An inward transformation occurs in a person who decides to follow Jesus Christ. Things change. They see the world differently, understand their journey more deeply and profoundly, have their sights fixed on eternity and union with God and hold themselves to higher standards and virtues. It requires a conscious choice to be a Christian, and this choice must be renewed at least daily. While the basic premise of Jesus’ message may appear heartwarming and straightforward: love of God, neighbor, and self, the implications of doing so are challenging. The true disciple is called to live radically, and often finds themselves at odds with the world or even with those in their own homes.
Holding ourselves to higher standards comes with a price. We have to leave other things behind. It is difficult to be people of faith, hope, and love in a world often fixated with its own fulfillment and self-absorption. Justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude require sacrifice if they are to be lived with integrity. God’s ways are not ours. This becomes crystal clear to those who have enough courage to stand against the tide. Putting love into action requires that we challenge accepted modes of doing business and fight complacency. This is what makes the saints stand out as witnesses. They are simply sinners, just like us, who persevere.
People do not want to be told that they’re sailing their ships in the wrong direction. Clinging to their insistence and need to be correct, they can become defensive when challenged. This can happen even with those closest to us. As much as the Gospel calls us to unity, it also can easily create division. When we love seriously, we encounter more than feelings of warmth and acceptance. “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like (St. Augustine).” Love also has the courage and honesty to tell people what they may not want to hear but need to, and model, without wavering, a life of humble, loving, and faithful service. Don’t lose heart! There are many examples of faith before us and around us. If Jesus endured the voices of opposition, so too can we. There is no need to apologize for speaking the truth.BACK TO LIST