“Well son they go to a different church……in St. Louis.”
“We’re thinking of going to Jim’s church” chimes in my BIL last Sunday as I’m trying to think of a way to explain the fragmenting effects of the Protestant reformation to my son who’s exposure to Jesus body consists of four Masses.
I opted out of further explanation last Sunday but the question begs an answer.
Summers in my family are spent at the lake. My sister and her family come in from St. Louis, my brother and his family come in from Detroit and Hubby and I jog one county over to the piece of ground my dad calls “The Compound”. “The Kennedy’s have Hyannis, and we have The Compound”, he’s fond of saying. Hyannis is to Champagne as The Compound is to Old Milwaukee, but still, this gift to his children and grandchildren will bear fruit for generations as our family bond strengthens with each year that passes and every weekend we spend together.
Weekends at the lake are a glorious affair. Cousins everywhere, houses open dawn to dusk, lawn chairs for lounging all day and the grill going for family meals every evening. Friends and family come to visit from far flung corners of the globe, and the more the merrier.
Mass time for Sunday morning is decided Saturday evening and with all the bodies piling in the SUV(s) actually seams to make sense. We take up at least a whole pew, depending on who’s in town sometimes a pew or two. We are all prodigals or converts, raised in the Catholic Church or no church at all, but my family has come home to faith over the years and we worship together on Sunday morning with out fail. It usually hits me after communion, as we’ve returned to the pew and are kneeling together after receiving Jesus body. Fighting back the tears of joy, I still feel the void left by those missing from the celebration.
MFP (missing from pew) are my parents who show up to church only grudgingly for first communions and my sister who has abandoned the Church for a “full gospel” denomination. How full can it be if it rejects John 6 and 17 I’ve often wondered? Occasionally I wonder if we are all reading the same bible. The Catholic passages are so clear, keys to the kingdom, pillar of truth, binding and loosing, I will build my Church, I will be with you until the end of the age, and the gaits of Hell will not prevail, and on and on.
As an evangelical I would have felt compelled to site each of the passages above chapter and verse in an attempt to provide scriptural documentation of my claims. As a Catholic I can relax in the knowledge that Jesus is in command of the ship and with the faith and trust of a child I can rest in the bosom of my family confident of the prayers of the saints and angels on my behalf. I have responsibility, oh yes, to follow the Lord, not to run off half cocked trying to rewrite the roadmap to heaven to my liking teasing out sound bites of scripture to support my personal take on God’s word.
Jesus has made his intentions clear, he founded a Church, she is one, holy Catholic and apostolic. Those of us who’ve heard Jesus’ call have a vital mission, to live our lives with passionate devotion to the Lord and his Church and to know the faith well enough to be able to give an answer when asked the reason for our hope. That and to have a cache of reading material and CDs on hand for those times when the inevitable questions arise, then let the Holy Spirit take it from there.
St. Francis pray for us. Teach us to preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary pray that the Lord will give us his words. Amen.