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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's fruits are intense idealism and action

I'm in the process of reading Chapter 10 of the Handbook. Here's what point six had to say:

Again, the Church by exhibiting only a cautious routine would place the Truth, of which it is the custodian, in a very disadvantageous setting. If the young once form the habit of looking to purely worldly or even irreligious systems for the active idealism for which generous natures crave, a terrible harm has been done, for which future generations will pay.

When I read this, my first thought was to examine the Church and think, yes the Church should be providing the youth with means to channel their idealism. Otherwise the situation will continue to be that young people who are brimming with idealism, who want to change the world will look for ways outside the Church and even consider the Church a barrier to their goals. They'll be drawn to men like Senator Barack Obama who, in addition to portraying himself as a messenger of change and idealism, also seems to believe that it is bitter people who cling to religion.

In short, I thought the Church could be doing more.

Here the Legion can aid by making its programme one of enterprise and effort and sacrifice, such as will help to capture for the Church those two words "idealism" and "action," making them handmaids of the Church's doctrine.

On reading these next few lines I realized: we are the Church! And more interestingly, the Legion of Mary is part of the Church that I was just thinking could be doing more. We are specifically to be the part of a Church that provides great avenues for expressing one's idealism.

It reminded me of the danger of looking to see what the Church can give me, when I should be part of the Church's effort to give to others.

It also brought home the fact that as a Legionary we are very much in the centre of the Church's work. We are cooperatores veritatis, "co-workers of the truth", along with the Holy Father (whose motto this is), bishops, priests, and active Catholics everywhere. We are part of the effort!

Finally, I do see a lot of idealism in the Legionaries at NUS: real yearning to change how things are done - in the world and even in the Legion (changes to make Legionaries live more in accordance with the Legion system).
I think this is a gift and something that should not be allowed to die off. Let's not, as time goes by, become cynical about the world. Let's believe we can make a difference wherever we are and that no problem, no injustice, no wrong, is too big that we give up trying to correct it.

"It is a moral force, not a material, which will vindicate your profession and secure your triumph. It is not giants who do most. How small was the Holy Land! Yet it subdued the world. How poor a spot was Attica! Yet it has formed the intellect. Moses was one, Elias was one, David was one, Paul was one, Athanasius was one, Leo was one. Grace ever works by few; it is the keen vision, the intense conviction, the indomitable resolve of the few, it is the blood of the martyr, it is the prayer of the saint, it is the heroic deed, it is the momentary crisis, it is the concentrated energy of a word, or a look, which is the instrument of heaven. Fear not, little flock, for he is mighty who is in the midst of you, and he will do for you great things." (Cardinal Newman: Present Position of Catholics)

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