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Giving Christian Witness in a Hostile Society

Ave Maria Meditations

“To serve God is to seek a way to human hearts, to serve God is to speak out about evil as a sickness which should be brought to light so it can be cured. To serve God is to condemn evil in all its manifestations…

Government means service. The first love of the authorities should be for those whom they govern. And if this really were the case, if this basic Christian truth became part of real life, if the authorities were moral, if Christian ethics dominated the principles of government, how different our lives would be…

The whole activity of Jesus Christ was aimed at making people realise that they were created for the freedom of the children of God. God created man in his image, so he is free; indeed man can accept or reject his Creator…

Let us be strong through love, praying for our brothers who have been misled, without condemning anybody but condemning and unmasking evil. Let us pray with the words Christ spoke from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Lk 23:34). And give us, O Christ, an ever greater awareness that love is stronger than violence or hatred…

The yearning for freedom cannot be stopped by violence, as violence is the weapon of those who do not possess the truth. Man can be crushed by violence, but not enslaved…

A Christian fulfils his duty only when he is stalwart, when he professes his principles courageously, when he is neither ashamed of them nor renounces them because of fear or material needs. Woe betide a society whose citizens do not live by fortitude. They cease to be citizens and become more like slaves. It is fortitude which creates citizens, for only a courageous man is conscious of all his rights and duties. If a citizen lacks fortitude, he becomes a slave and causes immeasurable harm not only to himself but to his family, his country and the Church…Fortitude is an essantial part of one’s life as a citizen. That is why fortitude is, for a Christian, the most important duty after love.

In order to remain spiritually free men, we must live in truth. To live in truth means to bear witness to it to the outside world at all times and in all situations. The truth is unchangeable. It cannot be destroyed by any decree or law…Courageous witnessing to the truth leads directly to freedom. A man who witnesses to the truth can be free even though he might be in prison…We can overcome fear only if we accept suffering in the name of a greater value. If the truth becomes for us a value, worthy of suffering and risk, then we shall overcome fear – the direct reason for our enslavement.”

Bl. Jerzy Popieluszko  (martyred by communists in 1984)