I was well into my 20s before I woke up and realized "Wait a minute...What am I doing? I can do this every day!!"
Life is walking from town to town with Christ through the crowds of hemorrhaging and spiritually afflicted. The lost, grieving, sick, suffering, angry, unemployed, addicted, uncatechized, rebellious. Getting on a train, standing in line at the supermarket, friends, family, neighbors - every interaction is an opportunity to teach or learn. I can stay close to Christ in conversation, prayer and His Sacraments every day of my life.
Every year post Lent, along with trying to improve my own spiritual life for the next year, I reset my apostolic mission by looking for ways I can improve reconnecting people around me to the Sacramental life.
What am I doing right?
What am I doing that isn't fruitful?
Where am I wasting time?
How do I keep Christ front and center in casual interactions?
Who (and how) should I work on this year within my close circle of family and friends?
What way is the wind blowing in Christendom and how do I want to use the blog?
I'm feeling a bit like evangelists in Christendom are perplexed about how to use their treasure and talents. We went through a period where catechesis was terrible or non-existent and the people we love were being misled. A lot of energy needed to be spent exposing and stopping that spiritual abuse. Significant progress was made, but then we got wrapped around the wheels of the pontificate of telling our children the people who taught them errors were correct and parents and faithful pastors are the enemies of Truth and Christ. It's deja vu all over again.
This week's fruit from the fifth interview with an atheist who doesn't have the spiritual maturity to reach through the confusing stream of consciousness to crack the code of what the Holy Father likely meant to say, was a Rubicon for me.
No way the pope believes 'there's no such place as hell and immortality of souls'.
You know what this is like? It's like Alcoholics Anonymous deciding it's half passed time to ditch people who are practice sobriety to teach others and instead use people who like getting stinking drunk to craft the message of how to use alcohol. When active alcoholics start to teach getting wasted is not an obstacle to sobriety, instead of admitting their new marketing idea is a bust, AA tries to redeem themselves by attacking families who tell them their loved one who joined AA to get help is now abandoning sobriety.
Since we are now five years into this crucible that sows confusion, covering every incident leaves little time for volunteer evangelists to use their treasure and talents writing things to help people heal and reconnect to the Sacramental life.
I've been thinking a lot about the blog. Synthesizing the constant asshattery is inconsistent with the apostolic mission I live and breathe, every day, every hour of my life. We have to find a way to plug away at communicating the magnificence and beauty of the Deposit of Faith. People with bigger apostolates have a staff that can cover both, but as a more time-challenged blogger, I'm feeling the Holy Father is putting more bricks on our backs, in our family and as evangelists and we need a little less whining and a little more talking about how to mitigate the damage.
I've personally experienced the sour fruit of his trajectory in my family, circle of friends, in the uncatechized and scandalized. I'm going crazy with the pontificate of dali lama proverbs. It's important to keep talking about the damage of using heretics and atheists to translate the faith. But, I believe his feeble attempts are crack at the mission explained by St. John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio.
The Acts of the Apostles records six summaries of the "missionary discourses" which were addressed to the Jews during the Church's infancy (cf. Acts 2:22-39; 3:12-26; 4:9-12; 5:29-32; 10:34-43; 13:16-41). These model speeches, delivered by Peter and by Paul, proclaim Jesus and invite those listening to "be converted," that is, to accept Jesus in faith and to let themselves be transformed in him by the Spirit.
Paul and Barnabas are impelled by the Spirit to go to the Gentiles (cf. Acts 13:46-48), a development not without certain tensions and problems. How are these converted Gentiles to live their faith in Jesus? Are they bound by the traditions of Judaism and the law of circumcision? At the first Council, which gathers the members of the different churches together with the apostles in Jerusalem, a decision is taken which is acknowledged as coming from the Spirit: it is not necessary for a Gentile to submit to the Jewish Law in order to become a Christian (cf. Acts 15:5-11, 28). From now on the Church opens her doors and becomes the house which all may enter, and in which all can feel at home, while keeping their own culture and traditions, provided that these are not contrary to the Gospel.
