The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:
In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
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.
Pope Francis has given the Church the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”) on the call to holiness in today’s world. Today’s world is very much in need of holiness as it distances itself ever more from God, and the Pope proposes a way of holiness for everyone, for the “middle class”. In this meditation we use this document to consider how:
We are all called to holiness since God has loved each one of us and we should love him in return.
The Gospels relate the joy of the disciples and the holy women when they saw Our Lord after his Resurrection. That joy can be ours too when we discover Our Lord in the ordinary circumstances of our life and we come to love him. In this meditation we use passages from the Scriptures, from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be glad” and from St Josemaria Escriva to discover how to find the joy we all seek. We consider how:
Christ wants everyone to be happy
We will be happy when we find Christ and come to love him
We can be joyful even in the midst of sickness, worries and misfortunes
Cheerfulness is attractive and draws others to God
We all offend God many times a day, yet we do not express our sorrow as we should. In this meditation we pray about how we can foster true contrition, sorrow of love, for our sins and failings. We consider:
That God truly loves each of us more than all the mothers in the world put together
That our sins offend God more than do the sins of others, because he has given us more grace
The difference between perfect contrition and imperfect contrition
For more and more people, Christmas is about giving gifts, bringing the family together, having parties and going on holidays. But it is not about the birth of Christ. In this meditation we pray about how we can put Christ in the centre of our life and grow in friendship with him. We consider:
St Josemaria Escriva called himself a man who knew how to love. Indeed, his great love for God overflowed into love for his fellow man. We should all be people who know how to love. In this meditation we pray about how:
We are all called to love God because he loved us first
Only if we truly love God will we be able to love our fellow man
We can grow in love for God in the same way that St Josemaria did: by spending time with him in prayer in its various forms, in Mass and Holy Communion, reading of Scripture, spiritual reading, etc.
We love God with the same heart with which we love others
Our love for others should include our effort to help them draw closer to God