Pope Benedict: To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others
maiora natus sum, "I was born for greater things." Those words resonate with the message Pope Benedict is shouting with love. It is as if he is saying, "Youth of the world and others, all of you of every place and age in the heart of the Church, you were born for great things!" We were born to share in God's supernatural, divine life of superabundant love.
The love of God for humanity is strikingly clear. Christ crucified is the indisputable image of that Love. For our part, we must open ourselves to Love, enter into the life of Christ, and expose others to the Gift we have received through charity, openness, sincerity and conviction. We must enter into the mission of love, which is founded upon the love of God for humankind.
"Love is the only thing that can fill hearts and bring people together," said Pope Benedict. "God is love. When we forget God, we lose hope and become unable to love others. That is why it is so necessary to testify to God's presence so that others can experience it. The salvation of humanity depends on this, as well as the salvation of each of us. Anyone who understands this can only exclaim with Saint Paul: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!'" (1 Cor 9:16).
Because of what we have received through the gift of faith, we are compelled to offer our life, our very self, as a gift to Christ and thus become instruments of his glory, which is accomplished by our complete cooperation in docility with the impulses of the Spirit, whom the Savior gives to those who love him. In a word, authentic faith equates to missionary commitment.
"Missionary commitment is an essential dimension of faith" said our Holy Father. "We cannot be true believers if we do not evangelize. The proclamation of the Gospel can only be the result of the joy that comes from meeting Christ and finding in him the rock on which our lives can be built. When you work to help others and proclaim the Gospel to them, then your own lives, so often fragmented because of your many activities, will find their unity in the Lord. You will also build up your own selves, and you will grow and mature in humanity."
A missionary commitment lived out in the heart of the Church is a sacred path which leads to ever-deeper communion with Christ, and therefore toward spiritual maturity and the life of perfection and holiness, the goal of Christian discipleship. As we become Christ's instruments in spreading the saving Gospel, our love for the Holy Trinity grows brighter, inflaming us with not only a new sense of purpose, but with what is a new life and a new energy as we grow in union with God and share in his own divine life. In making Christ known, we not only give but we receive.
The concept of giving ourselves over completely in loving obedience to God, and living for the sake of the love of God, is a crucial one to grasp in today's environment in which many mistakenly believe that the only requirement of Christian discipleship is to say, "I believe," and that the message of the Gospel can be reduced to nothing more than "be not afraid."
To live the life of Christian discipleship is demanding. It requires commitment and dedication. Here, there is another saying that is appropriate: Audaces juvat fortuna, "fortune favors the bold." Without doubt, living as "little christs," making Christ's story our story, will bring us suffering, just as it was brought to the apostles, even to the point of death by martyrdom. However, let us also remember that the life of true and authentic Christian discipleship will, with every certainty, bring us wondrous, other-worldly and inexpressible joy as we are drawn into the heat of God's love as a mote of dust is pulled into the expanse of the sun. This experience is not strictly and only reserved for the next life, but can be tasted in the here and now as we abandon ourselves to the will of God.
Let us be mindful of the goal of human nature and engage in helping others to see and understand that goal: everlasting life and perfect happiness in God. Of such immense importance is an understanding of God's plan for humankind, the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of it in its prologue's first paragraph:
"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life" (Prologue 1).
"To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others." Amen!
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Message for World Youth Day, pope's message, pope Benedict XVI, Christian discipleship, the New Evangelization, evangelize, spread the Gospel, saving Gospel message, F. K. Bartels
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- Receiving the Eucharist: I Have Decided to Kneel For Jesus
- Pope Francis says atheists can go to heaven too!
- Exorcism or not, it's still a miracle
- The Holy Spirit: Sanctifier and Giver of Life, Love and Truth
- Pope Francis tweets his prayers following devastation in Moore
- The Paraclete: The Counselor Who Helps Us Fulfill Our Calling
- Pope Francis calls for change within the Church
- Atheists to have their books placed atop Gideon Bibles
- Killer whale with missing fins cared for by its pod family
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?