Corapi: Obedience = life
Renowned preacher tells St. Louis that humility leads to obedience and life . . .
by Patrick Novecosky
Renowned preacher Fr. John Corapi reminded more than 7,000 faithful during an intense day-long event in St. Louis that with God, there is nothing to fear. Building on his theme “Be Not Afraid – There is Truth,” he put many of our culture’s problems in perspective by explaining them through the lens of faith, stressing the virtue of humility.
“Learn your faith, interiorize your faith, then radiate your faith,” he said in the first of his four-part address.
The May 1 gathering, sponsored by Legatus’ St. Louis Chapter and the St. Louis Archdiocese, drew more than 7,000 faithful from across the country to the Chaifetz Arena at St. Louis University.
Battle for souls
Father Corapi began by quoting Pope John Paul II’s famous first words as pontiff: “Be not afraid.” He urged the faithful to put their full trust in Jesus Christ who is Truth itself. “Truth is not something, Truth is somebody,” he said.
In a wide-ranging discourse, the business-mogul-turned-priest talked about pride, freedom and fear. “Pride,” he said, “makes everyone into ‘God,’ and you have no objective truth. The antidote is humility. If God humbled himself, who are we not to humble ourselves? Remember that humility leads to obedience, which leads to life. Pride leads to disobedience and death.”
Father Corapi’s rousing talks drew upon scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the lives of the saints as he called Christians to task for dropping the ball and losing the culture to the “neo-pagan” elements.
“The unraveling of Christianity has led to the unraveling of the world,” he explained. “We are at war [for souls], so we don’t have the luxury to sit on our complacent rear ends.”
Urging attendees to examine the current political climate, he said that “socialism is not in conformity with biblical teaching. Socialism doesn’t profit the poor, but only brings poverty and misery. Socialism is about the seizure of power. It only brings everyone down to the lowest common denominator.”
In his final segment, Fr. Corapi said that in all of his years as a priest, he’s never seen such fear in people. “There’s a lot of anxiety, a lack of trust in government, elected and appointed officials. There’s a crisis of trust,” he said. Then quoting Jesus from the Gospels of Mark and Luke, he advised “fear is useless; what is needed is trust.
“If the stock market crashes, will you?” he asked. “If you have God, you have everything! The day for fence-sitting is over; the days to be a lukewarm Catholic are rapidly coming to an end. It’s becoming very hard to live your faith in a neo-pagan world.
“Things won’t change until we begin to live our faith in a dynamic way,” he said. “When we do that, we will radiate it to the rest of the world. Don’t worry about what the rest of the world is doing so much. We have to each get ourselves right. It starts with each one of us, one person at a time.”
The evening before taking the big stage, Fr. Corapi briefly addressed Legatus’ monthly chapter event at the Drury Inn in downtown St. Louis. He gave a brief overview of the talk he was planning for the next day, and then commended Legatus for its role in forming Catholic business leaders.
“You play a very important role in the grand scheme of what goes on in this country,” he told them.
Chapter president Jim Bick Jr. drafted the event’s theme for Fr. Corapi. “When we proposed this, there were a lot of high-profile atheists in the news, so I drafted a one-page proposal on the theme ‘Be Not Afraid-There Is Truth.’ To our surprise, Fr. Corapi loved it. He told us that it was only the second or third time he’s ever accepted a theme suggestion from somebody. That’s kind of heartening.”
Legate Karen Ruberto helped coordinate the event that brought the famous preacher to St. Louis. It began, she said, as an attempt to bring him in as a chapter event speaker. After numerous scheduling problems and Fr. Corapi’s illness a few years ago, it almost didn’t happen. After his recovery, the priest reorganized his ministry for large-scale venues.
“From the very beginning, we had enthusiasm and excitement from the entire chapter,” she said. “When tickets went on sale last fall, members were buying 25-30 tickets each. We opened it up to members from other chapters, and we have good representation from them.”
Ruberto applauded Fr. Corapi’s message. “His message is very profound for Legatus members — that when we change we can then influence many for Christ,” she said.
According to his website, Fr. Corapi went “from small town boy to the Vietnam era US Army, from successful businessman in Las Vegas and Hollywood to drug-addicted and homeless, to religious life and ordination to the priesthood by John Paul II, to a life as a preacher of the Gospel who has reached millions.” Father Corapi regularly appears on EWTN television. His St. Louis event was the first of six events he will preach at this year.
Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.