Friday, December 6, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Running The Gauntlet

Have you ever heard of running the gauntlet? In America, the gauntlet was a form treatment given to Indian prisoners.

This was specific to several Eastern United States Indian tribes such as the Mohawks and the Iroquis.

The Indians would have their captive run between two lines of braves with tomahawks, clubs, and knives.

This is intended to be brutal if the captive even survived.

Martyred Catholic Priest Father Isaac Jogues ran the gauntlet while a prisoner of the Iroquois Nation in 1641.  Because of the Indians superstition, they blamed a chest of religious articles that Father Jogues had with him for a bad crop.

He wrote, "Before arriving (at the Iroquois Village) we met the young men of the country, in a line armed with sticks...", Father and his French Companions were made to walk slowly "for the sake of giving time to anyone who struck us."  Sometimes this was a test by the Indians to test bravery.  The showing of fear and pain could cause a person instant death.

While recovering from his wounds, Fr. Jogues was invited to a feast in one of the Indian lodges. As he entered the lodge he was struck by a tomahawk and killed. 

Other known early European-Americans captured by the Indians includes Daniel Boone who had been captured by the Shawnee under Chief Blackfish.  The British were seeking to merge a treaty with the Indian Nations to stand off against the American Settlers threatening to secede from England.

Others Settlers like John Stark, James Smith, Col William Crawford, Simon Kenton, Lieutenant-Colonel John B. McClelland and Susanna Willard Johnson also were known to have run the gauntlet.


Today, the phrase, "running the gauntlet" takes on lessor meanings to express hardships we go through day to day.

Running the gauntlet can be implied when dealing with the great stress an executive may feel after dealing with all kinds of pressure they have to go through.

Some would say that the Obama Administration is making millions of Americans to run the gauntlet losing their health care.

Millions have received letters from their Insurance Companies that they are being dropped and will need to get their coverage elsewhere.

Considering that the Obamacare Website has caused so much pain, some would say that in itself was a running of the gauntlet.  But that most likely will be the beginning.  When people discover the much higher prices in premiums and deductibles they will really feel that they have ran the gauntlet.

There is a culture war taking place and many Christians are feeling like they are running the gauntlet, we see the attack on our values everywhere.

The Humanist Manifesto has seeped into our politics, our judicial system, and our higher places of learning.

Where are we in this battle? Are we bravely taking on this challenge to run the gauntlet or are we afraid and fearful?

Are we even joining those on the sidelines getting ready to punish you through the gauntlet? It is important that we make the right choices today because tomorrow will be here before you know it.  What gauntlets (struggles) people will endure for their faith is becoming more clear.

We are celebrating the season of Advent getting ready for Christmas, how involved are we in protecting this right to celebrate our Faith? That is a good question.

What would I do should ultra-left feminists were to attack me in front of my Church? That is a good question.

Would I be like these brave souls or would I run for cover?

We all might feel the pinch in some form or another.  You might be stressing out over homework at school or a test.  You might be struggling with a job or maybe even losing a job.  For many it might be the stress of paying your bills.


Others, it could be much worse, issues of health, losing your home, losing your family, even threats against our freedoms and Faith.

No matter how bad it may seem, the season of Advent and the coming of Christmas reminds us of the hope we have in Christ.

1 Peter 3:13-15 states, "Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you.  Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts."

That is a great message to those who may feel like they are running the gauntlet. Revelation 2:13 states, "I know that you live where Satan's throne is, and yet you hold fast (STAND FIRM) to my name and have not denied your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was martyred among you, where Satan lives".

So, when we feel like we are running the gauntlet, let us keep our eyes fixed in that glorious hope that Advent reminds us of.  Jesus will come again and wipe away every tear.  That is the miracle of Christmas.


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