So a lot has been going on in the world as of late. This election season has been especially energetic with both sides rallying hard to the finish. As has been true for the life of our Republic, a candidate has emerged as victor. Life continues. However, you would think that wasn't the case with the responses seen from many college students. Safe spaces and coloring books a plenty, we have took a turn back to kindergarten. What are we doing?
This might sound a little insensitive but I would like to remind college students that life is tough. Nobody is sheltered from adversity nor should they be. What matters is not the burden we are given but how we handle it. When we give it to God, we can climb anything. When we don't, we hide in fear to color in books for children. God says in Isiah, "Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you." What in your life can stand when the same Being that created volcanoes, blackholes, lions, and t-rex's also says this to you? The same God who offers eternal life.
We grow through trials. Diamonds only become diamonds through pressure and heat. We need to look no further at the long line of people in our faith to put our lives in perspective. St. Steven, the first martyr, was the first disciple stoned for his faith. Peacefully not backing down to a crowd who ganged up on him. St. Joan of Arc, was burned at the stake, unjustly accused of witchcraft and treason. St. Eustace and his family was burned alive in a Brazen Bull for not fitting in and worshiping the pagan gods. St. Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, jailed, jailed again, beaten more, and kept getting up. Only to be beheaded. St. Ignatius of Antioch was transported across Europe with the same lions that he would be fed to at the end of his journey. St. Bartholomew was tortured and had his skin flayed off. St. Maximilian Kolbe offered to take the place of a father's execution at Auschwitz and starved for two weeks before being injected by poison. This summer I listened to the live witness of an Iraqi bishop telling about the slaughter in his Diocese right now. Thousands are being martyred in Syria and Iraq for their faith.
The mentioned saints and martyrs are not just known for how they died in the face of adversity but how they lived for God. They didn't fear punishment or death because they knew God was bigger than that. When St. Peter was condemned to death by crucifixion, he told his executioners that he wasn't worthy of the death of Jesus and requested to be crucified upside down. He didn't request crayola.
So no matter who you were rooting for in the election, take a look a these heroes of faith and countless others from when persecution is real and armed with teeth to put things in perspective. Aspire to live gracefully and peacefully when it does happen. When the perceived slights and altercations of the world falls short of that pain, recognize that, and still live gracefully and peacefully.
Adam is the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Greg's Parish. He's married to his beautiful wife, Ani. Adam loves burritos, kayaking, and wants a dog (but needs to convince his beautiful bride to get one). Contact Adam anytime at Ajarosz@stgregs.org.