Time For a Change
“And I tell, you are Peter and on theis rock I will build My church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Matt 16:18-19
The church will not be destroyed – not by us, by apathy, by this culture of death in which we currently live, not by anything Satan and his ilk can throw at her. Holy Mother Church, the bride of the risen Lord Jesus Christ will never be taken down. Comforting words in which we might remember ass refuge.
Change, however, isn’t explicitly mentioned here by Jesus; and times are different now in the year 2010. Science, technology, the forces that drive modern society have expanded influence. I can work my way through calculus if I wish as a high school student and I can use global positioning system to locate my teenage daughter by accessing the cell signal of her phone. The old “world is flat vs. the world is round” argument had not even been considered in the 30’s a.d. So it’s not a stretch to imagine that the living church must move forward into present time and address the issues of the present age.
The church must change, must grow forward, not for the sake of change itself but for the sake of Mother Church. Truth is unchanging. How the church brings the Truth to the world must change in response to what the people bring to the table. Birth control pills were not exactly an issue in the time of Christ or even the early church.
Are we willing to change? Well that depends. Mr. Kelly asks a few insightful questions.
Why? Why should we grow and change? The answer to this question is a second question, “Where are the young people ( 20 -30’s) in our somewhat empty churches on Sunday/” If change and growth is needed, where do we start without loosing sight of the fullness of Truth that is the Catholic Church?
Mr. Kelly states clearly what he feels are the headers in this newsflash.:
1. Education, education, education – we need to start education Catholics about their yearning for happiness.
2. Discipline – we need to educate Catholics about the beauty of discipline and obedience. Counter-intuitive as it is, discipline and obedience in frredom embodied.
3. Practicalities – we are happiest when we allow the truth of the Gospel to direct our actions and choices.
4. Rediscover spirituality
5. Articulate the relevance of Catholicism– the answers the Catholic Church presents in response to the pertinent questions of our present age (i.e. euthanasia, embryonic stem cell work, cloning etc.)
6. Participate in the Mission of the Church
7. Become prayerful people
8. Inspire people to imitate Christ because He is Truth and Love Embodied.
Mr Kelly asks us to focus on two areas: Education and Evangelization. Mr. Kelly explains clearly how the Catholic Educational System is a sleeping giant. If we an arouse it from slumber, the power it can wield would be magnificent and all the more so because its rightful purpose is to glorify God. If we want to win a war, we must know that we are at war, who the enemies, and what weapons do we need to employ. Our Enemy is Ignorance and weapons are the centuries of collective genius that created the vast body of wisdom we know as catholic theology. How did we become so proud and arrogant as to question the extra-ordinary men and women who have fleshed out Church teaching for us without so much as a sniff.
If we could restructure catholic education to reflect the “WHY the church teaches what she teaches …”, then we might rekindle a new understanding of this fullness of faith.
Evangelization is the other side of the coin for Mr. Kelly. Evangelization is to be both passive (prayer) and active (stepping out into the neighborhood and bringing the Gospel to people). In a nutshell:
1. Nuture friendships – the original model of evangelization.
2. Pray for the persons we are trying to reach with the Gospel. (1 month)
3. Do fun, non-church things and eventually get to the point when you can “Tell your story” – once a friendship is founded. (3 months)
4. Invite friends to outreach events at the church – blessing of the animals, church suppers etc.
5. If the interest is there, go to Mass with the friend.
This chapter has so much more within its pages. It’s a great read if you dare!
Francis of Assisi