When incompetence, corruption, or confusion threaten to penalize the wrong people, or hand victory over to a lesser competitor, most of us don't just stand there. Many of us walk off the field.
I truly hope that new and renewed evangelization will bring a whole lot more of us back out of the stands. I pray that efforts to reach out will help us form a community of faith that can withstand the toughest offense our world can mount against us. Our ability to do so, however, may be more dependent on our bishops, priests, and deacons -- our referees, if you will -- than it first appears.
As Catholic Christians we need to make sure the real refs aren't locked out. We also need to resist the temptation to get along by going along with the replacement refs our culture is so quick to offer. God gives us shepherds. Our society, on the other hand, does its best to suggest that we can be something better than sheep if we would only follow the bright lights of politics, psychology, or science instead of "unenlightened" religious principles. But if the chaos of our times shows us anything, it is that faith has no substitute.
The last thing we should do is give in to discouragement and give up the game and the field altogether. Rather, we should keep our eyes on the goal and our hearts on the task of reaching it. Yard by yard, one play at a time, from here into the end zone, and by the rules.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.
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