The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Taking Christ to the Muslims

Turkey is a country slightly larger than the state of Texas. Of its 70+ million people, 99.8% are Muslim, mostly from the Sunni sect. That leaves just about 300,000 Christians, and those are mostly of the Orthodox rite. So when Pope Benedict XVI decided to travel to the land where Mary spent her last days before being assumed into Heaven; he went there knowing that he was not going to be preaching to the chior. In point of fact, before his visit, there was a very clear and present danger to his very life from radical Islamic extremeists who had vowed to kill him.

Praise be to God that those threats proved idle. From all accounts, the Turkish government beefed up security, and the protests that were feared seemed to never materialize. In a way it reminded me of the apostles in their boat being tossed about on the sea, and fearing for their lives woke up a sleeping Christ who rebuked them and calmed the storm. There was real fear among the faithful before our Holy Father's trip to Turkey; however, the Holy Spirit, our great defender of the Church, seemed to calm the storm of hate against the Pope. His pilgrimage was a success.

What a tremendous example of wearing Christ Pope Benedict put forward. How does one combat so much hatred? With love. How does one reach a people raised in a religion that empowers its most faithful to use violence as an end to justify the means. With love. I've heard a few grumblings from some of the faithful who were uneasy about Benedict turning towards Mecca in meditation while in the Blue Mosque alongside a Mulism Prelate. But would Christ turn His back on the very people that needed the Gospel? Many doubts in the Muslim mind about Catholics were likely dispelled by his gestures of respect and humility. Would you really expect anything less from the man who wrote Deus Caritas Est?

Will these feelings of good will last? If history is an indicator, the answer is probably not; however, we can continue to pray and take hope in the fact that Our Lady is working on our behalf for the conversion of Muslims. There is a fascinating link between Islam, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe. To learn more, follow this link to an intersting article about this.

Keep praying for the intentions of our Pope, and as we enter into Advent, perhaps part of our anticipation can include our prayers for a narrowing of the gap between all those who worship God; so that we can all be the united in full communion in this Christ mystery.


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