Be Contrary

8 Apr

“Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.”  ~ G.K. Chesterton

When we were being raised, we often got called out for being oppositional, for being an outsider, for not conforming to the norm.  However, what if the norm was wrong?  Parents would remind us of that as well.  In one breath, we would be given the message that we were to listen to our teachers and to follow the example of others.  In the next breath, however, we would also be told, “If all your friends would jump off a cliff, are you going to as well?”  We had to learn how to differentiate between good and bad as well as when to follow others and when we should not follow others.

Our greatest saints were often given much grief in their lives because they chose to follow Christ and to follow Him quite strenuously.  They were not willing to buy in to the culture of the world when the world was definitely in error.  Not only would they resist the culture of the world, the would denounce it quite loudly and challenge others to eschew the lures and “norms” of the world.  In the end, they became great heroes of the faith and even great heroes of the culture they challenged.

One example would be Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  In her day, death among the poor was common place.  The poor were ignored.  Their deaths were anonymous.  Their deaths were also quite lonely and filthy, many dying in the gutters of the streets.  Mother Teresa came along and pointed out the impoverished and the dying.  She said that the impoverished and the dying had great worth and dignity.  She embraced them.  She ministered to them.  She wanted them to be brought into buildings that she established so that they could have peace and comfort in their deaths.  She restored their dignity and self-worth.

When Mother Teresa passed, throngs of people assembled for her funeral and burial.  The streets were clogged with those who came out to honor her.  One single life, speaking against a culture of isolation that cast away the poor and dying, made such a difference that not only her nation but the entire world began to see that what she said and did was, indeed, the right thing.

The world speaks quite loudly.  That does not mean, however, that the world is right.  And when the world is wrong, it needs people to point out its error so that it could be brought back in line through the values of Jesus.

FAITH ACTION:  Live the faith courageously today and set an example for others to follow.