Rejected Stones

I swear, you’re going to start thinking this blog is about nothing but the Liturgy of the Hours.

Last night, while praying Vespers, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment as I read the New Testament reading:

READING 1 Peter 2:4-5

Come to the Lord, a living stone, rejected by men but approved, nonetheless, and precious in God’s eyes. You too are living stones, built as an edifice of spirit into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Quo Vadis? by Annibale Carracci

Jesus is the Living Cornerstone, rejected by the builders, Who makes us living stones to build up His Church.

And, if the world rejects the Cornerstone, chances are they aren’t going to be really fond of the rest of the stones God gives them, either. I’ve really been stuck lately thinking about the world’s rejection of Christian influence – at least in Western culture. I am not being defeatist about it, for I know Who wins in the end. And my hope is not in this world – in princes or governments or their laws – but is in Christ Jesus Himself. And I know that no matter how bad things get, the gates of Hell will never prevail against God’s Church. I’ll always have a home on earth in the Church, and if I stick with her, she’ll get me to Heaven to my real home.

But I can’t get away from the idea that we are moving rapidly into a time when the Culture of Death reigns in America.

I’ve heard some Christians say that America is the world’s best hope, but this is completely untrue. Jesus Himself said that the world would hate us, just as it hated Him. He calls on us to pick up our crosses and follow Him. He promised persecution. And we won’t be spared just because we love the Lord and strive to do His will. To think so would be heresy. God promised us the opposite in this life, as a matter of fact.

When we become living stones in the Lord’s Church, we’ll get the same treatment as Jesus did. It won’t all be dark, but we certainly are not to be spared our share of sufferings in the name of the Lord. Some will be small ones – perhaps someone attempts to slander you unfairly – and some will be larger ones – perhaps you risk fines and jail for refusing to obey an unjust law.

What really matters is what we do with our sufferings. God knows we’ll try to avoid them when we can, but when we cannot … then what?

Do we offer these sufferings up as Jesus did, for the good of others? Do we bear all wrongs patiently, as Jesus did? Do we accept that sometimes, despite our best efforts, we have rough patches to go through? Do we show our mourning or do we wash our faces and present ourselves to the world as people with an inner, sublime kind of joy?

Lord, help me bear my sufferings with patience. Allow me the graces to endure to the end for Your name’s sake. May all I do and say give you glory and further the interests of You and your Holy Church.

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