Still Trying

Only Jesus can save the world. Only God can change it wisely. Nothing interferes more than mere mortals thinking they are the man, that they have the wisdom to be the change the world needs.

God can use us to change the world, but only when we are content to do what He has asked us to do in our small corner of the world and nothing more. He has ensured that there are no other sound options by making the well-being of all men depend on the devotion of father and mother to family. Divorce and distraction from ones children, no matter how noble the calling, are the surest path to hell on earth.

You can be an instrument of change, but only by loving your neighbor. If you have a political role, fulfill it humbly. But never think that you do more good in politics than you do as a father. If you have a public role through writing or speaking or pastoring, fulfill it humbly. But understand this about words. They are vast in their power, but the further removed they are from direct personal interaction, the more abstract becomes their meaning and the more easily they will be twisted, ignored, and misunderstood.

Our Lord told us how to save the world. It’s not in seizing influence or scheming for church growth or developing sophisticated techniques for fund-raising and influence peddling. It begins with faith in the only one who can actually save the world. It involves widows giving mites, sexual purity, marital fidelity, taking out the garbage, living simply, raising children to deny themselves, reverence, humility, the divine capacity to forgive slights and offenses, doing little, unnoticed acts, enduring hardship without complaining, giving thanks in every circumstance, turning the other cheek, mourning, enduring persecution while praying for the persecutor, and, in sum, watching what we think matters most going up in flames on the altar of an all-wise God whose wisdom makes ours pure folly.

Nobody who does not believe that God is love can possibly do the world this great good. The temptation to love the world in anger and envy and to neglect the neighbor is simply too great to resist. Neighbors are real people; the world and all its variations are abstractions. Fight the good fight, stay the course, tell the truth, but remember that we are each called to do something very, very small – so small that it is infinite.

Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica i...
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