Those of you following me on Facebook know that I’m trying to put a brave face on the my reaction to the elections. And, I really, really think it’s important that we “Be Not Afraid”! Fear is a worse enemy than those whom we fear. And, religious persecution does make saints. It also makes apostates.
Reading this article** today makes me think there is a danger of trying to turn our upcoming reality into a sort of celebration. (I’m willing to accept that maybe I misunderstand the point of Scalia’s real feelings about the prospect of persecution, and I do very much agree with the most essential points of her.) However, I am wary of celebrating a situation that will go to show those GOP idolators.
For all my brave talk, here are some of the things facing us which I do not look forward to — not one bit. This includes the following (and there’s probably more my mind hasn’t come up with yet):
1. Seeing [my?] children suffer.
2. Seeing the elderly [in my family?] suffer.
3. Seeing holy priests [in my family?] suffer.
4. Seeing any innocent person suffer — friends, family, or strangers.
5. Testing the limits of my faith. I know just enough about my weakness to be scared witless. (Or something “itless.”) I know in my weakness, He is strong. But there is some serious life and soul changing I have to do so that these don’t just become pretty words to me.
6. Betrayal. The faithful are going to be on the receiving end of betrayals from friends and family. I’m not as concerned about what the government is going to do to me, but this is going to hurt and hurt BAD.
7. Seeing people whom I’ve considered rocks and pillars of faith crumble under pressure.
8. Possibly being the one to crumble under pressure.
9. I once thought I could “be a martyr if they killed me quick,” but I’m pretty sure the white martyrdom we’re looking forward to ain’t gonna go that way, though the changes are gonna come fast.
10. Did I mention I’m allergical to painness? (I’d like to thank my four-year-old for this formulation. She told she was “allergical to hotness” over her oatmeal the other day.)
(And, yes, points 8-10 could be rolled into one, but no one makes 8-point lists. No one does.)
Suffering is all romantic-like for those of us brought up on the lives of the martyrs and the saints. But, we also need to recognize that we have not all been completely immune to the culture which brought us this hellish mess. It has made us weak in ways we may not quite be aware.
Now, this is not a call to fear and despair. Far from it. It’s a call to prayer. It’s a call to sober thinking. We do not want to be glib about suffering being the stuff of holiness. It is. But we need to face the fact that suffering is, well, suffering. We need to get our souls clean through confession and get strong through the Sacraments and pray that we do not fall away in the time of testing.
On the other paw, this will make visible the battles constantly being waged against us and the Enemy we cannot see, the one about whom we too often forget to be vigilant. It is a severe mercy — but it is both those — severe and mercy.
**Update** — To my comment at the linked posted above, Elizabeth responded:
[You’re completely right – it’s going to be very hard. But I am so relieved that we’re finally moving past the illusion that everything is reversible if the political stratagems are just right. I know how hard it’s going to be. It’s going to be awful. Please don’t translate relief as dancing -admin]
Great, we’re on the same page. I guess I was just crashed with reality after all my pep talking, and saw this post with different eyes. I see a lot of “oh it’s going to be so good for the Church and the faithful” on FB. I just shudder to think of getting too glib about everything, which would make hard realities even harder.