“God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:9
“Fr. John, I am a spiritual person. I do not need to go to church or learn anything at the hands of some gigantic, impersonal institution. I can do it on my own.”
Ouch!f Isn’t that what Satan said when he refused God and forever flew away from heaven? I can do it on my own. We all know where that is going to get us.
How do I respond when a person tries to excuse themselves from church saying they are a spiritual person? True, we are all spiritual people, we all have a spirit and a soul. That is a given. What is not a given is what we are doing with our spirit. Is it growing or dying? Are we feeding it with truth or destroying it with lies?
We are called to fellowship with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. The church brings us into that relationship. It offers us non-stop, beautiful and wondrous ways to become awestruck by the mystery of being in God’s presence.
The church gives us the Scriptures, Mass, confession, her teachings and wisdom, etc., to once again remind us where we can feed our spirits and not be disappointed like all other offers do. The church constantly focuses us on fellowshipping with Jesus, The Trinity and all who have chosen that communion. It is the living structure that gives us the means to feed our spirit and come to full stature in Christ.
There is no such thing as an accidental relationship. Are you feeding your spirit with Christ in the church? In the many countless ways fellowship with Jesus is offered in the church, how many have you engaged in?
Thank you for joining me in our 2013 Advent Journey. May we all become wiser in feeding our spirit thereby coming into greater fellowship with Christ through the gift of the church. So much to be awed by! Actually, the awe is endless.
You are called to fellowship with Christ.
**For Pope Francis, too, this is the core of the Church’s mission. Any reform, any naming of a bishop, any action whatsoever by the Vicar of Christ, is judged by one ultimate criterion: will this decision help the Church live Christ’s mission better? He does not want seats in the pews as much as he wants dynamic apostles leaving the Church parking lot. (Just filling the seats may be behind his lack of appreciation for the term “proselytism.”) Differences in style and personality aside, the heart of these two pontificates is extremely similar. In many ways it is the embodiment of the heart of the Second Vatican Council called for by Blessed John XXIII.
Pope Francis learned his theological mathematics from Blessed John Paul the Great: Misery + Mercy = Mission.