I had an interesting conversation with a podcast listener about a week ago. They had listened to some of the podcasts and were accusing me of being “holier than thou” when in fact I was a hypocrite. Their conclusion was that I was in no position to tell anyone anything related to faith and morals because of my own imperfections.
Were they right?
Saints did not get that way because God zapped them and suddenly all their imperfections were gone. They are saints because they cooperated with the grace of God and grew in holiness. Read their stories. You’ll find real people with real struggles. You’ll also find that they were still sharing their faith as they struggled. People didn’t only start listening to them after they had been canonized saints by the Church. Folks were listening to them the whole time, even in the tough times.
Here’s what I have to say to the ones wishing to point out my faults. Do I have them? Loads of imperfections and lots of mistakes are mine on a near daily basis. Here’s the difference: I don’t claim perfection. In fact, I tend to use my constant idiocy as proof that God’s grace and mercy still work. Listen to the podcast often enough and you’ll hear it. His discipline and correction in my life is proof to me that God still loves me and wants me to be part of his kingdom. Otherwise, He’d leave me alone to pursue whatever and end up dead and separated from Him forever. But He doesn’t.
I’m not perfect. I sin often. But I go to confession. I do penance. I work at growing in holiness. All the while I share the faith. I’m fortunate to have been taught a great deal by the saints, my pastors, my spiritual director, and scads of good books. When I fail I cannot plead ignorance. So I struggle on. God has been good to me, not only to forgive me and put me on the right path, but also to provide me with a community in which to grow.
For those who wish to be left alone and not be faced with a moral obligation, be it from me, the Pope, or anyone else, let me encourage you to avoid isolation. Let me further encourage you to seek Christian community where you can be challenged to be the person you were created to be. Community makes the difference, and you need it as much as I do.
Chances are good that there are opportunities for building community in your home parish, and there are good places online to find additional folks to help you with whatever you might be facing. Of course, you can always hook up with us at The Tactical Catholic Podcast or any of the programs at the Fiat Ministry Network. We would love to talk to you, pray with you, and get to know you. Just don’t go at it alone.
And don’t wait until you’re perfect before you share your faith. Your real struggles might be the key to helping someone else find the hope they need.