"The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and the Antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life."
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
The world is in flames. Sometimes I panic when I read those things, since they can apply to current events and I become alarmed at what might occur during my lifetime. Other times, it is comforting in an odd way: the world is in flames, but such has always been the case. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 1: 9)
I no longer worry about my personal safety as I once did. Only fellow worrywarts could understand the idea of lying awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep over what might happen over the course of one's life. It seems so silly by the light of day, but it's very real at night. By the grace of God, that's been mostly healed.
Alas, there is a worry that still exists. A scary one for me. The idea of watching my children suffer is a horrible one. Surely, I've experienced having to stand helpless when they are struggling with things life throws at them. However, I've never had to live through atrocities such as the ones Christian mothers in the Middle East are experiencing right now. I could beg God to spare me that, but what if something like that were my cross? St. Teresa Benedicta wrote:
Through the power of the Cross you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the Divine Heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the Most Precious Blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.Is that, then, what parents living through atrocities or humanitarian crises are meant to do? That is a big thing. I remember my grandmother saying, "There are worse things than death," and surely watching others die horribly would be one of those things.
Today I offer up prayers for mothers and fathers who are living the world in flames in a very real way. That means parents in Ukraine or Iraq. That also means parents whose children face the Antichrist closer to home.
St. Teresa Benedicta did sacrifice her life. I take comfort knowing that times were treacherous when she was on the earth, but that didn't stop people from going about their daily duties amongst their given circumstances. The world is in flames, but we can choose panic or comfort. St. Teresa Benedicta gets the last word:
The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the Cross stands high, and it cannot be burnt. The Cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right nito the heart of the Trinity.