Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christianity in Today's Society. . .What can we do?

I read an article a week or so ago that has been just eating at my a bit.  It has caused me a great amount of sadness.  The core of the article was about the decline of Christianity overall and the rise of the portion of the population that identifies themselves as atheists, agnostics, or people with no particular religious beliefs.  In addition, there were quotes about how far fewer Christians are going to Church and only identify with certain parts of their faith.  For those of you that are Christian, regardless of the denomination, this has to be somewhat discouraging.  For me, as a Catholic who is working very hard to become a better version of myself every day, I am deeply bothered. 

What has caused this?  Is it a lack of evangelization on the part of believers?  Is it a poor upbringing of children who were "unchurched" and are now adults?  Is it the distractions of today's secular society that pull people in so many directions that they've stopped making time for God and Church?  I think it's perhaps these and much more.  If it were just one thing, all remaining Christians could ban together and fix it.  But, it isn't. 

Even those that identify and call themselves Christians aren't always living their faith.  In the Catholic Church, it disturbs me to no end to hear prominent Catholics voice their support for abortion rights.  How can you be a good Catholic (or a Christian at all) and not believe in protecting the sanctity of life?  Forget all other dividing political views.  If you are Catholic, then nothing else should matter when you go to place your vote if a candidate supports abortion.  This is just one example though.  Protecting the sanctity of marriage is another.  As Christians, we are called to love all of our neighbors, but the sacrament of marriage is sacred and was designed between a man and a woman -- who are we to change it?  The laws of man do not override the laws of God.  We do not get to pick and chose which parts of our Faith we want to believe.  I saw one person quoted as saying, "I'm spiritual, but I'm not religious."  What does that mean?  Someone else says, "I don't believe everything the Church teaches, but I have my beliefs and that's good enough."  No, actually, it isn't.  The Church's teachings aren't made up.  They are based on the Bible and Sacred Tradition.  To not follow all of them is to stray away from not just the Church, but God as well. 

What can be done about all of this?  Many say, "I'm just one person.  What can I do?"  If all of the individuals and families band together, we can have a large impact.  Here is what I think we can do:

1)  Pray -- Don't underestimate the power of prayer.  Pray for the conversion of non-believers, pray that non-Catholic Christians may come to understand the fullness of Truth, pray that believers may live their faith, and pray that we all may have the courage and conviction to live a good, Christian life. 

2)  Evangelize -- The Catholic Church recently kicked off the Year of Faith and a key component is the call for all Catholics to Evangelize.  We all need to talk about our Faith, learn more about our Faith so we can explain it better, and be proud of who we are and what we believe.  Passion in our beliefs will pierce the hearts of those that don't believe or don't understand.  God will help us in our efforts.  We have to be proud and find our voice again.

3)  Live by Example -- Be good.  Simple, right?  Easier said than done, but live good, act good, and be good.  Teach your children about the Lord.  Volunteer at Church, feed the hungry, visit the sick and homebound, do charitable work, and comfort the lonely.  Be a good husband/wife, father/mother, and live a life of holiness.  You don't have to be a priest, monk, or sister to live a holy life.  If you live a life of holiness, others will be drawn to you -- believers and non-believers.  As others ask questions, it provides an opportunity to evangelize and bring them back to the Church and back to God.  Leverage your time, talent, and treasure for the glory of God.

We are all called to share our Faith.  We cannot sit by and just watch as our society strays further and further away from God.  Pray, Evangelize, and Live by Example.  Let's start there. 

God Bless you all and may the Peace of Christ be with you as you start this journey. 

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