Persecution Reveals True Disciples

RE: LETTER IN which Archbishop Michael Sheehan was criticized for his opposition to the work "Our Lady" by Alma Lopez.

According to the author of the letter, the archbishop was wrong for not seeing the piece as enlightening to Catholics, and was accused of being archaic in his thinking.

As a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe who is very proud of our archbishop, I offer the following observation:

Jesus Christ humbled Himself to come into this world as our Savior. To reveal the Truth, He became vulnerable, and subject to insult. When in such humility He placed Himself into the hands of sinners, what did they do to Him? They mocked and derided Him; they spat on Him and beat Him; they stripped and degraded Him, and nailed Him to the cross to die. Jesus warned His followers that the same would happen to them.

Should it surprise us that His own Virgin Mother is no exception? The despicable rendition of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Alma Lopez demonstrates the fulfillment of Jesus' prediction: His own Mother has been mocked, stripped and degraded like her Son.

So it will be until the end of time for all faithful followers of Jesus who stand up for truth and decency; Archbishop Sheehan is no exception. The more closely we follow Christ and defend His teachings, the more we can expect to suffer the same fate as our Lord. And so we find our archbishop being criticized for doing his duty as a faithful servant of Christ. But such persecution makes clear who Jesus' true disciples are.

Therefore, like St. Paul, we can proudly profess, "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

    St. Patrick's-St Joseph's Church