ACN- Are we sufficiently united with our persecuted brethren by suffering?
Father Werenfried van Straaten – the “Bacon Priest”
Examine your conscience
Are we sufficiently united with our persecuted brethren by suffering? Don’t we forget their misery all too easily after we have paid our monetary contribution, which probably soothes our conscience to sleep, in a fit of sentimentality, into the account of ACN? What do we do with our own trials and difficulties? Do we sometimes remember that they are not useless and that they may “add what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ”? Do we believe in the redeeming value of our own sorrow? Do we endure it in union with the suffering of the persecuted? Do we believe in the power of our prayers? When praying the Our Father, do we think of our brethren whose keepers we are according to the will of the Father? Are we grateful to them for their example and are we ready for the lessons they give us? Do we enfold them as brothers in our hearts? Or do we only throw them an alms from a distance? Is our help in accordance with their needs?Does it consist of suffering, hardships and sacrifices proportional to the sacrifices with which they are burdened? Do we endeavour honestly to share the weight of their cross, so that we are prepared to bear the same burdens as they? Or are we satisfied with humiliating pity and cheap gratuity?
“We do not expect you to pity us nor do we ask it of you, but that you help us to discover our vocation and to be faithful to it” writes a father of a family in eastern Europe.
“Promise that you will not let a single day pass without praying for me and my poor brothers,” asks a persecuted priest.
“They have deprived us of everything of which we can be deprived. We have nothing more to lose. But strength is necessary to remain upright in this total destitution: pray for us!” begs a bishop.