Thursday, April 17, 2014

Little Lent

Well, Lent "officially" ends today. However, I consider the next two days (Good Friday and Holy Saturday) to be a "Little Lent" because though it is a short period of time, they are the darkest days of the liturgical year.

This year Lent has been a rather dry experience for me. I mean that spiritually, not literally. I let the world get in the way of my prayer life and my prayer life suffered for it. I've had worse Lents, and better Lents, so I'm not complaining, just observing.

But it got me thinking about slippery slopes. At the beginning of Lent I had intended to read "Introduction to the Devout Life" by St. Francis de Sales. I began in earnest, but soon found myself reading other things. I intended to use the time I spent playing computer games to devote more time to prayer. That time evaporated - I still don't know to where.

One thing I did read was "Come Rack, Come Rope" by Robert Hugh Benson. It is a historical novel about a Catholic living in England under Elizabeth I. The book got me thinking about martyrdom. There's a quote form Flannery O'Connor “She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.” It's one thing to face death for the faith, but another to be constantly pecked at. Some of the characters in the book experience this.

We're seeing the same thing in the persecution of Christians in the world and in our country today. "Oh just pay for the contraception. It's only a few dollars." Then why is it a $30,000 fine not to pay? "Oh just bake the cake. It's only a bit of flour and frosting." Then why is it a $500,000 lawsuit not to bake it? We are not being martyred per se, but are forced to violate our conscience in tiny ways more and more.

And where does that slippery slope end? Like in Breaking Bad, will there be a time when we find we can no longer refuse to comply? God grant me the strength to pick up my cross again and continue.


Amen, Mike. Those little mortifications we face every day I think really are the modern version of white martyrdom. Whether they'll turn to red martyrdom in the broader world (like they are in some areas already) remains to be seen.

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