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Yes, I am an optimistic Christian Published: Sunday, August 22, 2004 By: Dr. Manuel Ńngel Morales

This early morning, I met with a very distinguished person who promptly asked if I was a Christian. Absolutely, I said, and let me explain a little. My faith, as a Christian, is grounded not in my ability to solve problems, but in Christís love, salvation and promise of fidelity to me. That promise, as I have lived it, is the promise of reconciliation, is about a kingdom in which human beings will know themselves to be as one, a kingdom in which my church and the public life are foretastes. Though we sometimes may be not faithful to God, God will be faithful to us. This kind of thinking is the true source of a Christian optimism in an often broken world.

What God requires of those of us who call on His name is responsible servanthood. God wishes to act in and through us, so Christian optimism does not relieve people of social responsibility. The Christian faith compels to re-vision the nature of our responsibility. We are primarily responsible for turning to God, for attempting to know and do Godís will. And as Jesusí life demonstrates, and I can give assertive testimony of this, human action which is faithful to Godís will can have visible and dramatic social effects.

The understanding of the Christian optimism can help us break the vicious circle of despair. For if we act as to know and do Godís will, then inward searching, in the form of profound prayer can contain hope and optimism. As I have learned in my church, the interior journey will take us not into isolation and individualism, but into a more solid sense of our human unity, our ones in God.

As a matter of fact, our claim is with the complexities of public life, the inward experience is the primary arena in which the reality of human community and solidarity can once again be felt and experienced. That is why I love to go to church on Sundays. It is in the stillness of prayer that Godís word is most often clearly heard. In order to experience the root reality of human unity the inward quest is necessary, because God occupies the heart of our true self and is also at the heart of all other selves.

So, forPuerto Rico, let us deepen, and direct, and discipline that inwardness in the light of the faith and ask God to lead us to a vision of faithful action on the peopleís behalf. As we have shared with many friends, students and clients, we can contribute to the renewal of our social reality by deepening our inward quest. This signifies that we realize that the inner and social aspects of human beings are two inter related dimensions of the whole. The solitude of praying in community renews in us the vision and strength from which faithful social action can flow. I can give direct testimony of how prayer exerts a kind of action in ways in which influences social events. The very presence of Jesus Christ, made whole by prayer and faith in God, was enough to transform personal and social realities.


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