Choosing to be
Hated for Christ
will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of My
(Saint Luke 21.16-17)
You can be loved
for His Name – or Hated for it
Ultimately you must choose
“You will be hated
by all because of My Name”
this still as true today as it was 2000 years
Are we naïve in taking Christ at His word — as so many of today's
“progressive” Catholics (clergy and laity alike) appear to suggest?
In our militantly secular society, are these words as prophetic to us
as they were during the great periods of persecution that the nascent
Church suffered under Diocletian? In a word, what is the cost to
a Catholic ... of being a Catholic?
How likely is it that we,
“will be hated
by all because of His Name”?
Until very recently, it had not been our experience to be the object
of malice because of Christ ... for Christ's sake, for His Name.
The social and political climate until recently — which is to say, until
the totally unanticipated emergence of Islam as a violent repudiation
of the stultifying decadence of the West — and our rather casual
association with Christ and His Church — engendered nothing more than
an occasional distaste for Catholics as so many disagreeable puddings
at a polite table. In fact, our experiences as Catholics, until
recently, had largely
been positive — I hasten to add, not in light of the
historical, the authentic Christ — but rather, in light of
deity we had created in our own effete and dissolute image and christened
as our postmodern “Redeemer”.
You are quite
familiar with the post-Conciliar Church and the stunted image
of Jesus Christ that emerged from it. He is eminently non-judgmental,
terribly sensitive to all our perversity, and totally understanding
— that is to say, possessed of that consummate understanding that ultimately
abolishes or at least reconciles all contradictions — readily expunging
any distinction between good and evil, sanctity and sin. Indeed, He
understands us almost as well as our psychoanalysts and social workers
before whom our conduct is not interpretable in terms of right and wrong,
good and evil ... or even sane and insane. “All-understanding”, in this
context, we must realize, has nothing to do with “understanding”
at all — at least in any epistemological sense. It is much closer to,
if not really synonymous with, “all-accepting”.
“our Jesus” (as distinct from the historical Jesus) —
is all-allowing, unconditionally forgiving, preeminently emotive,
and totally avuncular — and who could possibly be hated for the sake
of so innocuous a being? Emerging from the social milieu of the 60's,
He was effectively construed as a Flower-Child in that epiphanous Age
of Aquarius from which the Conciliar Fathers had derived such impetus
... and that has fallen into well deserved disrepute in the ensuing
years. As the historical Jesus was unrecognizable on the Cross
2000 years ago, He remains, apparently, unrecognizable today.
past 50 years or so, we have, in a sense, made Him up as we have gone
along, embellishing this and trimming that until we no longer remember
the Original — the “stuff” from which we began endlessly re-fabricating
Him closer to our hearts (and often our loins) desires.
for His Name ...?
Let us be frank.
Today, at best, we are politely tolerated in spite of the Name
of Christ — if ever we are convicted of it, if ever
is somehow inadvertently predicated of us — although if
there is a living to be made off it, we can earn theological degrees
by “correctly” articulating the endlessly unfolding metamorphosis of
Jesus as the whims of our culture demand — even take jobs in Catholic
schools and social agencies; become His “Lay Ministers of this, that,
and the other” –
even get paid for it,
often rather handsomely!
Too many “active
Catholics”, where possible, make a living off the Name — certainly
not his dying on its account. Like those who basked in His glory
upon His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, they strum their guitars and
clash their cymbals, robustly singing His praise and proclaiming His
Name when it wins them the adulation of a dwindling congregation. But
on that lonely Way to the hill of all our Crosses, littered with insult,
abuse, shame and phlegm — where its costs to be His disciples
— we flee, lest we
for the Name”,
still less die for it ... or because of it!
The priest in
the aisle (in the repetitive and tiresome style of the television show
host), or on the rare occasion, the bishop at the pulpit, understand
this well. Fearing that the authentic challenge of Christ, the inescapable
contradiction of Christ to the world and all that is around them, will
alienate the faithful — they bring to them a Christ with no Cross,
a promise with no price, a victory with no battle, the certainty of
salvation without the scandal of any sin — lest under the prospect of
that fearful shadow of the Cross the faithful bolt, leaving the hireling
with no flock. How many Catholics, after all, wish to learn the most
fundamental fact that they must suffer for Christ ... as Christ suffered
for them? The days of the Martyrs, they would have us believe, had,
after all, ended long ago, no?
The problem with this routine encounter, however, is that it is
not what Christ promised His followers. And His track record
in the way of things prophetic, such as the destruction of the Temple
in 70 AD by the Romans, for which He was scorned even on the Cross —
has been pretty good; in fact, unerring!
have largely been left to fend for themselves since the shepherds have
been away on more “pressing” errands at the endless “committees” that
proliferate like bacteria around the country, indeed, around the world.
