Fri. Oct 23rd, 2020

It is radical to be a Christian. It is absolutely countercultural to put others first, to love without counting the cost, to forgive, and to care for strangers. It is countercultural to make worship of God a priority, to get to Mass every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation. It is countercultural to believe that God so loved the world that He sent His only son to die for our sins. It is radical because it is so countercultural to live as a disciple of Jesus.
But, how radical are we called to be?
I mean, how do I balance being countercultural with living the Gospel in a way that is attractive to those living in this culture, who are very much products of this culture? If we all lived like St. Francis of Assisi and gave away our clothes and begged for our food (giving most of that away too), won’t people reject the Gospel because they would think us crazy? How do we balance the call to live radically with the call to evangelize?
First, I would point out that people like St. Francis, St. Catherine of Siena and St. John the Baptist did in fact find opposition, but they also attracted many followers. Second, I think we each must live the life that God is calling us to live. He does not call each of us to live as St. Francis did. God also called St. Louis, King of France to live for the Kingdom of God. Third, as we attempt to discern how God is calling us to live, I would propose that He is probably asking us to be a bit more radical than we currently are. I tend to choose the easier option and cut myself slack.
Here are some ideas for living a bit more radically that you might consider:
1. Wear a cross or other religious jewelry or scapular.
2. Pray in public, especially at meals.
3. Put a crucifix in your living room or kitchen and bedroom (or an image of the Sacred Heart or Our Lady).
4. Buy $5 gift cards to a fast food joint that you can give out when you encounter homeless or hungry people.
These aren’t too radical, but they may help you advance a step or two toward our ultimate goal of radical surrender of ourselves to God.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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By Editor

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