In our secular culture, it’s easy to gain approval by criticizing the Church. Perhaps today’s true Catholic rebels stand out by embracing Church teaching and following the Pope’s leadership.
Let’s rebel against the way of the world and embrace the path to heaven that leads through the Catholic Church.
Here are “Five Positive Ways for Catholics to Rebel against the World.”
1. Avoid Cafeteria Catholicism – We can’t pick and choose what we believe and still be authentically Catholic. Follow the Magisterium and authentically practice the faith, trusting that two millennia of Church history and teaching are far superior to what we may come up with on our own. “Be Catholic, really, faithfully, unapologetically Catholic, and the future will have the kind of articulate and morally mature leaders it needs,” Archbishop Charles Chaput said to Catholic educators.
2. Put Pride Aside and Surrender – “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)
It must take a pretty big ego to say no to Christ and his Church! What we need is more humility, total surrender and a sincere commitment to put Christ’s will before our own. I know from personal experience that doing it my way has never really worked out well.
3. Pray for Personal Holiness – Blessed John Paul II wrote in Christifideles Laici 16:
“The call to holiness is rooted in Baptism and proposed anew in the other Sacraments, principally in the Eucharist. Since Christians are reclothed in Christ Jesus and refreshed by his Spirit, they are ‘holy’. They therefore have the ability to manifest this holiness and the responsibility to bear witness to it in all that they do. The apostle Paul never tires of admonishing all Christians to live ‘as is fitting among saints’ (Eph 5:3).”
4. Be Joyful! – It is so easy to get lost in our problems and fail to be joyful. It happens to me and just about everyone else I know. But, remember that we are surrounded by people who are watching us. They may be seeking him and looking for someone, anyone, to show them the way to Christ. They could learn from our good example, be inspired by our joy and be encouraged by our faith journey if we will only remember that we are called to share the Good News. If we are gloomy, frustrated, inward-focused and critical of the Church, we will never be able to help anyone and may put our own salvation at risk.
5. Pursue Heaven, Reject the World – Heaven is our ultimate destination. Will our critics help us get to heaven? Will they stand up for us during tough times? No, they will pull us into a secular way of life which has little room for God, and where materialism and popularity are the fashionable idols of the day. Doing what is right is not always easy, but in the long run it is clearly the most beneficial. Why would we not choose heaven?
There is still another way to be a true Catholic rebel in today’s world that is the basis for everything else: Pray faithfully every day.
Start the day with a prayer of thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. Pray for help and courage to face the trials the world throws at us. Make the sign of the cross and pray over every meal, public or private. Pray a daily Rosary and ask for the help and intercession of our Blessed Mother, and pray with our families every night.
It would be easy to read this post and decide that it doesn’t apply to you since you’re a faithful Catholic. But I would suggest we are all guilty of some degree of negative rebellion each day. We may take the easy way out in the practice of our faith when a little extra effort is required, or we ignore what is required by our God-given vocations. We may resist doing what we know to be right because we fear the negative opinions of others or lack the courage to confront difficult situations.
The Catholic faith is not always easy. But as a convert to Catholicism, I know that it is well worth the effort.
Randy Hain, Senior Editor and co-founder of The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of three books by Liguori Press: The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith and Something More: A Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life.