Yesterday afternoon I found myself inspired to pray for folks in the ministry of apologetics. It's a challenging and somewhat thankless ministry sometimes, and I'm grateful for those God has called and graced to do it, whether here in the Catholic blogging world or in any other way. I realize that what I do here isn't really apologetic in the sense that it presumes a lot, and is mostly for insiders or at least those who are interested in the Lord, the Catholic faith, or the Franciscan or Capuchin life.
I was led into this prayer because I had an encounter, as I do from time to time, that reminded me how hard it is to communicate Catholic teaching in our society and culture. The faith and the world are at odds at the most basic level of teachings and assumptions, those concerning the nature of the human person, the meaning of the world existing at all, and of being alive in it. Therefore, one can preach or describe that Church's teaching on topics like vocation, marriage, death and treatment of the dead, or even social questions like work and the nature of rights and the state, and get nowhere because these depend on more fundamental truths and assumptions about the human person and the world which are not in place in the conversation.
I don't feel like there is much mechanism in the Church to preach and teach such things either. When was the last time you heard a Sunday homily on the nature of the human person, the final destiny of the dead, or the beauty and meaning of sexuality in the created order? So it's no wonder that the Church's teaching on something like marriage doesn't make sense to people--even Catholics--because we have not taught them the fundamental truths that ground these teachings. The world, on the other hand, is constantly teaching its impoverished and erroneous version of these things through television and popular culture and everything else.
So I pray in thanksgiving to God for those who have taken up this challenging ministry, and ask Him to continue to grace them with wisdom and perseverance. Amen.