Vocation

It’s hard to conceive of a topic about which to write, apart from the disquieting news surrounding the Church these days — or rather, surrounding the Church’s leaders — or more appropriately, surrounding the Church’s earthly leaders.

It may seem redundant to state it thrice, as I have, but we would do well to hold fast to these very distinctions today.

As always, there have been, and ever will be, sinners in the Church at every level. Let it be clear to us, then, that crisis itself is nothing new. However, it may be safe to say that the present crisis amongst the Church’s priests and bishops is unprecedented.

We can have our faith shaken if we have placed our faith in the people and precepts of the Church, without grounding our trust in the very person of Jesus. I can’t plead any more simply with you than to remind you, as you have doubtless heard many times by now, that God is real, personal and deeply in love with you.

This should give us great comfort, even if we are a bit bewildered as to how to live under that truth. Fr. Steven’s homily last week can give us a great place to start — we must use our faith. As a muscle that grows slack and weak when neglected, our faith must be put to use in order to grow stronger. Engage what you know of God in the decisions you face, especially in the small ones. As you become accustomed to remembering Christ when greeting the teller at the bank, smiling at the cashier in the grocery store, maintaining your patience in the midst of frustrating traffic and correcting your children with stern and unrelenting love, you will become more willing and able to remember Christ when choosing a house, considering a job offer and dealing with a difficult family member or situation.

There is an age old saying that describes how to become holy rather accurately: “practice makes perfect.” Since we have the benefit of the witness of the Saints, we know the habits and patterns of holy people. We have but to imitate these great examples, mindful that Jesus is the object of each choice.

What does this do, in the face of all we have learned of the failures of Church leaders over the past 14 days?

We must be very aware, acutely so now, that we as the Faithful of the Church should throw ourselves into our vocations in the Church. (Do not be mistaken; every baptized person has a vocation in the Church — marital status, occupation, family situation or sinfulness entirely notwithstanding!)

Among the words we can trust from any Pope, is the reality that there is upon all of us a call to holiness. We, the laity, cannot afford to assume that our priests will carry our share of that load. There is a path to Sainthood in every walk of life that has in both its ends and means the good of all.

I must, as much as Fr. Steven, seek to act according to the way of Christ and according to the direction of the Holy Spirit. You, too, no matter where you live or work, must act according to the way of Christ, which we come to know through constant exposure to his revelation in the Bible and according to the leading of the Holy Spirit in every moment great or small.

As I sang and prayed our meditation song, (“Holy Jesus You Are,” last week I received the consolation that we are not led by a pope, bishop, or priest. We are instead led by Christ, and that those whose responsibility it is to govern the Church are highly fallible people, along with each of us. None are worthy to be called “Christian” (“another Christ’). None are worthy to discharge the ministry of Christ as priest. None are worthy to claim to personally safeguard the sanctity of the Church’s precepts as bishop or Pope. But we ARE all called, in spite of our unworthiness, and each in their own way.

Only the Holy Spirit can lead the Church home to the wedding feast of the Lamb. The Holy Spirit is doing just that. Slowly, sometimes painfully, but inexorably, we proceed with each step closer to our Divine Lover, to our destined Bridegroom, and at last to true union with Jesus, whose love is able to overcome our every flaw.

David Dunst
Music Director

 

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