Friday, May 24, 2024

From "The Role of the Laity in the Church", by Archbishop of Dublin Kevin McNamara, 1985

In this Christian life there is no 'pass course'. There is only an 'honours course', which all Christians must follow. It is summed up in the words of Christ, which were addressed to all: "Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5:48)

Referring to the Christian life, the great Cardinal Newman used to say: "Growth is the only proof of life". Unless we are growing in the love of God, how can we feel sure that his love is in our hearts at all? It may not be easy to measure our growth in love of God, but at any rate growth is what we must constantly aim at.

Sometimes people feel they have reached a reasonably good standard in the Christian life. To aim higher, they may say to themselves, is not required of them.

To think like that, however, is to forget that to every Christian the words were addressed: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind". (Mt 22:37). Half-hearted love is unworthy of God. He wants nothing less than our whole heart. If we put a limit on our love for him, we are reducing him to our own measure. And that means that we do not really love God at all.


  1. What he says follows phrase that struck me this year in the Pentecost account in Acts: that the wind filled the 'entire house'. If we indentify the upper room with the house of Mary, mother of Mark, we know that there was at least one maid who makes a significant appearance later, as well as,a possibly still quite young, Mark. Do we contemplate that the Wind really filled the entire house- cooks in the kitchen, seasonally employed serving hands, foreign boarders, a few teens still at lessons, all challenged to have their share?

    1. Thanks for that, Séamus. It's a fascinating question but probably not answerable. I always wonder about the miracles in the Bible. What exactly were they like? What did the onlookers see when Christ multiplied the loaves and fishes? Why didn't the apostles recognise the risen Jesus? That sort of thing.