The Sanctification of the World

I was listening to a Fr. Robert Barron CD in the car this week, for the umpteenth time. That’s what I do. I just put it in and listen to it over and over again. I routinely pick up something that did not register in an earlier time through.

What popped out at me this time was a comment that, in effect went like this: “one of the unrealized dreams of the Second Vatican Council is the sanctification of the world”. In fact, “the sanctification of the world” has been assigned to us, the laity.

“The laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.” – Lumen Gentium #31

We are those who “live in the world.” The clergy is not. We are. If the world is to be “sanctified”, it’s up to us.

“That’s just great!”, you exclaim.

But the truth is, we are not going to change the culture from the top, down; or from the outside, in. It has to happen from the bottom, up; and the inside, out – “as a leaven” – one circle of influence at a time.

Fr. Larry Richards noted on one of his CDs, recently, that if you light a match in a totally dark room, the darkness does not overcome the light from the match, but rather the tiny light of the match pushes away the darkness.

We are called to be that tiny light of the match. That’s all. Affect the darkness in the immediate vicinity of where we are. If we just concern ourselves with impacting our circles of influence; if we each just sanctify “our” worlds, the world will be sanctified.

Let me share a story with you.

When my son, a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, moved back to Columbus and was needing to expand his network in order to grow his startup business (and get back to regular Mass attendance) I was very intentional about introducing him to my network of Catholic men. (You are the books you read and the people you hang out with, you know.) He is now the official Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the Catholic Seminary, here – and – attending Mass on a much more regular basis.

But here is the really cool part. One of the seminarians he has been working with has lost more than 100 pounds in the past six months. He has been very dedicated to, not just working out with my son at the seminary facility, but putting in extra time at my son’s facility. While there, the seminarian has developed a friendship with a young lady. (They’re treadmill buddies, that’s all!) Well, I just learned that she was confirmed as a Catholic, but had fallen away and was attending a non-denominational Protestant church. Until just a few weeks ago. She has now been back to Mass for the first time since high school.

One person affects one person on their circle of influence, who affects one person on his circle of influence, who affects one person on their circle of influence.

Pretty cool, huh?

Jim Gernetzke

About the Author

Jim Gernetzke

Jim Gernetzke is a John Maxwell-trained and certified business coach and teacher leveraging his 35-plus years' experience in recruiting, personal development and coaching to help individuals become the BEST version of themselves. As a lifelong and devout Catholic, he recognized that too many Catholic business professionals are leading divided lives. Nos Lumine is an answer to that dilemma, helping Catholics transform themselves, and the culture, one person at a time.

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