Live the Faith, Change the World
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2004
If one were to imitate the example Jesus uses of the Party, you would find that the first time you threw such a party, your neighbors would think it is cute. The second time, the police would be at your door several times during the night and the third time you would be doing it in a new neighborhood.
But what is Jesus really telling us here. He is saying to put our faith into action. Let our faith inspire our action. Indeed, St. James reminds us that if we do not put our faith into action, then our faith is dead.
OUR PRAYER STRENGTHENS OUR ACTION
Now you know that I do not like Voice of the Faithful. Recently, I cited on these pages a letter put out by Voice of the Faithful that reveals plans to stage a coup of the Roman Catholic Church. If you read the letter, you will notice that writer cites an agnostic from Cambridge who taught her the techniques that Ghandi taught on overthrowing governments. Here is the problem, besides the fact they are using the teachings of a Hindu who had a huge amount of respect for the teachings of Jesus to overthrow the Catholic Church, something that the Hindu would never do. They are also forgetting that his techniques were prayer based. This is why VOTF makes so many bizarre errors. They act without a good prayer base using the teachings of a revolutionary who was prayer based.
Ghandi had the power to cast the British out of India via non-violent resistance, because Ghandi was rooted in prayer. He was not Christian, he understood Christianity. Indeed, the reason why he did not become Christian is because of the way he was treated under the Apartheid system in South Africa. But he said that if Christians lived their religion there would not be a Hindu in India. That is how much respect he had for Christianity. Even so, he was a man of prayer and was open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through his prayer.
MEN AND WOMEN OF PRAYER AND ACTION
The same can be said of the other powerful men and women of prayer throughout the latter part of the Twentieth Century.
* Corazon Aquino a Catholic woman of prayer working with Cardinal Jaime Sin and brought down the Marcos Regime in the Phillipines through the People's Power Revolution, a Catholic woman of prayer. (Talk about how crazy Marcos was, I was in the Philippines in the Fall of 1979 when Ferdinand Marcos held a birthday party for seven years of Martial Law.)
* Lech Walesa a Catholic Man of prayer who led the Solidarity Movement that brought down the Soviet Union.
* Even Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people forget to note he was a man of prayer, a Baptist preacher, who brought down racial separation.
So we deal with this movement taking wholesale the teachings of Ghandi led by someone who does not believe in God. What do they come up with, "Keep The Faith And Change The Church." That is a standing order anyway. Our role as Christians is to work together to live the faith and to work with each other to strengthen our faith in light of the teachings and the wisdom of our salvation history.
But Jesus calls us to a deeper level. Live the Faith and Change the World. This is what he wants us to do. If you do not believe me then listen to these words, "Go out into the whole world and preach my gospel." What do you think that means? You and I are called to live the faith to such a degree that we bring change radical change to our world by paving the way for God's Kingdom to Come.
SIN, REPENTENCE AND THE HOLY INSPIRATION
This is also why sin and repentance are important. The closer we are to Christ, the more we turn from sin, the more we are open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is why confession and all the sacraments are so important. When we confess our sins and repent, we are turning away from those things that blind us, that obscure our relationship to Christ and leave us uninspired and mediocre. When we repent we are more open to the renewal of our mind that Paul talks about in Romans. We have a sharper vision and are more inspired by the Holy Spirit, We can and are called to do many powerful things.
Ghandi was quite aware of the relationship between turning from sin and opening one self up to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He also practiced celibacy.
However, why do you think we are living at a time when parishes are closing. The answer is where is the dynamic of the faith? Where are the people who seek to live the faith so radically that they change the world. Many are caught up in a concept of Catholicism that says we have outgrown sin. Have we? Such an attitude is a harbinger for a Christianity that is all about making me comfortable and turning me from living Christ, radically.
Let me give you an example. You know many people say that the Vatican did nothing during the Holocaust. That is a lie. Indeed, the first organization to speak out against the Holocaust was Vatican Radio in 1939. These same people will say that if they lived during the Nazi era they would have spoken up against the holocaust. That is a lie too. How do I know? Because it is going on right now, but not in Germany, it is in China and which of our critics are doing anything about it. Indeed, which of our critics support such barbarism.
THE CHINESE ACTING WITH IMPUNITY
For decades the nation of China has imprisoned and tortured people of faith. Indeed, three weeks ago China arrested 100 men, women and children for participating in a house Church. Now the media will tell you that any religion that cares to operate in China needs only to register with the government. Of course, the problem is that like all communist regimes once you register you become open to a visit by members of the Chinese Secret Police. That is why worship is done in secret. What happens next is what went on in Latin America people who are not approved by the government become the Desaparecidos, the Disappeared.
Last week China arrested 9 men: eight Catholic priests and a Buddhist, all with impunity. This Chinese Inquisition goes on and on and has been for decades and few have anything about it. The Vatican has fought it, (Do you know that China has a history of jamming Vatican Radio.) as have members of other faiths Christian and non-Christian. (has the UN?) Indeed, some of the secular forces out of Cambridge are trying to instill the same system here. In fact, one of our local Universities is being sued for allegedly harassing Christians for 15 years.
These people will tell you that we have evolved to the point we do not need to believe in God. Have we? 500 years ago people of faith were imprisoning and torturing people who did not believe. Now people who do not believe are imprisoning and torturing people of faith. We have not evolved, we have just gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. (And you know I believe in evolution) In fact, if any group has evolved it is the people of faith because we are saying "You know that prison and torture stuff that happened 500 years ago, that was stupid." While secular forces are embracing that practice. Meanwhile, they call us Neanderthals.
TAKING ACTION AGAINST THE CHINESE INQUISITION
The question is what can we do and the answer begins with prayer. Even if it is nothing else but doing our morning offering and then saying "Lord Free the people unjustly imprisoned for their faith in China." But we pray and the Lord will inspire us to what action we can take worldwide to end this Chinese inquisition.
Either way, Jesus says to us to be his ambassadors on Earth, to be his feet, hands, eyes, ears and mouth and to preach his gospel to His glorification. Listen all you want to the people who want to keep the faith and change the Church. As for the rest of us, we know it is time we serve Christ by "Living the Faith, Changing the World." Let's make ending the Chinese Inquisition one of our goals.
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - parochial vicar, 617 542-5682
VOTF, Faith, China, activism
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