Sunday, December 18, 2011

Doing More Important than Saying

After Vatican II, educational visual aids were disseminated to the parishes to educate the Christians on some of the changes that were proposed by the Council. We are all familiar with the pyramid and circle symbolism; pyramids denote structure and circles community.  Lay people "not only belong to the Church but are the Church, under the leadership of the Pope and bishops" (Pope John Paul).
Here in Korea one particular visual aid was a wagon that was being pulled by the bishops and clergy, and pushed by the sisters while the lay people were on the wagon, singing and praying. It was a dig at the situation in the church. This was mentioned in an article for priests in a pastoral bulletin.
Lay people have been generally seen as objects of pastoral care by the leaders in the Church and not as fellow workers in the vineyard. This has reduced lay people, in many cases, to a passive role in the Church. Pope John Paul II said, in his Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful: "In particular, two temptations can be cited which they have not always known how to avoid: the temptation of being so strongly interested in Church services and tasks that some fail to become actively engaged in their responsibilities in the professional, social, cultural and political world; and the temptation of legitimizing the unwarranted separation of faith from life, that is, a separation of the Gospel's acceptance from the actual living of the Gospel in various situations in the world."

Much of what we read and hear today concerning spirituality has to do with behavioral and affective approaches to truth. We know that many of us Christians do not behave any differently from those who do not believe. Many have been exposed to the Christianizing process but are not interested enough in applying it in our daily lives; they have everything but the heart for the work.
The article mentions the need for the ministerial priesthood to work together with the priesthood of the faithful. The layperson's vocation is to the world, to live in it, and to work for its sanctification. The lay people are on the front lines and the ministerial priesthood are there to educate, encourage, inspire, give meaning to their work and help them participate in the work, joyfully and with a sense of mission.
When the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of all the laity work together in communion then we are a true sign of the oneness that we are in Christ. This sign is not readily seen so it will be the way we live this in our lives that will be the message that is conveyed--working together as equals, in community, to carry our Christ's mission that was entrusted to the first community. Working together is the message that we have been called to give. Isn't it more important than what we have to say?

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