"Big Four" Highlights


 

I Will Serve

Leave relativism behind and embrace the way of the Church

By Randy Hain

We know better than the Church, don’t we? After all, this is the 21st century and times have changed. Modern man is fully capable of deciding what is good and moral on his own. All the really smart people in the media, government and academia encourage us to embrace abortion, contraception, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, and everyone knows that new ideas must trump nearly two millennia of Church teaching. Right?

It is unfortunate that many Catholics today think this way. Yet the Church stands as a bulwark against relativism and leads us to the truth. If we feel the need to be rebellious, why not rise up in a direction that leads to heaven? It is easy to criticize the Church and conform to the spirit of the world, but a true Catholic rebel can stand out by embracing Church teaching. If we are going to be rebels, let’s rebel against the world and embrace the path to heaven that leads through the Catholic Church.

Five Positive Ways for Catholics to Rebel against the World

Avoid Cafeteria Catholicism – We can’t pick and choose what we believe and still be authentically Catholic. Follow the magisterium and authentically practice our faith, trusting that two millennia of Church history and teaching are far superior to what we may come up with on our own. “Be Catholic, really, faithfully, unapologetically Catholic, and the future will have the kind of articulate and morally mature leaders it needs” (Archbishop Charles Chaput).

Put Pride Aside and Surrender – “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to him and if they were to allow his grace to mold them accordingly” (St. Ignatius of Loyola). It must take a pretty big ego to say no to Christ and his Church! What we need is more humility, total surrender and a sincere commitment to put Christ’s will before our own. I know from personal experience that doing it my way has never worked out well.

Practice Personal Holiness – Listen to Blessed John Paul II: “The call to holiness is rooted in Baptism and proposed anew in the other Sacraments, principally in the Eucharist. Since Christians are reclothed in Christ Jesus and refreshed by his Spirit, they are ‘holy’. They therefore have the ability to manifest this holiness and the responsibility to bear witness to it in all that they do. The apostle Paul never tires of admonishing all Christians to live ‘as is fitting among saints’ (Eph 5:3)” (Christifideles Laici 16).

Be Joyful! – It is so easy to get lost in our problems and forget to be joyful. But remember that people are watching us. They may be seeking God and looking for someone to show them the way. They could learn from our good example, be inspired by our joy and be encouraged by our faith if we only remember to share the Good News. If we are gloomy, frustrated, inward-focused and critical of the Church, we will never be able to help anyone and may put our own salvation at risk.

Pursue Heaven – Heaven is our ultimate destination. Will our critics help us get to there? Will they stand up for us during tough times? No, they will pull us into secular ways that have little room for God. Doing what is right is not always easy, but there are definite benefits. Why would we not choose heaven?

One practice underlies these five positive ways: praying faithfully every day.

Start the day with a prayer of thanks to God for the blessings in your life. Pray for help and courage to face the trials the world throws at us. Make the Sign of the Cross and pray over every meal, public or private. Pray the Rosary daily and ask for the help and intercession of our Blessed Mother. Pray with your family at night. I can’t envision anyone seriously rebelling against the Church who is faithfully committed to daily prayer.

One of the things I found most attractive about the Catholic Church when I converted was that it is not easy to be Catholic. I grew up with “easy faith” as a Baptist, left that church as a teenager and had no faith at all for 23 years, until coming home to the truth of Catholicism in 2005. I am incredibly grateful for my Catholic faith and don’t see why I should waste my time arguing against the teachings of the Church. I already spent over two decades saying “no” to God, and my pride-filled rebellion was exhausting. When I surrendered to his will, I started saying “yes,” and that has made all the difference in my life.

It can be that way for you, too. Say “yes, I will serve” today. We know where the devil wound up when he said “non serviam,” and no one wants that path at the end of life!

Randy Hain, Senior Editor and co-founder of The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of three books by Liguori Press: The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith and Something More: A Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life.