Sunday, August 28, 2016

If You Were Accused Of Being A Christian, Would You Be Convicted?

You may have noticed that I am no longer posting under the assumed user name Aquinas_54.  I also have changed my profile on Disqus and WordPress to substitute my real name for that user name.  The purpose of this post is to explain why I have done this, although the title above pretty much gives that away.

The purpose of this blog is to witness to and discuss my Catholic faith and Catholicism in general, which means to witness to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  For some time I have done as many, many others do in social media, and with the sole exception of Facebook, have posted comments and essays and tweets under assumed names.  My reasons were probably much like most other folks: fear of being personally attacked, stalked, fired from my job (no longer an issue since I'm retired now), or even, as seems increasingly likely in our anti-Christian culture, legally harassed or arrested for what I write.

Well, I'm done with that.  Being a follower of Jesus Christ means being willing to take whatever this fallen world sends our way.  Jesus made clear again and again to his disciples that they should expect to be persecuted and hated, imprisoned and even killed for His sake.  He never promised us an easy road.  Let's take a quick look at some of Our Lord's own words in Sacred Scripture:
(Matthew 10) [32] So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; [33] but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. [34] "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [35] For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; [36] and a man's foes will be those of his own household. [37] He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; [38] and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [39] He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
Amid all the warnings, let's not forget, our Lord also promised great things to those who follow him.  See, for example, the Beatitudes, the opening salvo, as it were, of the great Sermon on the Mount:
(Matthew 5) [10] "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11]"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you"
That's pretty straightforward talk.  And it's God the Son doing the talking.  Somewhat belatedly, it occurred to me not long ago that by masking my social media utterances behind an assumed name, I was failing to acknowledge Jesus Christ before men.  And I was ignoring his warning that being his disciple is not a path to tranquility in this world, but in the next.  The question I used for the title of this post is one I've heard before, though I don't recall where, but it certainly provides food for thought, doesn't it?  When I stand before my Lord at the hour of my death and face his judgment, I want the answer to that question to be a clear and ringing YES! 

Am I being a big brave guy by doing this?  No, I don't think so.  After all, this isn't a totalitarian dictatorship or Islamic caliphate...yet.  And I have no job or business to lose, no children for whom to fear.  I'll admit I am still a little bit worried about how some of my friends may react to the things I write (and have written, now searchable...yikes!), and maybe even concerned about all the other people "out there" who may see my words and find them offensive, hateful, bigoted, stupid, or whatever other labels they may have for someone who tries to adhere to the ancient teachings of the Catholic Church.  But that's what being a real Christian means.  He told us so himself.  It's time to pay attention and practice what I preach.  If that means I lose some friends, then maybe those people aren't really my friends in the first place.

God bless everyone, and onward we march!

Laudator Jesus Christus!

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