Blessed are You When . . .
By Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke:
Blessed are you when people exclude you for the love of Christ: “We should not give in to the fear, anger and frustration generated by the experience of everyone turning against us. We stay faithful to Christ and resist the temptation to compromise so as to regain the friendship of those that shun us.”
A young Catholic lady, who apparently is beginning to take her faith seriously, recently complained that people about her age always seem to lose interest in being her friend and quit talking to her for no reason. She confessed to being left confused, hurt and disappointed. This is nothing new, and every sincere disciple goes through a similar experience. We console ourselves with the words of our Divine Master, Christ Jesus: “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven (Luke 6:22-23). We should not give in to the fear, anger and frustration generated by the experience of everyone turning against us.
We stay faithful to Christ and resist the temptation to compromise so as to regain the friendship of those that shun us. In the time of our isolation, we meditate as frequently as possible on the passion of the Lord; we pray the Rosary, read the lives of the saints, study the Catechism, and receive the sacraments. With time and prayers, the Holy Spirit will fill us up and we will never feel lonely again. We gradually transit from loneliness to solitude, in which we begin to enjoy being alone with Christ. Meanwhile, our detractors are closely watching, and when they observe that being excluded is not producing the desired misery in us, they suddenly come back to us. But do not be flattered and fall for this trap. All they desire is to disrupt our relationship with Christ.
The truth is that there can never be a sincere relationship between one, who totally embraces Christ, and one who does not. A sheep is a sheep and a goat is a goat. Meanwhile we prayerfully seek out spiritually empowering friendships with fellow Christian pilgrims, as we continue to pray for the salvation of all people for that is the will of God.