There are many opportunities to fearlessly proclaim the truth in love every day.
Life and family issues come up daily In the workplace, in our families, on social media, in the news. Each situation that comes our way is an opportunity to sow a seed, or to cultivate. For some, it may be the opportunity to reap.
However, we must always remember to speak the truth in love. We must always ask ourselves if we are sharing the truth, or attacking the person. Never attack the person.
In 2010, on the eve of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, Pope Benedict XVI addressed those gathered for a prayer vigil in Hyde Park, London.
“At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life’s work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion. Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).
Newman’s life also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society.
Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognize what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, veritatis splendor…
…One of the Cardinal’s best-loved meditations includes the words, “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another” (Meditations on Christian Doctrine). Here we see Newman’s fine Christian realism, the point at which faith and life inevitably intersect. Faith is meant to bear fruit in the transformation of our world through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives and activity of believers. No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in his providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt5:16).
This week, take the time to purposely share the truth about life and family issues with family, work colleagues, and friends. Use social media in a thought provoking way to share the truth. Remain civil at all times, refraining from nasty comments. Write a letter to the editor about the upcoming End of Life Choice Act referenda.
Dear Lord, help us to show kindness to all, including the weakest of the weak, the unborn. Let us learn from You, who have never failed to lavish kindness and mercy on all creatures. “With enduring love I take pity on you” (Isaiah 54:8). Indeed “all he paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy” (Psalm 25:10).
Kindness is, of course, love in action, so we beg You, dear Lord, to fill us with love. You have told us that the greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), and only if we obey that can truly obey the second, which is, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
From the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants Prayer Book.