A basic thrust of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals is not only living our lives as practicing Christians but being evangelizers in the marketplace. Evangelization involves the proclamation and presentation of morality, a morality that not only proclaims the fundamental truths of faith, but is honestly and sincerely lived so that others may see Christ in us. This enables us to truly experience fullness of life in Christ. Therefore, we, each one of us, are the essential link between evangelization and morality.
At the heart of this evangelization and of the renewed moral life is the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Jesus received by the humble and docile heart of the believer brings about the flourishing of Christian moral life and the witness of holiness amid the great variety of vocations, gifts, responsibilities, conditions, and life situations.
In his first encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI states that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” (#1) This is the encounter with Jesus Christ and God’s love. Evangelization and Christian morality must be centered on Christ and his Church with our task being not just living out and communicating our faith journey, but becoming what he calls “an authentic herald of revealed truths.”
The Philippines is a “Catholic” country with about 83.5% of her people embracing the faith. There are symbols of the faith everywhere. Churches overflow on Sundays, yet fewer than 20% of the people attend mass regularly. For many, there is a ‘split-level Christianity’: a Catholic veneer over a pagan core wherein the moral values of the faith do not govern and motivate their lives outside Sunday mass. There is a split between one’s religious life and the rest of one’s life.
Why is this so? Is it the result of ‘dechristianization’ seen when one’s faith becomes irrelevant for everyday life, when one’s moral sense declines or is obscured, resulting in loss of one’s faith? Or has this split happened due to the lack of effective evangelization centered on Christ and his Church, aimed at personal and communal fidelity to Christ?
There is no way we will have a moral renewal unless we have a profound integral evangelization: the proclaiming of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament to bring about a personal conversion that impels one to active involvement in the process of human development and liberation.
Integral evangelization embraces the whole person and includes not only the spiritual aspect of life but also its social and economic dimensions. The Philippine Church realized the importance of this integral evangelization and promoted it in the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines held in 1991. The PCP II participants called for a renewed evangelization that must aim first of all at the formation of Catholics in a properly integrated spirituality … an integrated spirituality that unites faith in the Lord with justice and charity to his brothers and sisters and joins together a hope for the world to come with an intense commitment to transform the world; a spirituality that seeks for change not only in interior attitudes but in ecclesial and societal structures; a spirituality that witnesses through action to the faith he/she professes; a spirituality finally, that dynamically inter-relates communion and mission in the Church’s life.
There can be no “moral life” without a companion “spiritual life” and vice versa. Authentic spiritual development must occur at the same time as one’s moral development. The prophet Micah provides a basis for the balanced life in Micah 6:8: “You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
The admonition is very clear: it is not enough to love goodness and do what is right, to be spiritual. We must act out our faith in daily life in active service of one another following the example of Jesus.
Living a moral life demands living and growing in prayer, being strong and courageous enough to directly confront the sin in our life and overcome it. Christian moral life through prayer is empowered by grace, the gift of God Himself to us. In this sense, Christian morality is a call, a vocation, rather than a law, a vocation to be concerned with life as part of Divine Nature, a calling to be more responsive in making this world a friendlier and more caring place in which to live.
Moral living is not simply following a set of “do’s” and “don’ts”. It is a way of life, a way of living out our faith and walking with Jesus Christ throughout the journey of our life. It is allowing ourselves to grow in love and holiness, to throw away our masks and become authentic Christians through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Living a moral life commits us to the ongoing process of liberating and transforming men and women into disciples of Christ. This is morality in action. This is true evangelization. This, in essence, is the BCBP Way of Life!
We are the essential link between evangelization and morality. With our moral attitudes, decisions, words, and acts, we influence those around us to live in love, justice and peace, bringing about authentic social transformation. As we encounter sin in our workplaces and the myriad temptations offered by money, wealth, success, and power, we must embrace the attitude and actions of a Christian steward entrusted with our businesses and professions by our “Boss”, our God. Our goal is to bring Christian morality to the marketplace and to our areas of responsibility, as well as to bring our workplaces and the people in them to Christ.
“No man is an island.” As social beings, we flourish and grow best in community, bonded together by the Holy Spirit. In community we encourage and support each other, enabling us to face the challenge of living the moral life as committed evangelists in today’s confusing and confused world. We are the essential link between effective evangelization and authentic Christian morality. As BCBP members we are called to answer this challenge and “Go” knowing that He is with us.
Source: Evangelizing Presence: Living The Moral Life Today by Pasquale T. Giordano, SJ, and Nancy Russell Catan, pp 14-23. A BCBP Publication, c2007.