That’s what a friend of mine, Gretchen, heard from a co-worker one day. A conversation about sex and contraception was taking place among three single women in the break room. When Gretchen, who was heating up her lunch in the microwave, interjected that abstinence and natural family planning were the best methods to use, the women became nasty.
“A brood of vipers” is how she described it. These women didn’t try to engage Gretchen in a thoughtful debate by presenting logical reasons why they believed their way was the right approach. Instead, they bombarded her with vile and insulting comments about being a faithful Catholic.
With this scenario becoming much more common and our religious freedoms being trampled upon every day, there’s obviously great cause for concern. However, as we fight the good fight as individual members of the Body of Christ and as the Church as a whole, we should pause to consider the not-so-surprising correlation this suffering and persecution has to Jesus’ Good Friday Passion.
We know that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is perpetuated through the Mass and in that way, we can unite ourselves with His saving grace. We also unite ourselves with His Passion through our Lenten observances and reflecting on His suffering and death.
Yet the suffering Christ experienced 2000 years ago in His physical body is still being experienced today in us – His mystical Body – as the scenario with Gretchen so aptly illustrates for us.
The high priests and scribes demanded Jesus be put to death because He claimed to be God – He claimed authority and righteousness. Society attacks Catholics today in exactly the same manner because the Church claims moral authority. Society’s response is: “Don’t shove your values down my throat! Stay out of my bedroom! Don’t tell me what to do with my body!”
The Catholic standards of morality are perceived as too high, too rigid and impossible to abide by for many people today. Moreover, society concedes that living a good life is boring. If only these people could experience the joy that comes from living a moral life, one where happiness is real and your conscience lets you sleep at night! Moving from partner to partner, treating fertility like it’s a disease, avoiding the responsibilities that come with monogamy and having children only lead to a self-centered, selfish lifestyle and the only thing that comes from that type of living is emptiness.
You know, if Jesus had just claimed to be a prophet and not claimed to be God, his enemies would have left Him alone. If He had only performed miracles and just not taught people about right and wrong, they would have left Him alone. “If you would only give in on some things like sex, abortion, and contraception, Catholics, we’ll leave you alone” seems to be the name of the game now.
Yes, Jesus is still suffering through us as we stand together for morality.
Single Catholics, I stand with you in your good fight. Everyone, married or single, is called to be chaste. But you, as you wait for your future spouse, are in the spotlight. Your patience, your perseverance, your hope and your moral example are a light to the world, despite what others may want you to think.