October 2019-Duty of Catholics to Their Fellow Catholics and the Church
"The faithful, and more precisely the laity are stationed in the front ranks of the life of the Church, and through them the Church is the living principle of society. Consequently, they must have an ever clearer consciousness, not only of belonging to the Church, but of BEING THE CHURCH, that is, of being the community of the faithful on earth under the guidance of their common leader, the Pope, and the bishops in communion with him. THEY ARE the Church, and therefore even from the beginning, the faithful, with the consent of their bishops, have united in associations directed to the most diverse types of human activity. The Holy See has never ceased to approve and praise them", Pope Pius XII.
We ARE the Church, not just members of the Church.
Either we are living the Catholic way of life, or we are not even Christian. There is no middle ground. We cannot sit on the fence. The only thing fence sitters get are splinters in their back side.
Father Leonard Goffine in his work on the Ecclesiastical Year writes: "In the market-place, that is the world, they are standing idle who, however much business they attend to, do not work for God and for their own salvation; for the only necessary employment is the service of God and the working out of our salvation. There are three ways of being idle: doing nothing whatever; doing evil; doing other things than the duties of our position in life and its office require, or if this work is done without a good intention, or not from the love of God."
Most today are idle couch potatoes. In church, they merely take up space in a pew once a week, but have no real commitment to Christianity. Let us consider the three ways we can be idle.
Doing nothing at all is the simplest, because we simply do not even begin a work.
Doing evil is simply doing what we should not do. And then we can be doing the wrong things rather than what we should be doing. It is easy to get busy doing something and convince our self that we are working for God, when in fact we have the wrong intention or what is worse going about things in a way other than God wills.
"Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) When we get our priorities straight and act accordingly, then God will supply all of our needs. If God is not supplying our needs, it may be because we are acting outside of His will. When we say the Our Father do we truly mean: "Thy kingdom come?"
The holy Cure of Ars tells us that hearing the Word of God is more pleasing to God than receiving Holy Communion. In fact, we need to hear the Word of God in order to be properly prepared to receive Holy Communion.
Without the Word of God in our lives, Holy Communion can do nothing for us.
What has happened to us is that we have become happy sitting idly on the fence, while a very few are fighting for Almighty God and His rights. We have decided not to make a decision, which is a decision itself. We will not make a true commitment to serve Almighty God and His holy Church.
Let us remember that we go to Heaven. That is, we commence the journey to heaven and go step by step closer to Almighty God. At death we merely complete the last few feet of our journey to heaven. To get to hell, all we need to do is stay where we are at or take the wrong road. For those who rely on Purgatory, remember that the road to Heaven goes through Purgatory. Let us consider that the road to heaven is a long road trip in a car. We get in the car and pull out of our driveway and leave the world behind us and head into Purgatory. Yes we can do our Purgatory here. If our car breaks down, then we wait along the side of the road waiting for the bus to come by and pick us up and take us the rest of the way home to Heaven. We will never get to heaven, if we do not get in the car, put it in gear and back out of the driveway. Don't forget your road map, Sacred Scripture. You don't want to get on the wrong road. Chart your course and get underway. A GPS- God Positioning System is also necessary, and you can get one of those from the Church. Also the Church has other helps along the road to Heaven.
"And Elias coming to all the people, said: How long do you halt between two sides? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word." (III Kings 18:21) It took a miracle to get these people off of the fence. We should not wait for a miracle. Jesus said: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet." (Matthew 12:39) We need to find the Church and get to work in the Church.
What is our duty as a Catholic? Is it sufficient to sit on the fence and remain idle. Is it enough to fill a pew every Sunday? The Pharisee bragged about what he did: "I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess." (Luke 18:12) We read that he was not justified before God.
We read in Scripture: "But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you." We should be ready to explain why we are so happy to be Christians. Saint John Chrysostom said:
"He who is content with saving himself and neglects the salvation of others cannot secure his own salvation."
And Saint Thomas Aquinas writes: "In cases of necessity where faith is in danger, every one is bound to proclaim his faith to others, either to give good example and encouragement to the rest of the faithful, or to check the attacks of unbelievers:" If we are not in a case of necessity now, then We don't want to see one. With the Psalmist (11:2-3) we can say: "Save me, O Lord, for there is now no saint: truths are decayed from among the children of men. They have spoken vain things every one to his neighbour: with deceitful lips, and with a double heart have they spoken." If you are reading this, you are called to be a saint. Indeed every man, woman and child on earth is called to be a saint.
Today, especially, we are bound to proclaim our faith in word and deed. We must at least encourage the rest of the faithful as Saint Thomas says. Therefore we must get down off of the fence and join with the Pope and those faithful to him.
Cardinal Joseph Sarto gave a speech: "In other times it was the Pope and Bishops who intervened in the defense of their children, threatened by the savage invasions of the barbarians; today it must be the children who will rise up in defense of their Father, the laity in defense of the Hierarchy." He was soon elevated to the pinnacle of the hierarchy as Pope Pius X. Over a century ago, this saint considered that the Pope was in need of assistance. The Pope still had a college of College of Cardinals and many other assistants. Today the Pope has a very small staff, lives in an hundred twenty year old house in need of repairs, etc. The Pope has to work in order to support himself and the Church. Link donation page.
Pope Pius X also said: "Because moreover this Church is not built in the air, but does Her work in this our sublunar world, having a Supreme Head, Bishops and priests, Catholic Action is directed toward the defense of and revindication of the rights of the Roman Pontiff, who is to the Church of Jesus Christ what the head is to the body, what the foundation is to the building, for where the Pope is there is the Church. The more open the war against the Pope is the more active, the more resolute should Catholic Action be in defending and maintaining the inviolable rights of the Sovereign Pontiff."
When we think of the Church we get confused with church buildings. Church buildings are not the Church, the Faithful are.
The Pope is the shepherd of the sheepfold and should be surrounded by sheep (Bishops) and lambs (priests and people). The Church has been reduced to a handful, but we read about this in Sacred Scripture. Jesus said: "But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) Isaias says: "And they that remain of the trees of his forest shall be so few, that they shall easily be numbered, and a child shall write them down." (Isaias 10:19) Will you join this small goup, the few, the humble, the true followers of Jesus Christ?