Fear Not, Little Flock: Faith, Hope, and Love Always Win

“Fear not little flock,” said Jesus, “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Catholics feeling discouraged and a little frightened after the last election need to remember those words.

The discouragement comes because Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops identified abortion as the “pre-eminent issue,” but Joe Biden pledges to put the right to life even further out of reach of the vulnerable infants threatened by the abortion industry.

Catholics are frightened because Biden pledges to strip the Little Sisters of the Poor of their hard-won religious freedom, and by extension will do the same to other Catholic institutions that dare choose their consciences over his party’s ideology.

Furthermore, the vice president Biden chose to be one heartbeat away from power considers the Knights of Columbus a hate group while opposing free speech for pro-lifers.

Catholics who fear persecution from a Biden-Harris administration are not being paranoid — they are taking them at their word. We should even more take Jesus Christ at his word and remember that faith, hope, and love will always be stronger than ignorance, despair, and greed.

First, faith fearlessly seeks the truth, putting believers in a stronger position than their opponents.

Truth will out, one way or another.

There is a myth that the Catholic Church rejects the truth of science that it doesn’t like. Certainly there are instances of this in history, but those instances have been exaggerated, and for decades the Church has gone to great lengths to show that the faith has nothing to fear from scientific truths.

A belief in the God who made heaven and earth leads us to trust the laws of both, and today, non-believers are more likely to reject science to protect their ideology than the Church is.

Take chromosomal science. Biology tells us what makes a boy a boy and a girl a girl but secularists reject biology in order to embrace an ideology that says people can define who they are. The results are disastrous.

Or take the evidence that the sexual revolution is wounding men and women. In a world where STDs are at epidemic levels and worsening and the pressure on young women to have sex is so unrelenting it is called a “rape culture” in colleges, only the Church is willing to admit that premarital sex is wrong.

And while we all know from DNA evidence that unborn children are human from the beginning — and from the evidence of our own eyes in 3D ultrasounds and fetal surgery that they remain so — religious people tend to be the only ones who accept this.

The Catholic faith won’t win out against these falsehoods through a political power play, but because reality always wins out. And we don’t fight against them because we want a win for a political party, but because we want to stop irreversible damage to people with gender dysphoria, prevent STD fatalities, and address the national emergency of our low birthrate.

Second, we need hope in order to win out over the cycle of persecution.

From the early Christians to the victims of anti-immigrant groups in America, we have seen how the cycle of persecution works. First, good “respectable” people turn against one or more truths of the Church. Their opposition grows harsher and harsher until their very cruelty toward believers shows the world that they aren’t the good guys after all, but persecutors.

It happened in the grand and glorious Roman empire and it happened in the supposedly enlightened 20th century when Christians were killed in record numbers in socialist revolutions everywhere from the former USSR to Venezuela.

The same pattern is happening now. First they call us bigots. They make our unpopular opinions seem unreasonable, and make their ideology seem like the only loving alternative. They begin to eat away at our rights as they demonize us. They inevitably go too far and it becomes obvious that they were wrong all along. But it can take a long time to get to that point.

Jesus warned repeatedly that this would happen, and the New Testament echoes it throughout. After all, this is what happened to each of the apostles and to Jesus Christ himself. But in every instance the cycle leads to a bigger, better Church — more churches reaching more souls, and doing more good. The pain of the cross is real — it is also our only hope.

Third: So now, our main job is to love.

In Chapter 24 of Matthew, Jesus warns about the persecution to come. For three Sundays in a row we will be hearing readings from the next chapter, Chapter 25, telling us to be the light of the world like the wise virgins with our lamps lit bright, to multiply our talents, and to welcome strangers, giving them what they need, especially the “least” among us.

That is what Catholics should do after this election. Show through our service that we love people whether they believe the truth about gender, sexuality or the right to life, or not.

We especially need to serve those who are most vulnerable, the unborn. Abortion is the Achilles Heel of the attempt to transform America. Abortion is increasingly unpopular as people recognize the sheer evil of killing infants for profit. Abortion has a weak hold on its supporters. They know it’s wrong, and more and more abortion supporters are breaking the spell and walking away from the killing machines.

Turning against abortion transforms people:

  • Becoming pro-life undermines moral relativism.
  • Becoming pro-life introduces people to “faith in things unseen,” starting with the unborn.
  • Becoming pro-life teaches people to act out of hope instead of despair.
  • Becoming pro-life reorders a voter’s preferences.

Above all, becoming pro-lifers teaches people to love. Pro-lifers learn to love women in difficult situations instead of preying on their dire straits for money. Pro-lifers support and promote post-abortive counseling that helps women deal with the depression and anxiety caused by past abortions. And pro-lifers learn to protect the vulnerable and rejected, starting with the smallest and most helpless human beings on the planet.

So be not afraid. “Faith, hope, love abide, these three,” say St. Paul, “but the greatest of these is love.”

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.