Awake, O Sleeper….

“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5

Turn a flashlight on during the day and the light will be barely visible, as its beam is lost when it is surrounded by the light of day.  But turn a flashlight on at night and it provides a brightly visible beam of light that clearly lights your path through the darkness.  Jesus is the true Light Who has come into the world, and His Light shines brightest through us when the world is dark.

“In the same way, let your light shine shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16

The wonderful thing about our Faith as Christians and Catholics in particular is that persecution does not quench the Light of Christ within us, but in fact makes it shine more brightly.  When the Christian Church was very young in the early centuries AD, there were many persecutions, and many martyrs to the Faith, including the Saint who would provide the model for Santa Claus.  St. Nicholas was known for his great generosity and kindness, but this Bishop of the Catholic Church also showed remarkable courage when he was imprisoned for 13 years for refusing to deny Christ.  A third century Roman leader, Tertullian, remarked “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” And Christianity has grown and flourished ever since that time.

In times of trouble, Christianity does not falter but instead increases exponentially. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it—it never has and it never will.

When the Nazis invaded Poland and tried to crush everything good about Polish culture, imprisoning professors and doctors and forbidding Polish music and art, the response was for those remaining to be more Polish than ever before — to hold in their hearts all that was good about Poland — to keep in their memories all that was great.  In short, the plan was to be more Polish than they had ever been before.

And now, as we Catholics are being persecuted, our response should be to be more Catholic than we have ever been before, in our hearts and our minds; in the depths of our souls and in what we do.

Have you ever read the Catechism? Perhaps now is the time.

How often do you pray? Pray more.

How often do you pray the Rosary? Do you know what the Mysteries are? Pray it now.

What is the history and culture of Catholicism? Now is the time to learn.

How often do you go to Mass, and take part in the Sacraments? When was the last time you went to Confession?  Go.

What is Lent all about? What does fasting, prayer and almsgiving mean to you? Now is the time to understand.

How many silly news stories have you been bombarded with this week?  You know the ones I’m talking about; the stories about what celebrities are wearing, the 100th car accident of the week, lurid tales, sensational stories that catch the attention but have little to do with daily life.

Turn off the T.V. Turn off the computer.

That is a good start.

Sit in silence. Pray. Read the Bible. Pray. Listen to a Podcast of Today’s Readings and less to the latest song. Learn the wisdom of ages. Take a walk in silence. Pray.

In short, be more Catholic than you’ve ever been before.

As Catholics, we are the Light of the World .  Let’s Go Forth and Shine!