Sunday, September 02, 2007

Out of God's abundance

~from Father Philip N. Powell, OP, of Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!
We have managed in this country to submerge our lives in faith into a kind of private vault, locking away the very center of our lives as Christians so that we can function politely in a largely secular culture. Our nation’s anti-Christian cultural elites are so obsessed with not being bothered by our faith, that, at their insistence, we have carefully crafted safe places where our faith might shine out but not shine on them. Church, for example. Maybe the Union Mission downtown. Never the office or our public schools. Never the ballot box or the statehouse. Never, in other words, anywhere the light might actually touch them. We have, I think, become used to this arrangement and we have, as a result of this familiarity, made our witness something to be ashamed of right when it is most needed.

Here’s my challenge to you: think long and hard about your witness: how do you share—out there—who Christ is to you and what he has done for you? How do you spread the wealth of God’s love, His mercy and care, His universal invitation through Christ to come party with Him forever? The public credibility of the gospel depends on Christ’s ministers—you and me and all of us together!—it depends on us sharing the prosperity, the abundance of the Good News preached by Christ Jesus to every man, woman, and child; Jew and Greek; slave and freeman; the gospel preached to everyone with him when he was among us. We must complete the preaching; we must make the teaching whole where we are, and show others the Way. There is no greater work of charity to be done.

Now, let me highlight the trap that lies in wait for those who will be witnesses in this world. As Christians, we do not possess the truth. We are possessed by the Truth. Our preaching and teaching cannot be about lording the correctness of the faith over those who do not share our faith. Truth is truth and truth wins out every time. We cannot be so arrogant as to believe that All of Truth is speakable, pronounceable by a human tongue, especially our flawed tongues! We know what we know, but there is infinitely more that we do not know. In front of this Mystery, we can only stand in silence with humility, trusting that as we grow in perfection God’s revelation will unfold for us.
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