Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

6/10/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells

No matter how difficult it may become, we need not be afraid. We were born into these times and we are born again for these times. In fact, the Lord is giving us all we need to be his witnesses during these times. We should not be surprised that they are treating us the way they treated him. It is one of the promises of the Bible! In a contemporary Christian culture infected by a mistaken notion that following the Lord Jesus means we will no longer have to suffer or face need, the witness of the Apostle Paul, stands in stark contrast. The Gospel without the cross is not only poor theology, it has caused too many Christians to miss the mark, which is the definition of the Greek word translated sin in the New Testament.

The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we conquer eternity. (St. Jose Maria Escriva, The Furrow #887)

The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we conquer eternity. (St. Jose Maria Escriva, The Furrow #887)

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/10/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: promises of the Bible, persecution, tribulation, suffering, the cross, second coming, final judgment, martyrdom, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE,VA (Catholic Online) -  In the midst of a fierce persecution, the Apostle Peter wrote two letters to the early Christians. They had already been scattered, forced to leave home and comfort, because of their love for Jesus Christ and their fidelity to the Gospel mandate to share His message with all men and women. In his second letter (2 Peter 3), Peter proposes how we should live in response:

What sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:12,13)

It seems that no matter where you look these days, there is a growing rejection of the truths offered by a loving God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This rejection is joined with a growing animosity toward those who bear the name Christian. That means each one of us. As this increases, and it will, We should live our lives faithfully. We should neither be surprised or troubled. These passages in the Bible are not meant to instill fear. Rather, they should be a source of hope, if we learn to live as men and women of faith. 

There is a fascination with the second coming, the end of all things, and the beginning of the kingdom to come, that it asserts an extraordinary influence over so many people, in a negative way. One only has to walk in a Christian bookstore or the Christian section of a secular bookstore to find shelves filled with books concerning the final or last days.

Too many are filled with a kind of exposition which the early Christians would have rejected.Rather than offer the hope of the Gospel, they sometimes offer a kind of contrived effort to read the signs of the times as some form of new timeline tea leaves.

There is no doubt; we are living in an age of growing persecution against Christians. Last year, Timothy Cardinal Dolan addressed the Conference of US Bishops gathered in assembly. Cardinal Dolan told his brother bishops:

We are living in what must be recognized as, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, "a new age of martyrs." One expert calculates that half of all Christian martyrs were killed in the twentieth century alone. The twenty-first century has already seen one million people killed around the world because of their belief in Jesus Christ - - one million already in this young century.

And the threat to religious believers is growing. The Pew Research Center reports that 75 percent of the world's population "lives in countries where governments, social groups, or individuals restrict people's ability to freely practice their faith." Pew lays out the details of this "rising tide of restrictions on religion," but we don't need a report to tell us something we sadly see on the news every day.

This is an age of martyrdom. The Greek word from which we derive the English word martyr means witness.

In some places, our brothers and sisters are literally shedding their blood for the faith. In others, there is a growing white martyrdom, where those who bear the name Christian are suffering under a soft persecution, a growing discrimination which seeks to squeeze them out of the public square and compel them to bend the knee to the a new Caesar.

At the end of a discourse from Jesus in the Gospel of Luke are these words: 

Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives
. (Luke 21)

He is speaking to you and me - and not just the disciples who were physically present.

No matter how difficult it may become, we need not be afraid. We were born into these times and we are born again for these times. In fact, the Lord is giving us all we need to be his witnesses during these times. We should not be surprised that they are treating us the way they treated him. It is one of the promises of the Bible!

The fourth Gospel contains a stirring promise of the Bible. It is rarely recounted by some contemporary preachers who often refer to the "promises" of the Bible in a manner that seems to imply we can all be "healthy, wealthy and wise" if we simply "claim" them. However, this promise is found in all of the Gospel accounts and comes right from the mouth of the Lord Himself:

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. (John 15:18-20)

In a contemporary Christian culture infected by a mistaken notion that following the Lord Jesus means we will no longer have to suffer or face need, the witness of the Apostle Paul, stands in stark contrast. The Gospel without the cross is not only poor theology, it has caused too many Christians to miss the mark, which is the definition of the Greek word translated sin in the New Testament.  Paul's letters to the Philippians and the Corinthians are only a few of the many examples:

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need (Philippians 4:12).

Are they ministers of Christ? .I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. Five times. I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, .on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers;

in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
(2 Corinthians 11:22-29)

St. Paul was a Christian who always lived in the presence of God. An Apostle who was raised up out of the ordinary course, he accomplished great things for the Lord as he responded daily to his calling to build the Church and, through her, to change the world. He was a man so profoundly close to the Lord whom he followed that he had mystical experiences wherein he was caught up in heaven. (2 Cor. 12) These flowed out of a genuine interior life and an ongoing intimate communion with the living God.

