One of the hardest things about growing up is having your eyes opened to things your younger-self never worried or thought twice about.
Some call it a loss of innocence, but I’d rather think of it as a revelation of hard truths.
Like the day I learned Santa Claus wasn’t real. Granted, it was a bit of a relief, as my older brother tricked me into believing that one of the elves got let loose in the house, and I was scared to death. But — revelation of hard truth, none the less.
Well, there is one of those revelations of hard truths in today’s reading from Mass — in Romans Chapter 6.
“Present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.” Rom 6:13
I don’t know about you — but the phrase weapons for righteousness literally made me do a double take. Frankly…that is a difficult concept to wrap my head around.
Because it is a complete departure from the “cushy Christianity” that we all grew up with. The “sing-along faith” that taught us that, Yes, Jesus Loves Me, and encouraged us to let This Little Light of Mine shine – let it shine, let it shine.
Which, yes are beautiful aspects of our faith — important ones — that even children can understand.
But weapons for righteousness? That seems a little outside my pay grade, and definitely outside my comfort level.
As someone who overcame a severe case of anorexia, my body has been a lot of things — a source of shame, a punching bag, something I’ve wanted to hide, a source of pain and tension for my loved ones. For so long it was something I disrespected and abused. But just like in the reading, God redeemed it, raising it from death to life. And now, He wants me to use this second chance, new life, and use my body to be a weapon for righteousness.
I mean, that is a powerful, powerful phrase.
And it is a precisely revealing concept, that shows the foresight Jesus had when He instructed us to go and make disciples of all nations in the Great Commission. (Matthew 28)
Jesus knew that our walk with Him would be more of a battle in this life. A battle against powers and forces that seek only to destroy and discourage and disband.
God is not weak. God is not a pacifier when it comes to living out our faith. He expects us to act. Boldly. Strongly. Bravely. — Just like He did on the Cross.
A weapon is used to attack. That’s not subtle. Nor is it the first time in the Bible we’ve been given instruction to attack: In the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, we’re given the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ep 6:17)
We are instructed to take our faith on the offensive. A full court press.
So what does that look like, truly, in 2019? It’s no secret — this world is incredibly divided. Hot button issues have everyone’s emotions bubbling right below the surface, and one wrong word can cause a catastrophic blow up that can potentially sever friendships, damage relationships, end careers, or at the very least, spark a heated Facebook debate in the comments section.
Weapons for righteousness.
There is so much false truth out there that people are just lapping up like a camel in the desert. Which, to be fair, shows an earnest yearning for something more. Something greater than ourselves. A noble purpose. Higher calling. Some semblance of order or stability in this quaking world of ours. But we’re looking in all the wrong places. And that misguided mindset our culture has adopted is leading us down a path, right into the arms of the evil one, puppeteering it all.
Weapons for righteousness.
What would happen if we no longer stayed “quiet” and “polite” about the teachings of Jesus — even the inconvenient ones that contradict the teachings of society?
We can defend the unborn child in the womb by peacefully praying in front of Planned Parenthood. We can fight for social justice in our neighborhoods and communities by volunteering with prison ministries, or working with inner city outreach ministries. We can defend the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and sanctity of all human life by having challenging conversations in love. We can campaign door to door for politicians who uphold the morals and teachings of Jesus. We can pray in public before meals. We can share our faith and our testimonies with others, especially those who hold opposing views or beliefs.
Presenting our bodies as weapons for righteousness means living radically for Jesus.
And if this is making your pits sweat a little bit, well — good. Because it won’t be comfortable. Jesus even told us that: “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but division” — father against son, and mother against daughter. (Matthew 10:51.)
If you’re noticing a pattern of jarring language, you’re not alone.
This world is a battle for souls. Jesus, on Calvary, paid the ultimate price, but since then, our world has strayed to a godless existence, that all but persecutes, ridicules, and humiliates people of faith.
It’s our duty to pick up our sword of the Spirit, and put our lives to work, defending Jesus, and being used as weapons for righteousness.
It may be a hard truth, but it’s a Truth worth fighting for.
About the author:
Caralyn is the writer and speaker behind the blog, BeautyBeyondBones. It has recently been named one of the Top Three Eating Disorder Recovery Sites on the WorldwideWeb. She’s a twenty-something actress and writer in New York City. Having battled a severe case of anorexia and Ulcerative Colitis, she now uses her story of total restoration to positively impact others, and offer Christ’s hope and encouragement for those with eating disorders, and other forms of adversity. Her book, Bloom is now available!
Photo courtesy of Caralyn. Used with permission. All rights reserved.