Live Audaciously13 Jun 2018
We are challenged to live with hope and audacity. But what does that mean?
Audacity is generally associated with boldness, disregard for consequence and gravitating towards the unconventional. It implies a degree of going against the grain, but also fearlessness and intrepid daring.
Images of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in the 2008 movie, Iron Man flash to mind as I consider someone who exemplifies this definition of audacity. However, for Christians there are other models of a life lived audaciously – namely Jesus, Mary and Saint Marcellin Champagnat.
We only need to look at the Gospel reading of Jesus and the money-changers in the Temple (Mark 11:15–19) to see Jesus revealing his willingness to literally overturn the lives of those around Him. The whip-wielding Jesus is far from the Jesus often portrayed in devotionals. Rather, we see the passion, anger and zeal bursting forth from a man who is desperate to reveal how far God’s people had strayed, even within the walls of the temple court.
Mary’s fiat was an audacious ‘yes’ to the will of God in her life, as she accepted her mission to be the Theotokos, God-bearer. The audacious love of Jesus, poured out on the cross, is also evident in the enduring nature of Mary’s loyalty to her son and her faith in God’s promise.
In a reflection on Mary, Cardinal Barbarin was struck by ‘how she continues to believe in God’s Word when, before her eyes, the exact opposite of what was promised and announced happens. When Jesus was on the cross, she remembered the words of the angel: “He will be great,” “He will be called the Son of the Most High,” “He will reign forever,” … She continues to believe the truth of these impossible words.’ Mary’s faith in God’s ability to make all things possible is without question and ‘she can do nothing except hope against hope’ (O’Donnell, 1996).
Marcellin was born into a family who had audaciously stood strong in a politically unstable and war-torn France. He is remembered for his zeal and willingness to go against the grain by living with the first Brothers community established in Lavalla. The great stone wall which the La Hermitage is carved into, is a testimony to the faith, perseverance and tenacity of a man who embodied audacious living, fuelled by a firm belief in God and protection of Mary his good mother.
It certainly requires audacity for you to be involved in service and to share your faith. When the world tells you to put yourself first and take what you can and you chose to give and focus on the other, when social media tempts you to be constantly connected and you disconnect, opting for quiet contemplation, when leaders tell you to make your own destiny and instead, you pause to listen for the small whisper from God, this is living audaciously.
When we choose to live life audaciously, we transfer hope to those around us, which in turn leads others to pursue a life that goes against the tide of popular culture.
Hope becomes a verb through our actions in service and solidarity and our proclamation of the good news in the way we love each other. To live audaciously, we are not afraid to talk about Jesus and his mission. In fact, we are so courageous that we do much more than talk about the faith, we live it.