Sometimes I have taken things–like my religion– for granted, and almost forget how countercultural, how radical it is to follow Jesus. Somehow, growing up Catholic in a Catholic school and a mostly Catholic neighborhood, it all seemed to fit in naturally with my world–as long as I just went to Mass on Sundays and in general tried to be a “good person”, there wasn’t much difference between me and anybody else. I didn’t really think much about it, not for a long time. As I returned to my faith as an adult, and delved deeper into it, I learned that it does make a difference.
Of course now that it is politically incorrect to be Catholic, to be any kind of Christian, it is REALLY hard to overlook that difference. I guess one good thing about the militantly secular world is that it does force one to really think things through, to make an active choice. There is a price to pay for any choice, along with the rich rewards.
I was saying the Rosary on my deck the other day, enjoying the warm rays of the setting sun flickering through the trees. It was Friday so I meditated on the Sorrowful Mysteries. I suddenly realized that here, in the decades of the Rosary, it was all laid out: the price of following Christ, of standing for truth. When you go against the dominant culture, you get:
Pain. Sometimes physical beatings, other times emotional assaults.
Humiliation. Mockery. Ridicule.
Heavy burdens to carry in life. Marginalization. Poverty.
Death. In many places the price is actual martyrdom, in our country it frequently means the death of status, ambitions, wealth, certain social connections.
Each Sorrowful Mystery is both a warning, and a consolation, offering the Grace of God to give us the courage and strength to keep on witnessing to the truth. What a blessing it is also, to have the greatest part of this wonderful prayer be about joy, glory, and light, and the Divine Love that underlies it all!