“They didn’t know who they were.” These are the timeless and priceless words of Saint Hilary who was describing the vast number of people who had fallen under the heretical belief that Jesus was not divine. This was known as the Arian heresy of the fourth century, and it threatened the very existence of Christ’s Church … which by the way, was the Catholic Church…Sadly, these very words can be applied to many Catholics today… many Christians today, who have lost their sense of what is Truth… who have lost their sense right and wrong… who have lost their sense of moral absolutes.
It seems the more things change the more they stay the same…the year was 315 and Hilary Poitiers was born into a pagan family. He was educated in the Greek and Latin classics and was raised without any significant Christian influence. Like many others of his time, he poured over the classics and then studied the Bible…merely as an opportunity to expand his knowledge. It was through the Bible that the goodness of God and His graces…poured into Hilary and soon he was led on a journey towards the Truth. His conversion had begun, and soon he abandoned his pagan ways and was baptized into the Faith. It wasn’t until he read Sacred Scripture that he realized that Christianity was in fact, compatible with philosophy and the sciences. From that realization, his life would never be the same… He would become a priest and then go on to be named Bishop, courageously defending the Truth, even when he was greatly outnumbered… even by those who were supposed to be working for the same cause! At one point, so many bishops were confused by the Arian heresy, that they had Hilary exiled to distant lands. But the people there loved Hilary and learned much from the brilliant teacher of Theology, and he never gave up… and did everything within his power defending the Truth…not only with his preaching and talks but with his writings as well. He ultimately succeeded, and years after he died, he was declared a saint as well as a Doctor of the Church.
We should ask ourselves, “What does God want from us?” How many times have we sat listening to the very same Word of God and not even batted an eye? Or flinched… or moved an inch?? Remember, these are the very same Words that have converted thousands... hundreds of thousands of men, often convincing them to leave their worldly possessions behind to follow Christ. We have to ask ourselves, What then, are we doing wrong that we cannot be moved into action? Do we merely proclaim that we are ‘Christian’, without honestly believing it…I mean…be- living it?
The world today is riddled with heretical thoughts… and ideas. There are so many “Christian” congregations that waste so much time spewing hatred against the True Church of Christ than on His actual teachings… And these thoughts are not just springing from ‘Protestant’ communities which have already rejected some of Christ’s teachings and broken away from the Mother Church, No, some of these heretical thoughts actually have their roots from within the Catholic Church. It is quite blasphemous, really. Sects who go around proclaiming ‘the gospel’ all the while slandering the very institution that Our Lord created. Does anyone even recognize the Truth anymore? Much like the days of St. Hilary, some proclaimed ‘church leaders’ are deceiving man, and leading them with lies. Sadly, many are so corrupt in their hearts that they don’t understand the damage they are doing…
But, like I said before, this is nothing new, the devil has hated God from the moment he refused to honor Him in heaven…and it has been a downward tumble ever since. If we don’t keep our hearts and minds pure… and focused on what is True, all kinds of deceit and manipulations can creep into our souls, affecting the very way we worship and pray. A favorite motto of St. Hilary’s was:
Ministros veritatis decet vera proferre, “Servants of the truth ought speak the truth.”
Let that one sink in...As Christians, we are called to be bearers of such Truth. If as Christians we continue to look the other way… continue to let it be someone else’s problem… everything will fall apart. This is our battle…this is our ‘fight.’There is a popular quote from Edmund Burke that states: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” I believe that he was speaking more of political evils of his time, but it applies to what is happening now, as well. Most Christians have become so comfortable with letting someone else do all the work. We are lazy…and like the easy wide road…even if we know where it leads…. Heck, many ‘Christian’ communities teach that once saved always saved. .. There is no accountability for their actions or their in-actions, all the while they go on living their lives in sin, pretending that their salvation is a given…this simply is not true! Our salvation is from God…won for us by Jesus Christ, but it means that we have to unite ourselves to Him…we have to empty ourselves …completely…and allow Him to fill our very souls, otherwise we will never get to heaven. And this my friends…is a daily struggle…it is not a ‘one and done!’
We must speak the Truth not only with charity but clarity as well. In all matters… particular those matters which concern the salvation of souls. This involves those heresies that are spreading throughout the Church. We must refuse to allow lies to be spread…we must delve into the history of our wonderful Holy Mother Church and seek not only inspiration, but intercession as well, from the great number of men and women who now rank among the saints in Heaven. These were the ones who were able to live their life in a way that was pleasing to the Lord. We must learn to read the Sacred Scriptures like a saint…allowing it to move us…change us…fill us with the very Word of God and convert our soul for the work of the Lord and the salvation of the world.
Let us pray.
Father, there are heresies that continue to plague the Church today. Many of the same ones that show up throughout the different ages. Unfortunately the heresy of Arianism continues to rear its ugly head in different forms today. Grant us the grace that we may be as courageous and bold in our defense against such false teachings as Saint Hilary, and never grow weary of pursuing and defending truth. We ask this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.