The Mission Field of America: Catholics Must Live Out The Language of Truth in Word and Deed
of all humanity. . . . To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, rejoices in the truth" (Caritas In Veritate 1).
Catholics need to be carefully taught that truth is an essential element in achieving authentic human fulfillment in true freedom and perfect happiness. Our Savior Jesus Christ said, "I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me" (Jn 14:6), and "I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10). The truth of the Christian religion presented in its fullness by the Church, which includes both faith and morals, is not merely an inconsequential data set; it is not a list of nice ideas and interesting options which have little bearing on human life and society. On the contrary, God's revelation to the living body of his Church is the word of life, and as such it is an indispensable component of every single aspect of human life. Charity "rejoices in the truth," because it is God's will that "all men" be "saved and come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4). The truth is about salvation. If we love Christ, we repeat his truth transmitted by the Church.
Unfortunately, for a whole host of "reasons," Catholics have been lax in living their lives in word and deed according to the language of truth. That we have often failed to love God above all else is a tragedy which has borne serious repercussions for every aspect of our society. "As Catholics, like so many other American Christians," wrote Archbishop Chaput, "we have too often made our country what it is through our appetite for success, our self-delusion, our eagerness to fit in, our vanity, our compromises, our self-absorption and our tepid faith."
Two years before Blessed John Paul II was raised to the Chair of Peter, then Karol Cardinal Wotyla articulated the following disturbing observation to the Catholic Bishops of the U.S.: "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up."
It is not enough to simply say that we are Christians; nor is it enough to speak only of how we love Christ. We must, as Catholics, fully live out the language of truth in word and deed, speaking openly in the public square, faithfully repeating the words of truth articulated in their fullness by holy mother Church. For the laity are "entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth" (CCC 900).
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our age is that Catholics are becoming more and more unaware of the reality of who they are. That is, while in virtue of Baptism we are made members of the divine family who are destined to share in eternal glory, we have in many cases forgotten what such a participation in the life of the Holy Trinity actually means: as children of the household of God, we must always live out the language of truth in word and deed as the members of the divine family that we are, in order to build up the body of Christ and aid in populating the kingdom of heaven. 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.
While the truth is often unpopular, even abhorred, we should not be the least surprised by negative reactions: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Mt. 10:34). Speaking the truth can be difficult. However, in hope we are consoled in the certain knowledge that those who speak the truth with love are indeed serving our Lord Jesus Christ. After explaining the parable of the weeds in the field to his disciples, Jesus said: "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43). And in the book of Daniel we read: "Those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever" (12:3).
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: the fullness of truth subsists in the Catholic Church, mission, mission in America, new evangelization, mission territory, God's revealed truth, truth, living truth in word and deed, evangelization, F. K. Bartels
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- Receiving the Eucharist: I Have Decided to Kneel For Jesus
- Pope Francis says atheists can go to heaven too!
- Exorcism or not, it's still a miracle
- The Holy Spirit: Sanctifier and Giver of Life, Love and Truth
- Pope Francis tweets his prayers following devastation in Moore
- The Paraclete: The Counselor Who Helps Us Fulfill Our Calling
- Pope Francis calls for change within the Church
- Atheists to have their books placed atop Gideon Bibles
- Killer whale with missing fins cared for by its pod family
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?