We live in challenging times. These days, the pagan way of life is the norm and living a Christian life seems almost heroic, despite the fact that it’s nothing more than doing what we are supposed to do.
“The only thing that matters is to be a saint. That’s what we need to be. That’s what we need to become.”
Potent words for our time.
The Archbishop pointed out that, although more than 70 million people identify themselves as Catholics, their views, appetites and behaviors are pretty much the same as non-Christians and therefore, nothing in the way they live their lives reflects their Catholicity. The greatest indicator of that is the presidential election results from a few weeks ago.
If you are reading this, I’m betting you feel differently than the average Catholic he described. My guess is you place great importance on living your Catholic faith to the fullest, which is so refreshing to see. And, as the Archbishop stated during his speech, now is the time to really define what your faith means to you.
“So we need to ask ourselves: What do I want my life to mean? If I claim to be a Catholic, can I prove it with the patterns of my life? When do I pray? How often do I seek out the Sacrament of Penance? What am I doing for the poor? How am I serving the needy? Do I really know Jesus Christ?”
These are fantastic reflection points for everyone. And to tailor it to your interests as a single Catholic, you might take it a bit further…
- When you’re on a date, is your faith reflected in your words and actions, especially in the way you treat the person you are with?
- If you are dating a lapsed Catholic, does your conversation and behavior lead that person to the possibility of renewing their faith?
- Do you invite people to go to mass with you?
We are living in the Year of Faith and it’s the perfect time to really embrace all that the Church offers regarding building your spiritual life, because in the end, although we might feel we’ve accomplished all we need by having all our ducks in a row (relationship, financial, material, etc.) none of it really matters unless our relationship with God is solid and we work to improve each day.
Toward the end of his speech, Archbishop Chaput dispensed some homework for the audience to complete over the Thanksgiving holiday and it’s something all of us can do. He asked that people watch the 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons with their families. The film is based on the life of St. Thomas More, a sixteenth century English lawyer, statesman and chancellor under King Henry VIII. Despite the political environment of that time, St. Thomas More never gave in to political pressure and vehemently oppossed the King and his decisions to divorce, remarry and separate from Catholicism. He was martyred in 1535.
As we gather together with our families and friends this week for Thanksgiving, let us be truly grateful for the gift of our faith and renew our commitment to living it to the fullest and with friendly invitations to other to do the same.