Extremism: The Solution for our Times (Part III)

Is that the end of the story? Should all Christians just be extremists? What would that mean? Are there no boundaries?

There are boundaries. We must make a further distinction. It is the distinction between the interior act and the exterior act. Although we must be extreme in faith, that does not mean we must always publicly confess the faith. There are times when we should be quiet. For instance, when sleeping. A funeral is not the time to speak about what “consubstantial” means. (Not normally.) And as for love, we have only so much time and energy and resources to spend on worship of God. And if we spent all our time in liturgy, we would have no time for our families or for the poor or for a game of chess. We must be balanced in our physical enactment of these virtues. The virtues in themselves are extremes. It means we can always grow in our interior faith, hope, and love of God. We can always grow in our love of neighbor. And we should grow. Sanctity is always possibly deeper. We have not finished the race, not yet. Perhaps we are imprudent in how to love. Thus, prudence must dictate how to love. That means a certain “moderation”. For instance, if God entrusted someone with political office, but that someone decides to dedicate 15 hours per day to a group of poor people over here, then his talents and calling are wasted. (There are exceptions. The Holy Spirit has a prudence beyond our measure. However, usually our prudence indicates something of the mark to which he is drawing us.) Thus, we must be prudent and just and temperate in the charity for which we strive, the charity in which we cannot grow too much.

If we only focus on the exterior balance, we end up being tepid in our Christianity. But we must be on fire. If we balance faith and charity as though on a political program, we fail to see that there can be no charity without faith. Who is not formally orthodox cannot have charity. Orthodoxy is the condition for the possibility of being a Catholic. But, not all who are orthodox have charity. May we not whither on the vine, even if we confess the faith rightly. May we flourish like true lovers of God. For those who know the right way and do not walk it are the more severely condemned. But the right way is the way of externally decorous life, a life showing wisdom and prudence, justice and fortitude, temperance, the blazing gentleness of sweet charity, and the true confession of the only God, his only Son, their Holy Bond of Love, and the one true religion. Kindness and Truth Shall Meet. Amen.