The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Vocation of the Laity

In a post that is principally concerned with the Anglican Church in England and Wales, Fr. Michael Gollop, SSC, in his post "An age of disarray and shifting allegiances" writes a warning that it is important for all of us to keep in mind about the proper role of the laity (for fuller teaching on the same topic, read Vatican II's Apostolicam actuositatem and Blessed Pope John Paul II's Christifideles laici).


I do take issue, however, with those in authority who now maintain that the lay people who are not now in some way involved in running parishes, those who 'merely' come to church to receive the Sacraments, should somehow all be shamed into becoming, again if you forgive the term, 'religious activists.' If Christians are to act as a leaven in the world, does everyone need to hold down an ecclesial 'job' of some kind merely to keep a failing system on the road? 

Being present at mass and receiving the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament on a Sunday and spending the rest of the week in employment and / or with one's family is a valid and valuable Christian vocation, too - perhaps the most valuable of all in a secularised, faith-averse culture where the 'professional' voices of the Church are less and less heeded. 

No one has to be 'dignified' with the title of one active lay 'ministry' or another to be fulfilling his or her baptismal vocation and faithfully following Christ, yet that is what we seem to have come to expect...

Read the full post on Fr. Gollop's blog Let Nothing You Dismay.

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