Time to be a light shining in darkness
My oldest son is 12 years old. Watching him grow has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life — from a 21-inch newborn to a towering 5’8” pre-teen (yeah, he’s tall).
His growth will continue long after I’m gone. He’ll top out at 6’6’ in about four or five years, and then he’ll bulk up and weigh in around 230 lb. But his growth — like all of us — is far more than physical. We grow in maturity and, God willing, in our spiritual lives — in our understanding of who Jesus is and in our relationship with him.
These, of course, are two entirely different things. As Christians, we’re all called to friendship with Jesus — a lifelong pursuit, a love affair, really. Most people don’t get that. And I think that’s one of the biggest reasons the culture is slipping away from us.
One of my friends — a faithful Catholic in Hollywood — just sent me a text saying that he sees the culture falling into the abyss. That may well be, but it doesn’t have to be. If we Catholics activate our faith — stir up the graces of Baptism and Confirmation — and live our lives joyfully in the Holy Spirit, this culture will be turned around rather quickly.
In one of the talks I give, I hold up a glass of white milk. “What is this?” I ask. “Milk,” they respond. “No, it’s you.” They’re puzzled, but they’re following me.
I pour in some chocolate syrup. “What was that?” Silence. “The Holy Spirit,” I tell them. “Do we have chocolate milk? No. What do we need to do?”
“Stir it,” they respond. I hold up a spoon. “This is not a spoon, this is prayer,” I tell them as I activate the chocolate stuck at the bottom. Now they get it. We Catholics have the graces of Baptism and Confirmation stuck at the bottom of our souls. Through our friendship with Jesus — our daily/hourly conversations with him, we’re activating those graces.
Our culture may, indeed, be slipping away. But we can’t let ourselves be like red coffee cups with no message on the side. The cups imply “Merry Christmas” but don’t say so explicitly. We need to be red cups with an explicit “Catholic Christian” message on the outside.
We do that by living our faith in a dynamic way and by being in right relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. Advent is the perfect season to ignite our faith and be lights in a dark world. Many souls are counting on us!
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.