Revolution

We are revolutionaries

The revolutions of history have changed political and economic systems, but none have really changed the human heart. True revolution, the revolution that radically transforms life, was brought about by Jesus Christ through his Resurrection. Moreover Benedict XVI said of this revolution that “it is the greatest mutation in the history of humanity”. Let us think about this: it is the greatest mutation in humanity’s history, it is a true revolution, we are revolutionaries and, what is more, revolutionaries of this revolution. For we have taken this road of the greatest metamorphosis in humanity’s history. In this day and age unless Christians are revolutionaries they are not Christians

POPE FRANCIS, June 17, 2013

Revolution is cool

red_fist

The idea of revolution is cool. Fact. It’s the life of secret struggles and incredible endurance through terrible suffering, to transform the world. The poor, the weak, the rejects, the outcast, the idealists, fighting against the powerful people who made the status quo what it is. Discussing utopias while hiding underground. Constantly losing and never giving up. Knowing that the day of the revolution could be just a day away. To me, this sounds like living.

Of course, I’m falling into the mistake of romanticising something incredibly bleak. Revolution would be torture. Keeping secrets, enduring suffering, to transform a stubborn world. Failing to motivate the oppressed to stand up for their rights, because of fear and ignorant loyalty. Discussing surrenders and negotiations while awaiting capture. Constantly losing, and fighting to stay true to the cause, even as comrades abandon. Questioning if the revolution will ever come. Yes, this is a constant dying.

Still, I am captivated by the idea, and I like to hope I’m not alone in this. I believe that the radical life is the only life that makes any sense. I don’t want to do anything by halves.

revolution-whisky-lassie-on-blends-including-the-tweeddale

I hope at this point you’ll see the remarkable parallels between the revolutionary life and the gospel life (particularly under persecution). Saints and revolutionaries require faith. It’s precisely their stubborn faith that makes revolutionaries, and in my opinion, saints, so cool. A faith that sees life as it is and life as it is meant to be and trusts that it can be as it should be. A faith that changes their lives and gets them dirty, taking them to and through the barracks, the slums, the battlefields, the prisons, the trials, and finally, the public executions.

‘I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.’
Che Guevara (d.1967)

‘Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.’
Che Guevara

‘Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.’
St. Ignatius of Antioch (d.107)

Today, faith is often considered as something timid. Something for old people who are afraid of change and afraid of death. Something akin to a comfort blanket. It has apparently been forgotten as the fire that Jesus brought to the world. I could say how the gospel is revolutionary, but I’d rather say how the saints are revolutionaries.

St. Anthony of Egypt sold all he owned to live on his own in the desert with God.

Bishop Oscar Romero died for his public defence of the rights of the poor and oppressed.

St. Moses the Black turned from a life of murder and robbery to become a forgiving monk, and when he later heard the monastery was going to be attacked, he forbade its defence, and waited to greet the attackers with open arms, and so died.

The Church, when and where under persecution, secretly preaches a message of radical love, equality, and self-sacrifice and built up the Kingdom of God among us.

St. Maximilian Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including hiding 2,000 Jews from the Nazis, before being arrested by the Gestapo and taken to Auschwitz. There he died, offering his life in the place of Franciszek Gajowniczek’s.

Peter Maurin and Servant of God Dorothy Day committed their lives to serving America’s poorest, fighting against oppression, and building an alternative, gospel centred society.

St. Therese of Lisieux had a relatively uneventful life, but was completely committed to perfectly loving God in simplicity, and her autobiography, Story Of A Soul, has inspired millions.

The martyrs accepted torture and death to remain faithful.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta dedicated her life to being the servant of India’s very poorest and neediest.

St. Francis of Assisi began a life of radical poverty, and crossed enemy lines in the fifth crusade in an attempt to convert the enemy Sultan Malik al-Kamil of Egypt, or receive martyrdom trying.

St. Mary gave birth to God, and perfectly gave her entire life to the Son of God, and said,

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.

God Himself, was born into poverty, laid in a manger, fled a murderous regime while still a child, touched (and cured) the untouchable, associated with prostitutes, sinners, tax collectors and outcasts, and went to death as a common criminal upon the cross.

I believe that Jesus Christ can only be understood as a revolutionary, but on a far greater scale. Overthrowing death for life, darkness for light, indifference for love, pride for humility, fear for hope, servitude for freedom, domination for service, hatred for peace, judgment for mercy, and separation for communion.

‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.’
-Jesus (Lk 14:26-27,33)

God bless you

P.S. If I’ve missed any great ones, please share in the comments about the incredible saints I’ve missed out, thank you.

best-love-quotes-the-most-powerful-weapon-on-earth-is-the-human-soul-on-fire

Thoughts on cynicism, hope and freedom in anarchism and Christianity

Many people (at least where I’m from) have a strong belief in humanity’s bad side. I share this belief, but I think our response to it is more important.
I doubt I know a single person who believes that the government is good. ‘Power corrupts’ is almost universally accepted. Yet, very few have any hope to save it. Evil is accepted. Only the anarchists have faith in defeating this evil. They accept the cynicism to power, and meet it with a hope of a better world.
Likewise, practically everyone agrees humans have evil in them. Call it what you will, mistakes, a bad side, foolishness, selfishness; we know it’s there and bad. Most accept it, and live on, believing it cannot be changed. Christians have faith in the defeat of this evil. Christians accept the cynics belief in humanity’s evil, and meet it with the hope of God’s complete redemption.

Having, then, such hope, we use much freedom of speech,
2Corinthians 3:12

Hope is a crucial part, to being free in the conditions of bondage. Our enemies surround us, but we fight on, because we have hope in better things to come.

The strange thing is, we can easily show people that they are in bondage, but most do not want to be free. Their bodies have moulded themselves into their chains, and to be without them is uncomfortable or even painful. How do you persuade a person to desire freedom (from human oppression and slavery to sin)?
I say, we must live out freedom as much as we can. If it is as desirable as we say it is, they will see it in us, and pursue it relentlessly.

God bless you.