As I mentioned yesterday, I am heading out to Cana Colony later today for a week of ministry to families. So I won’t be blogging this week. I did want to post this, though.
I am thinking particularly of my many American readers who of course have had to face the Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage earlier this week. My own thoughts on this issue I have expressed extensively on this blog, and have no need or desire to go into all over again.
Rather, I want to share this article from 1966 by Catherine Doherty, which I think takes the whole question to a much deeper level, a much more vital and essential point than this or that social issue or moral crisis. So I leave this with you as I leave to go and serve the families at Cana, asking for your prayers for them and for all families trying to live the Gospel in these difficult days:
Fundamentally, the existence of God cannot be proven. It has to be witnessed to!
Christians of the world, including Catholics, must face themselves first of all. This facing, this journey inward, must be done by Christian men, at long last face to face with God, in whom they profess to believe. This encounter can result only in two decisions. Either the Christian will live the Gospel henceforth, preaching it with his life without any compromise, without any effort of rationalizing it…or he will tell Christ silently, but truthfully, as some early disciples have already done, your sayings are too hard, Lord, and we shall walk with you no more!
There is no room now for any “in-between” Christian life. We have to realize that to be a Christian, a follower of Christ, means all, or nothing at all. We either are brothers of Christ, heirs of the Father; or we reject Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit! The tepid he shall vomit out of his mouth. Tepid we have been, for a long long time, we Christians — “We the tepid ones, we the fearful ones, we the experts in rationalizing Christ's commandments of love until nothing but an empty core of them was left.”
We have played at being Christians. Chesterton was right when he said, Christianity has not failed. It has not yet been tried.” It would be well for us to reread that part of Dostoyevsky’s novel, Brothers Karamazov which deals with the dialogue between the Great Inquisitor and Christ, Whom the former had arrested.
But it is also time that men faced, before confronting God, a simple fact of this total commitment, this total surrender to Christ and His Gospel — by himself he cannot live that Gospel. Christ said, “Without me you can do nothing.” The Christian must also remember he is an “anawim” — the poor man of Yahweh and the poor man of the Beatitudes (If he is truly Christian, he will have to remember this.). He will know he is a creature totally dependent upon God, and will rejoice in this, the essence of that Poverty, its beginnings. Everybody is talking about Poverty, but they are not getting at its roots.
Because of the words of Christ, and because of the realization of his poverty and his dependence upon God, a Christian will become a man of prayer…of being before God, and, concurrently, doing for God. Then he will be able to live by the Gospel and preach it with his life on all the modern fronts of the Christian apostolate — political, economic, social, personal. Unless Christians do this, we will be like men battling the wind, or like chaff in the wind.
The greatest temptation presented to the Christian and his apostolate today is that he will forget this dependence on Christ, this glorious poverty of his so filled with joy, and make himself the God whom he will adore. The feverish activities of so many well-meaning Christians; the restlessness of the priests and the laity; the confusion that exists everywhere, are witnessing to the fact that the majority of us have not yet tried to have this encounter with God…do this deep examination of conscience…make that painful journey inward.
We are still “playing at being Christians.” This time our Christianity masks bear the many faces of what each one of us thinks is the aggiornamento [ed. note: this phrase was common in the late 1960s, and refers to the effort to bring Catholicism 'up to date' for the modern world]. Those of us who studied the documents of Vatican II often continue the game of adaptation and rationalization instead of praying to the Holy Spirit to enlighten our intellects to understand and implement the luminous decisions of the Council.
We bear a grave responsibility before the world — each one of us who professes to be Christ’s follower. If Christ, the Living, Resurrected Christ, who truly dwells among us, is to be understood and presented to this secular world of ours, we had better stop wasting our time in arguments and rationalizations, and begin to prove His existence by witnessing to His Reality in our midst, by being His Witnesses with our lives.