the red badge of courage
"When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the Lord bade Him speak to all the people, the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying, 'You must be put to death!' " —Jeremiah 26:8
Jeremiah knew he would be rejected and possibly killed when he prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed. Nevertheless, Jeremiah obeyed the Lord and spoke out. Jesus knew He would be without honor in His native place (Mt 13:57), but, in obedience to His Father, He went there anyway. We know that when we speak up for Jesus, we will suffer the consequences from our anti-Christian society. So what will we do?
Pope John Paul II taught: "The Church proposes the example of numerous Saints who bore witness to and defended moral truth even to the point of enduring martyrdom, or who preferred death to a single mortal sin" (The Splendor of Truth, 91). "The words of the Latin poet Juvenal apply to all: 'Consider it the greatest of crimes to prefer survival to honor and, out of love of physical life, to lose the very reason for living' " (The Splendor of Truth, 94).
The Lord calls us to be courageous. "The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit" (2 Tm 1:7). We must pray to have the courage to proclaim the gospel as we ought (Eph 6:20). With the early Church, our prayer should be: "Now, O Lord, look at the threats they are leveling against us. Grant to Your servants, even as they speak Your words, complete assurance by stretching forth Your hand in cures and signs and wonders to be worked in the name of Jesus, Your holy Servant" (Acts 4:29-30).
Prayer: Father, may I love You so much that I will be bold and unmanipulated.
Promise: "They were filled with amazement, and said to one another, 'Where did this Man get such wisdom and miraculous powers?' " —Mt 13:54
Praise: John shared his faith in Jesus at work for the first time. Initially, he was rejected, but later a coworker sought him out and was converted.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012
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