“Nothing Can Come Between Us and the Love of Christ”
The above quote comes from today’s Second Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans. Two points: Firstly, this is a controversial passage of Scripture because some people say this means that once a person has come to believe in JESUS and accept Him as their Saviour, salvation is assured regardless of what you do or how you live your life. Well the Catholic Church has never interpreted it in this way. First of all because when Paul lists what won’t be able to separate us from the love of Christ, he lists sufferings, not sins. Paul does not say that blasphemy, fornication, idolatry, theft or murder won’t separate you from the love of Christ. Rather he says distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger and the sword, which are very different. Paul continues, “These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of Him who loved us.” So it is actually through trials and sufferings that we become victorious, just as Our Lord Himself did on the Cross.
Second point: we are talking about spiritual battle here. “Neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, or any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ JESUS our Lord.” There are good angels and bad angels. There are invisible powers that are the enemy of God at work in this world. None of these things can separate us from God’s love as hard as they might try. They may persecute you, tempt you or even attack you but we must not fear. God never abandons His Church no matter how bad things get.
The Church is being persecuted in many places throughout the world now. In some countries like China it is full on, but in other places it can be more subtle through fines or taxes. We may be denied our freedom of worship, freedom of speech, or attempts may be made to prevent us from preaching certain truths Christ taught because they don’t fit with the contemporary world view. It has been reported this past week that quoting from the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church in Scotland could soon be regarded as hate speech if a new bill is passed in Parliament.
These words of Our Lord come to mind: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). JESUS wants His followers to be different from those who are not. The great Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) said decades ago, “One of the surprises of Heaven will be to see how many saints were made in the midst of chaos, and war and revolution.” We are in a spiritual war right now. JESUS is Lord of all and nothing occurs without His permitting it. These may be tough times to live in, but it is where God has placed each of us in history and it is an opportunity to become a great saint. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! St Michael the Archangel, pray for us!
Fr Paul Gillham, IC