One of the inspiring books I read when I was younger was "God's Smuggler," the story of Brother Andrew, a Christian missionary behind the Iron Curtain in the 1950s. I recently picked up that book again. In it I find heroic faith in God's providence which is answered by God's miraculous intervention.
In Brother Andrew's search for his ministry, he is appalled by the ignorance of the Bible and of the person of Jesus among young people he encounters. In parallel, someone told me of meeting young people in California who had never heard of Jesus.
Now I know there are a lot of people in this country who don't know much about Him, but at least they've heard His name, if only in vain.
Later on, Andrew finds that young people behind the Iron Curtain no longer attend church. The complaint of one grandmother when asked was that the schools were telling the children that the old people “are uneducated in these things” - humor them by letting them do their thing (my wording) - ‘but we know better don't we’.
In some areas of our own country educators appear to have been taught and believe that the government has the right to form the children as they see fit and that the parents haven't got a right to interfere.
Some time ago there was encouragement for what was called the “New” Evangelism - re-evangelizing Christians whose catechesis may be lacking.
I remember being told by my mother that in polite society, two subjects were to be avoided in social situations - religion and politics. We Catholics don't often go deep in talking about our religion - after all, that's "the priest's job." I have fears, however, that if my generation and yours don't get busy evangelizing our children, they will be evangelized by anti-Christian, anti-religion elements at work in our society.
Our faith is not a set of rules, but a relationship with God in the person of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Without that relationship, it’s a dry thing, not attractive to others. We can’t communicate that without speaking up.
I’m a sort of conspiracy theorist. I believe the devil is a conspirator - he always is. But as God has chosen to work through people, so has Satan.
Any work of God has to start with prayer. "Unless the Lord build the house, those who labor build in vain.". And maybe prayer is the only option you see for yourself. Pray for your country. Pray God's will be done - but know that's not a cop-out prayer. Occasionally scripture is clear about God's will. Praying for God's specific will is always a good thing.
I feel like the time is getting very short. In the past when good people sat back and waited for somebody else to stop the evil around them - well, they got Hitler. They got Lenin.
It is the Truth, not gunfire, that sets one free. Truth is in Christ - Truth is Christ. We have to give Christ to the children in this country or lose it. Or lose them.
Rom. 13:11 : "And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."
Daphne Berend writes from Subiaco.
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