Someone once said that the words, "I must do something" require much more effort than "something must be done." In James 2:24 it says "Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith alone." To aspire to the title of Christian requires some degree of action rather than a simple allegiance to his words. "I must do something" means that as a follower of Christ I must be proactive. "Something must be done" is a modern approach to problem-solving that looks to others in the community, the government, or a phantasm of ideology to take action.
What can Catholics do to take responsibility for their Christian faith?
1. Begin by taking inventory of your life. Do you try to adhere to a moral lifestyle? Are there aspects of your decision-making that could use some improvement? In other words, are the principles in which you believe consistent with your actions?
2. How much time during the course of each day is devoted to quiet meditation, prayer, reading the Bible and contemplating its words? Do I take the time to pray alone, with others and at various intervals during the day? Does my prayer life include the rosary?
3. Consider the needs of others. What do people need in your family, your community, your parish, your hometown? Do they need food, shelter, books, jobs, assistance with language skills, etc... What are your talents and how can you apply them to the needs of others?
4. Personal relationships can have a great impact on the choices we make. If we are holding grudges, treating others with impatience or ingratitude these behaviors can affect our lifestyle choices and the decisions that help us improve as Christians. Is there someone we need to forgive?
5. As a Catholic, the sacraments are an integral part of our relationship with God. Jesus Christ blessed us with the ability to attend Mass, receive the Eucharist, and participate in reconciliation. Do we take advantage of these blessings as often as we can?
6. In our modern culture, various forms of media are bombarding us each day with entertainment, news, literature, music, and edification. To what media sources do we turn our attentions? We can read Catholic literature to help us develop a closer relationship with God. We can watch Catholic television (EWTN) or listen to Catholic radio; we can listen to Catholic music or instructional CDs to deepen our faith.
7. There may be neighbors, friends, co-workers, family members, or even strangers who seem lost and could use some guidance from us. How can we bring them closer to God? How can we invite them to more fully enjoy and participate in the Body of Christ?
8. Are there ways in which we can help our parish by becoming more actively involved in various groups, activities, functions and events? Community-building is the example given to us by Christ. His ministry involved forming a group that worked together to build God's kingdom.
The Responsible Catholic is accountable for deeds as well as faith. As Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said, "Do something beautiful for God."