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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Meditation: The World Demands, "Crucify the Christians; Give Us Barrabbas!"

Professor Robert George gave a sobering talk at the 10th National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, one that should be a wake-up call to every serious Catholic (and Christian for that matter). He says we are living Good Friday and then asks a series of questions. Will we be like Mary and John at the foot of the cross or will we flee in terror? Will we be silent and seek to "fit in" like Peter when he denied Christ? Will we bear faithful witness or will we hide in fear and be silent? What account will we give of ourselves on judgment day? Read George's complete talk. In fact, meditate on it. Bolster your courage with the sacraments and be prepared to suffer. Good Friday is upon us, but be assured, Easter is coming. God never abandons His people.

Here's a sample: 
The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel. A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship—heavy costs, costs that are burdensome and painful to bear.
Of course, one can still safely identify oneself as a “Catholic,” and even be seen going to mass. That is because the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call “political correctness” do not assume that identifying as “Catholic” or going to mass necessarily means that one actually believes what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life. And if one in fact does not believe what the Church teaches, or, for now at least, even if one does believe those teachings but is prepared to be completely silent about them, one is safe—one can still be a comfortable Catholic. In other words, a tame Catholic, a Catholic who is ashamed of the Gospel—or who is willing to act publicly as if he or she were ashamed—is still socially acceptable. But a Catholic who makes it clear that he or she is not ashamed is in for a rough go—he or she must be prepared to take risks and make sacrifices. “If,” Jesus said, “anyone wants to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.” We American Catholics, having become comfortable, had forgotten, or ignored, that timeless Gospel truth. There will be no ignoring it now.
And what is the "cost of discipleship" for the Catholic who refuses to bow to the world's immoral demands?
To be a witness to the Gospel today is to make oneself a marked man or woman. It is to expose oneself to scorn and reproach. To unashamedly proclaim the Gospel in its fullness is to place in jeopardy one’s security, one’s personal aspirations and ambitions, the peace and tranquility one enjoys, one’s standing in polite society. One may in consequence of one’s public witness be discriminated against and denied educational opportunities and the prestigious credentials they may offer; one may lose valuable opportunities for employment and professional advancement; one may be excluded from worldly recognition and honors of various sorts; one’s witness may even cost one treasured friendships. It may produce familial discord and even alienation from family members. Yes, there are costs of discipleship—
heavy costs.
The days of persecution are upon us. It is past due to prepare yourself to suffer. Remember the goal, read the lives of the martyrs, and persevere.  

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