In the first outlines and drafts of this book – haphazard attempts at clarity, in the best language we could come up with in the allotted time – my children got to hear me wail and wonder and whine, and they so graciously slogged through the tripe and bits of wisdom, and noted such. Many parents suffer through their children’s whining. They, unfortunately, have suffered through mine, and awakened this confession. From their frankness we realized that this confession’s purpose far exceeds our expectations. Confession must lead to testimony. Their questions have led me to clarity. And so here we are.
To continue my obsession with the Church I felt that I must either choose one camp or the other, or abandon my Catholic left/right schizophrenia and choose another path of Christianity.
A journey to anywhere else than heaven would be a journey toward oblivion. Whether my children agree with me or not, the end point of all our paths – heaven or oblivion – is a certainty.
Jesus is not confused, nor is he quixotic. He does separate, however, those who would not believe him, or better “could” not believe him, from those who yearn for his presence.
Fundamentalist Christianity, Roman Catholic Christianity, and any other type of Christianity form my understanding and experience of God. These groups are my pals. My baseline, though, is God himself.
This world, the one we live in, only “reflects” what God created for us all. Our stability and our sense of being at home in this age, this time, and each of our individual lives is not permanent.
Holiness is grieved by sin. So, while the holy ones seek to rescue the fool, the rest of us concentrate on the recognizable flaw of that very fellow in ourselves.
A community life, gathered with fellow believers helps immensely to keep from going crazy. On our own we can clean up our stored beliefs. Together, we discover new ones, enhance them and challenge each other. God is with us.
At the base of these handed-down beliefs that spark our communication, experiences and prayer with God we Christians all use the same biblical source. We didn’t just think this stuff up on our own.
In a fantastic twist of logic sold to us by intellectual atheists, we must magically conclude that we all can achieve and even fulfill a life of godlike ambitions in our short lives. It’s an absurd premise followed by an implausible ending.
Vatican II emphasized the Royal Priesthood. Those runningthe Catholic Church saw immediately the confusion and disarray in the orderlyoperation of Catholicism as a religion if priesthood now suddenly included allCatholics, indeed all Christians.
The early church chose the term “catholic” to identify Christians in their diversity to cement forever the notion of inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. I cannot adequately convince anyone that all Christians are by definition Catholic, even though I have concluded that this is true.
The Word cannot be understood or read without the Holy Spirit. We cannot package the Word and deliver Jesus in a transaction of sentences and paragraphs separate from our partnership with God. The Word not only is Jesus Christ alive, but the root of all witness and testimony.
Now onto Male, Celibate Priesthood and the Magisterium
We Catholics pick on our priest one moment, and praise him the next. We more often forget the role of priesthood in every Christian’s life, and fret over the institutional pecking order of leadership. Not all of us are wired for institutional service, or called to it.
While institutional ministering takes place around the Eucharist and sacramental life of the church – anointing, counseling, baptizing, confirming, marrying and burying – the missionary work may better belong to the laity, 24x7, 365 days a year, in places where we the laity live.
Yeah, but I’m a Roman Catholic
The Holy Spirit, calling for more leaders in the Kingdom of God than the Catholic Church, will muster up and manage just fine with non-Catholic Christians. Here’s the point. God is in charge of the success of the church, not us.
The “sending of the promise” of the Father comes to those of us who believe and choose to follow Jesus, and subsequently we are charged to feed and teach others. That’s the authority we have.
When we do meet the Spirit, the three-person trinity of God is enlightened in us through experience, rather than just the mind or heart. We will not know God fully as humans in this lifetime, but the glimpses are startling.
We believe that we were made and given a will to choose. Why did anyone sin, then? Why would God’s perfect creation disintegrate into what we see today? For will to be free, the option for evil will exist. And sin does take place.
If True, then True, Even if We Don’t Believe It
Jesus calls on us to follow him so that his Spirit could be right here with us, at all times. What better time to live in the story than today, when death no longer has a hold onus, even as it claws at our very skin?
As an author what claim to any authority can I make? Other than my position as parent, what leadership role can I proclaim? My motivation seems clear, but divine urgings and parental responsibility still seem to come short to any claim of authority.
The answer is that we go where the Holy Spirit wants us. Somehow, we’ve all got to figure that out. In contradiction to this living where we are, though, is the need to know more about who God is. Because, God is everywhere.
We must weigh our creed against the overwhelming weight of truths from the Church, the community of believers who follow Jesus and live in the Spirit. This takes more than a lifetime. It takes an eternity.
The foibles of leadership in our Catholic and non-Catholic Christian churches will not be solved by me, and may not need to be solved in ways I imagine. The authority of the Church is sacred, and it will stand.