There is a choice we make, as Archbishop Viganó says. We must fight for good or evil. There is no third way. We need to fight for good, and stand for truth. All this is to say we must be faithful to Christ. Below are entries from Thursday and Friday of Sexagesima Week from The Liturgical Year:
Thursday of Sexagesima Week
God promised Noah that He would never more punish the earth with a deluge. But in His justice, He has many times visited the sins of men with a scourge which, in more senses than one, bears a resemblance to a deluge: the invasion of enemies. We meet with these invasions in every age; and each time we see the hand of God. We can trace the crimes that each of them was sent to punish, and in each we find a manifest proof of the infinite justice wherewith God governs the world.
It is not requisite that we should here mention the long list of these revolutions, which we might almost say make up the history of mankind, for in its every page we read of conquests, extinction of races, destruction of nations, and violent amalgamations which effaced the traditions and character of the several peoples that were thus forced into union. We will confine our considerations to the two great invasions which the just anger of God has permitted to come upon the world since the commencement of the Christian era.
The Roman Empire had made itself as pre-eminent in crime as it was in power. It conquered the world, and then corrupted it. Idolatry and immorality were the civilization it gave to the nations which had come under its sway. Christianity could save individuals in the great empire, but the empire itself could not be made Christian. God let loose upon it the deluge of barbarians. The stream of the wild invasion rose to the very dome of the Capitol; the empire was engulfed. The ruthless ministers of divine justice were conscious of their being chosen for this mission of vengeance, and they gave themselves the name of “God’s scourge.”
When later on the Christian nations of the east had lost the faith which they themselves had transmitted to the western world; when they had disfigured the sacred symbol of faith by their blasphemous heresies; the anger of God sent upon them, from Arabia, the deluge of Mahometanism. It swept away the Christian Churches that had existed from the very times of the apostles. Jerusalem, the favored Jerusalem on which Jesus has lavished His tenderest love, even she became a victim to the infidel hordes. Antioch and Alexandria, with their patriarchates, were plunged into the vilest slavery; and at length Constantinople, that had so obstinately provoked the divine indignation, was made the very capital of the Turkish empire.
And we, the western nations, if we return not to the Lord our God, shall we be spared? Shall the food-gates of heaven’s vengeance, the torrent of fresh Vandals, ever be menacing to burst upon us, yet never come? Where is the country of our own Europe that has not corrupted its way, as in the days of Noah? that has not made conventions against the Lord and against His Christ? (Psalm 2:2) that has not clamored out that old cry of revolt: Let us break the bonds asunder, let us cast away their yoke from us? (Psalm 2:3) Well may we fear lest the time is at hand when, despite our haughty confidence in our means of defense, Christ our Lord, to whom all nations have been given by the Father, shall rule us with a rod of iron, and break us in pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Psalm 2:9) Let us propitiate the anger of our offended God and follow the inspired counsel of the royal prophet: Serve ye the Lord with fear; embrace the discipline of His Law; lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye perish from the just way. (Psalm 2:12)
Friday of Sexagesima Week
God chastises the world by the deluge; but He is faithful to the promise made to our first parents, that the head of the serpent should be crushed. The human race has to be preserved, therefore, until the time shall come for the fulfillment of this promise. The Ark gives shelter to the just Noah and to his family. The angry waters reach even to the tops of the highest mountains; but the frail yet safe vessel rides peacefully on the waves. When the day fixed by God shall come, they that dwell in this Ark shall once more tread the earth, purified as it then will be; and God will say to them, as heretofore to our first parents: “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)
Mankind, then, owes its safety to the Ark. O saving Ark, that wast planned by God Himself, and didst sail unhurt amidst the universal wreck! But if we can thus bless this contemptible wood, (Wisdom 10:4) how fervently should we love that other Ark, of which Noah’s was but the figure, and which, for now two thousand years, has been saving and bringing men to their God! How fervently should we bless that Church, the bride of our Jesus, out of which there is no salvation, and in which we find that truth which delivers us from error and doubt, (John 8:32) that grace which purifies and heart, and that food which nourishes the soul and fits her for immortality!
O sacred Ark! thou art inhabited, not by one family alone, but by people of every nation under the sun. Ever since that glorious day when our Lord launched thee in the sea of this world, thou hast been tossed by tempests, yet never wrecked. Thou wilt reach the eternal shore, witnessing, by thy unworn vigor and beauty, to the divine guidance of the Pilot who loves thee, both for thine own sake, and for the work thou art doing for His glory. It is by thee that He peoples the world with His elect, and it is for them that He created the world. (Matthew 24:22) When He is angry, He remembers mercy (Habakkuk 3:2) because of thee, for it is through thee that He has made His covenant with mankind.
O venerable Ark! be thou our refuge in the deluge. When Rome’s great empire, that was drunk with the blood of the martyrs, (Apocalypse 17:6) sank beneath the invasion of the barbarians, the Christians were safe, because sheltered by thee; the waters slowly subsided, and the race of men that had fled to thee for protection, thou conquered according to the flesh, was victorious by the spirit. Kings, who till then had been haughty despots and barbarians, kissed reverently the hand of the slave who was not their pastor and baptized them. New peoples sprang up and, with the Gospel as their law, began their glorious career in those very countries which the Cæsars had degraded and forfeited.
When the Saracen invasion came sweeping into ruin the eastern world and menacing the whole of Europe, which would have been lost had not the energy of thy sons repelled the infidel horde, was it not within thee, O Ark of salvation! that the few Christians took refuge who had resisted schism and heresy and who, while the rest of their brethren apostatized from the faith, still kept alive the holy flame? Under thy protection they are even now perpetuating, in their unfortunate countries, the traditions of faith, until the divine mercy shall bring happier times, and they be permitted to multiply, as did of old the sons of Sem, in that land once so glorious and holy.
Oh! happy we, dear Church of God! that are sheltered within thee, and protected by thee against that wild sea of anarchy, which the sins of men have let loose on our earth! We beseech our Lord to check the tempest with that word of His omnipotence: “Thus far shalt thou come, and no further, and here shalt thou break thy swelling waves.” (Job 38:11) But if His divine justice has decreed that it prevail for a time, we know that it cannot reach such as dwell in thee. Of this happy number are we. In thy peaceful bosom, dear mother, we find those true riches, the riches of the soul, of which no violence can deprive us. (Matthew 6:20) The life thou givest us is the only real life. Our true fatherland is the kingdom formed by thee. Keep us, O thou Ark of our God! Keep us, and all that are dear to us, and shelter us beneath thy roof, until the deluge of iniquity be passed away. (Psalm 56:2) When the earth, purified by its chastisements, shall once more receive the seed of the divine word which produces the children of God, those among us whom thou shalt not have led to our eternal home will then venture forth and preach to the world the principles of authority and law, of family and social rights: those sacred principles which came from heaven, and which thou, O holy Church, art commissioned to maintain and teach, even to the end of time.