Thursday, June 26, 2014

A People Sacred to the Lord

By Melanie Rigney

Moses said to the people: “You are a people sacred to the Lord, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn your fathers…” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him. (Psalms 103:17)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.(Matthew 11:28-30)

Lord, help me to stay strong, confident in Your great Love, as the forces of the world buffet me.

We know how the earthly life of St. John the Baptist ended: beheaded after speaking against Herod’s marriage to Herod’s brother’s ex-wife.

We know how the earthly lives of two of the most prominent early followers ended: St. Peter, crucified, head down; St. Paul, beheaded. The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome met similar or even grislier fates.

We know how the earthly life of St. Thomas More, patron of the Diocese of Arlington, ended: on the scaffold, beheaded for high treason because he refused to take the oath of supremacy of the British Crown in matters of the church.

In the sixteenth centuries, Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher were executed because they refused to compromise their beliefs despite their former friendship with Henry VIII, the king who ordered their deaths.

In the twenty-first century First World, we generally have the luxury of worshipping if and as we choose. But then, so did John the Baptist in the early days of his ministry. So did the early followers of Christ. So did Thomas More and John Fisher before their powerful friend decided he wanted to take a different wife, and set up a new church to accommodate that.  Perhaps they were all a bit complacent at some point in their faith lives. But when the moment of truth arrived, they were fearless. Will we be the same?

What are you willing to do to show your faithfulness? Consider setting aside time to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom. Check out the Web site for more information. In the Diocese of Arlington, Bishop Loverde will be at St. Joseph Parish in Herndon to open a related special event. Can you spare three hours to stand up for your religious beliefs?

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