December 31, 2008

Family Life

Family Life is under attack these days. Not a shocker. You know this already. Married life is under attack too. Not a shocker. You know this already. The Roman Catholic Church is under attack too. Not a shocker. You know this already.

How are these related incidents?

The Church is a family. The Church’s relationship with Christ is a marriage. Is it an accident that marriage imagery and family imagery is so prevalent in the Gospels? No.

Is the relationship of the Church as Bride to Christ as Bridegroom perfect? No. Is our individual or communal relationship with the Church perfect? No. Because it’s not perfect and the quest for perfection seems to escape us, does that mean perfection should not be attempted? No. We MUST attempt perfection. We MUST attempt Sainthood. We MUST reach for Heaven. The alternatives are not desirable.

We need to work on our relationship as a Community of Faith as much as we need to work on our relationships with our blood family, with our neighbors, with the people we work with. We should not just give up and accept disorder because it’s the “way it is”. We should not compromise principles, in a misguided effort to get along, rather than argue or fight for what we know to be right.

If the Church is not doing what you want should you just leave and go it alone? No. We are called by Christ to be members of The Body. A limb separated from the body cannot survive. Sure, you may be able to survive physically but spiritually, where it really matters, you will die. We need the Community to sustain us. We need to be a member of family. Even if you try and fool yourself that you can do it on your own, you always feel alone. The origin of the word ‘Church’ means: community. The word ‘community’ does not mean: one.

Maybe this is what always called me back. Even when I left the Church, I always felt a connection to it and that I had to return. I always felt I should be there but was never sure why. I have similar ties with my blood family. I may not always see them or be with them, I may not always get along with them, I may not always want to be with them, but I feel compelled to try and make it work.

Who wants to be alone?

There is a difference in being alone with God, in an Adoration chapel, or in the Confessional, or in a hermitage, or in a hospital bed. There you may be physically alone, but spiritually when you are united with the Church you are never really alone. When you are united to The Body you are never really alone. Being physically present does not matter so much as being SPIRITUALLY present. When you show up for Mass (yeah, good for you!) but sit there and mumble about the Gospel reading because you find it personally offensive, then you are not, at that moment, a member of the Church. You just separated yourself. However, staying home altogether from Mass because you’d rather sleep in but saying: “Well, I’ll unite myself spiritually” doesn’t work either. Ideally, you should be both spiritually and physically present in Community. You should give your whole self like Jesus gives us HIS whole self.

Think about this: What if Jesus said: “Well, I won’t actually enter the Bread and Wine during the Consecration. I want to sleep in. I’ll symbolically show up. That’s good enough”

We want the whole package from Jesus, but really, why should He give us anything for our half-assed attempts? We expect, and indeed, demand, Heaven but we fully expect to find it without following the directions. Good luck programming that into your GPS!

Why do the people who want to change the Church to conform to their ideas insist on remaining in the Church, on calling themselves Catholic, even though they reject most of what the Church teaches? They don’t want to be alone, that’s why. Furthermore, these same people have had some “success” in persuading society that some of their ideas and beliefs: gay marriage, same sex practices, contraception, women’s ordination are acceptable and attainable. Like they want their blood relatives, people they work with, to accept their ideas and beliefs without argument, they want the rest of their family, The Church, to do it too.

They fail to realize that without the approval of The Head, The Leader (and I’m not talking about The Pope here) they will never get the acceptance from the Family of Holy Church that they want. Individual members may cave in to their demands but the Community, as a whole, will not. It’s not in my power, it’s not even in the power of the Holy Father, to change the teachings of Christ.

As members of the Roman Catholic Church, we are not living in a democracy. When you enter a Church, check your political and personal credentials at the door, you will not need them. The only cred you have is: Roman Catholic Christian. You profess it: LIVE it!

Should you just go to another denomination that will give you what you want? Heavens and earth why would you want to?!? The Roman Catholic Church has three things going for it that you will not find anywhere else: 1) The fullness of the Truth, 2) Established by Jesus, 3) Opportunity to receive Jesus: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion. These three things will never change-even if sinful people want them to. Nope.


Blogger Lynne said...

Another amazing post...

December 31, 2008 4:51 PM  
Blogger ReturningBeliever said...

So well-spoken and true

December 31, 2008 11:51 PM  

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