Thursday, November 8, 2007
This is a passage of scripture that has hit home lately.
"No one can hurt you if you are determined to do only what is right; if you do have to suffer for being good, you will count it a blessing. There is no need to be afraid or to worry about them.(1) Simply reverence the Lord(2) Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong." I Peter 3:13-17
(1) "Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, do not be afraid of them. It is Yahweh Sabaoth, whom you must hold in veneration, him you must fear, him you must dread." Isaiah 8: 12-13
(2) "Have no fear of sudden terror or of assault from wicked men, since Yahweh will by your guarantor, he will keep your steps from the snare." Proverbs 3:25-26
Not only does Peter teach that we can keep our heads up high knowing that what we believe is right, he teaches us that we should have no fear of those who slander us. In light of the Old Testament verses referenced in the Jerusalem Bible I quoted here, we are told what an awesome and powerful God we have. Why do we fear those who despise us?
I have been having a hard time lately on a Catholic debate group in which I have been participating. Many of the protestantants not only call Catholics on the forum names but most believe we don't 'deserve' to be called Christians. After all, they say, we don't follow the teachings of Christ. I and a couple of others have fallen into the pitfalls. Then they say "Ah ha, see how unChristian you are!!!" Of course their conduct is justified because we, Catholics, are not Christians therefore not on the same level with them.
I have been struggling with Peter. I need to listen to his words and remember I have nothing to fear. I have nothing to be angry about even when they call me names, call me stupid, call me crazy and evil. I have no real connection with these people. They cannot hurt me in my real world--with my Jesus, my family, my life. They are sad, strange people who call themselves Christians and then talk to people like they are not worthy wipe off their shoes.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name..." These words from an old hymn just popped into my head. That is what I need to do.
I leave this message from the Book of Wisdom, attributed to King Solomon. A book newly discovered by me--boy is it full of WISDOM--pun intended.
"Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek Him in simplicity of heart; since He is to be found by those who do not put Him to the test, He shows Himself to those who do not distrust Him. But selfish intentions divorce from God; and Omnipotence, put to the test, confounds the foolish....Wisdom is spirit, a friend to man,...The spirit of the Lord, indeed, fills the whole world, and that which holds all things together knows every word that is said." Wisdom 1:1-3,6a,7
(The image above, right is an image of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) with her 'daughters,' Faith, Hope, and Charity. This is a beautiful image personifying those Godly virtues.)