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By David G Bonagura, Jr., The Catholic Thing, May 26, 2021
David G. Bonagura Jr. teaches at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York. He is the author of Steadfast in Faith: Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism and Staying with the Catholic Church: Trusting God’s Plan of Salvation.
“Be in the world, not of it.” So, Catholics are called to live – engaged in worldly affairs, but not shaped by them. But what does that mean, practically speaking? And what is “the world” that we have to be wary of? How ought we approach it?
This commandment of living comes directly from Jesus Himself at the Last Supper, when He refers to “the world” a staggering thirty-eight times. (John 14-17) Sometimes He means the physical place, such as “I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” But more often He refers to “the world” as a spiritual force that is inherently at odds with Him and His mission. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Christ takes us “out of the world,” away from the people and spirits opposed to Him, with the goal of transforming us to be less like the world and more like Him. …