Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business

A Faithful Community: Being In Love with the World (A Reflection By A Pastor)

  Jesus’ prayer is that we would be one, fulfilling God’s vision for the world; a unity of life with God and with each other.   This becomes a particular challenge in a culture which prizes individualism and expediency as the creed for daily living.  Our ability to attain the harmony that God intends may seem a rather ambitious project given that there are so many obstacles to genuine unity.  Creating a way of life in which unity of relationship and solidarity become a core expression of faith presents a singular challenge and opportunity for today.    
  In the renewal of our Baptismal promises, we renounce something, and we also affirm something.   First, we renounced those powers in our world that so easily become obstacles to living a Beatitude way of life.   We renounce Satan, which in Hebrew means “to obstruct or to oppose.”  Within the later Christian reflection, Satan is the power that “tests our faith.”  If you remember the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Satan is called the “tester.”   
  These obstacles are dispositions or attitudes of mind that diminish the image in which we are created, and subsequently, the quality of human life.   These attitudes have a power within themselves that point to the absence of goodness, fostering behaviors of indifference, uncaring, purposelessness, meaninglessness, injustice, etc., within our relationships – even our relationship with God.  These are the attitudes we renounce.
  Secondly, as we renounce the power of Satan, we also affirm our faith in God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   However, for that affirmation of faith to have an impact in how we live, it is crucial that we recognize the presence of another – God’s presence.    That awareness or consciousness changes how we respond to the “obstacles” that we encounter in our relationship with God, others, and self, whether alone or with others.  Living a Beatitude way of life challenges any dichotomy that exists between our public and our private lives.  The obstacles and powers test our faith, our choices and our decisions in understanding who we are and what we are called to be as people of God – expressed in a Catholic way of life.
  A meaningful, caring, purposeful, just and loving way of life is not just a nice idea, but rather a commitment to engage the world, confronting the “obstacles” within our family, community and world that “test” the possibilities for a faithful way of life.  Our faith says that there is a way of life that is consistent with our Catholic identity, creating a passion within us – transforming us – empowering us and enabling us to give something back in return.   Our Christian life is about the opportunities that exist within a graced world.  Seeing the world through the lens of faith allows us to see others – not as problems but as the presence of God looking back at us.  The care we have for the world comes from a compassionate heart that is in rhythm with the heart of God.  
  Consecrated in Baptism, we are set apart as God’s chosen, sharing with Christ in a special mission to create a community way of life that will outlive any one of us.   Faith in the mission will guide our lives leading us out into the community – passionate about our world – and just as our God, in love with the world.

 L. Gaetano

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