Life for a faithful Catholic would be so much easier if we didn't buck the system. Imagine just going with the flow of the world and keeping to ourselves when we see immoral acts being committed around us and keeping our thoughts locked in our brains. Traditional marriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia? Meh, let them have it if they want we don't have to participate. Free country right? We can have our faith and live it as we see fit and let all others do what they desire. We can believe what we want, think what we want and just let others do the same. Oh the peace that would ensue. We could just be another face in the crowd. Sounds lovely and it does sound enticing doesn't it, if it were reality.
The reality is that we are Catholic and we are to be a light to the world. Our light cannot be hidden under a bushel basket no matter how much we want to get along. Even if we didn't open our mouths and voice our beliefs, our being a faithful Catholic exposes us to the world. It's gotten to the point that being known as a practicing Catholic puts you in a box labeled intolerant, hateful, homophobe, unjust, backward and an enemy to the common good.
I'm fortunate to have a tolerant group at work. The friends I have at work know I'm Catholic and other than a bit of poking fun here and there, it's never gone beyond that and it always allows me to explain the Catholic position on issues brought up. But what has happened in our society however is that no longer can we explain our beliefs without at least a fair amount of derision coming from those that oppose our faith. To those who oppose us there is no explaining or defense for what they believe is hateful. Being faithful Catholics is tantamount to being hateful for defending what the Church teaches that is contrary to what secular society is willing to accept.
Fear of ridicule or worse drives many Catholics to silence and even denial in some cases, of what they know in their hearts as the truth. One young man I knew a few years ago had a look of incredulity on his face when he found out through a discussion I had with him that I actually believed in God, in the miracles wrought in scripture and about my held beliefs on a real heaven and hell. He just could not believe anyone could still hold such stories as true. His face told me all I needed to know: I was an archeological fossil in the modern age. He was in his last year in college and he was taught all he needed to know; that belief in God was a vestige of age old superstition and science(his major) would eventually eradicate my belief in myths. What was left unsaid to me was this: be careful or the world will leave you behind and you'll suffer for it. hpThere was a comfort in that.
Unlike the ancient exile to Babylon forced on the Hebrews and faced with death in a fiery furnace for non-denial of their faith in God, today Babylon has come to us and is trying to force us out of its society. Catholics are no longer wanted in our societies and the faster we are made to shut up about our faith the better off our world will be.
The Church teaches of a better world and a better life and it is rejected. There are those who think our, or my warning of the present and coming persecutions is mere hyperbole but I submit it is they that are lukewarm in the faith, they that oppose the Church on abortion, gay unions, euthanasia etc., and still call themselves Catholic who see no persecution. Why would they be persecuted? If you are Catholic and accept world opinion rather than Church teachings then you are right. You are not persecuted. Open your mouth and preach the Gospel as given to us from the Church and watch what happens.Dare to oppose society's lies on the above issues and truly live life as a Catholic and see what happens.
We all want to live peacefully with each other but what are we willing to pay for that peace? Is there a price that we are unwilling to pay or are all options on the table? Make no mistake. We are at war and our weapons are faith and love. Not very intimidating we may say but it was enough to win our salvation if we want it. Souls are what is at stake here in this war, this battle fought in our world. We can keep silent and hide in our bunkers or we can take up our weapons and speak the truth no matter the consequences and consequences there are and will be. The war is won but it is how we conduct ourselves in the battles we face that will determine our standing in God's sight when the crowns of victory are handed out.
Paul and all the apostles dove headlong into a pagan society bent on their destruction in order to preach and teach the truth. They knew their end in this world but were still joyful that they were to suffer for Christ. Our time has come. The new evangelization is our call to arms today in this neo-pagan world. We had better be ready to stand up for our faith and Church. This is the Catholic reality for the faithful among us. I once asked someone if there was anything they would be willing to give up their life and die for and the hesitation in their response told what I needed to know. Do we have anything for which we are ready to sacrifice our lives? The time is coming where we better have a ready answer.