The Scum of the World

I Corinthians 4: 10-13

“We are fools for Christ’s sake… To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labour, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”

I don’t like to be uncomfortable.  I don’t like to be inconvenienced.  I definitely don’t like to be reviled, or persecuted, or slandered.  And yet, these are exactly the kinds of things I should expect as a follower of Christ. This scripture passage is just one of many that remind us that the Christian life is not easy. We will face persecution and when we do, not only are we not to complain (which is my tendency), we are called to endure and to even bless our persecutors.

Persecution looks different in different parts of the world.  We must pray every day for our brothers and sisters who fear for their lives because of their faith in Jesus. I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the world where my life is not endangered because of my beliefs, but I still face persecution on some level.  I am ridiculed because of my pro-life or pro-marriage beliefs.  I am seen as foolish because I don’t use birth control. People don’t understand why I go to mass every weekend. They think I am prudish or old-fashioned for trying to be chaste and dress modestly.

A faithful, Catholic life looks very counter-cultural in our society. And it can be scary and uncomfortable to live out my Catholic faith in the face of so much criticism. The easy thing to do would be to hide that part of my life from the world, to avoid confrontation and blend in as much as possible. I know I’m Catholic, but why does everyone else have to know?  I have this thing called pride and my pride wants to be accepted, respected, praised, and loved by the world around me.  But this scripture reminds me that that’s not what I am called to.

I am called to live my faith when it’s easy, but more so when it’s difficult. I am called to love those who don’t understand my faith, especially those who ridicule me because of it. I am called to bear my trials cheerfully, to look foolish on account of Christ, to be the scum of the whole world.

Have you ever been scared or embarrassed to show your faith in public?


Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith.  Read more about her here.

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