It doesn't take much for faithful Catholics and Christians in general to see storm clouds brewing on the horizon. The faith we took for granted mere decades ago is now giving way to a growing sense of unease. Though we in the West have not been subjected to the extreme persecution resulting in martyrdom, we have however been subjected to a persecution through legislation and coercion from society at large. Hobby Lobby, Brendan Eich of Mozilla and Dominican Sister Jane Dominic Laurel are just three cases where law and public opinion have had a dire effect on Christianity in our society. I don't have to go into detail about these cases and others, for those of us who do not have our heads in the sand are fully aware of what has happened and where it could possibly or will lead us.
Today, being a Christian in this country is risking ridicule, being mocked or called backward and or hateful. There has always been a certain amount of bias against us in the past though it was more or less benign, but today it seems to be reaching a fever pitch. I will agree however that probably most citizens in this country couldn't care less what our faith is as long as we don't force ourselves and our faith upon them. Live and let live as they say. Yet over the last few years there has been a faction of our society that regards any criticism of certain 'accepted' issues such as gay unions, abortion, contraception and the like as hateful speech and they have sought to silence us and for the most part they have succeeded. Not only is our speech being censored but our thoughts as well as our conscious. So where do we go from here?
The persecution and ridicule will get worse for Catholics. I believe that with my whole heart. I feel it, see it and can almost taste it. The question for us is, will we be ready for the onslaught and will we be able to hold on to our faith? To be Catholic means to have a thick skin and not let all the criticisms bother us. If we already cower in the corner when conversations turn to criticizing the Church for the above aforementioned issues how will we defend our faith when conversations turn confrontational and in your face? If we are accused of hate speech for professing certain Catholic beliefs that are unpopular will we recant? Deny? Babble some defense that we were wrong and apologize for being offensive?
Standing up for our faith in the face of criticisms, even small ones, makes us stronger. If we are embarrassed and clam up because our faith is a contradiction to the world, what will we do when stronger and more serious persecutions become commonplace? As in temptations, the more we overcome temptations to sin, the stronger we become to fight off more powerful temptations that will come in the future.
Right now, those who are bent in the direction of evil are feeling confident considering the inroads they have made over the years against Christianity and the Catholic Church. They persecuted the early Church and we being members of the Communion of Saints will also be and are persecuted. We either follow the Master or we don't.
We really can't keep silent about our faith since we have been told to go and teach all nations. That leaves us right out in the open for ridicule and mocking or worse. Try talking about the Church's teaching against contraception, or even extramarital sex and see the reaction you get, even in the company of other Catholics. Sister Jane is well aware of the consequences. Spitting and condoms thrown at us will be the least of our concerns in the coming years.
How would we handle an invasion of yelling dissenters entering our parish church during Mass? What if there are people protesting outside your church as you file in for Mass, with profanities and such? Imagine going to work and being confronted by another who knows you are a practicing Catholic, they yelling how hateful you are or a bigot? Are we ready for this and worse? I believe much worse is at hand. Am I ready? I pray to God I am. It will not be by our own strength that we resist, but by God's. We are now battling the demonic and their willing partners; people we deal with in everyday life and yes, even Catholics. It is a spiritual battle between good and evil that necessitates spiritual strength on our part and that strength only comes through prayer.
I believe that the Catholic Church will be seen as the root of all the evil and hate in the world as time unfolds. Those of us that are faithful to the Church will be seen as participants in this so-called evil and we will become a liability to anyone who associates with us.The companies that employ us will see faithful Christians as a detriment to doing business, as in the Eich case, and we may find ourselves out of a job with "Catholics need not apply" in a help wanted listing. Buying food and other necessities may be difficult as businesses will fear being boycotted for pandering to Catholic 'hate mongers'. And this will just be the beginning if we are reading the storm clouds correctly and I believe we are.
There are Catholics who feel relatively untouched by what is happening around us, however, they forget that what happens to one member of His body affects the whole body. I have read comments where there are those who pooh pooh the notion that we are being persecuted and that we have no idea what real persecution is. They are right. I don't know what extreme persecution for my faith is like, but we can open our eyes and recognize it when Christians are dying for holding on to their faith. There are many Catholics residing in cocoons with no idea what is happening on the outside. I feel pity for those that are not preparing themselves for what I believe is coming and they will be the ones that are the hardest hit when the boom falls.
It is difficult to see how our Freedom of Religion could be in the process of being decimated in a nation of Constitutional law and we would never have believed it a few decades ago yet things are moving fast in that direction. Let me very clear about one thing. I am not proclaiming the end of the world, but what I am proclaiming is the end of our life in the faith as we know it, at least in this nation and our northern neighbor, Canada.
Be prepared. How? Be holy and perfect as the heavenly Father is holy and perfect. Receive the sacraments frequently, especially the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Read scripture and above all pray for the strength to be strong in your faith when we are confronted by those seeking our destruction. Above all, do not lose heart or despair. As our Lord said,
"Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you".
If and when the time comes remember these words,
" But when they hand you over, do not worry about how
or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you
are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.…"