I’m an old man, so I’m going to speak like one. The Church was here before I came into this world and it will be here long after I leave this world. My worrying about her and her image is a waste of my valuable time. My worrying is not going to change her image, save my soul, save the souls of my brothers in community, save the souls of my family members or of the people whom I serve.
What’s left for me? What’s left is for me to focus on what’s real. The people in front of me are real. My spiritual journey is real.
The image of the Church is a macro concern. My role in the Church is micro, not macro. The role of bishops is macro. Therefore, I leave it to them to gauge the Church’s image and do whatever they have to do to improve it. If they want my help and my input, they’ll ask. They know where to find me.
A funny thing about the Church. If I take time and energy from my primary duties to think about and concern myself with the macro issues of the Church, no one comes from Rome or the diocese and offers to help me catch up with my duties. It’s almost as if no one knows that I exist. For example, I know people on these forums who live in me neck of the woods and never volunteer for anything at the local parish or the diocese; but they are worried about the Church. I wish they wold volunteer to take care of my dads and their babies for two hours a week.
Here is another funny thing about the Church. When my duties fall behind, as I said, no one comes from Rome or the local diocese to offer assistance. However, when the Church needs my expertise I get emails, telephone calls, letters in the mail, invitations to meetings and conferences, and much more. In other words, the Church knows where to find me, how to contact me, and she knows when she needs me at the macro level.
Until someone comes knocking on my door from the diocese or the Roman curia, I have important things to do for the salvation of my soul and those souls right in front of me. One of those important things is to answer questions when people say that they read A, B, and C in the newspaper and they are curious or confused. It’s a great opportunity to evangelize without proselytizing.
Image is not something that I can do much about. I don’t think that God wants me to work on that or even spend any time thinking about it, except on nights like tonight when I can’t sleep.
I often wonder if we worry too much. As I say, the Church was here before I was born and will be here long after I’m gone. There is nothing that I can do to change the Church at a macro level, without the request and the authorization from those who have the power and duty to work on those bigger projects.
My suggestion to everyone . . . enjoy New Years Day with family. Pray that this year will be a better year for all people. Let God figure out how to make it better. He’ll tell us what he wants us to do. He always does. He’s very kind and gentle. But he’s always here for the Church.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!