A a minister with in the Catholic Church I am charged with teaching the truths of the Church, proclaiming the good news of the Gospels and imparting the moral code that the Church has given us. In truth as a Catholic, regardless if I’m a minister or not I am charged with the same.
We are called by our baptism to be priest, prophet and king (all lower case on purpose) with each comes a great responsibility. With each comes the graces of God, but like all graces from God, we have to be open to them. Our openness to them does not change the fact that they are given from God as a gift, if we chose not to receive them that is our freewill, and God will honor our choice.
As a fallen race we are often times unable to keep our emotions and or feelings out of the mix, allowing our human nature to interfere with the divine nature of the Church. Now before you go off and remind me that the Church is also human, that man is running things down here….. I know, I know, but that does not negate the fact that the Church has a divine nature about her. Jesus established his church here on earth through St. Peter, he didn’t have to, he could have established a church here on earth with no visible or human interaction, he is God after all. But he chose not to, he chose to take a fragile broken race and place them as the visible head of his divine creation.
In doing so Jesus knew the Church would have flaws, not in her teachings, but in her day to day management. Jesus promised that the Church would not fail, that the gates of hell would not open up on the Church. This promise still stands today, the Church is still flawed but Her teachings are still solid and sound and as Jesus promised true to Him and his Church He established over 2000 years ago.
In today’s world of instant information and Wikipedia everyone seems to think they have the correct answer to what ever question they are trying to get an answer to. The problem is we often times, in our broken humanity, will dilute the answer to fit our needs or will continue to search for the response that we want.
We search outside of the authority of the teachings to find answers to the teaching. We look for the truth with out the light of God’s Church shining our way. Now I am not saying that the truth can not be found outside of the Church, in fact the Church herself states that it can be found, in part, but not the whole truth. Only the One True Faith, the Catholic Church contains the wholeness of the truth, so why look outside of the wholeness to only find bits and pieces of the truth? The answer to that question is easy, because it is easer to create the answer wanted with only bits and pieces put together. The wholeness of the truth can not be broken up, separated and rearranges in to convenient truths, for there is only one truth, and Jesus established the Catholic Church as the authority, here on earth, of that truth.
The Church is charged with the same three graces we are charged with Priest, Profit and King (capital letters on purpose). The Church is the only true authority when it comes to proclaiming the good news, we as members of the Church are charged with teaching what the Church teaches, proclaiming the truth that Jesus Christ established here on earth.
Over the centuries the humanity of the Church has made many mistakes, from Popes who fathered children to the killing of innocent people in the name of Jesus the Christ. Each a gravies sin, and one that the Church as a whole must make amends for. In recent times we have had to deal with the sins of some of our priest. The taking of innocence from the most vulnerable among us. This scandal is still causing great pain and division with in the Church, and the faithful must atone for the sins of the Church for years to come. But this does not change the fact that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ, nor does it diminish the truths or the teachings of the Church. The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the deposit of the faith given to us by God through the written and oral Traditions of the faith. From the gospels and other books of the bible to the early Church fathers over the 2000 years of history the Church has grown in her understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We, as a fallen race, fall in to the trap of our own EGO’s assuming that we are smarter than, more educated than, more in touch with God and the Church He established. From the seat of Peter comes the power of the earthly Church. Jesus, in his wisdom, established one visible head of the Church. Jesus established the authority of that Church with Peter by giving Peter the keys to heaven. It is only Peter (and his successor i.e.the Popes throughout history) that holds the keys, it is only to Peter that our Lord was talking to when he established the authority of His Church here on earth. How bold of us, how egotistical of us to assume we know better than Christ himself when it comes to the establishment and authority of his Church.
Yes God created us with freewill and a mind to think with, and yes we are to study and learn all we can about our faith, but we are not to remake our faith to fit in to the boxes we create for ourselves here on earth. This faith is not meant to make us comfortable here on earth, in fact just the opposite is true, Jesus tells us so when He tells us we will be persecuted for our faith. The Catholic Church, in all of her 2000 years of storied history, is the Church established by Christ Himself, it is the Church that God created for the fallen human race to worship Him in. The imperfections of the Church are not from God nor Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives with in the Church, and is at work with in the Church, no the imperfections of the Church is humanity. Humanity allowing there EGO’s to take over, allowing the pride of a fallen race to guide them.
Jesus established a Church whose light will never go out, a Church were the truth will always be taught. If we choose to look outside of Her to find the truth we are looking at only partial truths, if we choose to disregard the truth she teaches, we are disregarding the word of God. We are created with a freewill, God will not force the truth upon us, He has established a care taker of the truth, the Holy Catholic Church, but like all other graces God offers us, we must be open to accept it.
Accepting the faith is not meant to be easy, the way of the cross is a long hard road, Jesus himself stumbled and fell, who are we to think we will not. It is our own arrogance that keeps us from seeing the Truth of Christ with in His Church, his bride whom he married when he died for us on the cross. The road to Calvary is pitted with stones and pot holes and leads to persecution. But Jesus walked that road for us, all we need to do is follow. We are not called to carve out new roads to Calvary, we are called to walk along with Jesus on the road He already walked.
Lent is almost over, but use the remainder of lent to look at the road you are currently walking, is it the same road that Jesus walked or are you carving out your own? Are you living up to your baptismal callings as priest, profit and king or are you creating your own aauthority?
Being Catholic is not an easy thing to be, but in that comes the glory of it, to know that I am called to become something greater than I am, all in the name of the Lord, all for His glory, what a wonderful gift from God. The Catholic Church is my salvation and my cross, it is the sacrifice that I must offer up daily. Like Jesus who is the Priest at the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrificial lamb at the same time, so is our Church. She is our salvation and our damnation all at the same time. She is our salvation in the fact that the Catholic Church is divine in nature, as Jesus is divine in nature. Her teachings are true and Her foundation is unshakable. The Church is our damnation in the fact that She is also human in nature, given to human whims. It is our own doings that causes us to stumble along the way. and it is the Church who shows us and teaches us how to walk in the foot steps of Christ yet again.
I am not perfect for I am human, but my imperfections should not be placed on the Church, I should not look to justify my imperfection in Her. Rather I should look to Her for clarity and direction, take from Her the truth of Her teaching and learn to walk with in the light that Jesus established for us.