Tuesday, October 30, 2007

May you live in interesting times!

I love this line, which is apparently from an ancient Chinese curse. (I have neither the time nor the inclination to verify the veracity of this claim, readers?)

The thought goes that 'interesting times' will not be quiet times. There is going to be a great deal going on, and there will not be much rest available: everything is up for grabs.

I think, for example, of the American Civil War, the Reformation, the Barbarian Invasions, as periods in history that were 'interesting' to say the least.

Are we entering another?

What brings this up, you ask? It was stirred for me by today's First Reading from Mass, (Romans 8:18-25), which begins thus:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothingcompared with the glory to be revealed for us.For creation awaits with eager expectationthe revelation of the children of God;

In response, I offered the Mass for Persecuted Christians to go with this reading. I wonder if we are moving into a period of outright persecution for the Church. Some could already say that we are living in a time of implicit persecution, but will it get worse? Are we heading for a time of martyrdom, and not just white, not even green martyrdom (financial penalties), but down and dirty, outright red martyrdom where to profess faith in Christ is to meet him face to face?

The cynic in me wonders if this would be all bad. Afterall, the Church usually flourishes during periods of persecution and hatred. Sure, we may loose members as there was also Apostasy (denying the faith during periods of duress) during the Persecutions under Domition and Diocletian. But there were also wonderful heros during those times, as one need not search any further than the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

Christ has raised up for us wonderful examples already in John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and is currently raising up new witnesses.

So, the question continues to echo through time from Our Lord, himself: "Do you also want to leave?" Will any answer with Simon Peter: "Lord, to whom else shall we go? We have come to know and to believe that you have the words of Eternal Life!"


Adoro te Devote said...

My quote: "The glory of God is man fully alive!" ~ St. Iraneus

And one by JP2 on my blog. And several other ones in my head.

And you know, my post today is more or less about martyrdom...it seems to be a current theme.

I do think we are moving into a time of actual red martyrdom, and part of the reason I believe this is because most people deny that it could happen.

It's happening in the Sudan. It's happening in China. And with the increasing secularization in Canada and the US, well...it's coming around.

I used to say that we won't see it in our lifetimes, but now I'm not so sure. It will be political; we'll get the leadership our country deserves, those in power will suppress the rest in the name of "tolerance" and the Church will lose her tax-exempt status. That will be the first thing. And one by one, churches will close.

Finally, we'll lose all "our" property and Mass will happen "underground", not in churches anymore. Or if we are in churches, there will be interruptions by vandals, there will be harassment by authorities, and there will be slayings that will be ignored or denied by the reigning regime.

Because that's what will happen...our government will warp into a "regime".

That's my vision of the future, and I don't like it one bit, but that's where we're headed.

I have to wonder about what Alexis de Tocqueville would say about America in our current times?

Adoro te Devote said...

OH, sorry, forgot to make a point; man is not fully alive until he realizes self-sacrificing love and makes the ultimate sacrifice. And that's why the Church flourishes under persecution; because that is the image of Jesus Christ.

uncle jim said...

gee i wish i'd read you guys before i wrote a post for tomorrow about martyrdom ... guess it is a thought the Lord is putting on a lot of people's minds.