Monday, June 4, 2012

For Greater Faith

I know that I'm supposed to be on a blog break but I was feeling particularly wordy last night and since I'd already decided to not study (so I could go see a movie) I figure I might as well put my words to paper, er...digital internet space.

It's a toss up between St. Kolbe and Fr. Vega
 (pictured above) for most badass priest ever.


Steven and I went to see For Greater Glory and thoroughly enjoyed it. For the ladies and soft hearted gentlemen: bring tissues; for the manly macho men: make sure whoever you go with brings extra tissues. You'll need them.

This isn't a review of the movie (there are plenty of those already, like this one, and this one, and this one) instead it's a reflection. I had never heard of the Cristero War before and quite frankly I'm disgusted by that fact. We've heard all injustices to every other race, gender, and religion yet this was kept hush hush. So for those of you unaware let me enlightened you (via Wikipedia)

"The Cristero War (1926-29) also known as the La Cristiada, was an uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government. The rebellion was set off by the persecution of Catholics and a ban on their public religious practices. More specifically, the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions by atheist and former President of Mexico Plutarco Elias Calles through the Mexican Constitution of 1917 along with the further expansion of anti-clerical laws exacerbated the conflicts."


Here are a few examples of the 'anti-clerical' provisions:

1) wearing a cassock or chasuble in public was punishable by a fine of 500 pesos (approximately 250 U.S. dollars at the time, or worth $4250 in 2010.)
2) a priest who criticized the government could be imprisoned for five years.
3) all foreign born priests, bishops, and cardinals were deported.

As if that's not enough there was a ban on saying Mass or distributing any of the sacraments. Men, women, and children were tortured, raped, and murdered solely for being Catholic. Religious faithful who stayed with their parishes were killed. Churches were stormed during Masses by government soldiers and mass executions were ordered.

This brings me to another, albeit off topic, point: while the struggle for religious liberty is currently going on today in our country, the two are not comparable. Today we are being asked to adjust our morals. We are not being forced to abandon our faith lest we be martyred. While what Obama (and Sebelius) have done is deplorable, it doesn't hold a candle to what Calles did. To equate the two is an injustice to the Cristeros who sacrificed everything just to be able to practice their faith.

Anyways, stepping off that high horse, I can not help but wonder what I would do if I were put in a similar situation. Would I have the faith and assurance in God to trust in His mercy? Would I be able to look a dozen men with guns in the eyes and affirm my faith in God? Would I sacrifice my life to ensure my children would be able to practice their Catholic faith freely, to help their souls make it to Heaven?

I pray that I would but I'm not sure. In fact I'm more than not sure; I'm quite certain I wouldn't be courageous enough. I look at what I've done in response to our current religious liberty battle: made a website. Wawho! That'll show 'em!! Seriously though, how many 13 tweens have made websites for Justin Bieber?  Wow, I'm comparing myself to a Belieber and losing...new low.


So as protocol for my achievement of a new low, I start to rationalize away faultiness. It's a different time. Our Lady of Guadalupe had appeared to them, preparing them, ensuring their faith and her protection. We've just been a country of lackluster Catholics for years now. Surely if that whole "God only gives you want you can handle" thing is true then we're in no shape for such a serious test of faith. (As evidenced by my reaction to Finchel breaking up.) Besides who am I to speak up? Who would listen to me? This is a time for the bishops and big name Catholics or Marc Barnes to voice their opinion and indignation, not me. I mean I can hardly muster the courage to make it to the peaceful sidewalks of Planned Parenthood one Saturday a month, how would I ever wrangle up enough courage to look an army in the eye and profess my faith?

I don't have an answer to that. I wish that I did; that there was some equation I could find where you plug in x amount of rosaries prayed, n amount of candles lit, y amount of tongue biting when that bitchy old cashier rolls her eyes when you say "God bless you" to someone who sneezed.  If I could just know how to get there I would be on top of it. I would be the most saintly women this side of heaven.

