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Peters: Listen to Christ, defend what is right during Religious Freedom Week (and always)

With everything that is taking place within the world, it is easy to fall prey to despair. Wars, hate, and persecution are so very common, and those who struggle to do what is right are pushed aside or trampled down by those who glorify in doing what is wrong.

For every noble leader, there many more who are corrupt. For every good deed, there are many more evil ones. Hypocrisy replaced truthfulness, and greed replaced charity. The family has been flipped upside down and torn apart, and the unfortunate are used as pawns by those who seek power.

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Yet hasn't that always been the human condition? We are a fallen people, a sinful people, after all. We, by our own hand, are destroyed, because we have squandered the gifts that we have been given. And yet, Christ came down for us anyway. He suffered and died not because we were good and worthy but because we were not. His act of the truest love was made to show us that there is a better way.

This does not mean that humanity has changed or would have changed, nor does it mean that we should have entered into an earthly paradise. Instead, it means that we as individuals have the power to change, and we can find solace in God. St. Paul, in Romans 5: 1-2, explains, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access [by faith] to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.”

Not only does faith bring hope in a new life for the believer, it also transforms suffering from a punishment into proof of our virtue. St. Paul continues in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

It is through the Holy Spirit that we are given the ability to see clearly and be able to re-evaluate our condition. Thus, we can see the immorality of the world around us and be filled with the strength that not only can we try to do what is right in this life but also will be rewarded in the next.

As Sunday marks the beginning of Religious Freedom Week, the successor to the Fortnight for Freedom that calls on the religious to stand up for Christ regardless of society's condemnations, we must listen to the Holy Spirit and defend what is right.

We cannot succumb to the immorality that is present throughout this world. Instead, we must give up sin and make straight our path. We must order ourselves and treat others right. And we must also go into the world to spread the message of God through both deeds and words.

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