Catholic Responsibility

All of God’s creatures are called to different amounts of responsibility depending on their situation in life (CCC 1735, 1793). God gives non-believers only one responsibility, to discover the truth and believe. They aren’t Catholic, so they can’t understand why Catholics have to follow God’s commands. God doesn’t hold that against them. All he desires of them is to seek the truth throughout their life. Some of these people never do discover the truth. In those cases, there is a possibility that at the point of death God, in his mercy, gives them the entire truth and one chance to accept or reject him. Many people, on the other hand, will come to believe during their lifetime. They can then be baptized into the Church. At that point they are a Christian, bound like all of us to follow God’s commands.

Christians, including Catholics, have a lot more responsibility in the world. When a person converts to Christianity, they are no longer just a creature of God. They now become one of God’s children. Being adopted into God’s family comes with more responsibility. In addition to living holy lives themselves, they are now in charge of spreading the Good News to the non-believers. It doesn’t end there. A person’s physical needs must be attended to first before their spiritual needs can be addressed, so God commands Catholics to donate their time, talent, and treasure. This forms the foundation for the Church’s unending call to help the poor and needy in the world (CC 2444).

Going a little further, within the Catholic faith itself, different people have different responsibilities (CCC 1734). A healthy person is called to do a lot more than a sickly person. God calls everyone to do what they are able to do, so a sickly person might only be able to serve here and there or in specific situations. In the worst case, they might be so sick all they can do is pray for others. That is enough for God though. He knows if they are doing their best. On the other hand, the healthy person is called to do much more. They cannot waste all the health they have with self-serving activities. They have the potential to do a lot more than the sickly person. They should take advantage of their health to really impress God.

Even among healthy people though, there are different amounts of responsibilities. Everyone has their own set of unique skills and gifts given to them by God (CCC 1937). That means that everyone is suited to serving in different ways. This is obvious when it comes to careers. After high school graduation most people decide on some field to study. They go to college, become proficient in that field, and then can get a job teaching or performing in their field. The same focus should also be given when it comes to deciding how to serve God.

Look at all your skills and gifts. Then look at all the service opportunities in your community. There are bound to be needs that your skills are a perfect fit for addressing. Sometimes you might see a need in your community that no one (or few) is addressing. Those are unique callings for you to take charge of. I read a story recently about a mother that got a crosswalk and speedometer installed in her neighborhood after noticing cars driving too fast where her kids walked to school. She saw a need that wasn’t being addressed and was uniquely called to help out.

One skill I have is writing. I am far from the best, but I generally have an easy time explaining things in words. One day I saw that the Catholic Church had not embraced the Internet much for evangelization. Millions of young people solely use the Internet to get information, yet the Church had very little presence online. Since I am pretty good at writing, I was uniquely called to spread the Good News through text. I don’t have big credentials or tons of experience with writing, but I do my part to use my skills in service to others.

Everyone will have different amounts of responsibility depending on where they are in life and the gifts they have been given, but we all need to follow this simple rule:

The more you have, the more you have to give.

Jesus gave everything of himself to save humanity. We can’t save humanity, but we can help. As much as possible, we should give everything of ourselves. People that don’t have much, have less to give. People that have a lot though, need to give a lot. Our giving must be proportional to our blessings.

May God bless you with his abundant grace,