Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Call to be Salt of the Earth

Not only those in leadership positions in the Church but those who trust the  Church are  concerned with what is happening: seen by some as  a crisis within the Church. A  seminary professor in his column in the Catholic Times gives his readers a reason to be concerned for the privatization and individualization of our faith life.
Rate of the increase of believers continues to decrease.  Increase in the second half of the 1980s was a unique event but to explain the decrease is not easily done. Consequently, the number of those attending Mass on Sundays is noticeably not increasing. There is little difference in the numbers that were attending Mass 10 years ago and today.

Those willing to serve in the different organizations are difficult to find. Convents and seminaries have dropped in the number of vocations. Activity of the young within the church is not what it was, and we  have a  change to an aged  European-like church. Even among the devout, many are not following the teachings. The numbers going to confession have dropped. Members of the Legion of Mary who are visiting the sick, and the poor have decreased. Sacrifice and detachment among the members are not easily found. Human nature wants to avoid the difficult, but love, and our faith should overcome this tendency, but we don't easily see it, although he knows it exists.

Many are attending prayer meetings, but individualistic religious life is not abandoned. Pope Francis calls this:"a spiritual consumerism tailored to one’s own unhealthy individualism."  

"Many try to escape from others and take refuge in the comfort of their privacy or in a small circle of close friends, renouncing the realism of the social aspect of the Gospel. For just as some people want a purely spiritual Christ, without flesh and without the cross, they also want their interpersonal relationships provided by sophisticated equipment, by screens and systems, which can be turned on and off on command. Meanwhile, the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy, which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness" (Joy of the Gospel #88).

Development in individualistic spirituality within the church may seem a spiritual maturity, but the professor sees this as a serious corruption and a great danger. We as Christians and as Church are to be the salt of the earth. We need to  continually purify our vision and desires. We are in need of reform and renewal, our answer to the call of the Gospel to be salt of the earth.

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