Friday 16th November 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake

June 9, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

In our deliberation last week on the seventh Beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9), it was observed that St. Thomas Aquinas distinguishes it (along with the sixth Beatitude) as a Beatitude of the contemplative life.
In a very real sense, its lived-out practice is a kind of preparation for unending happiness as a citizen of Heaven (cf. Summa Theologiae [STh] I-II, Q. 69, art. 2). The Beatitude of “peacemakers” is linked by Saints Augustine and Thomas to the gift of wisdom. In volume 1 of The Three Ages of the Interior Life (AIL), Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, asserts that the ensuing inspirations of the Holy Spirit “give us a radiating peace, not only for ourselves but for our neighbor” (p. 170).
According to Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, “Peacemakers are those who love peace and labor to establish peace all around them; they try to heal discord between people and especially seek to reconcile sinners who are estranged from God” (The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism [QACC], n. 870).
Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, in slightly different terms, affirms that peacemakers are able to calm troubled souls, to love their enemies, and to find words of reconciliation that put an end to strife (cf. AIL, p. 170). The rewards promised to those who resolutely live out the seventh Beatitude “are the grace now of being specially loved by God as his dearest children and the attainment of heavenly glory, as part of God’s family, in eternity” (QACC, n. 871).
With regard to the goal of the attainment of earthly peace, however, the fathers of the Second Vatican Council sound a cautionary note: “Peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority. But this is not enough. . . . Peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 78 §§ 1-2).
The eighth and final Beatitude proclaimed by Jesus to preface the Sermon on the Mount will close our reflections on this topic: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10).
It is the sole Beatitude that is immediately followed by a comment by Jesus: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
Similarly, it is one of four Beatitudes with a corresponding blessing and woe in the Gospel of St. Luke: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. . . . Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:22-23, 26).
Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange describes the eighth Beatitude as “the most perfect of the beatitudes [which] unites all the preceding ones in the midst of persecution endured for justice’ sake. These are the final trials, the condition of sanctity” (AIL, p. 165).
In the words of the Angelic Doctor: “The eighth beatitude is a confirmation and declaration of all those that precede. Because from the very fact that a man is confirmed in poverty of spirit, meekness, and the rest, it follows that no persecution will induce him to renounce them. Hence the eighth beatitude corresponds, in a way, to all the preceding seven” (STh I-II, Q. 69, art. 3, ad 5).
To enter more deeply into the meaning of this Beatitude, it would be useful to examine the meaning of the word “persecute.” Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, states that “the word in Latin is persequere, which means ‘to hound someone’” (Heaven in Our Hands, p. 63).
In A Catechetical Dictionary for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Dr. Joseph Fisher defines it as “to afflict, harass, constantly injure, cause distress, or oppress cruelly” (p. 414).
Fr. Hardon, in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, attests that “since the first days after Pentecost the Church has been persecuted by those who felt threatened by her or who sought to enforce religious conformity or who penalized dissent from accepted or established norms of belief and behavior” (p. 417).
In his Basic Catholic Catechism Course (BCCC), Fr. Hardon unequivocally proclaims that “one recurrent theme in the Gospels is that Christ’s followers may expect the same treatment from others as the Master received from His contemporaries” (p. 109).
In fact, Jesus couldn’t have been clearer in forewarning His disciples: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. . . . If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:18, 20). St. Paul echoes this teaching in a letter to Timothy: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Even in the Old Testament, this was borne out in that all true Prophets were ill-treated; and right from the start of His public ministry, the enemies of Jesus reviled, persecuted, and plotted against Him.
Elsewhere, Fr. Hardon gives a stern warning regarding the times in which we live, about standing up for the Truth in our daily lives:
“In doing so, you must expect to be opposed. If you are not persecuted, it you are not opposed, if you are not spoken falsely about, if people don’t say all manner of evil against you for Christ’s sake — suspect today your loyalty to the Master” (see www.thereal
presence.org and click on “Beatitudes” in the site index).
The Servant of God goes on to insist that “we are being persecuted in our country, not with fire and sword, but with what is often even more successful: seduction, blandishment, and the sad example of those who still call themselves Christians, but who have betrayed the name of Christ.”
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, citing a penetrating analysis by the Catholic theologian and exegete Heinrich Schlier (d. 1978), comments on a verse in St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians that speaks of “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). In our secularized world, persecution often occurs by demonic powers working behind the scenes — through the air — to form public opinion by means of the mass media: radio, television, the Internet, and other varied forms of social media (cf. Beatitudes: Eight Steps to Happiness [ESH], pp. 117-118).
Fr. Cantalamessa goes on to assert that “secularism tends to make faith appear irrelevant or even as residue from earlier stages that human consciousness has surpassed” (ESH, p. 118).
It is important to understand, however, that not all forms of persecution one might endure are praiseworthy and will be blessed by Christ. For example, St. Peter makes a distinction between suffering unjustly as a Christian and suffering justly “as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker” (1 Peter 4:15).
Similarly, in his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul “exhorts believers to conduct themselves in such a way as not to give pagans a reason to blaspheme (see Romans 2:17-24)” (ESH, p. 124).
The ideal attitude for one subjected to unjust persecution on account of Christ is described in stark language by the Apostle to the Gentiles: “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate” (1 Cor. 4:12-13).
Furthermore, unjust persecution must be accepted with love, for as St. Paul says: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3).

