Catholics must live out the language of truth in word and deed
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York recently wrote about the importance of viewing the U.S. as “mission” territory. He noted that Catholics in America must move from “keeping our faith to ourselves to letting it shine to others!” With those words, Cardinal Dolan kindly reminds Catholics that the Church has never advocated a Christian discipleship which is based solely on silent witness to the Gospel.
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. [More]