Sorry for the light blogging; I’ve been extremely busy. Too busy to fish, which, if you know me, you know how serious that is.
In any event, my latest at First Things went up yesterday. It got titled “Pray for Those Who Persecute You,” whereas I had suggested “The Martyr Church.” In a nutshell, studying Church history and becoming Catholic brought about a new awareness for me that the Church is a martyr church, that we suffer because Christ who is the Church suffered. It’s not merely historical but theological as well. I then advise against whining about our perceived situation and for taking up the attitude of St. Edmund Campion. Excerpts:
For me, learning deeply about Catholic and Orthodox Christianity and becoming Catholic involved a revelation of sorts, a conversion of the imagination: Christianity is a martyr’s faith, and we Christians all belong to a martyr Church. This is not just a matter of history, in which we see Christians murdered by Romans, barbarians, Muslims, other Christians, or French or Russian revolutionaries. It is a matter of theology: Christ is the Church, as St. Paul teaches in Ephesians, the Head of the Body, and Christ died willingly, suffering the extreme penalty for us at the hands of religion and state. Christ was a martyr, the Church is a martyr Church. […]
We do have cause to be uneasy, as history and recent events have shown. But we Christians must react as the martyr Christ would have us react: in charity, in love, praying for those who would persecute us. Certainly we are entitled to speak and write in our defense, like the great apologists of old, and divine charity demands we strive for real justice on earth regarding the dignity of the human person and the human family. Whining, vilification, and paranoia, however, are not the stuff of Christ or the Christian.
And of course I have to give you the end of Campion’s Brag:
If these my offers be refused, and my endeavours can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour, I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almightie God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us His grace, and set us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in Heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.