Sunday, January 13, 2013
Fighting the good fight...
I've put my other blog entries for this month on hold for the moment to get this one in; it's important that I get this off my chest right now.
The last 48 hours have been somewhat difficult for me. I'm not going to go into full detail but let's just say that my patience has been stretched to great lengths and that I've well and truly learned how to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). The good news, despite having being on the receiving end of some very spiteful personal attacks, is that I feel at peace with the situation now and feel vindicated thanks to the words of support I have received from friends and colleagues; I have too felt the graces of the prayers they have said for me. I have forgiven my antagonist and I am praying for them so that the Lord may work through them in this situation too. God is good. Without God we can do nothing.
So what am I thinking? What have I learned from all of this?
Living, walking in and teaching the truth is difficult. I'm reminded of that passage of scripture:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." - Matthew 7:13-14
No one ever said that being a follower of Christ would be easy. Jesus knew this. This is why Jesus said what he said in St. Matthew's Gospel. And to be a Catholic-Christian? To place your trust in the teachers of the One True Church? Of course this is difficult, yet the difficulty does not necessarily spring from adhering to the teachings, no, but from the adversity of those who do not adhere to these teachings and those who do not trust the teachers of the One True Church, be they enemies of the Church or sceptical of her teachings.
A very wise acquaintance of mine said this about living in truth:
"Failure to live up to the truth doesn't mean it isn't the truth. It's our failure. Truth never fails. We fail it."
Truth does not contradict itself; truth does not become untruth. Truth remains. If we fail to live up to the truth then we only have ourselves to blame for the failure. One must be accountable for their own actions and inactions. We do ourselves a great disservice if we begin to blame others for our own failings and shortcomings. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa! Repentance requires contrition and humility.
"And he cried, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'" - Luke 18:38
I am also reminded that I must keep fighting the good fight no matter what adversity I face. Much like it is suggested in Matthew 7:13-14, this walk is difficult and the world may hate me for taking it. I take solace in the fact that Christ is there with me every step of the way and he knew that his followers would suffer for walking with Him:
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." - John 15:18
"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'" - Matthew 16:24
"They please the world most, who please Christ least." - St. Jerome
Finally, I heed St. Peter's wisdom when teaching and defending Christian truth:
"But even if you do suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame." - 1 Peter 3:14-16
Thank you, Lord, for giving me grace, faith, and strength to overcome adversity. Although my spirit may be crushed and my body may be bruised and subdued, I can continue to walk with you because you raise me up. You are my strength and my refuge.