The Mission Field of America: Catholics Must Live Out The Language of Truth in Word and Deed
Catholics need to be carefully taught that the fullness of truth transmitted by the Church is an essential element in achieving authentic human fulfillment in true freedom and perfect happiness as members of the divine family of God.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our age is that Catholics are becoming more and more unaware of the reality of who they are. God has given us the gift of participating in his life. It is clear that we should take an active part in that wondrous, sublime and unending reality. Others deserve to see, hear and experience our love for the truth of the Catholic Faith that they too may find the treasure buried in the field (Mt. 13:44 ff.).
Christ speaks God's truth to the people during his sermon on the mount.
That message, one which calls Catholics to embrace and live their faith openly, zealous in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in both word and deed as it has been guarded and transmitted by the Church for twenty-centuries, is not new. In fact, it began with the example of St. Peter and the other apostles on Pentecost, that day on which the Church was made "manifest to the world" by "the outpouring of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1076; see Acts 2). On that glorious day, the apostles began to speak openly and actively in favor of the way of Christ.
When we look at the apostles method of evangelization, we immediately notice that it energetically involved the whole person; i.e., it became their way of life -- even if that way of life meant martyrdom. And it indeed did for all of the apostles save St. John.
Today the context of evangelization is different -- thus it is called the "New Evangelization." While the apostles labored to water the seed of the Church planted by Christ, nourishing it with their very blood that it may become a vine whose tendrils of truth and light would reach across the fields of the earth, evangelization has been shaped in recent times by the affects of an increasingly post-Christian era. That is, nearly everyone knows of Christ, but few people truly and intimately know the Person who is Jesus the Christ. A vine overgrown with weeds is more often encountered than a land of weeds. As Pope Benedict XVI has emphatically stated more than once, men are living as if God does not exist. It would be a serious error to imagine the Holy Father is speaking only to those who openly reject God, however often as the case may be, for he is speaking primarily to reputed Christians.
This situation in which America has become imbued with the ambience of practical atheism, is due in large part to the "we're all fine" phenomenon. It goes like this: "God loves me and you the way we are, so not to worry. Sure, everybody has their faults, but Christ died for our sins. God will work it all out." As is evident, such a convenient religious philosophy is not entirely unrelated to the unbiblical doctrine of unconditional salvation, also known as "eternal security" or "once saved always saved." That people are on different paths is true, but the notion that all these paths invariably lead to the same glorious end regardless of how the individual person exercises free will, is one giant, diabolical lie.
There is little more harmful than sleepy Christians unfettered by the demands of the Gospel who, presuming on glory without merit, persist in yawning at the pressing commandment of Christ to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48). As Christians, we are obliged to respond to the grace of the Holy Spirit, giving ourselves over in love to that Love who so graciously gave himself to us at our Baptism in virtue of the redemptive merits of Jesus Christ. Vatican II sought to remind Christians of just such a fact: "All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged" (LG 14). The Spirit has re-created us in Christ. That immense gift demands a new way of living.
Clearly a serious outlook on the reality of life is in order. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him" (John 3:36). Given the shocking realities of a society gone awry, such as widespread relativism and moral indifference, the contraceptive mentality which has fueled the horrors of abortion, the recent secularist attacks on freedom of conscience and freedom of religion and so forth, it is time for Catholics everywhere to rise up and speak the language of truth in word and deed, living our lives in a credible and convincing way. Charity demands that we voice the truth.
"Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection," wrote Pope Benedict XVI, "is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and ...
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