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"Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not swerve from your decrees." (Ps 119:157)

The worst persecutors are not those outside the Church but those who are within the Church; not those outside the family but those within the family. Not those who are not known as such but those who are not seen.

Just as persecutors harass and spread all over to do their vile deeds, the devil sends his human cohorts to persecute all souls externally and internally.

"All who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Tim 3:12) "All." The Apostle made no exceptions. If Christ was persecuted, why should we be exempted?

Interior persecution is this: avarice persecutes us internally; the same with ambition, lust, pride and the pleasures of the flesh. "Flee from persecution." (1 Cor 6:18) Fornication persecutes: flee from the bad spirit of lust, the bad spirit of avarice, the bad spirit of pride.

The interior persecutors are those who, without the sword, destroy the spirit of man with flattery. These are our worst enemies, the most dangerous of tyrants. They defeated the angels and Adam. Not a few who were victorious over external persecutions succumbed to internal persecutions. Those who seek God are surrounded with ". . .disputes without and fears within." (2 Cor 7:5)

This battle is tough because it is within man. 

Since there are many persecutions, there are many martyrs. Your are a martyr for Christ if, while suffering the temptation of lust, you choose not to profane your body and soul for fear of future judgment. Your are a martyr for Christ if, tempted to be avaricious, you choose rather the riches of heaven. Christ loves to be close to such witnesses.

You are a martyr for Christ if, tempted to be proud, you choose to be humble. Furthermore, you can witness not only in word but also in deed, ideally, in both. For he who confesses that Jesus is Lord keeps His commandments. The one who listens but does not obey denies Christ. More often, we deny by our deeds what we confess with our words. But he who confesses through his works, definitely confesses Christ in his words. 

How many Christian souls suffer such martyrdom everyday . . . internally, hidden . . . confessing Christ with their deeds in battle, with their own conscience and God as the only audience. "This is our boast: the testimony of our conscience." (2 Cor 1:12)

The devil seeks all those who seek God. And prepares to set traps and tricks of temptations. There he plots his deceit that the Christian soul may reject Christ. But where the devil fights, there too is Christ . Where the devil besieges, there Christ defends. Both the persecutions and temptations come from he devil. 

He who retreats in the face of the arrival of the persecutor, also expels his Defender. "Many are my persecutors . . ." but do not fear because "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom 8:31)







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