News was released today that Pope Francis has written a letter to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
In it, he states that lay people "participate, in their own way, in the priestly, prophetic, and royal function of Christ himself."
He goes on.
The Council, therefore does not look at lay people as if they were 'second class' members, at the service of the hierarchy and only executors of orders from on high, but as disciples of Christ who, by force of their baptism and their nature inserted 'in the world,' are called to animate in every space, every activity, every human relation according to the spirit of the Gospel."
And then . . .
Lay people bring "the light, hope, love received from Christ in those places that, otherwise, might remain unknown to the action of God and abandoned to the misery of the human condition. No one can carry out better than them this essential work 'to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city.'"
As I was inspired by these words today, I was struck particularly by his use (or the translator's) of the words "by force of their baptism." This "force," according to the pope, calls me to "animate every space, every activity, every human relation" in my own life and in my day-to-day activities "according to the spirit of the Gospel."
You know, while these words are inspiring, they are deeply, deeply challenging, especially in our secularized world. I try my best to radiate the love of Christ in all the places I find myself, but often find myself not being honest with people who do not share my faith about the reasons why I am the way I am. For instance, I am a generally effusively happy guy (although my team members here at WLP might see otherwise at times!). When non-believing friends ask me why I am this way, I usually just respond, "Oh that's just the way I am." This, of course, is not the truth. The truth is that I feel the Lord Jesus walking beside me all the time, kind of hanging around and being an inspiring friend. That's why I am the way I am. Perhaps some day I can be more honest. What is it that causes hesitation in me? Fear of rejection? Ridicule?
Today, I am grateful for what happened right here:
Are you feeling the force of your own?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.