We have seen the persecution of Catholics worldwide increase to a point where it is hard for anyone concerned with news to keep up with these financial losses, mutilations, deaths.
We have witnessed confusion among the laity regarding sound bites and statements from a new pope, who is not European and a Jesuit. We have seen our favorite cardinal sent to the Knights of Malta.
We have seen, on the other hand, a rising of the laity in such groups as Voice of the Family, and SPUC coming into a maturing regarding lay involvement and fidelity to the Teaching Magisterium of the Church.
We have also seen more people in the Church realizing that prayer is the number one priority and that sainthood is the call for all.
As we face a new year, some with sadness, some with hesitancy, some with a muted joy, I am reminded of the words of Our Lord to a church which no longer exists, one which was persecuted to the death and to exile. Eventually, the Ghazi, the Islamic warriors, destroyed the Christian presence in Smyrna, overcoming the Knights of Malta in the process. We have been warned, but also promised life through all of this persecution, which is beginning and not yet in earnest.