But I have something to say

September 11, 2023

As my students began to slumber into their sophomore religion class, I made it a holy habit to meet at the door to welcome them and remind them that “God made you out of love, Christ died for you and you are here for a reason.” My proclamation of faith intended to let them know that they are not alone in their journey with Jesus Christ. They needed to know that someone was willing to walk with them and lead them toward a path of holiness and renunciation of sin. My message became so commonplace that my students would ask, “What if we have something to say? And I would respond, “Let me hear it as long as it proclaims truth, beauty, and goodness.

The ability to freely articulate our thoughts is part of our human condition that involves the use of the intellect and will.  From the moment a child can verbally express the world around them the language learned should reflect a prudent God-like dimension. This language of faith is described by the Catechism of the Catholic Church[1] as a formulation of faith that embraces a credal language. When the urge to be heard and express an opinion overwhelms us it is important to gauge how the formulation of our opinion will affect those around us. It is important to remember that when expressing your thoughts or better yet, professing your faith the human condition revolves around an identity with God first as a child, second as a disciple, and third, as a messenger of His Word.

The Sermon on the Mount

When our Lord spoke at the Sermon on the Mount[2] his message was a reflection of the Father’s love for his children but also a message of conversion toward God. Jesus’s language was very specific, it was beatitidunal where the content of the message was to love God and love your neighbor. He proposed to both Jews and Gentiles the central path to heaven. He then uses more specific salvific language describing the faithful as both salt and light meaning that all of us are called to proclaim the Word of God and lead others to Christ. Our personal witness becomes that light that Jesus describes as the light of the world.  

If we consider why God would give us the ability to communicate or more importantly have something to say, it revolves around embracing a salvific language where we become docile messengers to the Word of God. Whether we preach, proclaim, or announce a particular message, the origin of that message should reflect the central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing more. The notion that we have something is part of our human condition that either expresses virtue or vice. This becomes the drama behind every person’s personal proclamation to say something of value. The message of Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:23; Gal 1:4) expresses the message of the creed which owes its identity to the kerygma.

But I have something to say!

The opinions and expressions expressed by all human beings reflect a universal belief that “what I have to say is important and thus you should listen.” Though this thought may be countered by another thought, and then another, the point here is that we possess both a gift and a vice when it comes to an expression of words that formulate an opinion. Jesus’ approach to being heard involved both a proclamation of the Kingdom of God through a relentless preaching of the Word, divine healings, and deliverances.[3]

Fittingly the Catechism summarizes our need to say something in the following way:

Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it[4]

 

 

[1] CCC 170

[2] Mt 5

[3] Mt 7:28-29

[4] CCC 900

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