• The third is witnessing to charity
Continued from last week
This call to combine charity with faith is nowhere more strongly echoed than in this Lenten Message by Pope Benedict XVI, during the Year of Faith. He says: ‘’Faith and charity can never be separated nor opposed to each other, just as faith by itself isn’t genuine without charity.’’ The Lenten obligation to almsgiving invites us strongly to commit our time, talents, treasures and resources for the material uplift and spiritual edification of those around us. The less you have, the more you give seems absurd, but that is the logic of love; we are called to give until it hurts. As we embark on this journey, let us bear in mind that we journey through a world that shows itself as one and the same time powerful and weak, capable of the noblest deeds or of the foulest. Before it lies the path to freedom or to slavery, to progress or decline, to brotherhood or hatred, to salvation or sin. A world that berates the Christian values of love, sincerity, mercy and sacrifice as qualities of the weak, and rewards moral recklessness, selfishness, sexual depravity, and anarchism instead. A world where mutual suspicion, betrayal, blackmail and injustice triumph over trust, truth and justice.
A world where people endorse sexual perversion and call it alternative lifestyle; where they profane the media with pornography and call it freedom of expression; desecrate the human body and call it human right; legalise contraception and call it birth control; endorse abortion and call it health care; support homosexuality and call it freedom of choice; exploit the poor and call it common wealth; invade privacy and call it globalisation; abuse power and call it politics; reward laziness and call it welfare; abandon traditional values and call it civilisation; encourage pride and call it self-esteem; promote atheism and call it freethinking. More often than not, through the unguarded use of reason and the disproportionate exercise of freewill, we often give in to the lures and wiles of this world. We find ourselves at the threshold of an existence that stakes itself on perversion and loss of the sense of sin, an existence that is entrenched in secularism and relativism where anything goes. Put simply, it is a world that lost the sense of God.
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins is the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.
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