People often think of saints as belonging to a bygone age and especially to the early church and as no longer relevant to the modern world. In fact, over the past 150 years the church has been blessed with many really outstanding saints and martyrs, including our own Blessed Benedict Daswa. They can teach all believers useful lessons to strengthen them on their journey of faith. They can also challenge the wider society which can learn a lot from the example of their lives, the values that guided them, and also from their words of wisdom. They are powerful intercessors with the Lord for all who approach them, seeking special favours from God.
They Challenge the Modern Culture
Some of our fundamental human and Christian values have come under severe attack in today’s world. At the same time God has been good to us. He has raised up some great saints and martyrs who have shown how beautiful, attractive and reasonable are these great traditional values, on which our western civilization has been built over the past two thousand years. These saints are not the only ones upholding this vision. It is also being promoted by many people around the world, mostly just ordinary, simple, humble, decent people. But the saints are more visible as public figures whose lives are an open and edifying book for all to read. They bear witness to the triumph of good over evil, of truth over lies, and of love over using people or taking advantage of them in various ways.
These modern saints and martyrs have in various ways brought the light of God’s truth and the experience of his love, into confused and dark areas of today’s culture, particularly around the great dignity of every human life, especially the weakest of all who are still in their mother’s womb. Blessed Benedict Daswa also shared this great concern for every human life. In order to protect innocent lives he courageously faced the dark area of witchcraft and ritual killings in his own culture. And he paid the ultimate price – the sacrifice of his young life.
These modern saints have also witnessed to the great importance of the traditional family as the basic building block of society and of the church. In the words of St. John Paul 11, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live” (Perth, 30 Nov. 1986). Pope Francis has given the strong warning, “Today there is a world war to destroy marriage … not with weapons but with ideas” (Visit to Georgia, October ’16). There are also those who became martyrs for the faith because they rejected the homosexual lifestyle which is so vigorously promoted at the present time.