Apostolate of Friendship

Neighbors

Today was one of those days.  It started out okay, but it didn’t last.  There are always those people who don’t like you and actively try to make your day worse.  Sometimes I don’t realize that I act like them at times.  I may do the same to them or even something worse.  I can deal with those kinds of people like I have always.  The real killer is my friends who disagree with me on tough moral issues.  Some of them are even Catholic, almost all are Christian.  It’s the way they talk about religion though that really annoys me.  They pull up an issue and say something wrong, and don’t want me to say anything.  It’s like a drive-by shooting.  I have discovered in my short years of life that my personality has three main aspects:  Catholic, brother, and jokester.  When I am in Catholic mode, I relentlessly defend the faith and try my best to be kind.  Brother mode is like protection mode.  Being the oldest brother of a family of 8 kids, I know how to defend others.  Jokester mode speaks for itself.  When I am talking to these kinds of people, most often I find myself in brother mode.  Their my friends, and I know they are holding on to beliefs that are contrary to the truth, and often teach others the same.  I lose some of the qualities the Catholic mode has, like compassion.  The most important thing is to save their soul, not to win the argument.  It’s really hard for me to do this, especially when I am concerned about what they will spread to others.

This all ties into the theme of this post: The Apostolate of Friendship.  St. Josemaria Escriva has an entire chapter dedicated to this in one of his three books.  The apostolate of friendship is basically winning should to Christ by just being a good friend.  This doesn’t mean being quiet when a touchy issue comes up.  Defend the faith with kindness, like a shepherd would compassionately lift his sheep up before it falls.  Most importantly, just be a good friend.  If you are a general, and want another country to help you in a battle, it is much easier to be allied with that country than to force it do help.  No one is gonna listen to you unless they think there is a good reason to do so.  I struggle with this tremendously.  They see me as “the Catholic” that wants to force his religion on others, all because I was more focused on winning the argument than winning a soul.  Be Christ to others, so that through you, they may come to know the truth.  After all, we all need someone to lean on.

God Bless!

Coexisting, and why its not an option

You might be wondering, “I thought coexisting was a good thing?”.  And you’d be right, depending on the definition.  If you mean we should coexist by not killing each other over race, or being able to work together with people of different religions or backgrounds, that’s fine. But when I say coexist, I mean the concept that all religions are fine and should be treated as such (AKA Religious Indifference). Many people think this is a viable option.  After all, why can’t we all just get along already for Pete’s sake?  Others say that you should “stop forcing your religion on others”, or “you believe what you want to believe, and I’ll believe what I want to believe”.  However, there is one large gap in this philosophy.  One religion has to be correct, others flawed in areas of great importance, and some are just flat-out wrong (and sometimes scary).  Every religion is different from all the others, or else they would be the same religion.  eventually two religions will take different stands on a moral topic, and one is right, and one is wrong.  Let’s pretend there are two religions, each with strand of DNA.  They could be the same up until the end, but even that makes the two religions different. The Catholic Church teaches that we should love our neighbors as God has loved us.  Love is the willing of good to someone else, possibly even at your own expense.  St. Paul tells us that love is the single most important virtue, and that it is required of us as Christians to show it.   That gives us the duty to share the truth with others.  If you knew a blind man, but had a lotion that would cure him and didn’t give it to him, how bad would that be?  Or maybe you knew that your friend had a million dollars in his attic, and you didn’t tell him about it.  That would be stupid, wouldn’t it?  Now multiply that by infinity, literally.  We’re talking about eternal life here!  This is what coexisting is asking us to do, and why we cannot comply. In a nutshell, Catholics cannot coexist because we will not keep the truth to ourselves while we watch our brothers and sisters possibly lose their chance at eternal life.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in Verbum Domini,

“We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. … It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God’s grace, we ourselves have received.”