Fr. Geary’s Letter, 1-17-2021

Dear Parishioners of St. James:

Praised be Jesus Christ!

The recent events in Washington, D.C. and the elections that preceded them have shaken us. Few Americans trust our government, and many have taken to violence to express their frustration. My words are not an attempt to throw in my hat with other political voices who seek to identify the causes and solutions to the unrest that surrounds us. Rather, it is an attempt to give perspective and solace to believing Catholics whose peace might be shaken and, consequently, may even despair.

Catholics have endured oppressive governments throughout our history and the Faith has survived. Some brief examples of history might help to give context to the troubles we are experiencing at this point in time. For many early believers in Jesus Christ before Christianity was legalized, to be Catholic was a death sentence. Emperors, more or less hateful of Catholics, persecuted and murdered believers creating unspeakably hostile environments in which to live the Faith. And yet believers passed on the Faith. 

Catholics endured the hateful secularists during the French Revolution in the late 1700’s. Catholics in Mexico were killed for professing their faith in the early part of the 20th century. In our day, Catholics in India endure discrimination and persecution from their Hindu governors. Thought police in Canada, corrupt leaders in Venezuela, Nigeria, China and Vietnam make living the Catholic faith extremely difficult.  And yet believers still pass on the Faith.

In our country we are living in the midst of an institutionally corrupt government.  Our country legalized the killing of babies decades ago.  Our Supreme Court and state legislatures have legalized homosexual acts and threaten to punish those (of us) who speak about its immorality as our Faith teaches in order to save souls from this evil.  Governors and local officials discriminate against Catholics by limiting worship but allow secular activities they deem “essential.”  And yet we must pass on the Faith.

Saint Paul, instructing early Christians on how to live in a pagan society, said, “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16 ). 

 Do not be afraid.  Do not be seized by fear or discouragement.  Trust in Jesus.  Trust in the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Pass on the Faith and live in the state of grace.

God bless you,

Fr. Geary         

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL