Write In Between

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Writer's Wednesday -- Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap.

How to change the world by letting ourselves be changed by the Holy Spirit
Mary is so important to the Catholic understanding of the world. Mary is the first Christian, the perfect model of the Church and the perfect model for each of us as individual disciples. We are all called to be Mary...

What did Mary do? She said "yes" to the Holy Spirit. In that "yes" the Holy Spirit filled her with new life. The early Church called Mary theotokos, which is Greek for "God-bearer." As a creature, she allowed her Creator to act in her and accomplish great things through her. In giving birth to God's son, Mary gave new life to the whole world. We're called to follow her example, each in our own way. Hearing the gospel isn't enough. Talking about our faith isn't enough. We have to do something about it. Each of us, in a personal way, needs to be a kind of theotokos, a God-bearer. The seed of faith has to bear fruit in a life of Christian action, a life of personal Christian witness, or else it's just words. Talk is cheap...

The Church, like Mary, is about new life. The Holy Spirit filled Mary with thenew life at the Annunciation and Mary gave birth to Jesus. The Holy Spirit filled the apostles with new life at Pentecost, and they immediately gave birth to a new era through their preaching and teaching. God is a god of abundance, not sterility; of confidence, not fear. God relentlessly creates new life through each of us, if we allow Him to do so. We are meant to be fertile. We are meant to bring others to new life in Jesus Christ...

"Go make disciples of all nations" was the last command Jesus gave to us before returning to His Father. It's a big one. How can simple people like us convert the world? That brings us back to Mary, and to the apostles at Pentecost. They changed the world by letting God change them and work through them. We don't need to be afraid. We need to be confident in the promise made by Christ Himself: "I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Don't be afraid of the world. The Holy Spirit is on your side. Charles Spurgeon once said, "The way you defend the Bible is the same way you defend a lion. You just let it loose."

So much of the world is already dead without knowing it. That's exactly why people respond to the truth when they hear it. Robert Farrar Capon once wrote, "Jesus came to raise the dead. The only qualification for the gift of the Gospel is to be dead. You don't have to be smart. You don't have to be good. You don't have to be wise. You don't have to be wonderful. You just have to be dead. That's it." So we pray to God to losse the Holy Spirit on the world again in our time, and in our lives, to bring new life to those dead from sin:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we will be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.

Understand the purpose of your life. C.S. Lewis once said that "Christianity, if false, is of no importance; and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important." So, away with "moderate" love for the gospel; away with "moderate" love for Jesus Christ. Time is too limited, too valuable, too important. At the end of every day we need to ask ourselves this simple question: I have paid one day of my life to do what I did today. WAS IT WORTH IT?

At the end of Good Friday, Jesus Christ could say "yes."

How will we answer today?

-----Charles. J. Chaput (currently Archbishop of Denver), from Living the Catholic Faith, Servant Books, 2001. p. 149-150; 158-159.

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home