"A lay Catholic perspective"

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Amen, Hallelujah!

by Theresa Burke


I T HAS BEEN A BREAT BLESSING in my life to have as my life partner a man who, in the face of enormous personal suffering, speaks the truth whenever and wherever he senses the promptings of the Holy Spirit to do so. The cost, both actual and potential, is high as he frequently puts himself at risk in answering the call of God to proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it (2 Tm 4:2). I watch with admiration as he endures the ridicule of colleagues for holding up the teachings of the Church on such practices as horoscopes and numerology (#2116, Catechism of the Catholic Church). I cheer him on as he steps way out on a limb to suggest gently and lovingly to a pregnant student that a decision for life is a courageous option.

It is true heroism, I believe, to go out this way day after day into our communities and our workplaces bearing the light of Christ, knowing that in all likelihood we will be ignored, rejected and even persecuted.

Yet, that is exactly what the Church has been subjected to since its early beginnings, but perhaps never to the degree that we are witnessing today. As a "survivor" of the liberal sixties and the self-indulgent seventies, I am a whole-hearted convert to the straight lines and the timeless values that have been upheld by the Church since Jesus set it on a firm foundation so many hundreds of years ago. The truth is the truth, now and ever shall be, world without end. No compromises, no concessions, no bending, no negotiating. Love is unconditional, life is precious, and salvation is in Jesus Christ.

It hurts us to see our beloved Church dragged through the mud, taunted by the media, condemned for being rigid and unyielding. It hurts me to see my husband come in the door exhausted from the experience of living the Gospel in a hostile environment. But I know that this is the paradox of joy-suffering that Jesus lived and invites us to live as his followers.

And if we agree? Like Jesus, who was rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet 2:4,9).

Awesome, isn't it?!