Friday, May 1, 2015
With Courage Moving Ahead
A Salesian priest in the Catholic Times' View from the Ark mentions the experience he had recently in attending a general meeting of the members at their Roman headquarters. What he knew from the news, he heard directly from those who were involved. One superior from France mentioned the closing of monasteries because of old age and the lack of vocations. One superior of a community was in his 90s.
France called the eldest daughter of the Church is in a feeble state bringing much sadness to many. But France is not alone we have Spain, a country once the van guard of mission, and Italy its headquarters, are all in the same state of lethargy.
Superiors of communities of the different countries were grabbing the columnist by the arm asking for missioners to come to their country. Europe is in serious trouble. Overcome with secularism, materialism and a small birth rate has changed the environment and the Korean Church is following them. The future of Korean Catholicism and the religious life is not bright.
We need a check-up on the health of our Catholicism. We are suffering from the hardening of the arteries. We need a lively conversation between pastoral workers and laity, a bonding between rich and poor, communication between the young and old, and a connection between city and country. We do not see the problems in society, and are in search of what makes us feel good, a religion that doesn't cost, darkens the future. We want to cut out the part of the Gospel with the passion. We are only interested in earthly blessings and what is good for family-- a very immature spirituality.
In the history of the Church we have had many false prophets. They have pretty much concentrated on some common elements: reasonableness of absolute moderation, examination of oneself according to religious teachings and preferring not to see the absurdities and cruelty in the world, confuse many with flowery language. Today we have those who sing out the 'no disease and long life' mantra, everything will turn out as we want; we are guaranteed heaven.
Who is true shepherd and who is the hireling requires discernment on our part. The real prophet is only interested in transmitting God's message to the people. The true prophet was not afraid to use the rod to warn against sin and debauchery.
What is the traditional teaching of the Church? We are full of faults. We will be met with pain, failure, wanderings, twists and turns, but all crosses have meaning. We are invited to move with the cross one step at a time. We don't give up, trust in God's mercy, take courage and move ahead.