Fatherly Advice

Fatherly Advice

Lk 21:12-19 Compromising With Evil

Lk 21:12-19 Compromising With Evil
By Benedict Augustine
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
Perhaps the second most moving and tragic movie after The Passion of the Christ is The Mission, starring Jeremy Irons and Robert De NiroBased on a true story, it takes place in 1750 in the jungles South America, where the Jesuits heroically convert natives to the gospel and spare them indignity of the still widespread slave trade. This earns them the condemnation of both Spanish and Portuguese colonists who see their missions and successful attempts at evangelization as an obstacle to their business. As a response, the colonists threaten to remove by force the Jesuits in South America as well as those in Europeas some other countries had done.  
The film centers on the testimony of a papal legate who is sent to review the situation in the New World, and subsequently inform the Jesuits to discontinue their missionary work. While at first this task does not seem to bother him too much, it become progressively more onerous when he realizes that this decision will effectively condemn whole populations of converted Catholics to slavery or death and enrich horrible godless men who commit crimes against humanity. 
The protagonist, a Jesuit who had successfully won over a recalcitrant tribe in the jungle, the Guarani, must deal with an impossible order: disband the mission and tell the natives to return to the jungles from which they came. The courage and resolution that this character shows in the face of such injustice and hypocrisy is nothing short of Christ-like. Never before had I felt such an urge to join an order and preach to the poor, such was the power of this character.
The drama of the Roman persecution at the time of Christ and the first apostles, the drama of Jews suffering under the Babylonians at the time of Daniel, the drama of the American martyrs during the time of colonization, continue to happen. The cruel and powerful subject the faithful to all sorts of abuse and injustice. They may do it in very obvious ways as in Africa or the Middle East, or they may do it much more subtle ways as in the West. 
In the past, many ostensibly good people sought to compromise with evil for the sake of self-preservation. Unlike the stalwart prophet Daniel and his friends, many of the Israelites mixed in with Babylonian population and forgot that they lived in exile. Unlike Jesus’ disciples, many Christians in the early Church compromised with the enemy, either forming more palatable but less true versions of Christianity (i.e. heresies) or apostatizing altogether. The Catholic Church made many deals with European monarchs to hedge in their missionary efforts, turn a blind eye to political corruption, and abandon their faithful at critical moments. Before Protestants take this as sufficient proof of their superiority, they should keep in mind that Luther’s break from the Church unleashed religious wars that would tear apart Christendom and quickly set the stage for the complete secularization of politics and community life. 
In current times, many people inside and outside the Church hope to continue this tradition of compromise. They discourage rules that might conflict with the hedonistic and selfish lifestyle pursued by so many today. They choose to vaunt the spoiled and perverse as victims of fabricated crimes, instead of the innocent who suffer actual crimes and die violent deaths by the thousands. They ask the more zealous to lay down their faith, vacate the premise, and simply live and let live, and then proceed to invite the lukewarm to take their place and take pride in their lack of conviction
Like the legate in The Mission, many well-meaning people will tell persecuted Catholics abroad to disperse and find refuge somewhere else—as though that were somehow possible. From the safety and comfort of their homes, they will urge nonviolence and continue enabling horrible men to wreak havoc. Hoping not to ruffle any feathers, both political and religious leaders say little and try to change the subject.
Fortunately for these neglected populations, God does not compromise or seek to change the subject. He notes the compromises, the selfishness, the sacrilege; and He will let these societies and individuals fall under their own weight. Like Babylon, like Rome, like the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, the powers today will come to an end. Despite the optimistic projections of the news, one can observe the social decline already taking place. The faithful have a choice now to repent and take care to help others; the faithless have already forfeited repentance and will convince themselvesthat decline is somehow progress
The situation is not hopeless, but it does require conscious action on the part of Catholics. They may falter now, or they may persevere. If they can do the latter, then as Christ says, they will secure their lives while the powers around them fall away.
Fatherly Advice

