The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Charisma or Charism

"My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers; its influence grew - infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion - before it was fully recognized for the monster it was. It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good."
Pope Benedict XVI
Address to Seminarians & Young People

When Pope Benedict spoke these words at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, yesterday, he may have been recalling his own lived experience under Nazism; however, he also very well described to a large degree the condition of the American culture. One need only look at how God has been banished from schools and civic bodies under the auspices of diversity and political correctness to see not a monster as in the form of Adolf Hitler, but rather a cancer in the form of relativism.

If lawmakers and justices abandon their consideration of right and wrong using a mindset of Christian or at the very least theocentric thought, with what will they use as their moral compass? Physical science does little to handle the questions of morality. Public opinion is fickle and prone to being swayed by simple dramatic oratory so one can't rely on that. Tradition is also out for up until recent decades the American tradition was steeped in a God-centered mind.

The simple answer is that absent of faith in a higher power, man is left with his own limited capacity to govern. The end result can only be the rise of figures who ascend to power with charisma versus serve the people with a charism. The masses become enamored by the magic of the dynamic man and lose sight of the Almighty. In such a scheme, governance turns inward upon itself and the people its supposed to serve simply suffer or as in the case of America, they simply drift.

The Pope's visit to America will soon fade in the headlines as the Presidential election moves to center stage, but perhaps the Holy Father will have made enough of an impression, that Americans will begin to see that a very large chasm separates where the people want to be and where their leaders are attempting to take them. For Benedict XVI radiates the light of Christ wherever he goes and the human heart cannot help but be drawn to it, even if the mind does not understand the soul's attraction.

The reason the politician's pontification for change resonates with the electorate may very well be that Americans recognize in their hearts that the soul of the nation is off track, but not because of simply failed policy of the current regime as the candidates would have one believe, but rather because of something deeper and infinitely more personal. One swept into the culture of the day soon realizes that the current carries one away from God, his loving Father and creator.

Hope remains that the authenticity that effuses from Benedict juxtaposed to the obvious pursuit of personal agendas portrayed by the politician will give the American pause as he considers just what kind of person he wants to govern his culture; one who serves with a moral foundation based in the love of Christ, or one who serves with an arrogant belief that he or his party has all of the answers. Given that kind of examination, hope remains that America will realize that its savior rests not with a political party, but with the Divine Person that is Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


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