God renews the world with our actions, not our intentions. What separates real discipleship from surface piety is whether we actually do what we say we believe.
Our vocation as Christians is not simply to pass along good morals to our children, or convey a sense of God’s hand in the world. These things are vital, of course, but they don’t exhaust our purpose for being here. Our mission is to bring the world to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ to the world. Each of us is a missionary, and our primary task is the conversion of our own hearts and the hearts of others so that someday the whole world will acknowledge Jesus Christ as humanity’s only savior and Lord.
That’s a big job. We can’t do it by just talking about it, any more than Christ could redeem us by writing an essay on sin. The Gospels have power because they tell the story of what God did; what his only Son did; and what Christ’s followers did. The Passion accounts of Christ’s suffering and death move us so deeply because they show in bitter detail how unashamedly God loves us.
This is the hot spark at the heart of every other sincere attempt to tell the story of our redemption. God spared not even his own Son in saving us. No wonder the cross draws the eye of great artists again and again down through the centuries. The blood of the cross reminds us that—at least on one day in history—love had no limits. And since then, everything has been different.
God built the Church we’ve inherited through the love of generations of believers. Their witness made our faith possible. It’s now our turn to shape the future by the zeal we bring to our own daily witness. It’s our turn to act. It’s our turn to live our Catholic faith with all the courage and strength Christ brought to loving the Church he founded.
Later this month, Feb. 26-27, Catholics from around Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region will gather in Denver for our annual Living the Catholic Faith Conference. This is one of the most important teaching, learning and fellowship events of our life as a diocesan community of faith.
With a list of outstanding sessions and speakers—Dr. Tim Gray on “the vocation of a teacher,” Dr. Janet Smith on “the family as a path to holiness,” San Antonio’s Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu heading up an excellent Spanish-language track, along with a variety of very practical and timely workshops—the conference is the perfect place to nourish our faith and renew our discipleship.
The 2010 conference theme is “I have chosen you” (Jn 15: 16), and the constant improvement in attendance and content of this valuable conference over the past decade witnesses to the hunger our people have to hear and do God’s will.
The Church depends on God who will always protect her. But she also depends on you and me—teachers, pastors, deacons, catechists, parents and devoted single Catholics—to carry Christ’s mission into the world. Words are cheap. Actions matter. It’s time to live our Catholic faith as the apostles did—and through it, to reshape the world.
The 2010 Living the Catholic Faith Conference is the place where that work can begin.