolic activity, in the face of an unending flow of contradiction and hostility.
You should learn from the example of today’s saint, and ask for the support of his prayers (today is his heavenly birthday party, so he gets special intercession privileges). Desiderius (aka Didier) headed up the bishopric of Vienne in southeastern France at the unlucky time when evil rulers (especially the wicked Queen Brunhildis) were spewing vice and destruction over their kingdoms. In addition to supporting missionary activity, tending the sick, and renewing the zeal and dedication of his clergy, Desiderius was called to take up the unpleasant (and risky) task of reprimanding the iniquitous courts. So influential were the words of this saintly bishop that Brunhildis (whose two grandsons were the reigning monarchs on either side of the Alps, surrounding Disiderius’s diocese) trumped up some false charges against him and denounced him to the Pope. When this failed to dislodge the prelate, she convened a puppet council that banished him. He eventually returned, and fearlessly continued his defense of Christian mores and faith (to the great benefit of the people and the great consternation of the rulers), only to be murdered for it on his way home from a pastoral visit to King Theodoric’s court.
So you see, my dear Desiree, though friendship with our Lord fills our hearts with joy and our lives with meaning, it also demands that we take up the noble fight of the Christian soldier, defending truth and right wherever it is threatened. So carry on, and be not dismayed. And pray for your loving
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