“Now Saul was consenting to his execution.” That line from today’s first reading from the Acts of Apostles is bugging me a bit. So much that I’m putting my first thoughts out here for your comments. As the reading goes, we walk alongside Stephen as he implores the people, elders, and scribes to stop rejecting Christianity. The people throw Stephen out of the city and stone him to death, as represented in the work of art by Carracci shared above. Today’s first reading then ends with the line, “Now Saul was consenting to his execution.” (Saul, the one now known as St. Paul, before his radical conversion.) Stephen’s death marks him as the Church’s first martyr.
Martyrdom. My thoughts immediately go to the martyred Christians in the Middle East, especially those being slaughtered by ISIS. Just yesterday I read yet another horrific story about thirty Christians murdered in Libya by ISIS. Now I’m not standing in that moment and witnessing those executions firsthand like Saul did with Stephen’s death, nor consenting to as the line in Acts reads. But wait, maybe I am? Consider a few synonyms of the word consent: agree to, yield to, give in to, submit to.
Am I indeed submitting and yielding to these barbaric murderers by simply reading the story, feeling horrified for a few minutes, sometimes offering a quick prayer, then clicking off the page and going back to my ordinary day here in the suburbs? What more can I, a Midwest homemaker do? What more can you do? Let’s not sit idly by and essentially accept this dynamic, that this is the way things are. We must all do something more. Inspire me with your thoughts.
* * *
After publishing this post, I read this article about a Nigerian bishop who says he has seen Christ in a vision and now knows that the Rosary is the key to ridding his country of the Islamist terrorists.
In the vision, the prelate said, Jesus didn’t say anything at first, but extended a sword toward him, and he in turn reached out for it.
“As soon as I received the sword, it turned into a rosary,” the bishop said, adding that Jesus then told him three times: “Boko Haram is gone.”
Prayer, particularly the prayer of the rosary, is (what) will deliver us from the claws of this demon, the demon of terrorism.”
Read entire article here.