I was doing the mini-rant thing via e-mail this afternoon. A friend who reported the response to her appeal to her pastoral council on the topic of evangelization.
"Last night was a lesson in how God asks us to be faithful, not expect to
We have a council operating out of a dated paradigm of how church should
be...and those who are not here should be written off, or just get with
the program. Some folks are our age, or younger, with this attitude!
There is a sense that it is a lost cause, and we should just live with a
smaller, purer church. I am not willing to give up so quickly."
To which I responded with considerable heat.
"And it isn't just the older ones - now twenty something Catholics talk that way. Just where this resistance to and loathing for the idea that we can't just depend upon those born Catholics to just show up anymore, that we might have to actually go to them - reach out to them - comes from, I don't know. Some of your pastoral council people have been reading the blogs, methinks!
How odd it is to realize that almost all Catholics I meet - on all sides of the spectrum - are not just practicing Pelagians but universalist to the core. Less than 1% of the many Catholics I've met all over the world have ever expressed worry about the eternal well-being and happiness of the those who leave. I don't hear people expresses concern about their salvation. I almost never hear Catholics spontaneously talk about Christ's command to make disciples or meditate upon God's eternal desire that all know him, that all be part of his Body, that all men and women spend eternity with him, that he would lose none of those given to him.
We have become a bunch of people who would not only NOT leave the 99 and go out after the one who has strayed, we'd happily drive another 30 or 60 sheep out of the fold ourselves because they weren't meeting our standards. All we seem to care about is that they are messing with our personal dream of what the Church should be like. How is it possible that the evangelical spirit of a St. Dominic, a St. Catherine, a St. Ignatius of Loyola, or a St. Daniel Comboni has been so eviscerated in our generation(s)?"
"In the Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. He asks he people, “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in he desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?” Not being shepherds, we smile as Jesus describes the joy of the shepherd of finding the sheep and carrying it home and then rejoicing with his neighbors at the recovery.
Jesus’ hearers, would have been struck by the absurdity of Jesus’ story. No shepherd in his right mind would leave 99 sheep alone, running the risk of their running off or being attacked by animals or coming to harm in some other way. The shepherd would unhappily accept the loss of the single sheep.
But our ways are not God’s ways and for God it is not acceptable for even a single sheep to be lost. Two days ago in John’s Gospel we heard Jesus say that that “this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me.”
Aaaah. Deep breath.
"This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me."