by Larry Peterson
Valentine's Day is here. It is supposed to be all about Love. Yet beyond the heart covered Valentine cards, the flower bouquets and candy and all of that, we must, as unpleasant as it may be, recognize what we truly have going on this Valentine's Day of 2014. Yes, make no mistake, Love is under attack this Valentine's Day and the war is brutal and bloody.
The Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN News) reported today that Christians are the most persecuted people on earth. Why is that? Why is there such hatred by so many toward something that is all about goodness and love? The word "CHRISTIAN" comes from the name of Christ, Jesus Christ. Okay, is that a BAD thing? I don't think so.
All Christians (including 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants of varied denominations) follow Jesus Christ. That is 2 billion people or two thousand million people who follow His teachings and His promise of Eternal Life. What is the crux of His teachings? Well now, the bottom line is this, LOVE your NEIGHBOR & FORGIVENESS. Yeah, yeah, I know that many who proclaim to follow Jesus do not even make an attempt to Love their Neighbor or Forgive anyone for anything. They let that old, deadly sin of pride rule their roost. Oh well, it is part of God's gift of free-will allowing each and every one of us to make choices. However, the vast majority of Catholic/Christians do their feeble best to follow His message. For those that do it is a life-long work in progress and this was true even for the saints.
So, why the hatred? Why the persecution? Why were more than 100,000 followers of Christ murdered in the past year alone? The problem is the aforementioned deadly sin of pride. Why? Because pride has filled the hearts of many and these are the people who now HATE. What they hate most is one word which is made up of only two letters. That word is NO. They want no-one dare telling them what to do or how to behave. They have embraced secularism (defined as: a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship). Christianity establishes boundaries. Christianity tells us what God wants us to do and what NOT to do...why, the NERVE of Him! So, many Secularists (not all) take it to another level in their personal, selfish requests to abolish the influence of institutions that have the temerity to say NO to certain behaviors. They even reject "natural law" for their own personal agendas.
They rant against Christmas which is all about "giving". They rail on about using the name of God in schools and at sports events. They want Crosses at cemeteries taken down from the graves of fallen soldiers. In many cases those who hate Christians kill them. Men, women and children die every day in different parts of the world simply because they are followers of Jesus. How can Love & Forgiveness be things to hate?
Well, nothing has changed since Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago. He preached Love & Forgiveness so they beat Him, tortured Him and killed Him. The loving crowds who screamed "Hosanna" on Palm Sunday turned fickle and screamed "Crucify Him" the following Friday. The list of people murdered for following Jesus over the centuries (including his own apostles) is countless. Being a Catholic and Christian was never supposed to be easy. Jesus Christ did nothing but Love us, each and every one of us. Look what happened to Him.
So, on this Valentine's Day, the question to be considered might be this. What is Love? The answer can be found in the Bible in the First Letter of John; Ch 4: 16-17. "We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God IS Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him.
Sadly today, February 14, 2014, the war on Love increases in intensity.