A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Under attack

Today’s readings vividly depict the vicious antagonism often suffered by people of faith, beginning with the “tough guy” poetry of Isaiah (Is. 50:4-9a):

I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

And then (Mt. 26:14-25), there is our Lord’s poignant witness to intimate treachery.

"He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.”

Many of us feel that, if push came to shove, we would stand up to persecution and even die for Christ. Some of us in our heart of hearts, however, worry that we are “wusses” and fear that we would not be able to stand up against serious persecution.

Sadly, persecution is an increasingly real phenomenon as even in “civilized” countries Christians are being criminally investigated and charged for honestly expressing mainstream Christian teaching. Even in our daily lives we may too often let our Christian beliefs cower in the face of social pressure or an activist bully.

As a film character once asked, “What can men do against such reckless hate?”

The answer is not a paranoid or "bunker" mentality (and "scorched earth" responses are generally ineffective tactics for evangelization).

The answer is focus and grace: focus on Christ and be filled with his grace.

Of course, we should be as prudent and as strong as we can: but ultimately only God’s grace can preserve us.

Our first reaction to every fear, every worry, every attack, and every betrayal must be to go deeper into Christ.

It is very much like the story of Peter in the storm: when he focused on the wind and the waves, he sank; but as long as he kept his gaze fixed on Christ, he could literally walk on water.

Some of us are “tough guys,” some of us are not, but no matter what we may fear or what we may suffer, in and through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we are eternally indomitable.