First, a confession. I am a terrible sport in games. I struggle with getting irritated when I play poorly, which makes me play even more poorly. I get rattled, and I forget in those moments, I'm playing to play, not to win. It is a source of constant frustration to me even if I'm swallowing it, because it robs me of the pleasure I sought from spending time with my family playing. I've prayed, confessed, wrestled with this most of my adult life. I've read articles, I've tried to remain detached, and I've considered simply not playing to avoid temptation. Instead, I've opted to have my family remind me over and over again when that particular demon flares up, "You're playing to play." in one way or another. Sometimes it involves stepping on my foot under the table. I consider such steps, a good corrective mercy by them, which I deserve.
So back to the issue that's bugging me today.
Why hasn’t the New Evangelization worked?
Online, it's easy to stumble into places where people fight over what the Pope says, what the Pope means, and whether to follow him or fight him is the correct manifestation of living the faith. Those same people cry out for the excommunication of those who disagree.
There are fiefdoms within parishes, cliques, serious schisms between those who favor one ministry over another, and out and out hostility over issues both discreet (what type of music is played) and profound, (actual arguments about doctrine) which keep all of us from being Brothers and Sisters in Christ. The fights in the parishes, online, and throughout the nation seem to go on without end, and with all the time, a dark joy from their perpetual spitting and spinning. The spirit of the age is distrust, deny, dismiss, and destroy, the very opposite of what Christ calls all of us to as individuals and as His body.
That didn’t help.
Elizabeth Scalia wrote at Word on Fire about The Anti-Christ Arriving in a World Without Mercy," and showed a picture of a wolf. If we want a world not peopled by wolves, we must fight the Anti-Christ with the one thing the Devil cannot abide, love; love manifested in acts of mercy, and sublimation of ourselves.
The early prophets all preached essentially the same thing, (however unwillingly at times), as the early apostles. “Repent and believe.” We must do the same thing. It’s both a universal and individual call.
The question I think for many, is how do we do this? How do we know we are doing it? How do we know if we are engaged in true acts of service, true acts of generosity, truly doing little things with great love?
Answer: If we stop trying to win. If we stop trying to take credit. If we stop trying to prove we’re right, or better, or more worthy or smarter or more informed or more whatever, and simply serve. Or, as I told my children to remind me, play to play.
Put God first, trust God. Put Christ first. Trust Christ. Spend time with Christ, and Christ will order each of our souls so that eventually willingly, we will put ourselves last, so more people can encounter Christ.
I'm going to go ask my kids if they want to play a game with me.