“DON’T – JUST DON’T!” It is one of the great failings of the teachers and catechists of the Church that much of our teaching is conveyed via negativa. In this way it seems much more like we are a faith of limiting, stifling, of making life boring. What a tragic and huge mistake! The purpose of the faith is to do exactly the opposite! As these last two paragraphs of Lumen Gentium make clear that we are “constituted to live in royal liberty and, by self abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in (our)selves.” Where most of the world desires license to do as one wants, the faith desires that you have the liberty to thrive, physically, mentally, and spiritually in joy – now and for all eternity – in the way that you were created to be!
I went to the doctor and he gave me a long list of foods that he said I had to give up. It was the most depressing meeting. And fish, of course, was not his negative menu. What would have been better was a course on great food and encouragement on how great it would be for me. Instead it was, “Olives will kill you. Do not eat olives.” I’ll get right on that.”
Summing up this section, every Catholic lay person is anointed priest, prophet, and king and is responsible for the spreading of the kingdom. As you do this, bear in mind the goal: to bring people to life, joy, and true freedom. This is a much better line than, “Stop that or you’re going to hell.” It may be true, but does living with such negative people sound any more appealing?
To this end, the laity has the right to ask from the Church what it needs to accomplish these goals. The laity also has the right to express their opinions to the institutional Church as it pertains toward these goals. There is a certain amount of obedience that is called for then. Not a happy topic. But somehow a decision must be made concerning which direction we will head because until that is done, we can’t really move forward. So pray for those acting on behalf of the institutional Church that they may be wise, active, and full of the Holy Spirit that we may accomplish all of these lofty goals.
Pastors must recognize the rights of the laity and foster their works. Not everything can be or should be done by the ordained or even necessarily controlled by the ordained. Go! Spread the Good News without me! There is more than enough work for everybody!
Next time: Call to Holiness