Many days as part of my prayer, I read about the saints… the holy men and women of the past. I’m so intrigued and impressed by their lives…their holiness and sacrifice, their commitment to the Lord, how they overcame fear in order to follow Christ. I want to be like them. I ask them to pray for me. Yet, I realize there is a big gap between those saints and martyrs who have given all for the Lord… and me. It’s a bit like watching a holy movie on TV and marveling at the heroic actions of the saints while I’m eating popcorn and lounging on the couch….”Judy, bring more popcorn, the story is really getting good.”
I can find myself anxious about the state of our country and the world…where is all this leading…. are we going to be able to live our lives in safety and security with the increase in violence, the attacks against our laws, against Christian truths, against the sanctity of life, against marriage, against basic common sense… wow, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Supreme Court nominee attacked for her Catholic faith…. on and on.
In some parts of the world today, the fight for Christianity is not in the media and in the courts, it’s in the “arena”. Today there are men and women giving their very life for Christ.
“The 20th century has produced double the number of Christian martyrs [than] all the previous 19 centuries put together.”(Pope John Paul II Commission on Martyrdom) Today it’s often claimed that 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their religion. That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour. Most of us remember the image of 21 Egyptian Christians men in bright orange jumpsuits kneeling before a line of black-clad and masked Islamic State militants…. the militants would draw their long knives and ritually behead each of the men.
The truth is two thirds of the 2.3 billion Christians in the world today live in dangerous neighborhoods. They are often poor, part of cultural minorities, and they are at risk.
So, where does this leave me… where does this leave us? What are you and I to do about this? Well, I think we need to do our duty. We need to fulfill the mission that the Lord has given us….as parents, grandparents, teachers, workers, citizens, as Christian men and women, as members of the Catholic church and our community. I need to pray every day and be open to hearing and obeying the Lord. If I’m not able to “hear and obey” the Lord today in my current circumstances, I’m not going to be able to stand when the pressure gets turned up higher. The great saint and martyr St. Thomas Moore, said “the ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” Don’t minimize doing our duty. If we do our duty to love and serve the Lord today, then we will be ready for tomorrow, no matter what it brings.
So, let’s desire to be saints, to seek to live fully for Christ, and all will be well with our soul.