Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Gift of Persecution

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that “every generation needs a revolution,” arguing revolution was necessary to keep democratic principles alive. A similar argument can be made for the Catholic Church - periodic persecution is necessary for Her long-term survival.
As Catholics still free to practice our Faith, we weep for our brothers and sisters throughout the world who face suffering and persecution. However, at the same time we also rejoice for them – those who adhere to Catholicism in the face of persecution are stronger and better Catholics for the trials they face. The victims of persecution are a beacon to non-Catholics open to truth, and an inspiration to lukewarm souls to live out their faith more fervently.
We, like our brethren, face persecution in the near future. The first symptom of the coming persecution is going to be dealing with the effects of the HHS mandate. If current trends continue, the HHS mandate is only the harbinger of a systematic persecution of Catholicism. Cardinal George of Chicago has even predicted that his successor will be martyred within two generations.
But the coming persecution will not crush the Catholic Church; trials and persecutions are beneficial to Catholicism in the long run. She has stood resolute for two thousand years against the assaults of the devil; this coming persecution will not faze Her.
Persecution will mean that the number of people who call themselves Catholic will decrease, perhaps dramatically. But those who remain faithful will be stronger, more devoted followers to the call and message of Christ.
As Catholics, we must steel ourselves for the coming combat against the foes of the Church, and accept this coming persecution as an opportunity to grow in holiness. May this coming persecution be not just a trial for us and for the Faith, but also a gift.

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