23rd January

Today’s reading from Mid morning Prayer is worthy of reflection.

Brethren, be joyful. Try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Cor 13:11)

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If you would like to do some extra reading, this is the first part of an article I was sent from CRISIS MAGAZINE http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/spiritual-roots-churchs-crisis

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis.

The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of Faith
I’ve had a few friends ask for my perspective on why God has been allowing what Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called a crisis permitted by divine providence. Why is God allowing confusion and dissension in his Church? Of course, no one can really answer that question. Whenever anyone ever asks me why God allows anything, I always suggest a self-examination. In this case, we should examine the spiritual roots of the Church’s current crisis. What have Catholics done or not done to bring about a spiritual and moral anemia?

Pope Emeritus Benedict, as would be expected, points us right to the heart of the issue. In his conversation with Peter Seewald, Last Testament, he states rightly that his task was both a reformer and preserver: “You have to try to renew things, and in that regard I tried to lead the faith forward, working from a modern concern. At the same time continuity is needed, to ensure that the faith is not torn down, or torn to pieces.” He saw his task “to highlight the centrality of faith in God, and give people the courage to have faith, courage to live concretely in the world with faith.” Through faith, God lives in and through us; he sanctifies us and the world through us. Hence, the Church’s battle rests primarily on the level of the soul. When we suffer a sickness in the faith, it will manifest concretely in other ways.

What does it mean for the Church to walk in the path of our Lord? If the Church truly continues the ministry of Christ in the world, then it must embrace the Cross. It is sad to see Christians discouraged by the sins of other Catholics, and, yet, it seems that the greatest suffering of the Church comes from the wounds of her members. The Catechism quotes on this point a pope who personally embraced the suffering of the Church in himself: “The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Pope Bl. Paul VI, Credo of the People of God, § 19). If the Church is called by God to sanctify the modern world, how else would this happen but on the Cross? The Church’s path is the path of the Lord: Calvary.

Does this justify the spiritual sickness of the Church’s members? As St. Paul would say: By no means! We must search our soul to purify ourselves so that we will be able to embrace the Cross more fully and intentionally to purify the modern world, rather than caving in to its sicknesses. In this process, here are some major points to consider.

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