Pope Benedict XVI in Leon, Mexico (25th March 2012):
“Long Live Christ the King!… He is a king with a crown of thorns, but only He can save us: “Do whatever He tells you.”… His crowns, one of a sovereign, the other of thorns, indicate that His royal status does not correspond to how it has been or is understood by many. His kingdom does not stand on the power of His armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power that wins over hearts: the love of God that He brought into the world with His sacrifice and the Truth to which He bore witness. This is His sovereignty which no one can take from Him and which no one should forget.”
Through the power of the Cross you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the Divine Heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the Most Precious Blood in order to ease pain, save, and redeem.
The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with Him? What will your response be? ‘Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life.’ Ave Crux Spes Unica!”
Religious persecution in the world today
During the last century, and at the beginning of the 21st, the words of Christ prophesising the persecution of his followers ring as clearly as ever. Their accuracy is echoed in a variety of international reports, identifying 80% (four out of every five cases) of all those persecuted for their faith, to be Christians, making them the most persecuted faith group in the world. Beheadings, torture, rape, kidnappings, mass killings, forced starvation, imprisonment and even crucifixions attest that the persecution of Christians did not end at the foot of the cross or the closed gates of the Roman Coliseum.
Reports from organisations such as Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF), Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) and Amnesty International (AI), open a window on Christian persecution in all parts of the world. It is quite frankly a most horrifying spectacle and one that looks likely to continue unabated.
Approximately 10 per cent of the 2 billion Christians in the world suffer persecution, said Gyula Orban, an official of ACN, the Catholic relief agency founded by Norbertine priest Fr. Werenfried Von Straaten, RIP. Orban told the ZENIT news agency, this means that some 200 million Christians suffer harsh repercussions because of their religion.
Whilst daily reports of massacres and attacks against Christians pour in through the media channels, our greatest concern is that very little, practically nothing, is being done to put a stop to this brutality. It very seldom makes front page news. Governments of countries where suffering Christians are in the minority also appear to be completely unable to intervene to help them, or are perhaps disinclined to do so. Nor are the Western Governments stepping in to help, either in offering military protection for these defenseless Christians in the most notoriously dangerous countries, or in the often more subtle way of threatening sanctions. Do suffering Christians perhaps see themselves as totally abandoned in their distress?
“Where God weeps” (ACN motto) is where we too should weep.
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Jesus cried out to Saul (later St. Paul) on the road to Damascus. Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Jesus Christ, King and Lord of All, wears a Crown of Thorns, ‘thorns’ that are sharper, and that pierce His Sacred Head more deeply than ever before, as He beholds His suffering children.
Pray for persecuted Christians in the world!