John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter (www.ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic) wrote an article on December 23 studying Christianity and Catholicism across the globe. It is an interesting read, and I would suggest you take the ten minutes or so to do so at the link above.
In the middle of the article is a piece on the persecution of Christians in the world – and the absence (for all intents and purposes) of any outcry against it. He suggests that the reason most Christians have a hard time getting worked up about this is because few of us have ever lived as a religious minority, nor have we ever really suffered persecution for our faith.
Frankly, I think he may have a point. I also think that in the not too distant future those who faithfully live out their faith will experience persecution – even in the United States. The Church’s teachings on life, marriage and family, justice and the economy are truly counter-cultural nowadays (although they were not in any way contrary to culture only a few decades ago) and for any of us to publicly teach and live out those teachings will require great courage and strength.
That is why we need to read about the martyrs of the faith, both past and present. That is why we need to identify with those outside of our immediate environment. We must come to know those who are suffering in other countries for knowledge is the first step toward charity.