Thursday, October 27, 2011

Persecution Can Lead to Joy

I'm feeling validated today. Several websites I follow are finally starting to post articles about the abuse of the First amendment and persecution of the Catholic and Christian faiths.  They waited until the puss was oozing out of the sore to talk about it, but at least the USCCB via the leadership of Archbishop Dolan, and the bishops in Illinois are finally starting to fight back.  Checkout Our Sunday Visitor for a brief review.  Of course they speak of persecution as just starting.  Talk about having a head in the sand.

Nobody likes to whine, and nobody wants to argue the slippery slope.  But you see, thoughts become words, words become actions...  When I think, "Hey, consenting adults can do what they want,"  what I'm saying is that actions don't have consequences.  That is obviously a false statement. 

If I say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,"  I'm failing to see the imminent threat.   This is why oppressors will claim that expressing our religious beliefs is hate speech.  Bullying programs now focus on acceptance of GLBTG agenda.  People have been bullied for a long time.  Are you a bully if you tell a lesbian parent that painting her son's toenails pink is a bad thing to do?  (

How do we combat persecution?  One, pray. Two, call it what it is.  Three, be joyful in faith, and expect others believe as well.  I've spoken before about the inherent discrimination that is encourage by the separatist thinking of diversity trainers and multicultural enthusiasts.  Their primary goal seems to be to tell Catholics and Christians to shut up and take it.  Even Catholic University is being sued by Muslim students who expect to be given a Christ-free place to pray.  On a Catholic campus.  With Catholic in the name of the school.  If they wanted a Christ-free place to worship, perhaps they should not have chosen a Catholic school.

Since I teach at a state run university, I used to be silent and kind of apologetic about my beliefs.  Now, in conversations with my students, I will make natural references to my life, and sometimes these include a reference to something religious.  For example, when a student asked how my weekend was, I said, " There's this beautiful little girl named Molly who colored a picture for me during Mass on Sunday.  Here, I have it in my purse."

This is not an in your face defense of religion.  It is simply a statement that it is a part of my life, and gives me joy. My students know I'm a baby stalker.  (That's what my son calls me.)  I see a baby, and I am immediately on a mission to get that child to give me a smile.  I have the same mission with the young adults I teach.  I want them to smile.  I want them to laugh.  I don't want them sitting in my class trying to figure out what my agenda is.  I want them to know I accept them, warts and all, and pray for their well-being.

I can do all of that with out checking my faith at the door. In fact, I do it better when I don't check my faith at the door. Pope Benedict XVI once said, "Each of us is the result of a thought of God.  Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary."  Sometimes when faced with a troubled student, or a difficult colleague, I may ask God, "What were you thinking?" But they are probably asking the same question about me.

I accept them, but I don't want to celebrate their warts.  We are all fallen creatures, but legislating and protecting and glorifying sin only hurts the sinner.  So I intend to be joyful in this time of persecution.  I will love the sinner and hate the sin.  God willing, and with God's help.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Slow and Steady Apocalypse

I have friends and relatives who think that the world is facing a minor chastisement by God.  In the course of this minor chastisement, at least a third of the world's population will disappear.  I know that many people would be bothered that 1/3 of the population dying would be considered a 'minor' chastisement.  But for these believers, it is significantly fewer people than, say, were killed when Noah and his family were the only survivors.

The who, what, and where of such punishment is the subject of news stories and private blogs all over the place.  So is the why.  We will be punished for failing to follow God's word, for a lack of faith, for tinkering with life to preserve the breath of those who are ready to die, and killing those who are ready to breathe.  We will be punished for our pettiness in dealing with others.  We will be punished for thinking about our hatred of others, rather than our love of neighbor, and our need for mercy.  We will be punished, and should be for all of the above, as well as our sins of omission.  I see a man or woman walking down the street, carrying groceries, children, or simply struggling to walk, and I keep driving with my empty minivan, because, you know, they could hurt me.  My lack of care for my fellow man is at the center for why I will be punished.  I deserve it.  I can take it.

It's the HOW of this that is my center of speculation.  Sometimes I read blogs and articles that seem to reflect a notion that the coming chastisement, which I do not doubt is coming, will come in some big way.  Comets will crash to earth.  Earthquakes will devour rivers and mountains and whole populations.  Storms will get wild and kill willy-nilly.  Fire, floods, hail, plagues...

It seems to me more likely that God will try to show us, in his mercy, that our punishments will be consummate with our crimes.  We didn't fall into sin over night.  We will descend into our punishment with an equal pace.  ---Disclaimer:  I am no prophet.  I am simply talking about what I believe, knowing God in His mercy will give us as much time as possible to turn ourselves toward Him.

My last post was about parish festivals and paranoia, but it was also about an expectation of vain self-centeredness.  If you, like me, have always been a bit preoccupied with how white your teeth are, how tan you skin is, how perfect your hair color, how skillfully applied your make-up, then you know that the perfect punishment would be the slowly apparent inability to counteract the aging process.  You may even find that the remedies you've used to preserve youth will accelerate your aging.  Wouldn't that be a perfect punishment?

What if you have always allowed abortion to continue through omission?  What if you never spoke up when you encountered a friend or colleague who was about to have an abortion?  What if you were a politician who voted for abortion rights, while being 'personally pro-life'?  Your slow, quiet, legislative support would be matched by what kind of punishment?  Maybe you would simply find yourself sterile.  Maybe you would have no grandchildren.  Maybe you would be lied to about your culpability in the culture of death as you blithely assumed you were being saved by the prayers and counseling of a priest who wanted to use your influence, rather than save your immortal soul.

I think we are in the midst of a slow drip of chastisement.  We didn't get here with 50,000,000 babies killed in a single nuclear attack.  We got here with one woman at a time choosing to quietly go to a clinic and convince herself that the baby didn't really exist yet, and her finances were inadequate to raise the child anyway.  It's been a slow drip of sin.  It will be a slow drip of punishment.

We are seeing it now.  Good faithful people are finding themselves infertile.  Because they are strong, prayerful, and faithful believers, God steers them to adopt the children who would be otherwise killed.  In this respect, God's mercy is both painful and healing.

Maybe that is what we can expect.  God's mercy will be painful and healing.  Kind of like when you get a bad burn, you will hurt for a while.  It may even hurt to the point that you can't imagine being able to tolerate the pain much longer.  In the end, you will survive the pain, live with the scars, and know that you shouldn't play with fire.