The Church of martyrs.
Sunday evening, 60 Minutes Bob Simon did a story on the persecution of the Coptic Church in Egypt. One of the Bishops interviewed said that Egyptian Christians have always been persecuted and the Church has always had martyrs. He said that his flock have always expected suffering and persecution - in every age.*
We Catholics today seem to worry about chastisements and persecutions and martyrdom as something to fear and fight against. Many search scriptures and accounts of private revelations and locutions for signs and warnings - attempting to read the signs of the times. Some people have lived their entire lives in expectation of the warning and chastisement. Some people prepare and stockpile food and ammunition to defend themselves when the Global economy collapses. The worst is when we seek out every new mystic and locutionist who claims to have messages from God - sometimes it is difficult to see the difference between these people and nonbelievers when they consult mediums and psychics.
However, we can know chastisements and corrections are coming on our own, as John of the Cross makes clear:
"And likewise supernatural events and happenings may be known, in
their causes, in matters concerning Divine Providence, which deals most
justly and surely as is required by their good or evil causes as
regards the sons of men. For one may know by natural means that such or
such a person, or such or such a city, or some other place, is in such
or such necessity, or has reached such or such a point, so that God,
according to His providence and justice, must deal with such a person
or thing in the way required by its cause, and in the way that is
fitting for it, whether by means of punishment or of reward, as the
cause merits. And then one can say: At such a time God will give you
this, or will do this, or that will come to pass, of a surety.'" - Ascent of Mt. Carmel
Remember, persons claiming locutions can be deluded, even unconsciously articulating details they have read about or heard in the course of their lifetime. John of the Cross also points out that things foretold do not always happen as we expect.
God desires not that we should wish for such visions, since He makes it possible for us to be deceived by them in so many ways.
Christ promised not to leave us orphans and to be with us - the Church - until the end of time. Trust him.Some spiritual persons convince themselves that their curiosity to know of certain things through supernatural means is good because God sometimes answers these petitions. They think this conduct is good and pleasing to God because he responds to their urgent request. Yet the truth is that, regardless of God's reply, such behavior is neither good nor pleasing to God. Rather he is displeased; not only displeased but frequently angered and deeply offended." - Ascent Bk II, - Chapter 21
Let us pray for those suffering
and the new martyrs.
*The early years of the Church’s existence in Egypt were marked by relative peace. Later, the Church experienced twenty-one waves of persecution, with the fiercest one under the reign of Emperor Diocletian. During his reign, the Church offered countless martyrs – by some estimates between 500,000 and one million. For this reason, the Coptic Calendar begins in 284 A.D. , the first year of Diocletian’s rule, and is based on the year of the martyrs (Anno Martyri – A.M.). For example, the year 2010 – 2010 corresponds to 1727 A.M. - Source