Skip to comments.Pope says Christians should embrace persecution as source of blessing
Posted on 01/10/2007 5:54:07 PM PST by NYer
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Christian community and its members always will face persecution and suffering, but they should embrace it as a source of blessing, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Speaking at his Jan. 10 general audience about the ministry and death of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, the pope said the persecution of the early Christian community is what pushed the disciples to leave Jerusalem and bring the Gospel to the world.
"Even in our lives the cross, which is never lacking, becomes a blessing," the pope said.
And by accepting suffering in the knowledge that it will lead to growth and blessings, "we learn the joy of Christianity even in moments of difficulty," Pope Benedict said.
St. Stephen, he said, "teaches us to love the cross because the cross is the path Christ always uses to arrive in our midst."
The pope also spoke about the ministry of St. Stephen, who was elected by the Christian community and confirmed by the apostles as one of "seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom," charged with distributing charity.
The fact that St. Stephen and the other six also preached the Gospel, he said, is a reminder that "charity and proclamation always go together."
The pope touched briefly on the fact that before having them begin their ministry, the apostles laid hands on the seven, which is why many Christians see them as the church's first deacons.
Pope Benedict did not refer directly to theological discussion over the possibility of ordaining women deacons based on New Testament texts describing community leaders laying their hands on the heads of women chosen to carry out specific tasks on behalf of the community.
However, he said, the gesture of laying hands on someone's head "can have different meanings. In the Old Testament the gesture mostly has the significance of transmitting an important charge."
Sts. Paul and Barnabas were anointed that way before being sent off to evangelize the gentiles, as was St. Timothy, he said.
Pope Benedict said that St. Paul's descriptions of the power of the laying on of hands and the need for discernment prior to anointing someone in that way demonstrate an evolution in the meaning of the gesture, which later developed "in the line of a sacramental sign."
At the end of the audience, Pope Benedict greeted 30 members of an international soccer team made up of priests. The priests gave him a yellow jersey with his name in Italian, "Benedetto," and his number in Roman numerals, "XVI."
You go first Pope.
Matthew 5. "Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and utter all manner 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."
Slightly different phrasing in the Gospel of Luke.
Thanks for the assist, Sis.
Ummm...I think he already did.
I say; the pope should let go of his ankles.
Ummmmmm - Ummmmmm - hey - that's pretty catchy. Ummmm, Ummmmmm.
I think you guys are on the wrong thread. I don't know what thread your comments should be on, but it sure isn't this one.
LMAO! Yer killin' me!!
Ah, it only took two posts and the blessings are already coming forward.
Didn't take long did it?
That is very disturbing. *shudder*
It got ugly fast.
Yeah, usually it's around post 10. I guess the Good God really wants to bless us.
I get to practice self-control, anger management, and I end up doing a lot of praying. I don't know how many replies I've typed and deleted. MOst of the time God gives me the grace of keeping my thoughts to myself. I don't know how those who do engage them continue to do it with such grace, the Holy Spirit must be helping them.
I guess the Pope didn't get the message...God wants us to be happy, happy, happy all the time. Isn't that what the Purpose Filled Life tells us?
hahahaha... yeah, it is a good exercise in restraint. Helps me out in my job at the police dept. too. The other day I arrested a guy on an outstanding warrant. He's in the back of my car telling me he hopes I die of cancer.
I think the same of him as I do these people who feel the need to make such comments. Sad. Then grateful that it bothers me less and less, that I can manage to pray for them and endure this little slight and offer it to Jesus in memory of what He said, and suffered.
Let's see...I think standing up to 1 billion Muslims might be a start...Why don't you get back to us the next time you do that, okay?
My, how tolerant. Don't pray for him, call him names.
God gave us free will. My will is not to embrace suffering. I would rather fight it when I can. I am thankful that our forefathers didn't embrace suffering from the King of England.
"Enterprise" & "MaxMax" are just playing their part!
His words reveal his bigotry. At your suggestion, I will pray for him and that he overcomes this sin.
You offer further support of my hypothesis that you don't understand Christianity.
Even from people like you.
Then I shall gracefully embrace the persecution offered by your overt bigotry!
LOL, I'm a bigot
Yes, sadly the statements you have made here against the Pope reveal a deep seated bigotry.
And just what part is that?
I thought it was clear?
You are not clear.
Enterprise, I think you are not attacking Catholics but have misunderstood some things about the Catholic attitude.
We are all called to resist evil, which is one of the reason the great majority of our police forces are Catholic, and there is a disproportionately heavy dose of Catholics in the military too. A government or a ruler is resonsible for protecting his people, and this does mean using force.
The Pope was talking about situations in which individuals are powerless to defeat by force those who hate us. In that case, we cannot bow down (the way the hostage reporters who "converted" to Islam did), but simply have to accept whatever suffering comes to us for holding to our principles and our faith.
Btw, I'm nondenominational. And the pope has been the blunt of
many jokes and comments. Do you not allow that in your utopia of debate?
(the obvious) He is not a god.
I find it curious that you've taken a personal interest in
my outlook. Thank you for caring.
Now THAT is a reasonable view! (And explanation)
The grotesquely distorted picture of the Pope posted in your post #13 is certainly another statement of overt religious prejudice when coupled with the anal sex reference about the Pope in your post #9.
Btw, I'm nondenominational.
Creed or denomination doesn't make religious prejudice any less vile.
And the pope has been the blunt of many jokes and comments.
All independent of the overt religious prejudice that has been posted here.
Do you not allow that in your utopia of debate?
Certainly not. I hope that the religious prejudice remains on this thread as a permanent record of what those who post it really are.
(the obvious) He is not a god.
Of course he isn't, but that fact doesn't in any way reduce or mitigate the overt religious prejudice that has been posted against him.
I find it curious that you've taken a personal interest in my outlook.
My interest is primarily in highlighting the ignorance of anyone who publicly espouses overt religious prejudice.
Thank you for caring.
I do my best to care about everyone, especially people who are religiously prejudice.
Have a happy day.
You're welcome. St. Paul covers the subject, too :-).
May God continue to bless you with such wisdom and humility.
I am always impressed with the faith and conviction that I see with many on this thread. You continue to confirm that feeling.
Well spoken words livius. This is why devotion to St. Micheal is very popular also.
The Holy Father makes an interesting observation. Accepting our cross to bear with grace is probably the hardest thing in life. However, knowing that God is with you at every moment and bringing good out of it all takes a constant infusion of Faith, Hope and Love.
These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
This thread is the perfect example of Satan lashing out at those who embrace the cross. He hates it. It takes away his power over man. It destroys his plan of victory over our souls. The bomb-throwers contributing to this post are only proving Pope Benedict's point. PERFECTLY.
It's threads like these, filled with vitriol and ridicule of the Holy Father, that show me how blessed I am to be Catholic.
And for those who are claiming that embracing suffering isn't biblical, apparently they've never come across the Beatitudes in all their biblical "study".
John 15:18 through 16:4 is a good start.