Sunday, March 21, 2010

Station of the Torn Apart

The present is dark and the future uncertain and full of cares, but do not lose heart. Rather so display yourselves, presenting "such a the whole creation, men and angels alike," that all the faithful of Christ may see in your endurance and courage a shining example. 
Courageously, and steadfastly enduring this attack of your enemies, and afire with a divine love for the Church, you become "the good odor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved and in them that perish." 
In bonds as you are, and separated from your sons, it is not in your power to give them instruction in our holy religion, but your very bonds more fully and profoundly proclaim and preach Christ. 

The Station of the Torn Apart
Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Shrine
Youngstown, OH

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;
because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

   Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, "If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar." When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge's bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
   It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your king!" They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Jn 19:12-16

In a godless world, faith is the enemy. Religion was deemed a clear threat to the atheist Communist establishment; to accomplish the goal of total state control the Church must be driven out. How could a people completely serve the state when their first duty was to their God and to His Church in Rome? Many bishops and hundreds of priests were arrested, kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned or exected in the name of a godless state.

Catholics, though, were not alone. War was declared on all religions. From Romanian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's account titled Tortured for Christ:

"Thousands of believers from churches of all denominations were sent to prison at that time. Not only were clergymen put in jail, but also simple peasants, young boys and girls who witnessed for their faith. The prisons were full, and in Romania, as in all communist countries, to be in prison means to be tortured."

Still they refused to renounce their God, their faith, or the love they had for their Church. They each took up their crosses and gave their lives over for God as families, parishes, congregations, cities and nations were torn apart by the godless state.

Would I have the conviction to walk into certain torture and death for my faith?
Have I ever allowed the pressure of those who don't understand or don't believe cause me to cave in and reject my cross?
Are faith in Christ, Christian values and the Church Herself being ridiculed, denounced or blatantly ignored today? Do I take up my cross and bear the criticism and ridicule in defending my faith in Christ and in Mother Church?

Lord Jesus, so many of your faithful took up their crosses, accepting the punishment doled out by a godless regime. They would rather die at the hands of evil men than renounce faith in You. Bless your faithful today with the conviction to defend our faith, our values and our Church, no matter the cost.

   Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,
and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. Jn 19:17-18

To be a disciple is to take up our cross.

20th Century Martyrs of Eastern Europe, pray for us.


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