On 13th July 1917 at Fatima, after showing the three young seers the terrifying vision of Hell, Our Lady priohesied:
“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. […] If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred…”
Our Lady of Fatima predicted the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communists’ totalitarianism. It was a warning that if people did not convert, Russia “will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” The twentieth century was the bloodiest in living memory for Christians with two devastating world wars, the Armenian genocide, the Mexican repression, the Spanish persecution, the Nazi massacres, the Communist extermination, and now in this first part of the third millennium, Islamic persecution once again. Countless millions have died as a result of evil men disobeying God’s laws and ignoring the Blessed Mother’s message at Fatima.
Persecution and martyrdom continues very much in our present times. In countries ruled by Islam or Communist regimes it is often a “red” martyrdom. In Western nations, where many are ruled by secular, anti-Christian governments (steeped in the “errors of Russia”) a “white” martyrdom prevails.
The spiritual rationale which underpins the act of martyrdom is one that each Christian must accept. In teaching the conditions for true discipleship, our Lord asserted, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26). Yes, the Christian must be prepared to bear the cross of Our Lord, even if it means forsaking life in this world.
In doing so, however, such a Christian will be blessed in the eyes of God. In the Beatitudes, those right attitudes of living that bring blessed union with God, the eighth beatitude is repeated: “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Moreover, Jesus personalized this beatitude: “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). Nevertheless, the point is not just the suffering here and now for the faith, but the courageous perseverance which gives way to everlasting life: “Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you” (Matthew 5:12.)
Let us not think martyrdom to be a thing of the past. As we have already noted, the 20th century saw more people killed for the Faith than any other century in the history of the Church. The 21st century is likely to surpass the 20th century in its numbers of martyrs. Our Lady of Good Success said: “The small number of souls, who hidden, will preserve the treasures of the Faith and practice virtue will suffer a cruel, unspeakable and prolonged martyrdom. Many will succumb to death from the violence of their sufferings and those who sacrifice themselves for the Church and their country will be counted as martyrs.” Remember: Our Lady of Fatima also indicated that “Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred.”
And is the witch hunt resulting in Cardinal Pell’s conviction (of the sexual abuse on two choir boys, something he could not possibly have committed) not a prime example of a “good” man being made a martyr for the Faith? That is, the fullness of the Catholic Faith that Pell, unlike many Modernist leaning prelates, has always upheld and defended?
It is extremely likely that there will be many more martyrs for the Faith in the coming years. St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!
An interesting anecdote:
The Pell case: Australia’s O.J. trial?
A leading commentator in Oz, Andrew Bolt, who met Cardinal Pell on five occasions but who is neither a Catholic nor even a Christian, has raised “10 problems” with the evidence that saw a jury unanimously find Carinal Pell guilty of sex abuse. Pell is, says, Andrew Bolt, a victim of a witch hunt in which facts and the truth have been sacrificed to anti-Catholic prejudice.