So many “commissions”
to attend! For
peace and justice,
photo-ops, and lately even
(the latest novelty concocted by the bishops, as you count them
— and in case you never heard of them — there are about 30,000 — they
are “co-workers with the bishop” since he is off ... well, commissioning
others to do his work. It is an odd kind of work, this “working”
to get others to do “your work” ...)
at the Gate: a Crescent-shaped Scimitar Rising in the East
The Flock is largely
untended and have grown quite disorderly, and without direction have
wandered into dangerous paths. Many have been lost altogether. But more
worrisome still is the untended Gate. The hireling, as we have said,
has fled — to hire more hirelings, who really care nothing for the sheep.
The wolf knows this. In fact he is already at the Gate. What is more,
he is ready and willing to exact a real cost for
Name of Jesus”
— which you must disavow or lose your head — quite literally.
Do you doubt the scarlet zeal of Islam? You had better pull your head
out of the sand before losing it! 2 Islam is the fastest
today. In fact, CNN, the doggedly secular news outlet, tells us in the
Islam winning converts in Western world”
the United States, for example, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,200
mosques have been built in the past 12 years.”
— and the converts come from the West!
The Gate has been let
open. Unguarded and unguided, the sheep are lured or stray to other
pastures (or deserts ...) because
no longer hear the voice of the shepherd”
— your bishop — and subsequently
longer recognize it.”
4 The teachings of the Church, of Christ — the authentic
teachings of the authentic Christ — are no longer transmitted,
taught, or proclaimed with any sense of urgency ... or even certainty.
Your children do not know Christ,
still less His Church. When Christ spoke of
fields white to harvest”
5, He was speaking of your children ... of you! And the harvesters
of whom He speaks should be our bishops and priests ... not a
Mullah with scimitar-as-scythe in his hand, ready to reap what he did
not sow — and for the reed that does not bend, to cut it to the root!
It has become entirely
too comfortable to be a Christian these days. But a change is coming
... it is at the door ... and the cost of being a Catholic, a
Christian — long deferred and spent in dissolution — will be called
to account with a new master at the table where the bishops left the
keys ... and a ledger with long debits.
While you can ... you can be
– or hated
for it. Ultimately you must choose. But you cannot choose the terms.
They have already been chosen for you ... by Christ Himself, Who
promised that those who followed Him would be hated by the world
... not loved by it ... just as He was. 3
Don't take my word for it. Take Christ's.
So where do you
stand on the matter, and more importantly, beside whom — “the
world” ... or Christ? Take a good inventory of your own situation vis-à-vis
“the world”, and make the assessment yourself. If “the world” lauds
you, takes you to its bosom as one of its own — if you are loved
and not hated for the Name of Christ, if you are not disdained
and marginalized because you belong to Him and not to the world
— you have much to be concerned about, despite the false assurances
of those “of the world” who say that they are “in Christ” and see nothing
of the contradiction.
Smug in our assurances that it will not cost us
our blood 6, we in the West know nothing —
yet — of the cost of being a Catholic.
Archbishop Ignatius A. Kaigama of the Archdiocese of Jos, Nigeria,
who has ... far fewer
and less pressing errands ... than our own bishops, knows better. His
flock is little and loses everything for the sake of Christ. We are
many and have much and lose Christ for the sake of anything.
We do not have
to go to Africa to know the cost of being Catholic. Relax. In time
— but ineluctably — it will come to us.
1 Acts 5.41
they [the Apostles] went on their way from the presence
of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered
worthy to suffer shame for His Name”
From the Koran:
desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved,
so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take
not from among them friends until they fly (their
homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then
seize them and kill them wherever you find them,
and take not from among them a friend or a helper.”
your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you,
therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast
terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve.
Therefore strike off their heads and strike off
every fingertip of them.”
when the sacred months have passed away, then slay
the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them
captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them
in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up
prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free
to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
we decide to destroy a population, we send a definite
order to them who have the good things in life and
yet transgress; so that Allah's word is proved true
against them: then we destroy them utterly. How
many generations have we destroyed after Noah? And
enough is thy Lord to note and see the Sins of his
Saint Matthew 10.22:
shall be hated of all on account of My Name.”
Saint John 10.5 and 10.27:
sheep hear My voice: and I know them, and they follow
Me ... But a stranger they follow not, but fly from
him, because they know not the voice of strangers.”
Saint John 4.35
6 Hebrews 12.4
Boston Catholic Journal
Printable PDF Version
Saint John 15.17-25
“These things I command
you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye, that
it hath hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world
would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have
chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember My word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than
his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute
you: if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also.
But all these things
they will do to you for My name' s sake: because they know not
Him who sent me. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would
not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that
hateth Me, hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the
works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now
they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But that the
word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated Me