|St. Andrew's Cathedral, 2014. CS|
No frothing, please.
noun: fanatic; plural noun: fanatics
—a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal
a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.
mid 16th century (as an adjective): from French fanatique or Latin fanaticus ‘of a temple’ from fanum ‘temple.’—Google Dictionary.
A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
The saints are fanatics. What's that, you don't agree?
- Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta was labelled "a fanatic, fundamentalist and a fraud" by the likes of none other than Christopher Hitchens who, in a 2003 article, took diabolical delight in his attempt to slander one of the most beloved saints of the modern era. Blessed Teresa, if it needs to be said, was possessed by the desire to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. She and her Missionary Sisters of Charity have helped millions know the love and joy of Christ while tending to people's physical and spiritual needs.
- Or, how about any of the Mexican saints martyred during the Cristero Wars? Among the 25 martyr saints canonized by another saintly fanatic—Pope St. John Paul II—was St. Toribio Romo González. St. Toribio received a special dispensation to be ordained to the priesthood when he was just 21 years old. He was killed when he was 28 years old for being a priest. Fr. Toribio was told by representatives of the state not to pray the Rosary in public, the same government that imposed a form of education that was intended to be "a socialist one and, in addition to excluding all religious doctrine, shall combat fanaticism and prejudices by organizing its instruction and activities in a way that shall permit the creation in youth of an exact and rational concept of the Universe and of social life." (Sounds like the policy of more than a few Canadian provinces, eh?) Like the many other saintly fanatics who perished at the hands of the politically correct tyrants of his day, Fr. Toribio challenged the status quo simply by being who and what he was—a humble, faithful priest.
- Who can doubt the holy fanaticism of one, Mary Wagner, Canadian, pro-life advocate and frequent political prisoner who has been arrested half-a-dozen times for walking into the lion's den and witnessing to abortion mill staff and mothers, begging them to reconsider the destruction of unborn babies? Mary's peaceful and faithful (fanatical) witness puts most us to shame. In total, Mary has spent some two years behind bars for her various nonviolent challenges to the status quo.
The (Conventual Franciscan) brothers housed 3,000 Polish refugees, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, and continued their publication work, including materials considered anti-Nazi. For this work the presses were shut down, the congregation suppressed, the brothers dispersed, and Maximilian (Kolbe) was imprisoned in Pawiak prison, Warsaw, Poland on 17 February 1941.
On 28 May 1941 he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. He was assigned to a special work group staffed by priests and supervised by especially vicious and abusive guards. His calm dedication to the faith brought him the worst jobs available, and more beatings than anyone else. At one point he was beaten, lashed, and left for dead. The prisoners managed to smuggle him into the camp hospital where he spent his recovery time hearing confessions. When he returned to the camp, Maximilian ministered to other prisoners, including conducting Mass and delivering communion using smuggled bread and wine.
In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place, and died as he had always wished – in service.—SQPN
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.—Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1:24-29.Here are a few ways one might become a fanatic and behave like a convinced believer:
- Insist that salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ.
- Propose that the Catholic Church alone is the True Church founded by Jesus Christ. Christ's Church subsists in the Catholic Church.
"The phrase subsistit in is intended not only to reconfirm the meaning of the term est, that is, the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. Above all, it reaffirms that the Church of Christ, imbued with the fullness of all the means instituted by Christ, perdures (continues, remains) forever in the Catholic Church".—K.J. Becker, "'Subsistit in' — (Lumen Gentium, n. 8)" (cf. L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 14 December, pp. 11-14). Quoted in an article by Fernando Ocáriz.
- Insist that the Mass be celebrated with reverence and decorum according to the rubrics. Be obsessed with liturgical beauty and goodness. Promote ad orientem liturgies. Don't let forty years of deviant practice(s) dissuade you from convincing others that the proper orientation of the Liturgy is ad orientem, i.e., toward the liturgical East. Express your convictions with enthusiasm and charity. Start by enlisting others to the cause and propose to your pastor that once a month an ad orientem Mass be celebrated. If you are a priest—preach on ad orientem worship and, in due course, offer the Ordinary Form ad orientem. Back up your enthusiasm with ongoing catechesis in the parish bulletin and in your homilies. Search HERE for information items for your parish bulletins.
- Be prepared to lose friends over your choice to be faithful to Christ and His Church in all things. Keep Jesus' commandments. Love God; love His Church. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."—St. John 14:23.
- Practice limitless mercy. Be quick to forgive and equally ready to seek forgiveness. Go to confession once a week. Examine your conscience at the end of every day before bedtime. Ask God for forgiveness. Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
- Love until it hurts, then keep on loving.
- Do not shy away from fraternal correction. Offer it gently and receive it eagerly.
- Begin and end your day in prayer. Pray for priests, the Holy Father, your family, your country, etc.
- Attend daily Mass and prepare for Mass by reading the Bible readings ahead of time. The fanatic belongs in the fanum, i.e., the temple.
- Volunteer as a server, lector or choir member.
- Model/demonstrate obedience. Strive to be a saint. Read the lives of the saints.
- Be joyful because God has rescued you from sin and death, is rescuing you daily and will rescue you when you surrender your spirit at death if, upon Him, all your hope is founded. Trust in Jesus. Confess your sins to a priest. Convert daily! See you all in the lineup to the confessional.
for if you do this you will never fall.—2 Peter 1:10