Catholic Candle note: The article below was written by a man who has always been Traditional Catholic and who has been continually fighting liberalism since before Vatican II.
God had freely determined to save the human race, He might have done so by pardoning man’s sins without having recourse to the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. However, the Incarnation of the Word was the most fitting means for the salvation of man, and was even necessary should God claim full satisfaction for the injury done Him by sin. He took upon Himself not only the nature of man—a nature capable of suffering and sickness and death—but also He became like man in every respect except sin.
Now, another reason God came to earth as a man is so He could teach us for 33 years—day after day, year after year—how one must live in order to be happy on earth and in heaven. Any important and difficult subject to be mastered is best taught by demonstration of a leader. This is why a new physician does a residency and a new plumber does an apprenticeship.
Our Lord’s personal demonstration spoke much louder than words alone. Because of that, we can never say it was easy for Him to suffer this or that, or go without this or that. No, He suffered and gave up much, offering to be our earthly guide to ensure our happiness on earth and in heaven by following His selfless example.
It was all to help us break the grip the devil has on us because of the sin of our first parents, and our own sins. Without Him showing us the way for 33 long years, I doubt there would be as many wonderful saints and a history of great religious societies.
Our Catholic Faith gives us many reminders of the importance of following Our Lord’s example. For example, St. Paul urges us in these words:
Brethren, be imitators of God as very dear children and walk in love.
Epistle for 3rd Sunday of Lent (Ephesians, 5:1).
Below are the three phases of Our Lord’s Life on earth that will demonstrate for us the Way, the Truth, and the Life that we should follow for our salvation.
Phase I—Our Lord’s Hidden Life
His first examples for us started with His birth in a stable, a humble beginning. He preferred poverty and humility to show Himself a friend of the poor, at the same time showing us the best way to heaven is through humility and detachment from earthly goods.
The Holy Family lived in Nazareth, and every year they went to Jerusalem to worship at the temple. When Jesus was 12 years old, He went with them, but failed to return home with them. Instead, He went to the temple to be in the midst of the wise men there. We all know the familiar story. After a day’s journey, Mary and Joseph could not locate Jesus in the caravan and returned to Jerusalem. They found Him in the temple, and Mary said, “Behold thy father and I have been seeking Thee, sorrowing.” Jesus replied, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My father’s business?” (Luke, 2:49)
He then meekly followed His parents to Nazareth and was subject to them. He worked hard as a simple Carpenter, with St. Joseph.
Phase II—Our Lord’s Public Life, beginning at age 30
He started by an act of great humility: being baptized by St. John. He then went to the desert to fast and pray for 40 days and nights. This teaches us to do penance and prepare ourselves to fight the devil by mortification and prayer. Jesus’ public life was to give us an example of how we should live day-to-day until our personal judgment. Words and example directly from the God-man have a greater effect in preparing souls with instructions and training necessary for salvation. He spoke in parables to help the less educated to understand. Another lesson taught many times was empathy for the sick and disabled.
Phase III—Our Lord’s Passion and Death
Here again, He taught humility when He washed the feet of His Apostles at the Last Supper. After that, He instituted the Blessed Sacrament, using common bread and wine, changing them into His own Divine Body and Blood.
Jesus suffered and died for us, setting the example that no man has greater love than to give his life for another. Also, He set us the perfect example how we should endure and persevere. He suffered bitter agony of blood and sweat. He was cruelly scourged, crowned with thorns, carried His cross, and suffered the excruciating death on the cross—all in silence. He could not have set a better example for us to follow. Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do.” (John, 13:15)
He taught us to practice humility, penance, mortification, and perseverance before we presume to set an example and lead others.
His life on earth illustrated this. He established the perfect religion, the Catholic Religion, with none of the worthless trappings and false teachings of man-made religions.
Our Lord’s perfect lessons especially fit our needs, in the true Resistance. We must be humble and longsuffering. We must stand firm for principle when others “bend” their principles to obtain the sacraments or find acceptance in a particular “traditional” group. We must persevere without expecting that people will ever
understand us, or accept our stand for Christ.