Stop Wondering What It’s Like to Be Persecuted or if You Would Deny Jesus

I’ve never been able to understand the way in which many people in America think about persecution and martyrdom. I might literally shiver with fear, but the way of thinking about persecution I knew was that of the Apostles when they “went forth from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of the Name” or that with which the Christian writings from the era of the Roman persecutions seeps: the crown, the victor’s palm, the fulfillment of martyrdom. They counted torture for the sake of Christ a joy. There is a line, descriptive of the whole tone which meets one in their writings and in the accounts of their deaths, in the autobiography of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, about martyrs who watched their brothers die, “consoling themselves with the thought that perhaps they were being kept for greater torments.” Not that I understood all of this all, or even most, of the time. But it was the way Christians thought. I was an abnormal Christian when and because I didn’t think and feel this way, never when or because I did. Continue reading “Stop Wondering What It’s Like to Be Persecuted or if You Would Deny Jesus”

Why is There So Little Persecution in the United States of America?

First of all, I don’t believe there is ‘so little persecution in the United States of America’.

The first reason known to me, and the one still primary in my thoughts, is this one: Jesus told us the world would persecute us. America is part of the world – not meaning the wholesome and very good creation of God, consisting of stars and suns and trees and flowers and human persons and so much more, but the construct and society and systems and worldviews, of which nations, at least as we know them, are a part, the domain of the Enemy, the Darkness which is not the pure darkness out of which God created or which is of the good night He made, but the Darkness of fallen and corrupted light. America, being part of the ‘world’ in this sense, the world that crucified our King, cannot be friends with Christians, or refrain from persecuting us who are called to be the light of the world because the Light of the World shines in our hearts and must shine through us.

For this reason, when first I heard that Christians were not persecuted in America, or persecuted only rarely, I found the statement extremely strange. Continue reading “Why is There So Little Persecution in the United States of America?”

How the Santa Claus Story is Anti-Christmas

With the celebration of the Incarnation of the Son of God, of His birth into the world in the stable at Bethlehem, outcast of the world, heralded by rejoicing angels, visited by shepherds, Christ the Lord, come to save His people from their sins, on December the 25th – or indeed, on any other day of the year – I have no issue. I think it is rather beautiful and good, than otherwise. Neither have I any issue with Saint Nicholas, though about him, if you are interested, you can learn from another source – I have no concern with him in this article. It is with the popular story of Santa Claus with which I take issue, a story I shall now present, in its barest form, so all may know of what I speak. Continue reading “How the Santa Claus Story is Anti-Christmas”

Children of God: We Must Obey the Father in Heaven Rather Than Human Parents

I write this especially for both parents and children. The important thing in life is to know God and to serve Him, in whatever way He calls you, which may well not be the way you imagined you would like, or the way that those around you want you to go. Every one of us is made for God, to know Him, to love Him, to glorify Him, to enjoy Him, forever. Children are not made for parents, nor parents for children, but all are made for Christ, and all are children of the one Father who is in Heaven.

If you are a parent, understand that your child, from the moment of conception, is a separate human person, made individually by God and for God. Continue reading “Children of God: We Must Obey the Father in Heaven Rather Than Human Parents”

The Truth is a Person: Objectivity and Relativity in Morality and More

Reality is objective because subjective and subjective because objective, and both because Personal. (I hold, indeed, that to be is not different from to be known, and that fullness of being may not distinguishable from both being known and knowing, being loved and loving. Indeed, God Himself, in the Holy Trinity, both knows Himself and is known by Himself, loves Himself and is loved by Himself, for He is Three Eternal, Consubstantial (that is, of one substance) Persons. When He creates, He knows and loves the creation, and so the creation exists, by having a share in His own existence.) Continue reading “The Truth is a Person: Objectivity and Relativity in Morality and More”

Grace, Seasoned with Salt, and Evangelism

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to respond to each person appropriately.”

Each human being whose form we see, whose voice we hear, or with whom our lives otherwise touch, is a unique person, created by the Holy Trinity in the image of God. They are not individual numbers or statistics walking around, they are persons, with all the wonder and dignity attendant to being created images of God, and we are to treat them as such: each one a person unique from all the rest and special to God. Continue reading “Grace, Seasoned with Salt, and Evangelism”

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The Discipline of the Father and the Cross of Jesus

To be saved is to enter into union with the Crucified God. The discipline of the Father is not in first purpose chastisement for sin, but chastisement to bring us into the likeness of – into union with – His Crucified Son.

Salvation is the marriage of the soul to Christ. Shall she not then accompany her Beloved, her Divine Spouse, on His way to Calvary and to the Cross? Continue reading “The Discipline of the Father and the Cross of Jesus”

The Knowledge of the Living God

How can man know God? Can man know God, God the great I AM WHO I AM, eternal, immutable, incomparable, the One Who is Himself and Himself alone, defined only by His own being and by nothing else, to Whom nothing is like, infinite and exalted in majesty and glory? How can a finite creature know such a One? Even intellectual knowledge will be of little good, for He is unlike any of the things we know, so that all we can intellectually know of Him can be that He is not like His creation, and that He exists, but who He is or where, that is, how, to look for Him we can not know, only that nothing else is Him – who is not Him – and where or how we can not look for Him. [As for experiencing Him, seeing Him, how shall it be? Even were we sinless, is it even possible that our finite minds can even behold a little of the Glory of His Majesty, can even understand a little of what YHWH means? Continue reading “The Knowledge of the Living God”

All is Sacrifice and there is No Cost

“In view of God’s mercies, therefore, I urge you, present your bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable act of worship.”

“In Him, let us, therefore, continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His Name.”

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like man who was ploughing in a field, and he came upon a buried treasure. In his joy, he buried the treasure, and went and sold all that he had, and bought the field. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who was searching for fine pearls, and finding a pearl of great price, in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought the pearl.”

“Whoever loses… for My sake… will not fail to receive a hundred times as much in this life, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

“What man, if he wishes to build a tower, will not first sit down, and calculate to see if he has enough to finish, lest he should lay the foundation, and be unable to finish, and all should mock him, saying, ‘He has started what he was not able to finish?’ Or what man, if he has an army coming against him, will not first sit down to see if he is able, with ten thousand men, to come against twenty thousand, and if he is not, will he not send for terms of peace? In the same way, you, if you do not give up all you possess, you cannot be My disciple.”

In Jesus, we ourselves are to be a sacrifice to God: a victim, consecrated to God and transformed in the Divine fire from Heaven. All we do, and all we experience, is also to be sacrifice: consecrated to God, and offered to Him in love and thanksgiving, in adoration and worship, in willingness and praise. Continue reading “All is Sacrifice and there is No Cost”

A Request for Obedience to Jesus’ Command of Baptism

Before Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He gave this command to His disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them for the remission of sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

It could not be clearer. Baptism is a command of the Lord given to His Church, and it has to do with identification with Him and participation in His death, burial, and resurrection. “Do you not know that as many of you have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death? And, if you have been buried with Him through baptism into death, then, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, you too shall walk in newness of life.” Baptism is also associated with receiving the Holy Spirit, with participation in the life of the Blessed Trinity. Continue reading “A Request for Obedience to Jesus’ Command of Baptism”