Let the Dogma Live Loudly

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When your favorite football team wins in Week 1 of the NFL season, life is good. In fact, hope becomes more than a theological virtue, like someone gave you the Powerball ticket with a grounded assurance that it's the winner.

A recent human-interest story on Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles' second-year starting quarterback, highlighted his simple lifestyle, penchant for hunting, and unapologetic Christianity. He listens to sermons on podcasts, openly talks about his faith in Jesus Christ, and has formed a prayer group with four teammates. His fellow players boast about his humility. 

Many athletes and artists are vocal about their spiritual lives, reminding us that discipleship can be a priority that inspires others to live Jesus. Perhaps this was what prompted Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California to assert that for Amy Coney Barrett, a candidate for a federal judgeship and Roman Catholic, "the dogma lives loudly."

What the senator suggested was a "concern"quickly became a compliment that affirmed how well a person of faith integrates her religious beliefs into her life, especially her day job.

Few of us will have a televised job interview with a powerful congressperson. Yet, we all have opportunities to bring our faith to work, though not in a proselytzing manner. Rather, how we conduct our professional relationships, advance ethical business practices, respect the good name and good work of colleagues, and bring our sense of humor to tasks all are ways to let the dogma live loudly. 

St. Francis de Sales' spiritual classic, The Introduction to the Devout Life, champions the need for all people, especially the laity, to live Jesus by completing the ordinary duties of a day in an extraordinary way, just by bringing the appropriate virtue to them. The method he designed is known as Salesian spirituality, and it feeds the core of the mission of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: to advance the Gospel in the example of St. Francis de Sales.

This sacred mission, while belonging to us priests, brothers, and seminarians, is made richly possible through the cooperation, collaboration, and openness of our parishioners, students, co-workers, benefactors, and friends. Living Jesus allows all of us to let the dogma live loudly in a strong and gentle way that matches and respects each personality. Is there any other way to live?