The lay members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council” was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel.
They used to joke that the role of the laity was “to pray, pay and obey”! In this meditation we use the words of Our Lord in the Last Supper, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium and St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Christifideles laici to consider the great mission of the lay faithful:
The laity have a true vocation, a calling from God to engage in the affairs of the world and order them according to the will of God.
The Letter of Diognetus from the early Church describes how Christians are the soul of the world.
In order to be effective in their mission, the lay faithful should have a truly lay mentality consisting of seven aspects, including interest in the affairs of the world, a deep interior life, a solid doctrinal formation, an effort to be involved in secular activities and respect for the opinions of others in temporal matters.
Before the apostles were sent out to evangelize, he spent time in their formation.
We are called to live out our faith and share it with others, to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. To do this effectively in a society which is increasingly ignorant of and even hostile to Christian values we need formation. In this meditation we consider how:
Christ spent time forming the apostles before sending them out to all nations
We too are called to go out and help others find God and to make our culture more Christian
For this we need a deep spiritual, doctrinal, human and apostolic formation
We can sometimes take our priests for granted, or even complain about them. In this meditation we look at what our priests do for us and how we can help them. We consider:
Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, instituted the priesthood to continue his priestly ministry down the ages
Priests do so much for us: celebrating the sacrifice of the Mass in order to offer this pure sacrifice to the Father, to leave Christ in the tabernacle and give him to us in holy Communion; forgiving our sins, anointing us when we are in danger of death, teaching us the faith…
St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, has beautiful things to say about the priesthood
We can find God in the ordinary things that we do daily.
We can find God and grow in love for him not only in church, prayer and the sacraments, but also in all the activities of our ordinary life. In this meditation we pray about how we can do this. We will consider:
One of the great treasures of the Church, one which at the same time is sadly little used, is the sacrament of Penance, given to the Church by Christ on the very evening of his Resurrection. In this meditation we consider:
The mercy of God as seen in the parable of the Prodigal Son
Christ’s institution of the sacrament on Easter Sunday
Why the sacrament of Penance responds to deep seated human needs
As we celebrate again the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Eucharistic feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we do our prayer in this meditation on the origin of the feast in the thirteenth century and its meaning for us today, helping us to grow in love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We will consider:
the history of the feast, going back to St Juliana of Liege and the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena-Orvieto
the scriptural passages in which Jesus promises the gift of his Body and Blood and institutes the Eucharist