Monday, May 24, 2010
Over the past year, I have felt that there has been a great awakening in the Church. More people are recognizing the divisions that are present in the Church and have a great desire to heal the wounds within. Michael Vorris (The Vortex from Real Catholic TV) has been instrumental in pointing out the divisions and the reality of what is destroying the Church in the United States today. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has pointed out that “The greatest persecution of the Church doesn’t come from the enemies outside, but is born from sin inside the Church.” Before healing can occur, truth (as painful as it may be) is necessary. Truth precedes reconciliation. Once the problem has been defined, then the goals for determining a solution can be defined and implemented. When definition and acknowledgment of the problem has taken place, a plan to restore the bonds of unity can be developed. I believe that both Michael Vorris and our Holy Father have clearly defined the problems.
But what is essential in the restoration and healing process? Openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is necessary. In his homily at Pentecost our dear Holy Father told us: "A process of reunification begins among the different and divided parts of the human family". "People, often reduced to competing and conflicting individuals, having been touched by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, which can envelop them to the point that they form a new organism, a new entity: the Church. The effect of God's work is unity. Thus unity is the sign of recognition, the 'calling card' of the Church in the course of her universal history. Ever since the beginning, since the day of Pentecost, she has spoken all languages".
"The Church is never a prisoner of political, racial or cultural boundaries. She must not be confused with other States or with federations of States because hers is a different unity; it aspires to cross all human frontiers."
"From this, dear brothers and sisters derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: when a person or a community close themselves inside their own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign they have distanced themselves from the Holy Spirit. Christians and particular Churches must always compare themselves, and seek harmony, with the one Catholic Church".
The very first step, then, in restoring that unity involves an interior examination of conscience. Contemplate the following questions during quiet time at home or better yet, during Eucharistic Adoration:
Are we allowing our daily actions and decisions to be influenced and guided by the Holy Spirit -- the Spirit of Truth and Love-- or are we clinging to our own comfortable and sinful ways of thinking and acting? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts, to penetrate them, and to follow the truths preached by the Church? Do we know what the Catholic Church actually teaches? Do we read and study the papal encyclicals, the Catholic Catechism, the Bible? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives? What is motivating our daily actions-- our feelings, our politics, our desire to get ahead in the world -- or are we living out the truths of our faith? In what concrete ways do we seek harmony with the Catholic Church? Do we pray and do penance for those who persecute the Church?
~ © May 2010 Jean M. Heimann
Quotations from Pope Benedict XVI via VIS News.