In his interventions during the pandemic, and also in his social encyclicals, Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti, the Holy Father has helped us to see clearly, that what’s going on in the world today is much deeper than some global “reset” or realignment.
The trials of this age are spiritual. There’s a struggle going on for the human heart.
This change of age is an apostolic moment, it’s a new opening for the Gospel. All of us in the Church are being called to a deeper conversion.
All of us are being called to step up and to open every door for Jesus Christ, to shine his light into every area of our culture and society; to bring every heart to a new encounter with the living God.
In his retreat talks at our June special assembly, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney reminded us of our identity and mission as bishops.
He reminded us that we are successors of the apostles, pastors and preachers, missionaries and evangelizers of culture. And our role is crucial.
It is not inevitable that our country will fall into secularism. The vast majority of our neighbors still believe in God.
Tens upon tens of millions of Catholics still serve God every day, and we are making a beautiful difference in the life of this country.
Our Catholic people are teachers and healers, seekers of justice and peace. We are serving the poor and vulnerable, raising up men and women of virtue, building strong communities and families.
All across this land, Catholics bear witness to America’s promise that all men and women are created equal, that we are brothers and sisters under a God who loves us.
As many of you know, one of my favorite Americans is Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement.
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In one of her retreat notes, she wrote: “There is room for greater saints now than ever before. Never has the world been so organized — press, radio, education, recreation — to turn minds away from Christ. … We are all called to be saints.”
Dorothy Day wrote these words in the early 1940s, long before “big tech” and the internet. So, we understand: the challenges we face today are nothing new.
Now more than ever, the Church needs a bold pastoral strategy to communicate the Gospel, to use every media platform to turn hearts and minds toward Christ, to call our people to be great saints.
But what also strikes me about her words is her confidence. Dorothy Day was convinced that only saints can change the world. And she’s right. Holiness has always been the hidden force in human history.
The kingdom grows through men and women who are passionately loving the world, as God so loved the world. There is that lovely line from the early Church that we all remember: “What the soul is to the body, Christians are to the world.”3
Today we need to raise up a new generation of saints, holy men and women in every area of American life.