Public execution of Polish priests and civilians by Nazis
in Bydgoszcz's Old Market Square on 9 September 1939.
Ready for the storm? Expecting a big rescue ASAP right after that storm? How about a Rapture instead?
It never fails, I can't get into the prophecies of doom and gloom. I can listen to reasoned observation on what is happening in the world, the things we all can see if we look honestly, and by that I mean humbly. No doubt we live in perilous times, but as one Protestant minister I just happened to come across on television said, "We must repent!" His Bible study - sermon was practical, and deeply moving. It was exactly what Christians need to do - because 'faith' - or rather 'Truth has dwindled among the sons of men, falsehood they speak one to another, with lying lips, with a false heart.' We know and need to acknowledge these things - to stand firm.
I've been thinking of the attitude Catholics maybe should strive for today ... it's the opposite of what, 'the false prophets who exploit the fear and hopelessness' are saying.
First and foremost - I think it is a mistake to run and hide - although some may want to do that, and even need to do that - to do what is best for their families and so on. Yet, not everyone can do that, therefore, staying 'in place' seems to me to be the more Christian thing to do, for those who are able and have no other choice. The so-called 'Benedictine option' leaves a lot of people out in the cold. (If there is any lesson to be learned from Norcia - it just may be that. The perfect monastery, the perfect liturgy, the perfect life ... and now everyone is out in the cold, so to speak.)
Staying in place ...
The 'ordinary people of the streets' have always done that. They remained faithful through Vatican Councils, liturgical changes, societal changes, through scandal and sometimes doing so with social acceptance. Today, they continue to persevere amid dominate secularization and even apostasy. They are ordinary people in ordinary time worshiping God in ordinary form - they do not need to flee to extraordinary forms of life, living aloof from the riff-raff.
Recent history offers numerous examples of ordinary Christians staying in place.
The Catholics in the Middle East have stayed in place - amid bloody persecution. The Catholics in China have done that. The Catholics in the Soviet Union did that. Just think, Pope St. John Paul II came from Poland, a Communist country. The Polish Church lived through Nazi brutality and persecution, as well as Soviet repression. Vocations flowered under oppression, the faith grew strong and fervent under such anti-Christ-anti-Catholic propaganda and persecution.
So what is wrong with Catholics in the United States that everyone is so bent out of shape with the prospect of looming religious discrimination and persecution on the horizon? Prophecies claiming disaster upon disaster, signs and portents, financial collapse ... gossip and fear mongering. I appreciate what the Holy Father said yesterday:
"No tyranny finds support without tapping into our fears," Francis said. "This is key. Hence, all tyranny is terrorist. And when this terror -- which was sown in the peripheries, with the massacres, looting, oppression and injustice -- explodes in centers with different forms of violence, even hateful and cowardly attacks, citizens who still retain some rights are tempted to the false security of physical or social walls.
"Walls that enclose some and banish others. Walled citizens, terrified on one side, excluded, exiled, and still more terrified on the other. Is that the life that our Father God wants for their children?
"Dear brothers and sisters -- all walls fall. All of them. Do not be fooled." - SourceDo not be fooled.
This is what I think may be a better option, or something ordinary people might aspire to, and even prepare themselves for ...
Repent, every day. Seek God and his will. 'Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help.'
What if real religious oppression comes, what if real persecution comes?
The Gospel says: "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you ..."
"To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back."
"Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles" Go with them, one, two miles, or as far as they want you to go - as far as you can - without compromising your faith.
"If anyone wants to go to law with you over" your business, or your house, or your possessions, or your income - let them take your life as well - and give thanks. Forgive them, thank them and promise to pray for them.
Do not curse them.
I think I want to pray for that grace, that generosity, to live in such a way now, that I might obtain that grace, rather than heaping insults and condemnations upon those who harbor hatred for the faith.
As Pope Francis said, to give one's life doesn't only consist in being killed, but rather, “to give one's life, to have the spirit of a martyrdom, is to surrender it in duty, in silence, in prayer, in the fulfillment of duty; in this silence of everyday life; to give one's life little by little.”
It seems to me that is the correct preparation for martyrdom 'in place'.
Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko