Oto Mádr: The Word About This Time

(This was written in May 1951 while the author was hiding at the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo’s Hospital Pod Petřínem in Prague during the tumultuous time of increasingly violent liquidation of Church structures and religious life: imprisoning of bishops, arrests of monks and priests, dissolving of theological schools and religious periodicals, show trials of religious persons, etc.)

Cheer up, brothers, and sisters!

This time is not particularly pleasant for Christians, but for the Christians of the appropriate disposition it is a great, even wonderful time. “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” In these glorious times the Church sings to its Lord heroic songs of love and faithfulness. It is a great privilege and gift to live, love, and fight right now.

Any person who chooses his or her freedom over God discovers that they have actually chosen slavery. This is the time of revenge performed by godless Communism on its originator, godless capitalism.

It is a time of purification, a time for the Church to grow up. The Church purifies itself and grows up through the betrayal by the weak, and by the courage of the strong. The task for us in this extraordinary time is to fight. It is the daily fight of one’s soul with the flesh, the world, and with the devil; the fight is for the pagans’ souls around us.

The enemy is strong. He abuses instinctive inclinations in humans. He has trained cadres. He is passionate and sacrificial, tightly organized, cunning, willing to do anything for evil. He wants to make us believe we have shared goals with him and to persuade us to collaborate. The enemy wants to corrode unity, compromise powerful persons and break or eliminate leadership. In the end he wants to completely enslave and load work on everyone through the Bolshevization of the world.

There will be no place for religion in the world built by the Bolsheviks. A convinced Communist cannot be a convinced Christian. Christ ordered the Church to teach the Gospel to the whole world. Communism set its mind on forcing Marx’s gospel on the whole world. So, there must be a fight.

What matters now is to remain true. And because the Enemy eliminates faithful bishops and priests, it is time to show him that the Christ himself lives and preaches the gospel through his faithful Christians. That is most likely the particular glory of this persecution.

What should be done? Defend yourself and penetrate forward. The enemy lies. Tear off his mask. Take care of those who are in danger of believing him. Support those who vary by the word, your attitude and by your practical love. Show them by example that true love is more powerful than death.

The enemy wants to isolate faithful priests and surround them with traitors. Be close to them, encourage them to be strong and pray for them. Watch over the children, teach them a living religion. Shake off enforced ideology, protect them from bad morality. You should not just defend yourself. The Church must grow. Help those who seek, teach them. Even if everything else is missing, we still have baptism and repentance.

What kind of people must we be to be sufficient for our tasks? We have to be Christians wholly of God, humble, proud, wisely careful, simply courageous, but most of all powerful through love.

Those are patient who do not beg God for the better times, because every time is a great enough gift for them and every situation an advantageous opportunity to love one’s God. They overcome evil with good. They are far from hard judgment and they bear in mind even traitors and enemies.

All saints were proud. They can accept the height to which God lifted them, close to Himself. They were too just and noble to bow down in front of something which was not worthy of the Lord in their souls. Do we have enough noble defiance against the evil in times of temptation, terror, and judgment?

God commends us to caution. Depend on God, but do not neglect anything on your side! For example, we are half defenseless without wise horizons and without knowledge of the enemy. If one cannot understand the risk of his affiliation to Christ, he will be dangerous to himself and to others. The Christ’s word about flight in persecution applies here. First of all be silent. The enemy circles around and spies. Be cautious so that nobody has to regret that chattiness or over-confidence caused somebody’s arrest or death.

Courage is the virtue for today. A Christian does not find it difficult to be courageous and deeply, joyfully sacrifice everything for the cause. This cause is worthy of sacrificing everything.

Love is the most important, it should be unalloyed, so that we will faithfully persist and work and suffer and die for nothing less than for the Lord. Love Him, but do not hate them. We can afford victory without hatred. We can afford to forgive and cordially intercede for those who spy on us, who humiliate us, imprison us, who torture us and judge us.

If it was ever possible to live as the community of the Mythical body of Christ, it is today. The enemy thinks he can separate us from the Church, when he prevents by force contact with the Holy Father [the Pope], or even if he makes traitors to stir up dissension. In fact, even if we never hear about the Pope in Rome, even if all faithful priests are liquidated, even if the Holy Mass is not served (publicly or in secret), we will be firmly connected to the Church if we belong to it with our heart.

Uncertainty can arise in times when such sophisticated violence rules, when even the wise may disappoint us, so it is necessary to keep as live as possible our connection with the Church. Read older and newer words by the Pope and rely on him who was appointed by the Lord to lead the Church. Connection to Rome via radio waves is a duty now.

Millions of brothers and sisters suffer like us. Other millions in free lands feel with us and pray for us, and they are encouraged by our faithfulness. Let us join this continuous circle by our prayer. Remember the thousands who suffer in jail for the Christ’s name, some of them will die as martyrs. Let us rejoice that the Church gets new children through the effort of its apostles. Let us be consoled that even we can get a portion of the mercy captured by the hidden heroes of prayer and suffering.

Live your Christian community among yourselves. Find two, three, four of the same opinions or two, three families and give God’s Spirit one to another. Read the Scriptures together and meditate over sentences of the Gospel. Study the religious issues and deal with the new situations. Borrow Christian books, cultivate informal effective love, brotherly warn each other, be advisers one to another and support one another in the matters of the spiritual life and conscience.

Should I close with an outlook of the future? Not necessarily, because our attitude would be the same even if the Lord decides to punish unfaithful Europe by overwhelming it with the red flood. However, if we can hope in God’s mercy, our faithfulness gets a mighty inducement in the current situation. We then defend the present and prepare for the future of the Christ’s kingdom in our lives.

God gave the world to the courageous and we want to give God to the world. Be courageous, be at the disposal to the Lord, who executes his plans even through the enemy and through you. Read from the Revelation and the Acts of apostles God’s intentions, consider your attitude towards these events. Our hope is not political. Our hope is the Lord, our strength, and our victory.

Cheer up, brothers, and sisters! Lift up your hearts! The Lord be with you!

(Editors note: Immediately after finishing of this text, the author was arrested. Nevertheless “The Word About This Time” spread underground among Catholics throughout the whole country.)