St. George’s Witness To the Age of Fraud
Today is the feast of St. George. People always associate him with the slaying of the dragon, however, I think there is something more important about him often overlooked. He was a Greek living in Palestine who became a Roman soldier. He converted to Catholicism. In 303, Emperor Diocletian, after having the newly built church in Nicodemia destroyed, its scriptures burned and its treasury taken, put an order out against Christians. Among other things, he forbade Catholics to be in the military, and he demanded that they take part in the official pagan ceremonies.
George was in a dillema. He refused to deny his Catholic faith, even to Diocletian.
Diocletian had him and five others decapitated.
St. George is a great martyr for this alone.
Why then do I call him a witness to the age of fraud?
Lying is a Way of Life Today
One of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s last books had a list in it of his observations of life in Russia in Soviet times. One of the things that always stood out in my mind is that he said that, in Soviet Russia, “lying became a way of life.” In other words, you were expected to lie. I think in America today it is the same: you are expected not to speak your mind, but to say what people want to hear. So it is with political correctness, it is with polite conversation, and with daily life. A Catholic must not give in to this.
Lying has many forms. For instance, officious lies are those a person tells in order to avoid punishment. Fraud is a lie told to cause someone else to do something that the liar wants them to do. It can be to give money to the liar, or act differently, or give up a right based on the false belief induced by the lie. Fraud is more insidious than other lies because it induces another to act in falsity. It’s all born of the evil one, though. Jesus said He came to testify to the truth.
George Merely Spoke the Truth
George was faced with this same problem: he could have just given Diocletian lip service, said, “sure, whatever,” and gone on for another day. People today, in this age of fraud, would have applauded him for doing so, or at least thought he did nothing wrong. After all, Diocletian already killed others… George was just saving his life…
George saw it the other way around. He could not join in the pagan worship, nor could he tell Diocletian such was OK, for in doing so he would be lying. George saw his life in the reference of Jesus and what God expected of him. So George spoke the truth. Thank God!
People today talk about whether Catholics are ready to die for their faith. I think the issue is more fundamental: are they, like George, even able to tell the truth?
St. George, pray for us!
This article, St. George’s Witness To the Age of Fraud is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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