"They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him there for dead. His disciples quickly formed a circle about him, and before long he got up and went back into the town." —Acts 14:19-20
On the first Christian missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas were thrown out of Antioch (in Pisidia), Iconium, and Lystra. As soon as possible, they went back into these three places to finish the job of starting these Christian churches (Acts 14:21). "They gave their disciples reassurances, and encouraged them to persevere in the faith with this instruction: 'We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God.' In each church, they installed presbyters and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord" (Acts 14:22-23). To start a church, we must encourage the disciples to persevere in the faith while suffering many trials, and we must pray, fast, and install leaders for the church.
Is your parish church, Christian community, and family frequently encouraged to suffer redemptively? Are you praying and fasting as a community for your leaders and for new leaders in the Church throughout the world? If we shared our faith enough to merit persecution and suffering, the Church wouldn't be divided, weakened, and watered down. If, in our sufferings, we also prayed and fasted for the Church's leaders, we wouldn't be having a vocations crisis but an explosion of leadership and new life in the Church.
Evangelize, suffer, pray, fast, and see the Church as the Lord intended it to be.
Prayer: Father, teach me to pray, fast, and suffer.
Promise: " 'Peace' is My farewell to you, My peace is My gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful." —Jn 14:27
Praise: Pancras was beheaded for his faith in Jesus at the young age of fourteen. "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest" (Wis 4:7).
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997