We have come to a precipice of sorts in both our culture and the church. For most cradle Catholics it appears that those bedrock ideals that we have now taken for granted since our youth, like the presupposition that marriage is exclusively between a man and women; our gender is immutable; and, life begins at conception are now under constant attack.
For many of us growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, the society we remember was somewhat more aligned with our own faith and morals, so it was not necessary to personally engage in any public discourse to defend the truth.
It also appeared that the moral and ethical decline was on the fringes and when we were faced with something closer to home, we often found ourselves “going along to get along” with those we encountered in our daily lives. Fast-forward to 2021 when the world seems to have lost its way and any semblance of human dignity or moral decorum has been unceremoniously thrown asunder. Our great failure was we did not stand up and speak out when the opportunity first presented itself, and now we find ourselves trying to put the proverbial genie back into the bottle.
Why did we not speak the truth when we had the chance? Most people were too afraid to offend the feelings of family and friends, and felt it was not our place to judge the actions of others, or even not civically inclined.
Our inaction and silence were in a sense a kind of tacit approval and validation for the evil we now see prevalent all around us from the indecency of Pride Parades to the legislation passed in 2019 in New York allowing abortion of a child up to the ninth month. It is now time for people of good will to stand up and start defending the truth whatever the cost, before it’s too late.
To battle evil, we need, as St. Paul preaches in his epistle to the Ephesians, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil” (6:11). St. Paul also tells us that we are not battling “…flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (6:12).
Knowing we have the armor of God upon us should give us the courage and faith to proclaim boldly what we know in our heart is wrong with our current culture from denouncing drag queen story hours in public libraries to the adoption of anti-Christian Marxist ideologies in our towns and schools. You can no longer sit back and simply allow the clergy or other faith-based activists to do all the heavy lifting. To win this epic battle of good vs. evil, each and every one of us must engage by getting out of our comfort zone and facing the enemy head on. For Jesus said in the gospel of Mark, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (8:36).
We must not be afraid to speak up in our homes, families, and communities. We must stand up for faith, morals, and the truth. We must be bold and courageous and willing to lose something for the faith. Our Catholic history is filled with stories of heroic men and women who willingly gave their very lives defending Christianity.
What might you lose if you begin to speak out? Certainly not your life, but perhaps a few so-called friends or neighbors. You might be called a bigot, racist or judgmental. You might lose your position of honor at the country club or other social organizations. People might call you crazy and hate you but not to worry. Jesus’ words were hated first, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” (John 15:18).
Be a courageous soldier for Christ. Through the sacrament of Confirmation, you received the gift of fortitude or courage. Each and every person also has their own unique gifts and talents. Use your spiritual gifts to battle for our faith.
Start small. Some ideas may include: writing or calling state/federal legislators; attending and speaking out at local school board/village meetings; praying in front of abortion clinics; organizing events in your parish that bring in speakers who share the truth; or establishing prayer chains. The funny thing about courage is that it is contagious. Your bold actions may be an inspiration for other to join in the fight – and fight we must!