Some Catholic authors write as if they belong to a Church Beleaguered, not the Church Triumphant. Articles tend to be either defensive or angry attacks against adversaries. Many religious writers retreat, focusing only on like-minded souls, writing for a small, mutual admiration society. The rest are tempted to simply quit when it seems like the world is wearing a spiritual blindfold. In an online conversation with me, Victor S.E. Moubarak articulated the dilemma of Christian writers today:
Many Christian are busily writing their blogs daily wondering who is visiting them, or whether their efforts are having any effect on anyone. We all write for different reasons. Some genuinely want to put some positives out there in a negative and dark internet full of bile and cynicism. Others write for pure vanity. Whilst others wonder whether to bother to continue writing or whether they should just give it up. The latter would be a pity because it would turn off yet another of the little lights of hope that shine in a dark internet that mirrors today’s secular society. (Read Victor’s books and blog.)
Catholic writers have a divine mandate to share the Good News with our society. Jesus commanded us, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Yet, it is not just our duty to share the Gospel, it is our joy. How can we remain silent when we have been crucified with Christ and Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:19,20)? A new convert often grasps this truth immediately. A few years ago, a brilliant young friend called himself an atheist but he was searching for answers, for truth. When I asked what he had read on spirituality and Christianity, he simply replied, “The library.” One day, while I was praying with a few other people for a few moments before a meeting, my friend suddenly started to laugh. Our eyes popped open in surprise. This quiet, subdued fellow was beaming as he exclaimed,
“God is real. He exists. I can’t believe it. Why did I not see something all around me, in my face? I feel this energy flowing between everyone in this room and connecting to me as well, like electrical currents, like invisible cords. I want to jump up and down and start yelling on the top of my voice that God exists and He is right here.”
Only an authentic presence of God in that room could have revealed the truth of the Mystical Body of Christ to a young man. Catholic writers can also be instruments of change when the Holy Spirit permeates our words.
Communicate With Respect
Social media has taught us the power of words. One lie or the words of one bullying tweet can go viral, enraging or misleading thousands and if not millions of readers. Even truth, if expressed with arrogance can instigate similar chaos. Words matter. Tone matters. Our message can be lost when we are not prayerful disciples, writing with the heart of a servant.
Decades ago, I read an insight by Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, which impacted me so strongly I have never forgotten it: “You can be right. You can be dead right and bring death to everyone around you.” Writers have the ability to destroy as well as the ability to educate, heal, and lift up. We must learn how to communicate and engage with our adversaries in a spirit of mutual respect because everyone is a child of God, whether they know it or not. It is God who converts and convicts; we are simply called to tell our stories and share our perspective. We simply witness in love, without sinning against those who have yet to experience the joy of the Eucharist or a deep relationship with their Heavenly Mother.
Catholic writers must learn how to write in sync with God, with what He wants to do in and through us.
Copyright 2018 Melanie Jean Juneau