Chapter 3: In the Light of the Master

I regret that ideologies lead us at time to two harmful errors. On the one hand, there is the error of those Christians, who separate these Gospel demands from their personal relationship with the Lord, from their interior union with him, from openness to his grace. Christianity then becomes a sort of nongovernmental organization stripped of the luminous mysticism so evident in the lives of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Teresa of Calcutta and many others. For these great saints, mental prayer, the love of God and the reading of the Gospel in no way detracted from their passionate and effective commitment to their neighbors; quite the opposite.

The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialistic, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend.

We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where others revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.