10.31.2008

Are You Too Worried About What Others Think of Your Catholic Faith?

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Hello My Dear Friends in Christ,

I hope that you are enjoying this gorgeous October day, wherever you are in the world. It is simply glorious outside with all of the colors of the leaves changing. The bright red maple trees are just amazing this time of year!

In today's reading from "In Conversation with God", Francis Fernandez challenges me to humbly act as a Catholic Christian follower of Christ with courage and strength in any environment and within anyone's presence.

Many of you know that I live in the Southeastern region of the United States. Believe me, Catholics are the religious minority here. There are so many prejudices and ignorant misunderstandings about Catholics in this area (and really just about anywhere for that matter!) that it completely saddens me when I think about it. I have even had one of my students tell me that I was a heretic. Of all things! My son came home from school one day and said that a "friend" told him that he was going to hell because he was a Catholic. Can you even imagine someone telling your highly impressionable middle-school-aged child this? Such bigotry and ignorance abounds around us!

We need to emulate Christ and NOT BE AFRAID or ASHAMED to give testimony to our Catholicism! We, Catholics, cannot allow ourselves to be carried away with failure to claim our Faith just so we can be accepted by others. We can demonstrate our Faith with humility and naturalness in any situation . . . and when we do so, we will have no regrets, because our actions will be consistent, rather than contrary, to our Catholic beliefs.

We should NOT pay any attention to criticisms or hostilities against our beautiful Faith. Fernandez says that any opposition should not stop us or hold us back from professing our Faith and our actions and statements against our opposers will increase our glory in heaven with our Father. In doing so, we will also be leading and guiding other souls to our Faith. "Good example always sows good seed that will, sooner or later, bear fruit."

And oh how HAPPY the Lord will be for our courageous earthly evidence and demonstration of our love and allegiance to Him and to His Catholic Church! Christ's love for each of us will help us overcome our fears in the face of adversity and our desires to 'not rock the boat' or to 'fit in'.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words . . . ,
of him will the Son of man also be ashamed,
when He comes in glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Mark 8:38

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
Do not be ashamed of testifying for our Lord,
but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God.

2 Tim 1:7-8

We should not be afraid to say that we, Catholics, believe in:
  • the sacrament of marriage,
  • sexual relations as a sacred gift between a man and a woman in the state of marriage,
  • human life beginning at conception,
  • the infallibility of the apostolic successor, the Vicar of Christ, our Pope,
  • the Eucharist as the body and blood of Jesus Christ . . . and more.

and we should not be afraid to say that we, Catholics:

  • don't support abortion,
  • don't support stem cell research,
  • don't support euthanasia,
  • don't believe in 'sola scriptura', interpreting Scripture without the authority of the Catholic Church . . .
the list goes on. These are the beliefs that we should all know as Catholics in order to defend our beautiful faith.

When it comes down to it all in the end . . . it really only matters what GOD THINKS of us and what GOD WANTS US TO DO in any situation and NOT what other people think of us!

I pray that I (and all Catholics) continue to receive the courage, strength and GRACE from our Lord and Heavenly Father to profess the Catholic Faith in my (our) thoughts, words, and actions at all times.

Many blessings to you today,

In His love,

~ Bella
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