It’s about being converted in our lives

Francis and his brothers in faith were then — and they remain today — a confirmation of how God renews the Church through a kind of gentle rebellion against the world; an uprising of personal holiness; a radical commitment to Christian poverty, chastity and obedience in service to the Church and the poor.

The Franciscan revolution of love teaches a lesson that Catholics too often forget. Rules, discipline, and fidelity to doctrine and tradition are vital to the mission of the Church. But none of them can animate or sustain Catholic life if we lack the core of what it means to be a Christian. If we really want God to renew the Church, then we need to act like it. We need to take the Gospel seriously. And that means we need to live it as a guide to our daily behavior and choices – without excuses.

Christian discipleship is not about how generous we feel, or our good intentions, or even how well we do certain religious duties. It’s about being converted in our lives according to the pattern of Jesus Christ.

~Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Remarks at CALL (Catholic Association of Latino Leaders) Conference, Houston, Texas, Aug. 16, 2014 via Catholic Philly

 

But in the silence of our own hearts, if we’re honest…

Of course, unless we understand our own sinfulness, unless we understand the urgency of repentance and reconciliation, the Cross makes no sense; the Resurrection makes no sense. Easter joy is the joy of deliverance and new life. If we don’t believe in our bones that we really do desperately need these things, Easter is just another excuse for a holiday sale; and the Sacrament of Penance, and our fasting and almsgiving, are a waste of time.

But in the silence of our own hearts, if we’re honest, we know we hunger for something more than our own selfishness and mistakes. We were made for glory, and we’re empty of that glory until God fills us with his presence. All things are made new in the victory of Jesus Christ – even sinners like you and me. The blood of the Cross washes away death. It purifies us as vessels for God’s new life. The Resurrection fills us with God’s own life.

~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, “Three simple questions on the threshold of Lent – Catholic Philly”

Many other things become possible

Humility is to the spirit what material poverty is to the senses: the great purifier. Humility is the beginning of sanity. We can’t really see – much less love – anyone or anything else when the self is in the way. When we finally, really believe in our own sinfulness and unimportance, many other things become possible: repentance; mercy, patience, forgiveness of others. These virtues are the foundation stones of that other great Christian virtue: justice. No justice is ever possible in a spider’s web of mutual anger, recrimination and hurt pride.

~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Ten ways to deepen our relationship with God – Catholic Philly.

And that always involves the cross

Real faith – the kind our Holy Father calls us to – demands a keen awareness of our failures as Christians and a spirit of repentance. It requires us to seek out who Jesus Christ really is, and what he asks from each of us as disciples. And that always involves the cross.

~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

And it can happen here

In reality, sin is part of the human terrain and a daily challenge to our discipleship. And if our hearts are cold, if our minds are closed, if our spirits are fat and acquisitive, curled up on a pile of our possessions, then the Church in this country will wither. It’s happened before in other times and places, and it can happen here. We can’t change the world by ourselves. And we can’t reinvent the Church. But we can help God change us. We can live our faith with zeal and conviction – and then God will take care of the rest.

~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

We were made for God

This is the verse from Matthew: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. In the Gospel, when Jesus says these words, he’s ravenous from forty days in the desert. But he’s speaking with the devil here about a great deal more than bread. Men and women need food and shelter to survive. These things are basic to their dignity. But they need God to be fully alive. Human beings are more than a bundle of appetites. Our longings go beyond what we can see and touch and taste. We were made for God. And material answers to questions of the soul can never be more than a narcotic. The proof is all around us. So much of the suffering in modern American life—we see it every day—can be traced to our misdirected desires, and the distractions we use to feed them. We look for joy and purpose in things that can never give us either.

~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., Remarks delivered October 1, 2013 at Philadelphia’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary as part of a Year of Faith discussion series, via First Things

People who claim to be Christian

Too many people who claim to be Christian simply don’t know Jesus Christ. They don’t really believe in the Gospel. They feel embarrassed by their religion and vaguely out of step with the times. They may keep their religion for comfort value. Or they may adjust it to fit their doubts. But it doesn’t reshape their lives because it isn’t real. And because it isn’t real, it has no transforming effect on their personal behavior, no social force, and few public consequences.

~Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America

Everything else is empty

City of Man and the City of God intermingle. We have obligations to each. But our final home and our real citizenship are not in this world. Politics is important, but it’s never the main focus or purpose of a Christian life. If we do not know and love Jesus Christ, and commit our lives to him, and act on what we claim to believe, everything else is empty.

~Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America

The smallest yes…

The construction of a Christian culture begins by lifting our own hearts up to God, without plans or reservations, and letting him begin the work. It sounds like a small thing. It is a small thing. But as Christians know better than anyone, worlds and empires, and even salvation itself, can turn on the smallest “yes.”

~Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America