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Rebuilding Our Church Part 2

8/10/2005 - 9:00 AM PST

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By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005

A friend told me the story several years ago about a man who left his parish. He did not feel comfortable because the priests challenged the parishioners on such things as homosexuality. The man left because he wanted to be in a parish where he felt comfortable. Unfortunately, I think that is one of the problems in our Church today, parishioners want a comfortable place to worship. There is nothing wrong with comfort, but we are not here to be comfortable; we are here to spread the word of the Gospel. That is a challenge.

JESUS: ON A MISSION

I often hear people tell me that we need to be ďniceĒ like Jesus. Jesus was good; he was not nice. (See Matthew 15 as an example.) Yet, more importantly, Jesus was here on a mission and that mission involved total and complete self giving on a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional level. He focused on doing the will of the Father by working to fulfill the commands of Love of The Father and Love of His neighbor. Both fully human and fully Divine, Jesus is able to love us and redeem us in ways that no other can. That love and redemption is fulfilled through His death and resurrection. He calls us to follow him so that we may partake of this redemption and experience eternal life.

We are members of his body and, therefore, we must carry on his mission. That mission is a challenge, not a source of comfort. You and I are, as St. Francis would say, channels of Godís peace. The more we are self-giving to God, the more He can teach us to be self-giving to others. We can then do His will. We are not here to be comforted as to comfort, to be healed as to heal.

COMPLACENCY KILLS THE SPIRIT

One thing that damaged our Church was a loss of a sense of that truth. We became complacent with being comfortable Americans in the Post Vatican II and Post World War II era. The more complacent we become, the less we testify to the truth and the less we do Godís will.

Our mission is to testify and live Christís truth, and nothing less. Yet, we do that as people of prayer and obedient to Godís will and not our own. Some decry this, and even reject it, claiming that we can give God lip service and still be a Catholic. They believe that we can reject some Catholic teaching and still be Catholic. However that is simply not true. The more we embrace Catholic teaching, the stronger we are as Catholics. The stronger we are as Catholics, the more able we are to do Godís will. The less we take Catholic teaching seriously, the less we can even guess what ultimately is Godís will.

GOD DOES NOT MIND IF I DONíT CARE ABOUT HIM?????

How many Catholics will say that God does not mind if you do not go to Church every Sunday? That is not true. How do I know? God gives us two ultimate commandments: Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. If Sunday comes and you are not attending mass because you have more important things to do, then you presume on Godís mercy. God is not loved with your whole being. Therefore, he is not able to give you the return he has for that love, which is Divine Wisdom.

Our obedience to God bears fruit not only in eternal life, but the wisdom of God renewing our mind. We develop a clearer vision for doing his will and a greater desire to joyfully do it. None of this happens if we have a cavalier attitude toward the commandments of God.

We all see a dismissive attitude of sin as being old fashioned and medieval. No, using leaches to cure disease is old fashioned and medieval. Seeking to live a virtuous life by rejecting sin and embracing the gospel is no more old-fashioned and medieval than using Archimedesí Principle

PRIDE: THE MOTHER OF ALL SINS

The greatest of sins is pride. Look at where pride is rampant. I am often quite critical of universities. This is not because I am anti-intellectual, I am not. It is because, there is too much sinful pride in universities, Catholic and otherwise. The minute I go down the street claiming that because I have a Masters of Divinity degree I am smarter than you are, I fit Socratesí definition of the fool. The truth is I am smarter than nobody. I am more educated than some, but we all have our intellectual gifts. What one does not have in educated intelligence, he may have in emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, ability to love and/or to be virtuous over and above my educated abilities. The arrogant self-focus and that act of dismissing others because they are not as educated as I am is the sin of pride. It is also the sin of the schismatic and the deceivers. We must humbly open ourselves to the wisdom of God, to joyfully do the work of God. God works through all the members of his community even and often especially those without a college degree. ...

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