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Scandalous but not irreconcilable

"Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." Psalm 137.9

It is disturbing to notice among the Top 50 countries for persecution against followers of Jesus, nations where Christians are on a par with those of other faiths, like Nigeria and Kenya, if not in the majority , as in Colombia and Mexico. The assumption is that, in these cases, Christian commitment is nominal. But, as the genocide in Rwanda proved, such is not always the case for, in those days, Rwanda boasted the highest proportion of evangelical Christians in the world. And look at Ukraine today: both they and the Russians share the same Orthodox Christian approach to faith.

Writing to his Little Brothers, who had chosen to live in "the deserts" not of the Sahara but of the big cities of the world, 20th century spiritual director, Father Rene Voillaume, warns against: "the temptation... to establish God's reign by any other means than those employed by our Lord himself" - who famously declined to call the "legions of angels" at his command in favour of countering aggression with sacrifice, leaving justice - and the judgment through which it is applied - for another day.

Easier said than done! At the same time we should not assume that God is indifferent to unjust suffering, nor that he is indifferent to its perpetrators. Another example is that of Saul of Tarsus, who was called out of his harassing of believing Jews to become Paul: champion of Jesus among his fellow Jews and apostle to the Gentiles. In the World Watch List which Open Doors compiles, the following prayer to Jesus is commended:

"You died for those who target your people. May the reality of this dawn on them - through dreams, visions and signs, or the powerful witness of your people. May those who seek to destroy your church, become your disciples; and may those who Iive in darkness, see your light."




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