1 Mc 6:1-13 Solidarity Through Our Blessed Mother

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
So he called in all his Friends and said to them: “Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety. I said to myself: ‘Into what tribulation have I come, and in what floods of sorrow am I now! Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.’ But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed. I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me; and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.”
The Seasonal Blues    My body whines in discomfort as my mind oozes with sadness and anxiety.  This time of the year begins three long months of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  The lack of sunlight, colder days and seasonal allergy symptoms leave me tired and irritable.  I feel like Scrooge with “Blah Humbug” as my middle name.  I ask Our Lord the same three letter word every year  – WHY?  Why do I feel so dreadful?  Why do I have difficulty getting into the holiday spirits?  Why do I dwell on all the wrong in my life instead of  the good?  Why is prayer and meditation such a greater challenge?   Sometimes I wonder if life as a bear would be better.  Then I can hibernate during the dreary months of  November thru February…   
One thing for certain is I always turn to Our Blessed Mother during these tough months.  She gives me encouragement when I rather mope around, depressed and isolated from others.
The Presentation of Our Blessed Mother  Today, the church celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Although not mentioned in the New Testament, the story is found in the apocryphal book Protoevangelium of James.  Grateful for a child after years of infertility, Anne and Joachim wished to consecrate Mary to God. Tradition states that at the age of 3 years Anne and Joachim presented Mary at the Jerusalem temple where she remained with other young girls, educated in the Jewish faith.  
In Solidarity   When I feel depressed, the last thing I want to see or hear is bad news from the media.  So, when terrorists attacked Paris, killing 129 people including an American, I mourned like the rest of the world.  I imagined Our Blessed Mother wrapping the entire country of France in her arms with tears streaming down her cheeks.  When her children hurt, she hurts.  When violence strikes, Our Blessed Mother protects.  When life is full of despair and sadness, Mary comforts us in special way only a loving mother knows. 

“Oh Mother of God, some may rejoice in their innocence, others may be glad of their plentiful merits, let others exult in God’s mercy shown to them without intermediaries; but you, my Mother, you are the only hope and solace of my life.  When I completely despair of God and of myself, thinking of you, recalling you, my spirit comes alive again, as if out of the deepest darkness.  You are my glorying, my well-being, my honor, and my life.”  – Blessed Henry Suso

This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin.  Please follow her blog:  Jennifer’s Spectrum of Spirituality
Fatherly Advice

5 Quick Points Made by "The Mockingjay Part 2"

1) War sucks.

The first Hunger Games book (and the movie) are written in such a way that some people might secretly think about it all in a sugary way…”Sure the games are a terrible idea…but it all is kind of romantic”

However, the final installment is the whole point – look at what war does – so many people die – it’s horrible – there’s nothing romantic at all about war.  Collins delivers an intentionally violent and deadly punch in the gut with the final book because war is a violent and deadly punch in the gut

2) We are the capital

Gale has a line in the film when they spend a night hiding in a capital home.  He eats some of the food, which is way better than anything he’s ever tasted, and says something to the effect of “I’m starting to understand why the people who live in the capital are the way they are.  If I had food like this, I’d go along with whatever else was happening too.”

We ARE the capital.  The money we spend on hair and makeup and fashion would literally feed the rest of the world

this add from cover girl makes the point perfectly

3) The ends do not justify the means

The only place that says this is ALWAYS the case is the Catholic Church.  The Hunger Games reinforce that.  There is a scene where lots of innocent civilians are killed, and it is done, by the rebels, under the pretense that it will save lives in the long run.  The beautiful and Catholic point is made in the book and the film – that under that type of logic anyone could kill anyone else whenever they wanted if they just came up with a good explanation for what MIGHT happen in the future

4)  There are evil people on both sides of any war

So often people forget this.  The Hunger Games reminds us of this very perfectly.

5) We humans have VERY short memories

Toward the end of the film, as peace is being established, the following dialogue says it nicely

Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?” I ask.

