How to Live as Strangers in a Strange Land

How do we remain faithful to Jesus amid those misunderstandings, pressures, and even persecutions that we face living in a secular culture? It’s not easy being Catholic today, but if we look at the story of Israel in Salvation history, we can find great strength and consolation. Today, Dr. Sri teaches us how to live as strangers in a strange land by looking at the prophet Daniel in the Bible and how he remained faithful to God in times of persecution.


“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:17


As a Catholic, do you ever feel like a stranger is a strange land? It’s not easy remaining faithful to God in a secular culture that often glorifies values that are contradictory to our Catholic faith. It’s common to face opposition to our faith from family members, coworkers, neighbors, and even some fellow Christians.

When we are surrounded by others who have a different worldview and uphold different values, there is often pressure to think and live like everyone else. How do we remain faithful to Jesus amid those misunderstandings, pressures, and even persecutions?

If we look at the story of Israel in Salvation history we can find great consolation and courage. In the Old Testament, we see that the Jewish people faced trials and persecution while they were in exile in Babylon (506BC- 586BC). When they were taken away from Jerusalem, they found themselves find themselves living as strangers in a strange land. The temple liturgy, the priesthood, the holy presence of God in the Jerusalem Temple was all destroyed and taken from them. They were also surrounded by a culture that vehemently opposed their values and pressured them to conform to the pagan culture.

The prophet Daniel however, teaches us how to persevere in the midst of persecution. Daniel was a young Jewish man who grew up in Babylon and was pressured to follow the Babylonian’s pagan ways. Daniel remained faithful to God though and endured persecution out of love for God.

Lessons from the Prophet Daniel:

  1. In times of persecution, we need fellowship.

    Daniel had other friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) who supported and encouraged him. We need other Catholic friends to remind us of the truth, of what truly matters most in life. We cannot remain isolated in our faith, community is essential.

  2. We have to be willing to suffer.

    As disciples of Christ, we have to learn to embrace the cross and to accept suffering. We will make people uncomfortable because of our values, and we have to be ready to suffer. When we are willing to go to the cross with Jesus, God the Father will rescue us. Just like God rescued Daniel in the lion’s den, so will God rescue us in the midst of our persecution.

  3. We have to remain faithful to God in prayer and continue worshipping Him even when our circumstances change.

    We have to be willing to adapt our prayer lives in the storms we face, even if they affect our usual prayer routines. We must aim to keep the commandments no matter our circumstances. Keeping the Sabbath Holy as well as keeping God at the center of our lives is crucial.


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Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, well-known Catholic speaker, and author of several best-selling books. His work with Ascension includes study programs such as A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion and Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Several of Dr. Sri’s programs were filmed on-site in the Holy Land, and feature immersive video explorations of the sacred sites where Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles lived and died.

Dr. Sri is the host of the acclaimed Ascension podcast All Things Catholic with Dr. Edward Sri.  Together with Curtis Martin, Dr. Sri is a founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), of which he serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach.

Dr. Sri lives with his wife Beth and their children in Colorado.

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