Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why bishops and priests need witnesses too

I was really struck when reading an account of an engaged couple in New York who recently met with Archbishop Dolan to discuss their upcoming marriage. In their reflection, the couple wrote:
He mentioned that our testimony (and the testimony of all other young people living and spreading the freedom of chastity) is what encourages him when he finds himself attacked from all sides, that only by the witness of faithful and fruitful marriage will the Church stand strong in our time.
Wow! Archbishop Dolan is a man I look up to greatly for his joy, enthusiasm and dedication to witnessing to the truth of the Gospel. What a responsibility and honor to know that he looks to
young people dedicated to living the beauty of chastity to encourage him.

It made me think: Why would the witness of young people encourage him? And then I realized what it might be. Archbishop Dolan, and others like him, see in these young people the joy and peace that reminds them that this is the experience they wish for all people. It makes it "worth"
defending then, because it is seen as good. Not just as "good" in the sense that one knows it is right, moral, correct. But "good" in the sense that it is truly the way that will lead to authentic joy. When confronted with living witnesses of this truth, how could it fail to inspire the leaders of the Church in relentlessly defending the truth of marriage, family, love and chastity?

In our own lives, do we consider that the way we live has an effect on others? Do we realize that Archbishop Dolan needs us and that we need him?

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