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324 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

An owner of a large vineyard who fiercely opposed Chavez’s United

Farm Workers decided to ask Catholic bishops to help with the nego-

tiations. They responded positively. Subsequent meetings with Chavez

helped change the owner’s mind about him.

Chavez gradually won many concessions. He operated from the per-

spective of faith, prayer, fasting, and the Church’s teachings on justice.

He linked the economy with morality. He aroused deep sentiments of self-

respect and pride among his people.

He lived simply. While other union leaders received a six-figure salary,

he lived on $5 a week and expenses, just like any other member of his

union. Nothing tempted him away from

La Causa

(The Cause).

Cesar Chavez was enlightened by the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He

knew that God loved the world and wanted to save it. He focused on one

segment of the world, the poor who work in the fields. He was guided by

Catholic teachings about respect for the dignity of each human person,

the nobility of work, and the responsibility of all people to contribute to the

common good and to be wise stewards of the goods of the earth.

He died on April 23, 1993. California has honored Cesar Chavez with

a holiday in his honor on March 31.

Chavez once said, “I am convinced that the truest act of courage

is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for jus-

tice.” He sought a life in Christ both in his personal life and in his vision of

social justice. This commitment to life in Christ is the theme of Part Three

of the




“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law

and the prophets” (Mt 7:12). This “Golden Rule” taught by Jesus in his

Sermon on the Mount is a golden thread that weaves its way through the

moral life of the Christian. It is a behavior that flows from life in Christ

and in the Holy Spirit. Our journey in the moral life begins by looking at

the person of Jesus, listening to his voice, and responding to the strong

yet gentle movement of the Holy Spirit.