An Amazing Reward

Is such conduct possible in this life? “With men this is impossible,” says our Lord, “but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). It is only with God’s grace that such heights of sanctity can be attained.
For each of the first seven Beatitudes, St. Augustine has assigned a specific gift of the Holy Spirit — this is not the case for the eighth Beatitude. Citing St. Augustine’s commentary entitled The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, renowned moral theologian Germain Grisez, PhD, states: “This last Beatitude returns to the first, forming a kind of circle” (Christian Moral Principles [volume 1], p. 652).
He suggests that it might be said the eighth Beatitude corresponds to a gift of the Spirit without a common name (e.g., “wisdom” or “fear of the Lord”), that is, “a unique gift proper to each Christian, by which he or she is disposed to share creatively and in a personal way in Jesus’ suffering” (ibid.).
The blessing or reward promised by Christ for accepting persecution with patience and resignation according to the designs of God’s holy will — while the world dreads every form of criticism and rejection — is the ultimate possession of the Kingdom of God in Heaven (cf. BCCC, p. 109).
Moreover, an amazing reward is promised even in this life for rejecting the world’s false moral norm of human respect, for freely disdaining acceptance by a secularized and relativistic society. It is nothing less than a deep joy in the depths of one’s heart, an abiding interior joy that is firmly based on the assurance of one’s future heavenly reward.

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a Consecrated Marian Catechist.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they “need to lead by witness.” In…Continue Reading

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

US bishop challenges brother bishops for allowing pro-LGBT priest to speak in dioceses

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland forthrightly articulated Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Tuesday. He questioned whether his brother bishops believed this “doctrine of the Church or not,” and if they did, why some of them have allowed certain clergy to speak in their dioceses with a pro-homosexual message. “Brothers, I think part of the fraterna

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a brief note to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals to hold bishops accountable for their failures after the reve

Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 12 November 2018 [Multimedia]   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet the full complement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I offer cordial welcome to the new Members and I am grateful to the former President, Professor Werner Arber for his gracious words of introduction, while I pray that Professor Joachim von…Continue Reading

Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

BALTIMORE – The first gathering of the nation’s Catholic bishops since a summer wave of anger and recrimination over clergy sex abuse in the American church opened Monday with a stunning announcement: The prelates would not vote on a series of new accountability measures – and it was the Vatican who ordered them to hold off.

Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

A Book Review… The Wizards Versus The Rest Of Us

By JEFF MINICK Piedra, Alberto. No God, No Civilization (Lambing Press: 2018); paperback, 255 pages. Available at amazon.com. In January of 2018, I resolved to read my way through Will and Ariel Durant’s magnum opus The Story of Civilization before the end of the year. It is now early November, and I am nearing the…Continue Reading

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that his natural political instincts are superior to those of any other current figure. As campaign 2018 entered its final week, Trump seized upon and elevated the single issue that most energizes his populist base and most convulses our media elite. Warning of…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent blog that appeared in LifeSiteNews, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski described the vital contribution of Christianity to the world and suggested that living it to the fullest today could transform our modern world: “Christianity entered into a world that was drunkenly careening from superstition to esotericism, from world-weary despair to unappeasable hedonism, and introduced a way that…Continue Reading

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Gertrude The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Christian spirituality, prayer has many types and forms. There are prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition. There are vocal prayers and mental prayers. Again there are liturgical prayers and private prayers. Only one woman in the history of the Church has been called great, St. Gertrude the Great, a Benedictine nun, known for her wisdom…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading