You are having an intense discussion with your friend. It is a great day outside and after having been stuck inside because of the brutal winter, you are enjoying the scenery. Suddenly, your friend catches you off guard and says “isn’t it amazing how the Sun revolves around the Earth?” You nod your head in agreement.
Except, you wouldn’t as you know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. You know this, because this has been proven, and this is truth. It would be uncharitable to let your friend continue on thinking that the Sun revolves around the Earth. It would be border-line cruel as you are withholding information from them. On top of that, they are your friend, and friends do not let each other err, at least good friends don’t.
Similarly, if your friend was pushing hard that you are incorrect in your math, and is arguing that 2+3 = 23 because you combine the numbers together, again, you would say “aha! That is your opinion and you are entitled to it!”. Except, you wouldn’t, unless you were a terrible and awful friend (maybe you are, I don’t know).
Yet, here are two perfect examples in which you would tell me that it would be wrong and uncharitable not to tell your friend the truth and inform them of their short-comings in math and science. Of course, you would then explain why they are incorrect in their assessments and help them to see the error of their ways.
Why is it then, that when it comes to our Catholic faith, we (read: some, not all) have no qualms or reservations in encouraging our friends to remain where they are in their non-Catholic faiths, and just agree that their opinion is equal to ours?
If Jesus Christ is the Truth as He so rightfully states, than whatever He has said or whatever His Church has said, holds True. Sadly, today, many Catholics are cowardly when it comes to defending the faith when the time arises. Excuses are made such as “Well, they are following Jesus, so we have common ground”.
No! Following Christ is more than just “following” Him loosely and focusing our lives on Him and Him alone! Following Christ is also obeying the Commandments that He has given us, one of those Commandments is to follow His Church. A true Christian would join the true Church that Christ established here on Earth.
Some would argue with me that that is only a Catholic teaching and that there are multiple claimants. Unfortunately, the Encyclopedia Brittanica disagrees with them and they are not a Catholic source, but a secular one.
I am grateful to my friend Stephen for introducing me to the Catholic faith. He had the courage to tell me that Jesus Christ started the Roman Catholic Church and that it was my duty to become Catholic. He didn’t start by saying it exactly like that, but he started slow and worked on me on a regular basis, eventually leading to my conversion.
True charity lies within the truth, whatever that truth may be and especially when the Truth is that of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior and His Beloved Bride the Catholic Church. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his Encyclical Caritas In Veritate:
To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).
It is inexcusable for us to be so adamant about defending (lower-case t) truths and yet when it comes to the Truth (capital T) we just forego it as if it is just an opinion. This can not stand, nor will it stand as it will be held against us when we stand before Christ as our Judge when we have perished from this world. His final command to us was to go and make disciples of all nations.
True love and true charity require us to share our faith with those around us, through the way we live our lives, through our teachings and through our traditions. This includes the way we worship in the Liturgy of the Mass.
Our worship at Mass should be solemn, sincere and serious. It is not a time for entertainment, but a time for enrichment. It is our spiritual buffet in which we gather the nourishment required for the salvation of our soul. If good food helps our bodies stay healthy and bad food slowly kills us, the same can be said about the Liturgy. If good Liturgy helps our souls stay healthy and strong through God’s abundant grace, than bad Liturgy can rob our souls of the grace needed to ward off the evil one.