FORTITUDE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
“Fortunate are you, when people insult you…., because you are my disciples” (Mt 5:11). It is the central part of the Sermon on the Mount. The one who decides seriously for Jesus and his message has to face misunderstandings, mockeries and bad press. The Word of God is sharp and wounding like a double edged sword (Hb 4:12); it is normal that it produces discomfort and should create uneasiness for those who are not sincere.
In the face of a disturbing message, instead of welcoming the call of God to amend one´s life, there can be the reaction of hardening the heart and resistance or even verbal or physical violence against the messenger. It happened to Jesus and a number of his followers and messengers throughout history continue to face it today and they witness Jesus with their lives. But the authentic witnesses react even with joy unhesitatingly; and they never respond with aggression or retaliation.
Humanly speaking, the slanders provoke cowardliness and makes us withdraw into ourselves. But an enthusiastic follower of Jesus experiences the joy of identifying himself to his Master and Lord and feels encouraged to intensify his testimony.
Fr. Claret, in his life “programme” for his Missionaries, tells them that the Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary “is pleased in slanders and joyful in torments” (Auto. 494). During his mission as royal confessor he was rained down with all sorts of slanders; we can perceive his spiritual sensitivity with which he was living this unpleasant situation by reading his little autobiographical book entitled Consolation of a slandered soul (Barcelona 1864).
What is your reaction if you experience rejection or mockery or any form of marginalization in living and witnessing to the gospel?