Thursday, June 12, 2014


So how does one help the Church continue on her mission?  Every last member of the Body of Christ has a role in the mission.  What is yours?
The first step, according to Jim Lundholm-Eades of the National Leadership Roundtable, is to figure out where what your authority is within the hierarchy of the Church.  There are four types of authority.  The first is cultural.  Cultural authority is somewhat bred into us.  We respect teachers because we know if we do not, we will answer for it at home.  Little does a classroom of seven year olds realize that they could rise up and take over the school if they organized themselves.  In much the same way we culturally give some amount of deference to clergy and religious, usually amplified by a Roman collar or a habit.

The second is positional.  One listens to the manager at work because he has been placed in a position of authority and is able to call some resources to his aid when trying to lead the company in a certain direction.  Likewise priests or bishops, or a mother superior (or the parish secretary for that matter) etc has some given authority because of the role in which they have been placed.

Relational is the third.  Because you have a relationship with a person you also have some influence over them.  If your son asked you for twenty dollars for gas to get to school (assuming he doesn’t do it too often) you might be more inclined to give it to him than someone walking up to your table at a restaurant and saying, “Hey, can I have $20?”  Likewise, getting someone to go to Church is more effectively accomplished by a friends saying, “Hey, wanna come to Mass with me?” rather than a billboard that says, “Hey!  Come to Mass!”
And finally there is competency.  This person has authority because they are good at what they do.  You go to the dentist and listen to what he tells you because he knows about teeth.  As highly as I think of our facilities manager, even if he said to me, “Father, I have a pair of pliers and I could rip that tooth out of your head for you for a fraction of the price” I would not listen to him.  Hence, they guy who knows how to fix the boiler in the Church should have more authority over the boiler than the parochial vicar.
So if these are the areas of authority within the Church, the first step is figuring out where in this system you fit.  Most laity will find themselves in the relational and competency areas of authority though occasionally in the other areas.  Understanding this allows one to understand his or her responsibilities.  After that, it is best to memorize the sobriety prayer, “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  It is also good to remember that despite human beings being involved in the running of the Church for over 2000 years, she is still here and still strong.  Evidence enough that it is the Holy Spirit running the ship and can magnify and purify our feeble efforts.

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