Being "missionary-disciples" - Pope Francis + Catholic "orthodoxy"





Here's something I wrote a few weeks back in a webpage comments section. Just thought I'd share it here:
***************
Pope Francis has chosen a particular way of responding to God's call to follow Christ, his Son, by striving to become more like him in his own daily actions and relationships with those he meets, of being, as Francis puts it, a "missionary-disciple". This is the theme for the year in my congregation and its wider Mennaisien Family with our lay associates, colleagues and friends. It is a challenge that the Pope reminds us is given to all Christians through their baptism, not just to religious and clergy. As disciples of Christ, we are by definition also given a responsibility to share the faith we have been given, to share the graces bestowed upon us and to do so with the joy in our hearts that only God can give.
It seems to me that in this sense he is far closer to the core of Catholic "orthodoxy" than most of us, myself included.

There is, however, a debate to be had about the issues that are raised by the focus of his papacy on Christianity in action and away from the reinforcing of dogma. As the more enlightened commentators recognise, however, he does not deny the pillars of our Catholic faith. Rather, he strives to put them into a context of daily living where they serve not as an end in themselves, but rather as a means to an end. Is this not what Jesus did through his actions and teaching in parables?

Teaching in parables, modern parables (using modern media, i.e. film/tv/video, music, art literature, story, poetry...) would this not be an excellent use of the time and effort of Catholics in the blogosphere instead of the sniping, criticism and negativity that nowadays seems to dominate?? Where are the Catholics producing media of the quality of the following video, a testimony by Gareth Gilkeson, the drummer of N. Ireland Chrisitian worship band, Rend Collective, currently enjoying worldwide success for the songs, albums and live ministry?


The obvious joy that he exudes through his deep personal encounter with Christ and the passion that he has for wanting to share that joy with others is for me an inspiration. Would that we were all like him, striving to bring others closer to Christ and helping them to know and understand God's love for each one of us.

There are a few Catholics that have broken through in the modern worship scene: Matt Maher and Audrey Assad to name but a couple (check out Audrey's beautiful, prayerful concept album "Fortunate Fall"), but in this area Catholics are very much in the minority compared to our Evangelical Protestant cousins.

On a related point...

I'm a firm believer in the power of the Holy Spirit working within each of us and through us working in the Church (funny how it rarely gets a look in on most Catholic debate forums). Can we not trust it to work through the minds and hearts of the College of Cardinals when it comes to electing a Pope?? Do we as individuals know better than them? Do we have a hardline connection to His Spirit and therefore know better than the chosen leaders of His Church what His will is? I would call it a supreme arrogance on my part to presume that I knew better than them.

So, let's have reasoned debate, yes. Let's have the defence of Catholic beliefs, yes. But, most importantly, let's show love and respect to all... YES!!
Post a Comment

Popular Posts

"The King’s Speech" - a personal reaction

Being successful + serving God, or being successful vs. serving God - pt. 1

40 acts for Lent