From Sacred Space on Wednesday:
And, if Jesus was totally incarnated in the world so that he could communicate the message of God’s love to the world and for the world, then we, too, must be totally incarnated. We are not true to our calling if we think that, in order to be true to Jesus, we have to separate ourselves from a material and sinful world. We cannot be the “salt” of the earth, unless we are fully inserted into it. But only when we also fully identify with the values and concerns of the Kingdom. Otherwise we are salt without taste.
This got me to thinking a little about the OFS "From Gospel to Life and Life to Gospel" motto. I think that there is a strong corrollary between the concept of being salt and leaven and the OFS motto. The thing that struck me when I read the passage from Sacred Space is the concept of being "fully inserted into it." One of the things that I have heard over the years is to not to allow the world to insuinate itself into your practice of faith. I think that too often it means try to competely avoid the world altogether. Now, I know that we have religious comtemplatives who do separate themselves from the world and how important that it is for them to do so. But, we who are lay people cannot really afford to do that. We do have to be in the world and to a certain sense of the world, because without being "fully inserted" we cannot effect the kind of change that we seek. When you look at it, we are the only ones who can effectively reach into every corner of today's world. That's why the Vatican Fathers emphasized our role in the evangelization of the church. After all, if you add salt to a dish or leaven to the dough, you really mix it in to get the full effect of its characteristics. Interestingly, the dish or the dough doesn't change the salt or the leaven, it's the other away around. So, that becomes our mission.
So, we come from our faith, from our Eucharistic celebration, from our prayer, and from our study of the Magesterium of the Church into the daily lives of people. Through our example, our words, and our witness we affect the kind of change envisioned by God - to create a more loving, compassionate, and grace filled environment which ultimately allows us to fully praise and worship His unimaginable greatness. Because of our strong faith, our strong witness to the love of God, and the compassionate care for everyone that emanates from that love, we can effect change in today's society. We are immersed in the daily lives of our family, friends, co-workers, fellow students, and even strangers; but, when we truly act as salt and leaven, we do become "totally incarnated" in those situations and because of our overwhelming joy, grace, and love toward others, we make a big difference. Because of this difference, we can affect all of the situations and issues that present themselves in our daily lives, even those that seem so intractable today. So, we must step our to become salt and leaven and be "fully incarnated" in the world today.