Saint Augustine reminds us that the City of Man and the City of God intermingle. We have obligations to each. But our final home and our real citizenship are not in this world. Politics is important, but it’s never the main focus or purpose of a Christian life. If we do not know and love Jesus Christ, and commit our lives to him, and act on what we claim to believe, everything else is empty. But if we do, so much else is possible—including the conversion of the world around us. The only question that finally matters to any of us is the one Jesus posed to his apostles: “Who do you say I am?” (Mk 8:29). Everything depends on the answer. Faith leads in one direction, the lack of it in another. But the issue is faith—always and everywhere, whether we’re scholars or doctors or priests or lawyers or mechanics. Do we really believe in Jesus Christ, or don’t we? And if we do, what are we going to do about it?
A genuinely Catholic life should feed the soul as well as the mind; should offer a vision of men and women made whole by the love of God, the knowledge of creation, and the reality of things unseen; should enable us to see the beauty of the world in the light of eternity; and should help us recapture the nobility of the human story and the dignity of the human person.
Excerpted from A Heart on Fire by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia. Copyright © 2012 by Charles J. Chaput. Excerpted by permission of Image Books,a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.