(This is where I believe the message is going haywire)
The missionaries continued along this path, taking into account people's hopes and expectations, their anguish and sufferings, as well as their culture, in order to proclaim to them salvation in Christ. The speeches in Lystra and Athens (cf. Acts 14:15-17; 17:22-31) are acknowledged as models for the evangelization of the Gentiles. In these speeches Paul enters into "dialogue" with the cultural and religious values of different peoples. To the Lycaonians, who practiced a cosmic religion, he speaks of religious experiences related to the cosmos. With the Greeks he discusses philosophy and quotes their own poets (cf. Acts 17:18, 26-28). The God whom Paul wishes to reveal is already present in their lives; indeed, this God has created them and mysteriously guides nations and history. But if they are to recognize the true God, they must abandon the false gods which they themselves have made and open themselves to the One whom God has sent to remedy their ignorance and satisfy the longings of their hearts. These are speeches which offer an example of the inculturation of the Gospel....
The liberation and salvation brought by the kingdom of God come to the human person both in his physical and spiritual dimensions. Two gestures are characteristic of Jesus' mission: healing and forgiving. Jesus' many healings clearly show his great compassion in the face of human distress, but they also signify that in the kingdom there will no longer be sickness or suffering, and that his mission, from the very beginning, is meant to free people from these evils. In Jesus' eyes, healings are also a sign of spiritual salvation, namely liberation from sin. By performing acts of healing, he invites people to faith, conversion and the desire for forgiveness (cf. Lk 5:24). Once there is faith, healing is an encouragement to go further: it leads to salvation (cf. Lk 18:42-43). The acts of liberation from demonic possession-the supreme evil and symbol of sin and rebellion against God-are signs that indeed "the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Mt 12:28).
15. The kingdom aims at transforming human relationships; it grows gradually as people slowly learn to love, forgive and serve one another. Jesus sums up the whole Law, focusing it on the commandment of love (cf. Mt 22:34-40; Lk 10:25-28). Before leaving his disciples, he gives them a "new commandment": "Love one another; even as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34; cf. 15:12). Jesus' love for the world finds its highest expression in the gift of his life for mankind (cf. Jn 15:13), which manifests the love which the Father has for the world (cf. Jn 3:16). The kingdom's nature, therefore, is one of communion among all human beings-with one another and with God.
The kingdom is the concern of everyone: individuals, society, and the world. Working for the kingdom means acknowledging and promoting God's activity, which is present in human history and transforms it. Building the kingdom means working for liberation from evil in all its forms. In a word, the kingdom of God is the manifestation and the realization of God's plan of salvation in all its fullness...
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,...and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age"...
In this regard, certain guidelines remain basic. Properly applied, inculturation must be guided by two principles: "compatibility with the gospel and communion with the universal Church."94 Bishops, as guardians of the "deposit of faith," will take care to ensure fidelity and, in particular, to provide discernment,95 for which a deeply balanced approach is required. In fact there is a risk of passing uncritically from a form of alienation from culture to an overestimation of culture. Since culture is a human creation and is therefore marked by sin, it too needs to be "healed, ennobled and perfected."
This kind of process needs to take place gradually, in such a way that it really is an expression of the community's Christian experience.
IMHO, all his mother earth talk and the things he's articulated about the divorce and remarried and alienated Catholics over teachings on divorce and faithful use of the great gift of human sexuality are coming from this basic apostolic mission - which in itself is consistent with Church teaching.
At the end of the day - no matter what's going wrong - maybe even especially because things are going wrong - we have to talk about them and ways to keep correcting misunderstandings and errors, teaching truth and connecting anyone and everyone who crosses our path to the Sacramental Life.
"Holy Spirit, Creator, mercifully assist Thy Catholic Church and by Thy heavenly power, strength and establish her against the assaults of all her enemies; and by Thy love and grace, renew the spirit of Thy servants whom Thou has anointed, that in Thee they may glorify the Father and His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen."