Monday, February 09, 2009

Stemming the tide by Doing the Lord's Work

I would like to follow Athos post on Simon's Fate with another Athos' post that you can find at Chronicles of Atlantis where he shares an article by Archbishop Charles Chaput - in it the Archbishop of Denver writes:

The truth is, the challenges we face as Catholics today are very much like those facing the first Christians. And it might help to have a little perspective on how they went about evangelizing their culture. They did such a good job that within 400 years Christianity was the world’s dominant religion and the foundation of Western civilization.

Rodney Stark, the Baylor University social scientist, is an agnostic. He’s not a Christian believer. But he became intrigued by a couple of key questions. How did Christianity succeed? How was it able to accomplish so much so fast? In his book, “The Rise of Christianity,” he focuses only on the facts he can verify. And he concludes that Christian success flowed from two things: first, Christian doctrine, and second, people being faithful to that doctrine. Stark writes that: “An essential factor in the (Christian) religion’s success was what Christians believed. … And it was the way those doctrines took on actual flesh, the way they directed organizational actions and individual behavior, that led to the rise of Christianity.”

Or we can put it another way: the Church, through the Apostles and their successors, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People believed in that Gospel. But the early Christians didn’t just agree to a set of ideas. Believing in the Gospel meant changing their whole way of thinking and living. It was a radical transformation—so radical they couldn’t go on living like the people around them anymore.

The early Christians understood that they were members of a new worldwide family of God more important than any language or national borders. They saw the culture around them, despite all of its greatness and power, as a culture of despair, a society that was slowly killing itself. In fact, when we read early Christian literature, things like adultery and abortion are often described as “the way of death” or the “way of the (devil).”

Here’s the point: if the world of pagan Rome and its Caesars could be won for Jesus Christ, we can do the same in our own day. But what it takes is the zeal and courage to live what we claim to believe.

God created each of us. Each of us matters. Each of us has the vocation to be a missionary of Jesus Christ where we live and work and vote. Each of us is called to bring Christian truth to the public debate, to be vigorous and unembarrassed about our Catholic presence in society, and to be a leaven in our nation’s public life. That work needs to begin today, right now, among the people Jesus called to be his disciples and friends—in other words, you and me; everyday Catholic men and women, the people of God. All of us already have the ability to make a difference in the world by virtue of our baptism. Now we need to act on it. Now we need to live it. So let’s pray for each other, and encourage each other, and get down to the Lord’s work.

The complete link to the Archbishop's column is HERE


Athos said...

My point in Simon’s Fate is this: Alexander had Achilles in The Iliad; Don Quixote had Amadis DeGaul. Of course we have Our Lord's ”shining example” as well as the communion of saints.

You do the perfect thing in lifting up Archbishop Chaput's words of encouragement - the very reason I did before you at Chronicles.

The point, again, is this: I am waiting for the literary figure who will embody the "answer" to the plight of the man of the West. It ISN'T a man of science - Simon. It must be a man of faith and hope and charity, and one who can if only fictionally present true hope vs. the false hope of, say the "yes we can" idiocy of progressive liberalism.

Can't wait to read it! Cheers

Athos said...

BTW, Aramis, the tide doesn't seem very stemmed to date; a bit more like an attempt to sweep it back.