I am fortunate enough to be blogging tonight from Denver, where I am presenting two workshops at the Living the Catholic Faith Conference sponsored by the Archdiocese of Denver. What a blessing to be in the presence of so many devoted Catholics -- 1,500 in attendance today and another 1,500 expected tomorrow. We're talking wall-to-wall people at every event, including the 8 a.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Sitting out there in the crowd, shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Catholics, was a powerful experience, but even more powerful was Archbishop Chaput's challenge to those in attendance to live the Gospel without watering it down or, as he explained, without putting a "gloss" on it.
The good archbishop focused on the responsibility of Catholics to live out the true Gospel message, not some version that we interpret or imagine because it suits our needs or makes us more comfortable. He called on Catholics to fast -- really fast, not the half-hearted stuff we tend to do nowadays. He called on people to be prophets and to speak out in the public square on the issues of the day, such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, immigration and poverty. He told the crowd that the world is not changing for the better because Catholics are not speaking out for what is right. Strong words, but powerful and necessary words, especially in our troubled times.
Tomorrow we head into Round Two of the event, which is really the perfect way to usher in the season of Lent. Surrounded by other Catholics, celebrating liturgy, focusing on our calling -- it's a visible sign of faith in action and a reminder that those beliefs we profess each Sunday are not meant to stay within our church walls. We have to take it to the streets and make it real every other day of the week. Can I get an Amen?