The pandemic has put a spotlight on volunteer efforts in the community. Michael Swan

Speaking Out: Times demand holy social action

By  Paula Ducepec, Youth Speak News
  • May 6, 2020

“In difficult situations, we are called to be holy,” said Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, during his homily on April 28.

Collins and other prominent religious leaders such as Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire and Fr. Casey Cole of Breaking in the Habit are calling upon followers of Christ to engage in holy social action during the coronavirus pandemic.

What does spreading the Word of God look like for youth? For years it’s consisted of large gatherings of youth rocking out to loud worship music and listening or sharing personal testimonies on a stage in front of other believers and those still testing out the waters.

These unprecedented times have inspired more people to challenge the Church and its believers by lobbing the weighty questions: Where is your God? Do you still have faith? What good will your faith do when we are all suffering?

To give an overarching and straightforward answer to those questions: God is still everywhere. In our times of trouble, He is still with us. He has not abandoned us to fend for ourselves. Instead, He clutches us closer and tighter than before — and we continue to believe this until the end of time.

How do we propagate this belief in the Lord’s presence?

Pope Francis said in his homily on April 25 that what we must do to convince people to believe in God is “start to live, and they, seeing your witness, will ask you, ‘why do you live this way?’ Faith must be transmitted: not by convincing but by offering a treasure.”

Our actions must be conscious and deliberate. We can look to the saints for such inspiration, individuals who have proudly lived and died for their faith.

Pope Francis said we must witness and that being a Catholic is not just another title on an identification card. It is a mission in which we are called to live out our faith. It means to go out; go out of yourself and show faith in your society because faith should be transferred.

Faith must be proactive. Action must be done before a sickness occurs or, rather, before the situation becomes worse. We must be active in living out our faith.

Because of the current pandemic we are pushed to be in the confines of our homes. Technology then plays a role in our mission to live out faith. Call, video call or text people; go and check on them. Tell them that they will stay and remain in your prayers. Ask if they need a few groceries or anything that will make everyday living a little easier. Even posting short Bible quotes or informative videos online to reflect upon could help. Being a witness of God by engaging in holy service is how we must live.

As Mother Angelica (1923-2016), the Poor Clare nun and television personality for the Eternal Word Television Network, once said: “Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement.”

(Ducepec, 22, is a Bachelor of Science undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying anthropology.)

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