Sunday, January 31, 2010
See How They Love Each Other....
I just returned Mass and assist-teaching religious education... all morning I've been coming up with possibilities for this morning's post on my blog. Now that I am home, however, there is only so much I can write. After writing some letters to my friends, I've decided on the perfect topic.
In the second reading this morning at Mass... St. Paul's famous text on love to the Corinthians was read. Then, the fourth grade class I was assist-teaching today learned about St. Paul's preaching trip, particularly his mission to the Corinthians. St. Paul loved the people he led to Christ as a man loves his own child or brother. His teaching is the exhibition of the beautiful reality of Christians during that time. What was this reality? It was their love.
Many, many people were converted to Christianity by seeing the example of Charity in the Christians. They used to say of the Christians: "See how they love each other..." Truly, our personal holiness, faith, and love draw people to Christ. We must let the fire of fervor be lighted in us, so that our actions will show how truly wonderful God's love is. In today's world, especially, one who is an example of true Christian Charity will draw people to Jesus in waves, wherever he goes.
My last comment seems odd, doesn't it? Today, when there seems to be so little good... how could I think that one could draw people wallowing in a sinful world to Christ simply through his holy example? The world is full of living souls thirsting for Christ's love... the hearts of people today are touched by even small acts of kindness because of how little it is shown... so, truly, this is a prime time for us to BE Christian Charity! We must represent our Church for what it truly is, and show to the world the flame which is in the Catholic Church.
In the Gospel messages this week and last, we hear Christ speaking about how prophets are never accepted in their native lands. Many messages can be taken from this, but I would like to point out that Jesus speaks of the universality of the Church. St. Paul was called the Apostle of the Gentles because his heart was open to those farthest away from the Church. Christian Charity must include people from all ends of the Church... people we know and people we do not know... because only then is it TRUE Charity.
I mentioned that I decided on the topic I would discuss after writing some letters to my friends... why? When I write, my heart is filled with love for the one I am writing to. My words reflect great tenderness and care, my penmanship shows considerate and loving movements of my hands, and the little pictures I draw in each letter are unique and, though simple, deeply reflect some concept of our faith. Why do I describe in such length the beauty of my letters? It is because these letters are both to people I know well and to people I have only just met... I think of all of them with equal tenderness. It is our vocation to let all our movements, and all we touch, to receive the love of Christ as fully as we can offer it.
This is the gift of the Mystical Body of Christ. We, the Church, have one heart... and it contains all people. Those near, far, living, dead... those we know, and those we don't... through the heart of the Mystical Body we love them all. It is for this reason that the Christians of the Early Church shone with such light!
It is our vocations as people of the Church of Jesus to draw others to Him. Through love we reflect to the world an unknown beauty, and initiate a strong pull to Christ. Our faith, also, draws others to Him. What greater witness to the truth of Christ can we offer than to show complete faith in Him? All hearts long for truth... but many have not received the gift of faith and cannot see the truth. We cannot spread Christ and His Teachings to the world if we do not believe them. We cannot speak with sincere conviction on something we do not have faith in. We like to forget, sometimes, that hearts can sense a lying tongue... but hearts can also sense deep faith and truth... we must make sure it is the latter that others sense in us.
Many were converted in the early Church by the martyrs. They were brave, they were heroes... but they were heroes of faith. So greatly did they trust God that they willingly, even eagerly, gave their lives for His Truth. If one has fully let Faith into his heart, his witness very powerful to the world today. He is a living light of hope and security, and he reflects the truth of God. People do not know what to believe, they do not have the courage to try to find truth through faith, but they are drawn by this courage in us to Christ.
Finally, if we further our own personal holiness we share Jesus to the whole Church. If we kneel in the quiet of our rooms and pray for our own conversion... if we bring ourselves close to Him and ask Him to come into us... if we build our own faith and love in dedicated silence... our lives will bear great fruit. There is no better ground for humility and genuine goodness than silent prayer, alone with God.
Our lives can BE living flames. Our example gives the light of Christ to all that are near us. The teacher I was assisting this morning said: "The Church has been called a sleeping giant... if all Catholics were to rise up in the fervor which the Church's fruits initiate, the world would convert." If nothing else, Christ would fill us ourselves.