Quotes on Engaging the Culture

"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Matthew 5:13-14

 "Guard against foul talk; let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners, otherwise you will only be grieving the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal for you to be set free when the day comes. Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ."

Ephesians 4:29-32

"Go, make disciples of all nations was the last command Jesus gave to us before returning to His Father. It's a big one. How can simple people like us convert the world? That brings us back to Mary, and to the apostles at Pentecost. They changed the world by letting God change them and work through them. We don't need to be afraid. We need to be confident in the promise made by Christ Himself: 'I am with you always, to the close of the age.'

Don't be afraid of the world. The Holy Spirit is on your side. Charles Spurgeon once said, 'The way you defend the Bible is the same way you defend a lion. You just let it loose."

Archbishop Chaput, Living the Catholic Faith: Discovering the Basics

"Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the "economy" of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practiced in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence."

Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

"Our struggle to renew the nation, our struggle to transform the culture, and our struggle to change the world, must begin with our own very personal response to God's gracious invitation to conversion.

When we face daily frustrations, we need to recall that we have the power to triumph over sin because we have Christ's grace within us. We have the capacity to be victorious, but we must renew the struggle very day with our Lord and Savior, the new Adam, Jesus Christ."

Cardinal Wuerl, Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith

"Finally, to develop a profound eucharistic spirituality that is also capable of significantly affecting the fabric of society, the Christian people, in giving thanks to God through the Eucharist, should be conscious that they do so in the name of all creation, aspiring to the sanctification of the world and working intensely to that end. The Eucharist itself powerfully illuminates human history and the whole cosmos. In this sacramental perspective we learn, day by day, that ever ecclesial event is a kind of sign by which God makes himself known and challenges us. The eucharistic form of life can thus help foster a real change in the way we approach history and the world."

Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis
"…to what extent do people still belong to the Church in the first place? On the one hand, they want to belong to her and do not want to lose this foundation. On the other hand, they are of course also shaped and formed interiorly by the modern way of thinking. It is the unfermented coexistence, with and alongside each other, of the basic Christian intention and a new world view, which leaves its mark on all of life. To that extent what remains is a sort of schizophrenia, a divided existence.

We must strive to integrate the two, insofar as they are compatible with each other. Being Christian must not become a sort of archaic stratum to which I cling somehow and on which I live to a certain extent alongside of modernity. Christianity is itself something living, something modern, which thoroughly shapes and forms all of my modernity – and in this sense actually embraces it.

That a major spiritual effort is required here I expressed most recently by founding a “Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization”. It is important for us to try to live Christianity and to think as Christians in such a way that it incorporates what is good and right about modernity – and at the same time separates and distinguishes itself from what is becoming a counter-religion."

Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World

"Today much imagination is needed if we are to learn how to speak about the faith and about life's most important questions. It requires people who know how to love and how to think."

Pope John Paul II, Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way

 "Taking their cue from the Council, Christians can engage with the modern world and enter into a constructive dialogue with it. Like the Good Samaritan, they can also come to the aid of suffering man, tending the wounds that he bears at the beginning of this twenty-first century. Care for the needy is incomparably more important than polemics and denunciations concerning, for example, the role of the Enlightenment in paving the way for the great historical catastrophes of the twentieth century. The spirit of the Gospel is seen primarily in this willingness to offer fraternal help to those in need."

Pope John Paul II, Memory and Identity

"The priest must 'live by the word.' But at the same time, he will try to be intellectually prepared to know the word in depth and to proclaim it effectively. In our day, marked as it is by a high degree of specialization in almost all areas of life, intellectual formation is extremely important. Such formation makes it possible to engage in a serious and creative dialogue with contemporary thought. Study of the humanities and of philosophy and a knowledge of theology are the paths to this intellectual formation, which then needs to be continued for the rest of one's life. In order to be authentically formative, study needs to be constantly accompanied by prayer, meditation, and the invocation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord. Saint Thomas Aquinas explains how, with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, a person's whole spiritual being becomes responsive to God's light, not only the light of knowledge but also the inspiration of love."

Pope John Paul II, Gift and Mystery

"The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it."

Henri Nouwen

"For too many of us, Christianity is not a filial relationship with the living God, but a habit and an inheritance. We’ve become tepid in our beliefs and naive about the world. We’ve lost our evangelical zeal. And we’ve failed in passing on our faith to the next generation....

The central issue is whether we ourselves really do believe. Catechesis is not a profession. It’s a dimension of discipleship...

If we’re embarrassed about Church teachings, or if we disagree with them, or if we’ve decided that they’re just too hard to live by, or too hard to explain, then we’ve already defeated ourselves...
If we really are Catholic, or at least if we want to be, then we need to act like it with obedience and zeal and a fire for Jesus Christ in our hearts. God gave us the faith in order to share it. This takes courage. It takes a deliberate dismantling of our own vanity. When we do that, the Church is strong. When we don’t, she grows weak. It’s that simple."

 Archbishop Chaput

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