God's Own Change Agent


Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away - Acts 3:19.

One of the hardest things on earth is to reform your life. Once vice has really set in, really gotten its hold on you, giving it up and getting virtuous habits can become really painful.

It's like taking up a cross, carrying it to your place of execution, and being crucified.

But many of us are called to do it at some point or another, because for most of us, there's at least one vice (usually more) that sings its siren song, draws us into its grip, and threatens to crush the life out of us.

Sometimes, an entire nation faces the prospect of having to eradicate a vice, such as enslaving or dehumanizing an entire race of people; lust for power and greed for other peoples' land; cowardice in the face of naked evil; or so many others.

Sometimes, the Church must deal with vices in her midst. One of the most famous such times was the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Many priests were causing scandal through their lack of education, bad morals, and use of the priesthood as a source of money (including some of the bishops, cardinals, and even popes). Many Catholics were badly catechized, or not catechized at all. There were many abuses, many problems - and then the Reformation meant parts of the Church fell away, creating great wounds in the Body of Christ. The response of the Church? The Counter-Reformation, led by such great leaders of the Church as St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), whose feast we celebrate on Nov. 4.

Saint Charles Borromeo of Italy was the secretary of state to the Pope at the time of the Council of Trent, helping the Universal Church to teach the faith with clarity and precision, enact necessary reforms to get rid of the major vices of the day and strengthen the weakened virtues, and generally help the whole Church to repent of Her sins.

When we need to reform our lives, let us turn to St. Charles Borromeo for his intercession and heavenly assistance, trusting that he who played such a huge role in helping the Universal Church reform and renew Her life can also assist us in reforming our own.


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