Who is responsible? How deep does the corruption go? What is going to be done about this? Why doesn’t God do something?
Disrupting the relative peace we had before, the scandals in the Church have brought in a storm of questions. All of these questions point the finger away from us though. This does not mean that the scandals are our fault. It means that we do not need to sit around waiting for someone else to fix the Church.
If we want things to be fixed and healed, it is up to us to make that difference. Instead of pointing fingers and asking about other people, we need to ask the question, “What are we going to do?”
That can be an overwhelming question. It seems like there is not much we can do, but in doubting what we can do, we are also doubting what God can do through us. A common example of holiness, St. Teresa of Kolkata called herself “a pencil in God’s hands” and ended up making a huge impact on the world. Someone might think, “But she’s a saint. There’s no way I can do what she did,” but that thought has no reasonable basis.
Some saints did do amazing, humanly impossible things, but most of them were just normal people who were striving for holiness.
St. Teresa stated, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” It is those small things done with love which have the power to heal the Church, because without love, everything else is futile.
Author J.R.R. Tolkien’s character Gandalf expressed, “Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the evil at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
It does not take anything extraordinary to save the world. The smallest acts of love — smiling at someone, holding a door for someone, comforting someone — have completely changed people’s lives. Lives, which would have otherwise been lost, have been saved by just a little love. It is a potent medicine.
God does not need flashy lights and magnificent displays of his grandeur to work with. He was born in a barn as a carpenter’s son to save us. God works in the small everyday acts of love.
Someone may well argue, “I understand that Mother Teresa made a big difference, but it did not seem to change any of the world’s problems. We still have war, poverty and injustice across the globe.” The answer to this can be found in the simple words of Tolkien’s character Samwise Gamgee: “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
Imagine for a moment that everyone in the world suddenly stopped loving. It would be a horrible place to live — a world full of cold, stone-hearted people. Now imagine a world where everyone always loves. That is heaven. We must never stop striving to love in the small things of everyday life or we will quickly find ourselves in a cold, melancholy world.
Even after realizing the power of small acts of love it is easy to despair and feel that it really does not make much of a difference, but it is making a difference. We cannot let ourselves be caught in the net of negativity which our society tries to throw over us.
As Christians we are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Every act of love has its impact although we may never see it. Even if an act does not impact the rest of the Church, it still impacts us, and each one of us is an indispensable part of the Church.
Love is our greatest weapon in the spiritual war and in the end it will win. It is a terrible time for the Church and we all wish that the scandals had never happened.
So what are we going to do? It is simple. Smile at someone. Open a door for someone. Comfort someone. Jesus told us to just love. So love. The world depends on it.
Sam Stengel is a homeschooled senior. He attends St. Joseph Church in Paris.
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