Sunday, February 3, 2008

Faithful, not successful

Inadvertantly, the last two posts have a common thread: the true measure of our actions is whether or not they are the right actions to take, not how well they turn out.

Vote for the best candidate, whether deemed electable or not; you can't answer for other voters.

Act with true charity towards the other person, whether appreciated or not; you can't answer for his response.

Mother Teresa understood this principle, and could say without hesitation that we are called to be faithful, not successful. And she was faithful, even when all seemed dark.


Tim said...

This posting raised an important question for me. Is faith active or can it be passive?
Sec. 144 from the CCC states:
"to obey in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment."

Jerry said...

Thanks Tim, for raising an excellent point.

I do not advocate passiveness in our faith, and apologize if my words seemed to do so. Quite the contrary. But I do insist, on good theological basis, that the rightness / wrongness of our moral actions cannot reliably be based upon the expected results. This is called teleological morality, and it is full of pitfalls. The logical end of such an approach is "the end justifies the means", or, that it is licit to do evil so that good may result. The Church condemns such an approach to morality.

The citations from CCC are right on - our faith must lead to action. Mother Teresa was certainly a woman of active faith. But she knew that the end results are not the way to determine whether an action is good. Just do good, and leave the results to God. Thus she could say that we are called to be faithful, not successful.