by Randy Hain | September 26, 2019 12:04 am
“Think about the possibilities if we all made a sincere daily commitment, no matter how small, to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.”
Do we sometimes feel overwhelmed in the face of the relentless assault on the Church, our beliefs and our families by the media and modern culture? Is it difficult to stand up for what we believe? Do we ever feel like we can’t make a difference? Many Catholics I encounter are struggling through daily battles to live out their faith and protect their loved ones… all in the midst of very divisive and difficult time for the Church. It would be easy to throw in the towel and give up or remain silent, but that is not an option for us. We are called to do more. We are called to be holy: “Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification.’” (Lumen Gentium, Second Vatican Council, 39)
Part of our challenge is getting past feeling overwhelmed. We are not able to tackle everything at once, so let’s make it simple and focus on what we can do. We need to work on ourselves and pursue lives of personal holiness. Our ultimate destination is Heaven and we need to live our lives on earth in a way that will help us get there. So, what can we do?
First of all, we can’t stand on the sidelines and watch. We also must believe that one person can make a difference; consider the examples of Pope St. John Paul II, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Josemaria Escriva and St. Paul to name a few. Our brave acts, no matter how small or large, can have a profound influence on others if we are simply willing to make the effort.
At times it seems we have lost our way and forgotten or ignored the teachings of the Church. Maybe we have forgotten to put our trust in God and rely on Him. “Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.” (Ephesians 6:10-13) I love the thought of putting on the “armor of God” as we fight the battles ahead!
5 Simple Ways Catholics Can Make a Difference
I am involved with a group of Catholic business leaders that meets every month. When we first started gathering in 2007, we had dreams of taking on the world and making a real difference through our Catholic faith! But we soon realized that we had much work to do in getting our spiritual lives in order. We understood after much prayer and reflection that we had to be humble and work on surrendering and conforming to Christ before we could make a positive difference in the lives of others. Here are five simple ways we have learned to make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us:
Where Catholics are Called to Serve
The world needs Catholics to make a difference. How? Where have we been called to serve? Some of us are prayer warriors, silently praying in earnest for Mother Church, the sick, an end to abortion and for the souls in Purgatory (among other things). Some of us are called to the married or single life and still others are called to serve Christ in the public square. Others are called to the priesthood and religious life while some are missionaries serving the poor and unwanted of the world. Wherever we are called, we have countless opportunities each day to serve Him in our words and deeds. We should live out our calling with joy and know that our positive example will have an impact on the behavior and faith of others who are silently watching us.
As much as I try to give up my anxiety and fear in prayer, I am worried about the future of our country, the world and the Church. I am inclined toward action and getting involved to make a difference, but I struggle sometimes to know how to apply my efforts. I have come to realize that I can best serve our Lord and His Church by being devoted in the practice of my Catholic faith and setting a good example. I need to be diligent about my prayer life as well as speaking up for what I believe. I have to be humble, loving and remind myself that all of my efforts are for His greater glory and not my own.
Consider the wisdom in this quote from one of my favorite writers, Fr. Francis Fernandez, and his wonderful series of books, In Conversation with God:
“However, God does not ask the majority of Christians to shed their blood in testimony of the faith they profess. But he does ask of everyone an heroic steadfastness in proclaiming the truth through his life and words in environments which may be difficult and hostile to the teachings of Christ. He asks them to live fully the Christian virtues in the middle of the world, in whatever circumstances life has placed them. This is the path that the majority of Christians will have to tread – Christians who have to sanctify themselves through living heroism in the duties and circumstances of each day. Today’s Christian needs the virtue of fortitude in a special way. This virtue, as well as being humanly so attractive, is indispensable given the materialistic mentality of so many people today; it is a mentality that prizes comfort and has a horror of anything that smacks of mortification, renunciation or sacrifice. So every act of virtue contains within it an act of courage, of fortitude; without it we cannot remain faithful to God.”
I find myself just as challenged as most people to live an authentic Catholic life in the world today. But, I know we are called to try and make a sincere effort. I also know we are not alone and Christ stands ready to help us if we go to Him in prayer with our desires. The key is to leave the sidelines and get started. Our efforts may be listening to a lonely and depressed coworker, saying a prayer for a friend seeking employment or spending quality time with our family. Maybe now is the time to volunteer for a parish ministry. Whatever we do, let’s do it to glorify Christ, put our fears aside and truly serve Him. Think about the possibilities if we all made a sincere daily commitment, no matter how small, to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.
The world would be transformed.
Editor’s Note: Would you like to learn more about Randy Hain’s newest book? Special Children, Blessed Fathers: Encouragement for Fathers of Children with Special Needs (Foreword by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput) is available from Amazon and Emmaus Road Publishing in both hardcover and paperback. All of Randy’s books are available through Amazon.
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