Reflections" regarding THE PATH TO COMMUNION (continued)

Prayer  ~~  "Come Spirit of Love!  Come that we may be one, as the Father and You are One.  
One united with You!  

 

One united through our Baptism 
in
FAITH and in LOVE!"

Lay faithful and the renewal of the Church

The lay faithful or laity are those members of the Universal Church who are not members of a professed religious order, society or congregation.  

Pope John Paul emphatically states that 
the renewal of the Church in America will not be possible without the active presence of the lay faithful.  


THEREFORE THEY ARE LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 
FUTURE OF THE CHURCH.
  

AND ~~ It is through our Baptism that this responsibility comes to us.  

Our Holy Father reminds us that it is through the Sacrament of Baptism that we "...receive a dignity which includes the 
imitation
and following of Christ, communion with one another" 
and 
a missionary responsibility.  

We must come to realize how important it is to be 
true witnesses
 
of the 
LIVING JESUS CHRIST
and thereby be able to give the GOOD NEWS of our salvation to others.  

 

The Holy Father cites two areas in which lay people may live their vocation or life's work.  

FIRST ~ 

through the secular world, we are able to literally 
"consecrate the world itself to God."

He reminds us that because of the variety of our charisms and talents, we are able to "...evangelize the various familial, social, professional, cultural and political sectors of life"

   when we stand as 
TRUE EXAMPLES 
of "...mercy, forgiveness, honesty, patience and transparency of heart."  

Our Holy Father expects us to be creative in our activities and works demonstrating a life in harmony with the Gospel.  He also reminds us how important it is that we, as lay Christians need to take over leadership roles in society.  
He exhorts us that it is URGENT to train men and women who can influence and direct public life toward the "common good" of all God's people.  

It is good for us to remember that by virtue of our Baptism,
 we are 
ALL CALLED 
BY JESUS CHRIST 
TO 
CARRY ON HIS MISSION 
AND 
BRING THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH AND GOD'S SAVING GRACE TO ALL PEOPLES! 

In fact, this may be a path of our own sanctification if we are "...formed in the TRUTH and VALUES of the Church's social teaching."   

It is very important that we not only LIVE these truths and values, but that we have the 
courage to PROCLAIM them at all times! 
 

SECOND~ 

Other lay faithful may be called to work along side with the priests, deacons and religious 
in the 
building of the Church Community.

Examples of which may be working as catechists, 
visiting the sick and imprisoned 
or working as group leaders for our parish.

The Synod Fathers want to remind everyone that these ministries in no way should take away from those who have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  

That is why it is very important that the lay ministers meet the following criteria ~~ 

Only those people
"...who have received the necessary training in accordance with clearly defined criteria:  
~~
a stable presence, 
~~ a real readiness to serve a determined group of persons and                   
~~ the duty of accountability to their Pastor..." 

should be considered for this SECOND way in which we may be able to fulfill our life's vocation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LAY FAITHFUL in the renewing of the Church 
IS NOT A NEW IDEA!

Even in ancient Christian times,
everyone, 
each according to his or her position or state in life,
provided some involvement in the total work of the 
Catholic faith community.

 

The Church today is recognizing and recalling once again
the great importance of the laity in the mission and total well-being of all of God's people!