Oh, not now. Now we’re in a sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated,” he says. “But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction. Although who knows? Maybe this will be it.

Fatherly Advice

2 Mc 7:1, 20-31 Nothing Is More Offensive Than Truth

It is difficult to contain one’s admiration for the martyrs in Maccabees. They must endure the destruction of their religion and customs by the “culturally superior” Hellenistic Greeks. In a move of brilliant propaganda—an art form that the Greeks perfected along with many others—these occupiersinstalled gymnasiums to lure the respectable Jews away from their Hebrew way of life. These school/athletic centers replaced the temple and synagogues as the community center, and in a close-knit community like those of the Jews, this had huge implications. Instead of prayer, fasting, and reading the Torah to build up their souls, the HellenizedJews would build up their bodies and connections with influential people. 
This is the way cultural upheaval starts. Then comes the persecution.
Of course, one might wonder why a culture that has obviously won the war of ideas would resort to torturing the few kooks left behind. Shouldn’t the acceptance of every class, from rich to poor, of every major ethnic group, from Greek to Scythian, suffice as proof that the better customs, values, and religion prevailed? What does it matter that a few Jews refused to eat pork?
Consider what Antiochus did the first six brothers as punishment for not eating pork and what he offered the seventh as a reward for eating pork. This obviously bothered him deeply. And if the youngest son accepted? Would this make any difference for this King? Hardly, he would just seek other easy victims to torture and kill. But why?
Because those who without the truth are deeply insecure. They believe what they believe not because something is true, but because it is easy. This creates huge doubts about truth and meaningaltogether. Catholics take this for granted, but they shouldn’t because this problem plagues the majority of people today. The propaganda that comes from this situation might work to subdue newly conquered peoples, but it also works to reassure the occupiers that their falsehoods are true. 
Except that it isn’t true. The existence of saints willing to die for the truth only reinforces this nasty fact of life. The Maccabees enjoyed something Antiochus and countless other Greeks could never enjoy. That had a real religion based on a real God who did real things. They had a hope in something eternal and wonderful. Antiochus, for all his riches and political power, had only lies. 
Although he doesn’t intend it, the man who possesses the truth makes the person who possesses a lie extremely angry. His very life shines light on the nothingness of the other person. The true man may not even notice that he has disturbed the false man to the core of his being, and this makes things all the worse. His presence completely ruins the false man’s narrative that there is no truth and nothing worth living or dying for. The true man simply asserts that God is, and those who have turned their backs have failed miserably. 
And this insecurity, this resentment, this obsessive rage will recur again and again. It led to the Romans persecuting harmless Christians for centuries, many of whom served in important positions and paid taxes. It led King Henry VIII to kill his most trusted and competent minister Thomas More for not consenting to his wedding. It led to the French Revolutionaries killing innocent priests and religious who served the poor that they were supposedly trying to liberate. Did the Romans, King Henry, or the French have bigger enemies? Yes, much more threatening ones, yet they felt scared by the ones who lived in peace. 
It is the same with militant atheists, fanatical Muslims, and obsessive modernists today. These groups can stand anything but the truth. They can explain away every evil, and indeed brag about their tolerance, but they have nothing with which to overcome the good man or woman with faith in the true God. Sharia law can be declared, churches completely vacated and turned into tourist shops, and all the families be utterly dissolved—all this would mean little, if one little yokel in Nebraska attended a Latin Mass. Antiochus could host the greatest barbeque in the kingdom serving every pork product, feeding millions of hungry people, and making a name for himself as the best leader in the ancient world—but a family of pious Jews would ruin this by simply staying home.
The persecution will come even after the “culture wars” end, because falsehood will never make a person secure. Those still holding hope in God should continue to do so. No matter how crazy or “extreme” they may be, they have something infinitely greater than the masses, and deep in their heart of hearts, their enemies know it.
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