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Back to the Basics

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, VA. My talked was entitled, "Dare to be Catholic: living Catholic principles in a hostile culture. Normally my talks draw on a topic in which I can claim some level of expertise. Last night was a bit different. It was part pep talk and part brainstorming session as I came to the group as just another fellow Catholic trying to proclaim the Gospel. How can we effect a cultural change when the odds seemed so stacked against us?

And then I think of the Apostles. Twelve men. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no cable news, no email. Yet their faithfulness to Christ changed the world. So what's our problem? There were more than twelve people in the room last night and there are lots more than twelve faithful Catholics in this world.

And wouldn't you know it, Pope Benedict offered his own take on this topic today in his Angelus address:

He continued, "speaking about God means, first and foremost, being clear about what we must bring to the men and women of our time. God has spoken to us, … not an abstract or hypothetical God, but a real God, a God Who exists, Who entered history and remains present in history: the God of Jesus Christ ... as a response to the fundamental question of why and how to live. Therefore, speaking about God requires a continual growth in faith, familiarity with Jesus and His Gospel, a profound knowledge of God and strong passion for His plan for salvation, without giving in to the temptations of success. … We must not fear the humility of taking small steps, trusting in the leaven that makes the dough rise slowly and mysteriously. In speaking about God, in the work of evangelisation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must return to the simplicity and essential nature of proclamation: the concrete Good News of God Who cares about us, the love of God which Jesus Christ brought close to us, even unto the Cross, and which in the Resurrection opens us to life without end, to eternal life".
"Without giving in to the temptations of success..." Now that is an interesting phrase. But it means there are no shortcuts. We stay faithful. Even when it means that worldly success eludes us. Even when it means our social standing is threatened. Even when it means family members scoff at us. Even when folks unfriend us on Facebook. Always charitable. But always faithful.

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