Just recently, I saw on the Eternal Word Television Network a short entitled "A Link in the Chain" starring James Cagney released in 1957 by the Christophers. In the short film, a retiring teacher realizes the profound effect he had in the lives of three people.
At the end it is mentioned that the profundity of the role that Cagney's character played is just merely a link in the chain that was started by the Word of God, and that all good words originated from the Word of God. All three of the people were encouraged to good ends by the teacher and two of them left troubled pasts because of his positive words.
There is a lot of discouragement in the world, especially for Catholics. Morality that was once taken for granted, such as lawmakers' support for the dignity of life and marriage between a man and a woman, are evaporating from the once Christian West. Despite the fading of morality within the framework of the governmental structures, it is imperative that we do not give up hope but rather preserve hope not only in our own hearts, but also seek to give it to others. As the Christophers motto tells us, "It is better to light one candle then to curse the darkness."
We must not be satisfied with the illusion of self-righteousness, for we all are sinners. Mark 12:31 says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." One of the ways we do this is by caring for our neighbor's spiritual, physical and mental well-being. Most importantly, we must remember that it is not solely the people we find enjoyable that we should care for, but even those we find most repugnant.
The Christian life is not the life that is favored by the world, to be sure. But do we want to be favored by a world that thinks abortion, euthanasia, materialism and self-absorption is acceptable? Or do we sincerely want to tread the path of Christ, in which we embrace those that we find so difficult to even say "Hello" to. Out of charity we must love our neighbors and at the same time if there is something that they are doing that is wrong, we must not be obnoxious and abrasive, but with patience and attentiveness show them what is right. St. Augustine is a perfect example of how the patience of his mother, St. Monica, led to his conversion. We must never give up hope that people can turn around and see the Light of Christ.
Many (including myself) complain about the breakdown of culture and the community, but if we want to build our lives into Gibraltars and live in isolation and only permit things we find pleasant to be encountered, we turn our back on the Cross. We must immerse ourselves in the challenge of bearing witness to the Cross. Not just in the pews, but on the street, at the desk, in the field and everywhere else. We must be meek, but not confuse meekness with timidness. We must be humble in our service, but never back away from doing that work.
If we do not allow ourselves to be a link in the chain, if we do not unite ourselves with Christ, if we turn our back on those in need, if we do not stand for justice, if we would rather cleanse our hands of justice like Pontius Pilate to gain the acceptance of the world, then how can we call ourselves Christians? We cannot call ourselves a link in the chain, for a link in the chain is useful, but we rather are like dross that is not useful and as an impurity that pulls down the good.