“Empires Come and Go – The Church Endures.” One of the reasons why tyrants hate the Church so much is that it endures. Tyrants want total control – we call their governments “totalitarian” regimes. They want total control, and so they can’t stand the Church because it is a constant reminder that they don’t have total control – that they can’t have total control – only God can.
And so, just as Herod tried to do with Jesus, the eternal King, tyrants try to stamp out the Church and the eternal Kingdom. The Roman emperors tried. The barbarian tribes of northern Europe tried. The Medieval Islamic Caliphs tried. The French Revolutionaries tried. Napoleon tried – he even kidnapped the Pope, twice! The Nazis tried, and many others tried, too, giving the twentieth century the bittersweet honor of having more Christian martyrs than any previous century.
The tyrants of every generation try to take over the throne that only Christ can occupy, but the Church continues to survive, grow, and spread. A favorite example of this “unconquerability” of our Faith is found in St. Cecilia, one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs (whose feastday is celebrated today).
St. Cecilia lived in the third century and willingly died for the Faith. May she intercede powerfully for us and our world today.