"Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus can expect to be persecuted" (2 Tm 3:12). The Lord wants us to expect persecution. This expectation prepares and arms us for spiritual warfare (1 Pt 4:1). To help us expect persecution, the Lord has told us we will be manhandled, persecuted, arrested, and brought to trial because of our love for Him (Lk 21:12). We will "be delivered up" even by our "parents, brothers, relatives and friends," and some of us will be put to death (Lk 21:16).
We often react to the "good news" of persecution with denial, fear, or sadness. However, the Lord wants us to stand erect and hold our heads high (Lk 21:28). He wants us to be like Paul and Silas, who prayed and sang hymns in the midst of suffering persecution (Acts 16:25). Even at the time of the mass apostasy and as the seven final plagues are poured out on this earth (Rv 15:1), we should be "full of joy" for having "been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name" (Acts 5:41).
Under any conditions, we can sing: "Mighty and wonderful are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Righteous and true are Your ways, O King of the nations!" (Rv 15:3) In persecution, we will shout with all the angels and saints: "Alleluia! The Lord is King, our God, the Almighty! Let us rejoice and be glad, and give Him glory! For this is the wedding day of the Lamb" (Rv 19:6-7). Praise Him always and with special enthusiasm when you're privileged to be persecuted.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2008 through November 30, 2008.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008.