In a homily given on April 1, 2005, just before he was elected Pope, Pope Benedict said this:
Above all, that which we need at this moment in history are men who, through an enlightened and lived faith, render God credible in this world. The negative testimony of Christians who speak about God but live against him, has darkened God’s image and opened the door to disbelief. We need men who have their gaze directed to God, whose intellects are enlightened by the light of God. Only through men who have been touched by God, can God come near to men.
Our Holy Father’s words present a timely challenge.“Above all, that which we need at this moment of history are men who render God credible in this world.”
The question is, dear brothers, how do we render God credible in this world?
Well . . .
- By striving to grow in personal holiness ourselves, so that our words and deeds have a ring of authenticity about them, we render God credible.
- By praying fervently with and for our people who so often turn to us for spiritual support and guidance, we render God credible.
- By celebrating the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist, faithfully, reverently and joyfully, we render God credible.
- By preparing and preaching challenging and relevant homilies, applying the Word of God to the realities of contemporary life, we render God credible.
- By being present and available to our people, especially in visiting the sick, carefully ministering to those who mourn the death of a loved one, and assisting the faithful at key sacramental moments in their lives, we render God credible.
- By being an example of pastoral charity, and making known the love of Christ and the concern of the Church for the hungry, the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the immigrant, and the imprisoned, we render God credible.
- By forming and maintaining a community of faith, while also reaching out to inactive Catholics and non-believers in a personal commitment to evangelization, we render God credible.
Dear brothers, without a doubt the challenges of the priesthood are many, but so are the opportunities. Every day we have the opportunity to help people, to do good works, to build community, and to influence the moral values of our society. Every day we have the opportunity to “render God credible in this world.”
– Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin, 2012 Chrism Mass homily.
Photo: Rick Snizek/Rhode Island Catholic