“The skeptical and resentful smiles of the mediocre will never succeed in stopping the victorious march of those who have faith.”
Newsroom (22/01/2023 18:00, Gaudium Press) An unmistakable characteristic of the mediocre person is to live caged, of his own volition, behind the bars of narrow, earthly expectations. He becomes the victim of a kind of curse of banality, by which supernatural horizons overwhelm him, causing antipathy and torpor.
Mediocrity is configured as one of the main causes of incredulity. The virtue of faith opens man’s intelligence to the infinite and grandiose horizons of Revelation, like a bridge connecting earth to Heaven.
On the contrary, for those who live like chickens, turned to the ground in search of the food that satisfies their bellies, these supernatural prospects cause annoyance, implication and finally, repulsion.
Where faith is lacking, miracles do not make up for its absence, as we see in our society. Who does not know about the inexplicable cures that occurred in Lourdes? Diseased patients come back healthy after having remained in confident prayer in the shadow of the grotto of Massabielle. So many know of these miracles, but how few believe and are converted in heart!
The sword of truth and the fury of mediocrity
“Rebuke the just and he will love you” (Pr 9:8), says Scripture. However, if he is unjust, rebuke will move him to hatred. Mediocrity is based on a high self-concept, on a fat and complacent pride that leads the human heart to feel self-satisfied in a delightful and banal life.
That is why the mediocre person has an aversion to any kind of criticism, and reacts like a ferocious animal against anyone who dares to censure him.
Mediocrity is the great enemy of magnanimity, a virtue linked to fortitude that manifests with special radiance the immensity of God’s power and love. In His public life, Our Lord presented Himself as Greatness Incarnate, showing in a brilliant way the supernaturality and His mission of Divine origin: it was the Word begotten by the Father from all eternity and made Man in the virginal womb of Mary Most Holy.
And the Cross was the price paid by the Son of God for having dared to shine in that way before the eyes of men sunk in the hideous and emollient swamp of mediocrity.
The confrontation between the sword of truth and the bestial fury of mediocrity clearly shows that the apostolate takes place on a battlefield where the fiercest enemies can be those who, on the surface, appear to be cordial and peaceful.
In this sense, the Catholic apostle must keep his interior gaze alight, vigilant and sharp, ready to recognize those who listen to the shining truths of the Holy Gospel with authentic delight and, on the contrary, those who wish to remain asleep in the night of their sins. These will be his most terrible adversaries.
Full of courage, as an imitator of Incarnate Wisdom, he must encourage the good and rebuke the evil, aware of the consequences that will follow: hatred, struggle, risk and sometimes, martyrdom.
Bread and circuses
The world today lies, in good measure, under the tyranny of mediocrity. The “bread and circuses” of the decadent Romans continues to be, in a modernized version, the currency with which the world buys the voluntary blindness of the multitudes.
Money, entertainment, pleasure, comfort, technological advances and other vanities fill the narrow-minded expectations of millions of people who, like new Esaus, renounce flying towards the noble and arduous horizons of the Faith in exchange for a banal plate of lentils. Of them, St Paul says, “they behave like enemies of the Cross of Christ, … whose God is the womb” (Phil 3:18-19).
The result of such prevarication is before our eyes: when in the history of humanity has there been a more dramatic and devastating moral crisis than that of our days? The Divine Commandments, without exception, are spoiled in the most abominable way by the inert masses, slaves of mediocrity.
However, we cannot be discouraged, because the truth will be the winner!
Let us take the path of heroism!
In allowing Himself to be immolated on the Cross and to rise again in glory, Our Lord mortally wounded mediocrity and brought forth in His Church a strain of heroes capable of the holiest audacities in order to implant obedience to the Divine Law in the world.
Yes, a myriad of men and women were capable, with contempt for the petty worldly comforts, of giving their lives to make this earth an image of Heaven and to conquer eternity.
That is why we can affirm, paraphrasing a thought of Dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, that “the skeptical and resentful smile of the mediocre will never be able to stop the victorious march of those who have faith”.
We are invited to be part of this radiant and magnificent cohort of those who follow Our Lord Jesus Christ along the bloody path of Calvary, with the firm certainty of the final victory.
Our Lady promised in Fatima: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”. Let us make these words our standard of war and let us fight the battles of the apostolate for her sake, knowing how to discern the action of grace which, in the midst of the modern mire, is causing a lily to sprout, bright and uncontaminated.
This lily will be able to overcome with its irresistible brightness the darkness of night and to tame with its militant purity the furor of the storm. From it will be born the sacral, hierarchical and highly perfect order of Mary’s Kingdom.
Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias
Compiled by Sandra Chisholm