I’m a melancholic. And each day I seem to become more so. So maybe that explains my outlook. I believe it is time for Catholic Americans to begin preparing ourselves for martyrdom, especially our children.
I don’t pretend to know the mind of God or to understand his plan, but I think it is pretty obvious that whatever delusions we might hold, our culture isn’t going to shift away from the moral cliff we have been running straight towards anytime soon. The distance we have left before we go over isn’t great, so if we don’t brake now (and we won’t), we are going to go over (we will). Whatever hopes and prayers we have placed in God for this or that are not being answered the way we had hoped. It doesn’t matter how many abortion clinics close, this country is not going to overturn Roe v. Wade any time soon. Even if we did, there is no way all 50 states would outlaw the murder of children. Even if we attempted to amend our Constitution to protect children, 37 states would never ratify. Even if by a miracle, either thing could be accomplished, the lunatics who hate children and those who protect them are so ravenous and drunk on violence and disregard for human dignity, that they will never let up until every last drop of blood is spilled.
The same goes for every moral issue of prominence today. But I don’t mean for this to become a political post. This is to be a spiritual post.
Disciples of Christ are the only ones who remain to stand in opposition of the selfish destruction of the moral order. And the enemy hates that. He has always hated that, and he incites his colleagues to hate that too. Therefore, they have no choice but to destroy us in order to appease their guilty consciences because they believe that the voice that opposes them comes from without, from us. Of course the small still voice that speaks the truth in the silence of every heart cannot be snuffed out.
Our destruction is approaching. Our persecution will reach similar levels to those our brothers and sisters face in the Middle East today. A violent, Christ-hating regime is a violent Christ-hating regime. A regime that seeks to legally snuff out the rights of Christians is the same whether it is American liberalism or ISIS or Communism or whatever it is called in your society. We must ready ourselves. How?
- We must pray for strength. We must pray more diligently now than ever because it is our prayer, the intimate communion of our souls with God that will allow us to endure whatever it is we are to endure. If we don’t know our lover, how will we be willing to endure suffering to be true to our lover?
- We must pray for our enemies. It might be easy to see other humans as our enemies, but they are only misguided souls, being manipulated by a far greater power of hate. We must pray as Jesus did: forgive them for they know not what they do.
- We must know of the martyrs who went before us. We should take the time to read the stories of the Christian martyrs over the last 1,981 years. Their lives will inspire us and their prayers will strengthen us.
- We must see the value in our martyrdom. Martyrdom serves a purpose for the Lord. Not only is it an opportunity to show our faith in him, but it allows him to make his sacrifice visible and present to the world today. It is not we who die in martyrdom, but it is Christ, again. We must be as faithful as Christ was in his death.
- We must understand what the fruit of martyrdom is: renewal in the Church. Martyrdom is a powerful witness of discipleship. As it is said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
I don’t believe this martyrdom will happen tomorrow or even next year. But I do believe that it will happen before the end of my lifetime (I’m 27, so you do the math). If it doesn’t I will praise God for answering our prayers in shifting our culture, because that is the only way this martyrdom will be avoided.
In the meantime, I will probably start writing more about the stories of the martyrs for our own edification and to prepare ourselves to give up our lives for the Gospel.