I guess that's the thing about faith. If you know it's a sure thing you don't need any faith at all. Instead of begging for signs and assurance I should be asking that the gift of faith be bestowed upon me. I should be praying to be tested, in small ways at first, but tested none the less. I should pray to get accustomed to the rolled eyes and pursed lips when my Catholic faith is brought up. Because while that bitchy cashier is a formidable foe, she's nothing compared to devil who is waited with bated breath.

8 comments:

  1. "This brings me to another, albeit off topic, point: while the struggle for religious liberty is currently going on today in our country, the two are not comparable. Today we are being asked to adjust our morals. We are not being forced to abandon our faith lest we be martyred. To equate the two is an injustice to the Cristeros who sacrificed everything just to be able to practice their faith."

    While I agree with you today, I think that sometimes when people want to compare, they are just a little misguided and should be pointing out that we may be headed down this road. I realize I haven't been (yet) been martyred for my faith, but with the direction taken by this administration down a scary road that includes a window to forced abortions, who is to say families in this country might not be asked to martyr their children (as the Chinese currently do)?

    Yes, I agree...we are NOT there YET. But when people speak of the comparisons, I think they are rightly worried about the road down which we've turned.

    Good reflection though. I have thought about this a lot (whether I am ready for such a test of my faith). Especially whenever I read passages from Maccabeees in the Bible. The truth is, I talk a big game and my history shows that I'm the kind of person who puts my money where my mouth is. But I've never been asked to stand in front of the firing squad...yet.

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  2. "I guess that's the thing about faith. If you know it's a sure thing you don't need any faith at all." - that's the hardest part. We're sure and unsure at the same time. It seems like we live a contradiction in everything we do and I think it is that which makes others intolerant of us and our beliefs. I've never heard of the Cristero War before either and now I'll go educate myself.

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  3. My husband and I just watched a special on EWTN on this movie and we definitely want to go see it. Thanks for the reflection. I am on the same boat as you when it comes to faith. I constantly feel like I have SUCH a long way to go when it comes to sainthood. But unlike you, I fear the "little tests" that God has planned for me. I fear I won't be able to handle them, and that my world would come crashing down around me. (I'm so dramatic I know, also as you can tell because of how I handled the Finchel break-up! ;)...anyways, preach sister!

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  4. First of all, your "new low" cracked me up! Beyond that, I would NOT pray for tests of your faith. They will come. Rather, like Jesus told his disciples, "Pray for strength to undergo the test."

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  5. You are not alone in lacking the courage to stand up for the Catholic Faith ... or doubting your ability to do so. Sometimes I think the Saints make it look easy, when in reality, their thoughts weren't that different from ours.
    I can't imagine living in that kind of climate - and you're right, although our faith is being tested by Obama/Sebilius, it's nothing compared to what others have gone through. .... so much to think about!!! :-)

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  6. Okay, so I need to see this movie! And I had not heard about it till now either! Agree with you in finding strength in being more endearing and confident about expressing my faith!

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  7. New to your blog. Looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend and hoping it fires me up!

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  8. You are undoubtably convinced that Catholics are persecuted in this day in age, but might I suggest that you consider the possibility that other religions/agnostics/atheists are also persecuted. "The struggle for religious liberty is currently going on today in our country"- actually the struggle for LIBERTY is currently going on, and Catholics are not helping the situation. By enforcing your beliefs upon others (namely abortion), how is that allowing others who deem abortion to be acceptable the ability to have their liberties? No one is persecuting you for choosing NOT to support abortion, but essentially Catholics are persecuting those who choose it as an option for their lives. "Today we are being asked to adjust our morals"- no, you are allowed to have whatever morals you choose to have- but it's you who is asking others to adjust their morals. Your morals are based upon your religion, which are not the same as general moralistic choices. Moralistic choices are not the same as religious choices (which are oftentimes a detriment to society and human beings).

    And in terms of forced abortions, yes that may be a reality in the near or distant future due to the problem of overpopulation. Your great-great grandchildren may be forced to abort or only have one child, because you decided to have three or more children. Once again, the theme of inherent human selfishness prevails- it's just unfortunate that our future generations will suffer and have to pay the price.

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