Christians in every age are persecuted, whether it involves a coordinated effort by those in power, or (sometimes even more painful) an attack from family and friends.
Whatever type of persecution we may be experiencing, it isn’t easy to endure.
St. Raymond of Penyafort had some wise words to say about persecution, featured in the Church’s Office of Readings.
He explains first how anyone who lives by the Gospel will be persecuted, “The preacher of God’s truth has told us that all who want to live righteously in Christ will suffer persecution.”
If Jesus Christ was persecuted, how can we escape it?
St. Raymond recognizes that persecution is especially difficult to endure when it comes from within, whether that is from the Church, or from family and friends.
The sword falls with double and treble force externally when, without cause being given, there breaks out from within the Church persecution in spiritual matters, where wounds are more serious, especially when inflicted by friends.
The key to maintaining a peaceful heart is to keep the faith and set our eyes on Jesus Christ.
Look then on Jesus, the author and preserver of faith: in complete sinlessness he suffered, and at the hands of those who were his own, and was numbered among the wicked. As you drink the cup of the Lord Jesus – how glorious it is! – give thanks to the Lord, the giver of all blessings.
It may not be easy to be grateful for such a cross of persecution, but when viewed in light of Jesus’ cross, we will we able to see how we are united to him in a special way, and how the door to eternity will be opened to those who persevere in faith.