Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Suffering or Complacency?

Father Ray Blake has again grabbed my attention by the interesting juxtaposition of two recent posts. In the first he discusses the role of martyrdom and suffering in the Church, referring to a post by Fr. Z., concerning crucifixions of Christians being carried out by ISIS (I would recommend following these links, and praying for those being persecuted and murdered for the Faith at this time, but would also caution you about following the thread right back to the original article, complete with extremely grim photos unless you are well prepared for these), and to the traditional incorporation of red elements (eg shoes) into the Pope's dress as a mark of following in the bloody footsteps of Our Lord. The second post shows a list of Pope Francis' 10 suggestions for being happy. The juxtaposition does, I'm sorry to say, emphasise the effeteness of the some of the Holy Father's comments.

Photo: www.WorldMeeting.2015.org
From Fr. Ray's post

While Joy and Peace are fruits of the Holy Spirit, and I hope we will all experience many pleasant times in our lives, the role of the Church Militant is to fight against the Devil, the World and the Flesh, until they are finally conquered. It was to this end that Christ suffered, and this suffering continues through His Mystical Body, the Church. The Christian life on Earth is, therefore, not supposed to be something pollyannish, where everything is wonderful and jolly (eternal happiness is the reward of the Church Triumphant): it always has the characteristic of a battle, and is, at times, extremely hard. It is about working and fighting to save our own soul, and to help in the salvation of as many other souls as we are able, for this is the ultimate mission of the Church. Fortunately, most of us will not be called to give up our lives in bloody martyrdom for the Faith, but, we should, nonetheless ask ourselves often if we would do so if the occasion arose.

The Holy Father says that he aims to follow a Franciscan charism in his pontificate. I would therefore draw attention to the following verses from the hymn to St. Francis, which clearly don't adopt an 'I'm OK, you're OK' stance:-

In thine own beloved Assisi
Thou disdst stir mens hearts to love,
Teaching them that holy penance
Is the road to Heaven above.
Make us love the priceless virtue
By our hidden God esteemed;
Make it valued, Holy Francis,
By the souls of the Redeemed.
Teach us also, dear Saint Francis,
How to mourn for every sin.
Make us walk in thy dear footsteps
'Till the crown of life we win.
Bless thy children, Holy Francis,
With those wounded hands of thine,
From thy glorious throne in Heaven
Where resplendently they shine.
Sancte Francisce, ora pro nobis.
St. Francis receiving the stigmata

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