Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Doing the right thing. . .
Even though we know and have full confidence in the promise of God that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church, nonetheless, we who belong to the household of God know that without rigorous catechesis, defense of Biblical doctrine, and advocacy for the Christian ethic, the faith is but a generation away from extinction. To say this does not in anyway diminish from the promise of God but admits that God keeps His promise not in some magical way but through the witness, faithfulness, and instruction to the world by the Church (and each individual Christian).
It may not be difficult to do what is right and make the faithful confession before the world, but it is certainly exhausting. We reach not plateau or safe haven where the Church and the baptized may rest from the ongoing and diligent work of witness to the Word, instruction in the Word, struggle to maintain faithfulness against enemies of the Word, and catechesis in the Word for those within the household of the faith. Such work happens not merely within the Church's formal engagement with the world but humbly and yet profoundly within the home, within the circles of friendship and acquaintance, and toward co-workers and neighbors. It happens directly within the home as husband and wife speak the faith to each other and as they instruct their children in the knowledge of the Lord through His Son.
We may grow weary and tire of the constant grind but we cannot afford to relax our efforts nor can we ignore the serious responsibility placed upon us to know Christ and make Him known. It is not difficult in the sense that only a few well-trained and knowledgeable individuals can or should engage in this apology for the faith -- far from this, it is incumbent upon all who wear the name of Christ by baptism and faith to give answer to the hope within. But it does not relent and especially in the face of a world so distant from God and from the values of His Kingdom -- must less the message of His Son! Our children are under constant assault from values and so-called truths that compete with Christ and His Word. Our doctrine is increasingly under threat from those who would silence our voices or label us hatemongers. Our liberty to freely live and confess Christ must be defended in every age and generation against those who would constrain the free expression of Christian faith and life within our greater society. Our understanding of life and its sacredness from conception to death is ever threatened by those who would treat life as a commodity to be valued, the right of those who give birth, and to be defined or discarded as individuals or society as a whole sees fit.
I fear that many of us have grown weary -- too weary. We no longer speak up when Christian faith is challenged and we no longer answer the questions that come from those more interested in their challenge than in our answers. Yet, as Archbishop Chaput has put it, we cannot afford to be silent or passive in the face of a strangeness which threatens the security and place of Christianity within our nation -- something we once took for granted.
Pastors must be ever diligent in teaching the faith and equipping the saints to be voices for Christ and Him crucified wherever they find themselves. Parents must be rigorous in their instruction of their children and in speaking the Word of God to each other. Husband and wife must be conscious of their witness to the world and address each other with the forgiveness which enables them to keep their marital vows and promises. Children must be given the tools to evaluate the competing claims for their minds and hearts found so often in school, in media, and among their peers. It may not be difficult but it is surely exhausting. So do not grow weary in this well-doing for this is one of the most profound and significant things we do as Christian people individual and together as the Church of Christ.