“Ask a Priest: Would the Weak Be Judged for Not Being Martyrs?”

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Q: Jesus said that whoever rejects him before men, he will reject before his Father and the angels. Where does this dire warning leave people who are psychologically fragile, vulnerable and sensitive who could barely stand up for themselves, and are seemingly called to witness the faith? Or what if a man is put under pressure to renounce the Christian/Catholic faith by threats to his wife and children instead of to him, and, although he is not afraid to undergo death or torture himself, he decides to renounce the faith so that his wife and children could be spared that fate? Would God hold him to account for this most difficult decision? I must admit that I sometimes experience angry moments when I ask myself why God created us with such a lousy and imperfect nature only to judge us for displaying symptoms of such a nature. – P.

It is good not to think of God as some kind of wrathful judge who is ready to pounce on us if we show weakness or step out of line. He is a loving Father who knows our weaknesses and who is there to sustain us.

As for people with psychological weaknesses, etc., Our Lord will take all that into account. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (Luke 12:48). Conversely, less will be required of those who have been given less.

As for someone whose loved ones are threatened, Our Lord would also take into account the pressure and tension that a person would feel.

Still, there will be times when God allows martyrdom to occur. Perhaps here it is helpful to meditate on the example of the mother and her seven sons in 2 Maccabees 7.

By the way, God didn’t create us with “lousy natures.” It was the sin of the first humans that brought pain and suffering in the world. From them we inherit original sin and a fallen human nature. A consequence is concupiscence, the tendency to sin.

God sent his only Son to redeem us from our sins. He gives us the sacraments and the magisterium to support and guide us. This is a God of love.

Nevertheless, the presence of so much evil caused by humans is a bit mysterious. Suffice it to say that this wasn’t part of God’s plan, and that he offers us sufficient help to become saints.

Perhaps you need to cultivate more trust in the Almighty. He doesn’t make junk. We are made in his image and likeness, and he cares for us as his children.

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