Persecution, Suffering

Christian Gratitude (posted on The Catholic Thing, to which I highly recommend you subscribe)
. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2020

Some years ago, during a particularly dark and troubling time, an American Jew living abroad wrote to his Catholic friend in the States to commiserate: “Looking across the seas at my native land, I see that the barbarians have taken over everything. You are lucky: for you, despair is a sin.”

Between the resurgent COVID closings, the long-awaited-but-still-painful McCarrick Report, and the post-election fevers to which we are daily subjected, things have been a bit of a slog lately. I have thought to myself more than once that we Catholics really are lucky that despair is a sin. At times like this, a little perspective and a little humor go a long way.

The truth is that things have been a bit of a slog since round about the third chapter of Genesis, when our ancestral orchard thieves pilfered their way out of Eden and left the rest of us in the lurch. The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Such resignation in the face of a fallen world might not be despair, but it is a close cousin to it.

Sometimes humor can show us the line between resignation and despair. Pope John Paul II once managed to slam his fingers in a car door. Someone near to him heard him mumble under his breath: “Thank you, Lord, for loving me in this way.” That prayer has been one of my favorites since I first heard the story, not least because it is the only prayer I know that can be prayed, simultaneously, with equal measures of piety and sarcasm.

When Our Lord bestowed the blessing of a minor hardship upon St. Teresa of Avila (she fell in the mud), the Carmelite famously informed the Lord of the Universe, “If this is how you treat your friends, it is no wonder You have so few!”

There is love in that sort of humorous rebuke. The bonds of friendship do not only permit such rebukes, within the bonds of friendship such barbs are a sign of true intimacy and even delight. It is a sign of a strong friendship when one can poke fun at the other and the result is the strengthening of the friendship rather than its dissolution.

Not everything is a big joke, of course. The world is in a bad way. The world is filled with suffering. There are more than enough reasons to feel betrayed and cynical and angry. Hope doesn’t grow on trees. And just like that, we’re back at Ecclesiastes again: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

The beginning of trust in the providence of God begins with the loss of our sense of control. In this sense, being resigned to the futility of human efforts in the face of the world’s difficulties is close to despair, but also the beginning of the way to hope. The realization that we are not in control, that we are not gods, is decisive. We should be grateful that we are not responsible for saving this broken and miserable world. If its salvation were up to us, the world would be utterly without hope.

As I say, it has been this way since the beginning – or just about the beginning. When Adam and Eve sinned, their punishment was suffering and toil and death. Their punishment was just. But the justice of their punishment was also a sign of God’s mercy.

Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil! Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever?

The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.

Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden as just punishment for their sin, but also so that they would not remain in this fallen state forever. Death is the path God gives us to escape this vale of tears. Grace was there in the Garden, even at the Fall. Grace was there in Gethsemane and there on Calvary. God’s grace was not just present, but actively transforming the worst of the devil’s manipulations and the most heinous of our sins into the very means of our salvation. What is the line between resignation and despair, between abandoning our pride and losing hope? The dividing line is God’s own providence.

We will suffer. We will die. And because we know that the very worst calamities that could ever befall us are nothing less than opportunities for God to pour out his grace and mercy on the world: in all things God works for the good of those who love him.

I can think of no thought more comforting than that. I can think of no greater reason to be grateful. No greater reason to exclaim: “Thank you, Lord, for loving us in this way.”

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The lockdowns are started again. I live in Michigan and our governor is up to her usual shenanigans. But the whole lockdown mentality seems not so much to be about health but about bigger goals. Tucker lays it out pretty well here and we should be alarmed. So much going on, so many issues to learn about and fight. The virus hysteria, the skewed election, the McCarrick Report, etc

Stay strong, keep the course, trust God, live in the heart of the Church, be counter-cultural, speak out, pray and all the other good things people of goodwill should be doing. This is far from over! We need to hunker down for the long haul.

Sorry about the sizing of the video. Couldn’t figure out how to reduce the size of a Rumble video.

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This is the truth that has been ignored by the mainstream media and it’s a shame. The conversion of the magnificent Hagia Sophia church into a mosque is a disgrace and then international tragedy on many levels. I agree with this video completely.

And interestingly enough, this video is made by a Jewish commentator from Israel, not a Christian.

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Another Good Priest Removed: What a Shame!

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It seems like the Sadducees and Pharisees of old, the clericalists and religious leaders of their day, are again killing the prophets and silencing the voices in the wilderness. Bishop Timothy Doherty (765-742-0275) removed Father Ted Rothrock, of Carmel, IN for posting in his bulletin the truth about the social situation today. For Fr. Ted’s comments, […]

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8 Concrete ways parishes can support persecuted Christians MAJDI FATHI | NurPhoto | AFP From Aletia (highly recommended) Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP | Jan 07, 2020 From a small gesture you can do single-handedly, to something that will take some networking, these are ways we can help our brothers and sisters in so much need. A […]

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I have been telling my wife and kids and others — that the big persecution coming to Christians will be from the militant Gay Totalitarianism. I am not hateful of gays — to the contrary, I love them like everyone else. Do I oppose the Gay Lifestyle? Yes. I also oppose other aberrant and perverted […]

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The World’s 50 Most Anti-Christian Countries

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Is anyone surprised that the majority of these anti-Christian countries are Islamic? Click on map below for larger image. This was published by Ignatius Press’ Catholic World Report. Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2018 / 11:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There are more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide according to the 2018 World Watch List, Open […]

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An Excellent Summary of Christianity in China, and What in the World Is the Pope Doing?

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Janet and I have been to China. We attended Mass there and talked to people about the situation for believers. It is a sad situation and the real believers and the priests loyal to Rome are underground. There is also a political “church” which is loyal to and controlled by the Communists in Beijing. This […]

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A Look at the World’s 50 Most Anti-Christian Countries

January 27, 2018

Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2018 / 11:55 am (CNA/EWTN News). There are more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide according to the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors USA’s annual ranking of the 50 worst countries for violence and persecution against Christians. The report found that one in twelve Christians worldwide are victims of violent persecution. […]

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Devastation of Christian Towns In Iraq by ISIS – Short Video

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A visit to the Chaldean Christian town of Karemlash, 9 miles from Mosul, liberated from ISIS by Iraqi and Kurdish forces in November 2016. I sure hope and pray the world wakes up and stops this carnage. I am glad President Trump has promised – and is doing something already to end this.

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Forty Frozen Martyrs – we honor them today March 10

March 9, 2017

In my talk Swimming Upstream I usually tell the story of 40 Roman soldiers who chose to freeze naked on a frozen lake in 320 AD rather than deny Jesus Christ. St. Basil, Doctor of the Church, told of the heroic martyrdom of 40 soldiers in a homily. They had been executed fifty years before […]

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Christian Refugees Merit Priority Status

February 1, 2017

Bill Donohue comments on the urgent need to give priority status to persecuted Christian refugees. (sorry for the graphic images, but someone has to show and tell what is going on with Muslim persecution of Christians) In November 2015, President Barack Obama told a G20 press conference that proposals to give priority status to Christian […]

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‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian

January 12, 2017

Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List. Jeremy Weber  Posted in Christianity Today   1/11/2017 09:00AM For the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high. But the primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival: ethnic nationalism. Thus, Asia increasingly merits […]

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Thanks to Assad and Putin…

December 25, 2016

Are you against Syrian President Bashar Assad like Obama and Hilary are? Thanks to Putin/Assad Catholics in Aleppo have Christmas Mass 1st time in 5 years! Assad has always supported and protected the Christians. How can our country get it so wrong? Read more HERE.

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