Yet, this Apostle also suffered greatly. He was misunderstood, betrayed by brethren, and he experienced intense emotional, economic and physical hardships. He had many reasons to become bitter. He did not. He became better. That is our challenge as we embark, every day, on this journey of faith called the Christian life. Like the Apostle, we are called to make the right choices.

Because of his close, ongoing communion with this Jesus who had called him in the desert, Paul cultivated the interior strength that only comes from living a fully surrendered life. The Lord who called him had also changed him in that encounter. This is reflected, as is often the case in the biblical accounts of vocational callings, with the change of his name from Saul to Paul.

But this change began an ongoing conversion. His transformation in Christ continued as Paul learned to empty himself - of himself - so that he could be filled with the very life of God. He offered his suffering, struggle and setbacks to the Lord, joining them to the Cross of Jesus Christ.

St Paul entered into what one of my favorite spiritual writers and saints of our age, St. Jose Maria Escriva called 'the Christian Revolution:

The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we conquer eternity.
(St. Jose Maria Escriva, The Furrow #887)

In our own lives, we will suffer, we will be misunderstood, betrayed by friends, shipwrecked (at least figuratively), and we will experience the instability that often accompanies the struggles of daily life. Paul shows us how to choose the better way, the way of discipleship. When we learn to make that choice we will find the path to contentment and the way of true freedom.  We join this revolution.

In these times, the Lord is searching for men and women who believe in his promises - all of them - and are willing to be used by Him to reveal His plan. Let us become those men and women.Let us live ready.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

No Catholic or other Christian Should Support the Candidacy of Bernie Sanders Watch

Image of Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, denies the fundamental Human Right to Life of children in the womb.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Legalized abortion on demand is an open rejection of the entire ethic of being our brothers (and sisters) keeper. There can be no enduring lasting solidarity upon which to build a secure future in a culture that kills its own children and calls it a right. No ... continue reading


Mardi Gras' several names and traditions: How is it celebrated around the world? Watch

Image of Mardi Gras is famous for its colors, masks, beads, food, floats and more (Pixabay)!

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

People around the world celebrate Fat Tuesday each year with regional traditions - but did you know it is a celebration with roots in Christianity?  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Fat Tuesday" is English for the French "Mardi Gras," and is traditionally ... continue reading


7 Fun facts about Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras celebrations Watch

Image of Mardi Gras first became a holiday in 1582.

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday; it comes directly before Ash Wednesday. "Mardi Gras is a raucous celebratory affair that serves as a final shebang before the 40-day abstinence of Lent," explains The Huffington Post. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amidst all ... continue reading


605,000 undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses in California Watch

Image of California driver's licenses do not bestow any federal benefits to the recipient. State sources say the law is intended to make California roadways safer.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thanks to a new California law known as AB60, which took effect on January 2, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV has handed out 605,000 driver's licenses to undocumented workers. It is estimated that 1.4 million migrants will receive licenses under ... continue reading


Center for Medical Progress releases another Planned Parenthood video despite injunction Watch

Image of Pro-life CMP stands against abortionists NAF (imgsuccess).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After ousting illegal actions performed by Planned Parenthood clinics, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), and its founder Daniel Daleiden, have been ordered to cease further distribution of illegally-obtained Planned Parenthood footage. Unfortunately for the ... continue reading


Huff Po Gestapo, beats down Trump, First Amendment with editorial billy club Watch

Image of Huffington Post has found a way to turn the First Amendment into a billy club for their PC police duties.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Liberal mouthpiece, The Huffington Post (not to be confused with an actual news organization) is pandering to liberal readers by posting an addendum at the end of every story about Donald Trump. The addendum labels Trump a "racist" and a "serial liar." LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Lower Your Nets For a Catch! We Are All Called to Evangelize Watch

Image of Lower your nets for a catch

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The New Evangelization is meant to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can then undertake a new missionary outreach to the whole world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical ... continue reading


'Church ladies' finally force phony priest in Los Angeles to authorities Watch

Image of Erwin Mena  was arrested by Los Angeles police for allegedly impersonating a Roman Catholic priest and on suspicion of grand theft (Los Angeles Times).

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

For months, Erwin Mena donned vestments, called himself "Padre," and convinced Southern California Catholics that he was a priest, police say. Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA/EWTN News) - He was good at it, too, reportedly. He attended seminary in El Salvador for a time ... continue reading


Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis to Meet in Cuba in Historic Move of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Orthodox Christian Patriarch Kirill and Catholic Christian Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that ... continue reading


'Deeply disturbing': ANOTHER Planned Parenthood video has been released by the Center for Medical Progress (Warning: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of Yet another undercover video featuring the horrors of Planned Parenthood's illegal acts has been released (Leda Oreskovich).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released another video featuring Planned Parenthood officials casually - and even happily - discussing the revolting practice of murdering infants in the womb then mercilessly cutting them to pieces for profit. Meanwhile, after ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
22 Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5, 10, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 7:1-13
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 9th, 2016 Image

St. Apollonia
February 9: St. Apollonia, who died in the year 249, was ... Read More