"Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him." —Wisdom 2:17
In a little over two weeks, on the first day of the Easter season, we will renew our baptismal promises. After that, we will be persecuted either mildly or severely, for all who wish to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12). May these last days of Lent prepare us for the renewal of our Baptisms at Easter. Then may this renewal prepare us to profess our faith even in the most severe persecution.
Because the Holy Spirit uses the lives of Christians to convict people of their sins (Jn 16:8), Christians are intolerable even for those who pride themselves on being tolerant. Thus, Christians appear to the unrepentant as obnoxious (Wis 2:12) and judgmental (Wis 2:12, 14, 16). Just to see us is a hardship for the unrepentant (Wis 2:14). Therefore, the tolerant make an exception for Christians and refuse to tolerate us. They may even revile, torture, or kill us (Wis 2:19-20).
Therefore, "beloved, grow strong in your holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20). Pray: "I believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl.) Pray for an increase of faith (Lk 17:5) as you hear God's word, for "faith comes through hearing and hearing by God's word" (Rm 10:17, our transl). Who is the conqueror of the world? It is the one who has faith in Jesus, the Son of God (1 Jn 5:5). As the season of persecution nears, now is the season to grow deeply in our faith.
Prayer: Father, may my faith help me to look forward to being persecuted.
Promise: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves." —Ps 34:19
Praise: St. Isidore wrote: "When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us."
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tapes on Baptismal Promises on audio AV 83-1, AV 83-3, AV 84-1, AV 84-3 or video series starting with V-83.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, October 17, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2002