Embracing a spirit of prayer and joy, Catholics are called to spread the truth of the Gospel in a world saturated with false messages, said Cardinal Thomas C. Collins of Toronto.
“Our mission is to offer to our age the life-giving Gospel alternative to the superficially attractive wisdom of this age,” the cardinal said. “And we need to do so persuasively, to get through to people, including Catholics, who are bewitched by the wisdom of this age.”
Cardinal Collins delivered his homily at an August 8 Mass for the Knights of Columbus’ 130th Supreme Convention.
The convention, which was held in Anaheim, Calif., drew more than 2,000 participants, including dozens of bishops from around the world.
As Catholics, Cardinal Collins told the Knights, we are called to “proclaim the supernatural wisdom of the Gospel.”
“Our mission, like that of each generation of Christians, is to make Christ known in the age in which we live,” he said. “But we should not be surprised at the storms that occur when the divine wisdom of the Gospel confronts the human wisdom of this age.”
While divine wisdom is in harmony with the truths of nature, discoverable by faith and reason, it stands in stark contrast to “the false wisdom” of this era, he explained.
This false wisdom which has shaped modern society is “antagonistic to Christian faith, and even blind to what human reason itself reveals,” he said. Communicated effectively, these misguided ideas are attractive “to Catholics as much as to any others, who are unconsciously absorbing the false wisdom of the age.”
In response, Cardinal Collins said the Church must not only to evangelize those who have not heard the truth presented effectively, but also fight the de-evangelization of many Christians.
This hostile social environment can make the mission difficult, he acknowledged, but it is precisely this challenge that Christians are called to embrace.
To do so, he said, we can look to the witness of St. Dominic, who was sent to evangelize in a culture that had similarly rejected the wisdom of God to embrace a false human wisdom.
From the example of St. Dominic, we learn that fruitful apostolic mission must be rooted in a firm foundation of prayer, including Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary and Scripture, the cardinal explained.
“This is not just pious icing on the cake,” he said. “In many ways, it is the cake.”
The 13th century saint also emphasized the importance of “personal and communal example.”
This means cleaning up scandal and corruption, as well as being careful not to block the effect of the Gospel message through our actions, the cardinal said, stressing the need for examples “of joyful orthodoxy that bears fruit in practical love.”
The Toronto cardinal also urged Catholics to imitate St. Dominic’s dedication to communicating “effectively and persuasively,” listening to the questions of the culture and seeking to understand the false wisdom of the day in order to counter it.
Although it is not popular, he said, the message of the Gospel is desperately needed in a world where false wisdom “corrodes the bonds of love, and ultimately leads to a discordant society of lonely people, without purpose and without peace.”