Friday, January 25, 2013

Suffering – For the Faith or Because of the Faith?

by M. J. Joachim

For whatever reason, many Catholics think of it as a badge of honor.
They wear it proudly, embrace it boldly and even find reasons to do it nobly.

(I suppose a lot of this stems from the days of early Christian persecutions, when Catholics truly did suffer for the faith.)

There’s a thought…

Suffer for the faith…

…as opposed to suffering, because of the faith?

Puts a whole new perspective on things, doesn’t it?

People who suffer for the faith are oppressed. They might not even be suffering for Catholicism, because they’re so oppressed, they aren’t allowed to express any faith at all. Oppression and tyranny take precedent!

These people don’t wear suffering – or use it as an excuse for that matter. They don’t embrace it either, because they’re too busy living it.

Suffering isn’t something we use to guilt other people into feeling sorry for us. It’s not a tool in our bag of tricks, to draw more attention to ourselves. It’s a plight of the human condition that can happen to anyone, and happens to a lot of people more often than we think.

I was reading a bit about the early history of the Catholic Church last night; one of the things that hit home was how so many early Christians were converted to Catholicism and why. It was because of suffering – not that of the Catholics, but because early missionaries in the Catholic Church, were so willing to ease the suffering of others.

Now that’s something to be proud of when it comes to being Catholic. It’s also something to learn from, strive for and maybe someday, personally be able to wear as a badge of honor, when celebrating some of the ultimate joys that come with living a life based on faith in God and His holy church.

Until next time, I wish you well,

M. J.

Photo credit:  Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, Wikimedia Commons Cooperation Project, Public Domain
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