Saturday, August 24, 2013
What is our response, as Christian witnesses, to a divided and fragmented world? How can we offer the hope of peace, healing and harmony to those “stations” of conflict, suffering, and tension…unity and reconciliation cannot be achieved through our efforts alone. God has made us for one another (cf. Gen 2:24) and only in God and his Church can we find the unity we seek. –Pope Benedict XVI, Message to the Youth, 2008
I pray that we have not yet forgotten the wonderful words that Pope Emeritus Benedict shared with us throughout his papacy. He continues to aid the Church through his prayers. May we also pray for him!
Recently the youth gathered with our Holy Father Pope Francis. He is a powerful witness to the Gospel and causes us to reflect on our walk with the Lord. Living World Youth Day 2013 through the powerful images and words shared by Pope Francis caused me to reflect on the past World Youth Days with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Despite how amazing the images and words are, the question remains, are we living our faith with Christ? We can undoubtedly be powerfully enriched by an experience in the Church like a World Youth Day, Steubenville, ACTS, Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, but how are we being Christian witnesses every day?
As Pope Emeritus Benedict stated at World Youth Day 2008, “What is our response, as Christian witnesses, to a divided and fragmented world?” How are we offering hope of peace, healing and harmony to those areas of conflict, suffering and tension through the world?
As Christians we must do our part to put an end to the conflicts, suffering and tensions throughout the world. However, to truly put an end to those things around the world, we must first look to put an end those things in our own lives! We must, where possible and within our reach, make a choice to end those conflicts, sufferings, and tensions between members of our families, our friends, and within our communities.
Often times it seems impossible and thus we may want to give up. We sometimes believe we have to do it all alone. Pope Benedict says that unity and reconciliation cannot be achieved through our efforts alone because God has made us for one another. Do we hear those words? We were made for each other! Do we live as such?
Conflicts arise and tensions will be there, but are we the cause of those conflicts or tensions? Are we building walls? Are we allowing challenges and sin to get in the way of seeking and living for the other?
We all too often want things our own way. We choose to stay angry or upset. We find ways to separate rather than seek opportunities for togetherness. This is by no means easily overcome. It is only when we turn to God and to the teachings safeguarded by the Church that we will have the tools to remember that we are made for one another! We need to support each other with prayers and words of encouragement.
Stop looking for reasons to divide and separate. Stop looking to put up walls and barriers. Stop choosing words that cause battle and actions that lead to war. Remember at the end of the day despite our differences we were made for one another! Be a Christian witness always! Each and every day!
I thank God for any wisdom He graciously has granted to me and I hope to pass it on through my words and by example. Here are a few principles that I strive to live in my life. They have helped me through the challenges and continue to guide me in my walk with others. Each of us will ponder it in our own way. I can only hope they may be a source of grace for you as well.
- Take the time each day to see the blessings of God. God is always at work and so do not focus solely on the problems and obstacles. Rather, see where God is at work in other areas of your life.
- Don’t waste the time questioning “why me” rather ask yourself“ what now” and “where do I go from here”.
- Always move forward. Learn from the past, strive to make the changes in the present, but always keep going.
- In every action seek to do it for the glory of God and always with love in your heart.
- Give people the benefit of doubt! Don’t presume to know everyone’s situation. Take the time to minister to everyone even those we may find difficult to love.