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Tribulation Times

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August 25, 2016 

(Mat 5:10-12) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Comfort Catholicism Has to Go; It is Time to Prepare for Persecution by Msgr. Charles Pope


Most of Our World is Neo-Pagan- Have we had Enough?

: Putting God’s Will First by Fr. Joseph Esper

Anyone who thinks Jesus was merely a nice, likeable fellow, always smiling, saying nice things, and never making demands on anyone, needs to look carefully at the Gospel of Luke (12:49-53). Our Lord speaks of setting the world on fire in a spiritually painful way, breaking up families and bringing controversy and religious division. This is the nature of truth, which confronts us, convicts us, and often provokes a response of either grateful love or angry rejection. The prophet Jeremiah (38:4-6, 8-10) experienced this firsthand and the Letter to the Hebrews (12:1-4)—reminds us how Jesus Himself suffered—urges us to persevere, and not grow weary and lose heart. A stark choice is presented to us. We can go along with the crowd and take the path of least resistance, only to find ourselves on the broad and easy way that leads to hell, or we can follow the painful but joy-filled path of self-surrender and sacrifice that leads to the Kingdom of God. There are no other possibilities, and there are no shortcuts.

It is a wonderful thing if our families and loved ones also cherish and practice the Catholic Faith—and if that’s the case, we should certainly give thanks to God and count our blessings. Sadly, however, the situation is often quite different. Many families today settle for a bland and mediocre experience of religion; some have little or no religious commitment at all, and still others are even fiercely divided over religious issues. Throughout the world—even here in the United States—some Christians still suffer severely at the hands of radical Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and even nominal Christians; by putting Jesus first in their lives, they risk being insulted, rejected, disinherited, persecuted, and even killed. If we take our faith seriously, we too may be misunderstood, scorned, laughed at, not taken seriously, or blamed for causing trouble. A sincere and committed practice of our Catholic Faith is no longer politically correct, and we are even seeing increasingly ominous signs of a religious persecution coming over the next few years to the United States—something which previously would have been unthinkable.

If we were in John’s situation, what would we do? Would we be willing to give up almost everything—family, wealth, and home—in order to know and follow Jesus? Thankfully, we don’t have to do anything quite that radical—at least not yet—but the Lord does expect us to make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to live out our faith. This might be something as simple as making the Sign of the Cross and saying the Grace before Meals in a restaurant while others stare at us, or as difficult as letting a lifelong friendship come to an end because we refuse to compromise our moral and religious values. We may need to miss out on fun and fellowship because we refuse to participate in morally-objectionable forms of entertainment, and we may find ourselves all alone in defending unpopular but unchanging teachings of the Church. These and other sacrifices may be difficult and painful, but the Lord will be with us, sustaining us and giving us a deep inner peace. In all things, we must pray for the Holy Spirit’s strength and guidance and strive to put God’s Will first—for only in this way will we remain true to Jesus, and one day be found worthy of entering His Kingdom.

RELATED: What's it like to be a persecuted Christian? This exhibit shows you

COMMENTARY: May the Persecuted Find Comfort

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

9. Keep a firm hold of the blessed gladdening sorrow of holy compunction, and do not stop working at it until it raises you high above the things of this world, and presents you pure to Christ.

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