If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

If Necessary, Use Words

Let those who wait for you, Lord of hosts, not be shamed through me. Let those who seek you, God of Israel, not be disgraced through me (Psalm 69:7, NAB).

In the nearly forty years I’ve served Christ I’ve often discovered talking the Gospel is much easier than walking it.

Gospel-talk flows easily across my lips when I share my faith with others. Gospel-walk is a different story. Walking my talk means I must avoid imitating some first century Christians whom St. Paul rebuked when he wrote: God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you (Romans 2:24). It seems from the context of his letter to the Romans, more than just a few Christians in that city did a lot of right talking, but not enough right walking.

Gospel-walking requires I be daily circumspect about my lifestyle so I don’t lead others astray or bring discredit to the Gospel. Daily decisions such as how I dress, or speak, where I find entertainment, or how I behave when no one is watching, all need to be modeled after what Jesus taught and how He lived.

Too much is at stake for me -- or you -- to live according to the moral norms of the culture instead of those moral norms taught in Scripture and clarified by the Church. The people we meet each day have the right to see the gospel in us before they hear it from us.

St. Francis of Assisi must have understood that principle when he encouraged the Church, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”


Gary said...

I think about this issue every day. Here is my question, perhaps worthy of a contemplation: is it possible to "preach the gospel" without being a Mother Teresa or a Albert Schweitzer?

Richard Maffeo said...

If it were NOT possible to preach the gospel -- or live it -- without being a Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer, then the commandments of Jesus and the apostles -- and the Church -- would be meaningless. I think, for the most part, we do as much for Christ, and reflect Him in our lives, only to the point that we choose to. Grace nothwithstanding, of course, we choose each day how close we want to be to Jesus, and how much of 'my will' we will choose in any given situation. Which is why I continue to strive daily, spending time in prayer, Scripture study and meditation, and (at least weekly) receiving the Eucharist. I need all the help I can get. ;)

Anonymous said...

It is in your humility, Richard that you recognize the need for God's help. I have always loved that quote from St. Francis, along with 'faith is caught, not taught'. I recently read somewhere that we are all so anxious and willing to worship Jesus, but not always so willing to imitate Jesus, which is exactly what you are addressing. Cannot be reminded of that enough. Each day, new opportunities...in humility we pray for the grace.

Richard Maffeo said...

"In humility we pray for the grace"
to which I say, "Amen."