Dec 24, 2009

Visiting the Birthday Boy

It's Christmas Eve.

Many people who only attend church twice a year (Christmas & Easter) will be there tonight/tomorrow. Some regulars hate attending on holidays, for that reason. It's too crowded, can't find a place to park, someone's sitting in "my" pew... Can you imagine what the church could do if the Christmas & Easter brigade showed up 52 Sundays a year? They'd have to build new churches! They'd have new members in their classes and meetings and faith formation. They could - gasp! - impact the world for the Kingdom of God!

Oh wait, wasn't that the idea a couple thousand years ago?

Sadly, some don't attend church, even on Christmas. Other church members failed to meet their needs (who is your Source and Supply?) or the preacher asks for money (the electric bill keeps coming whether you're there or not) or the leadership has disappointed them. I am disappointed in human leadership, too, but consider this ancient wisdom, from Father Salvatore Rosa:
St Francis de Sales lived in the Fifteenth Century when priests were notorious public sinners. They clergy of his time were so brazen and bold in the evil lives they led, that people stopped going to Church. St. Francis said that the way these priests were living was a great scandal, and that they were guilty of spiritual murder. By their sinful lives they were killing the faith of many people.

However, he said to the people, if the priests’ sin is that they are giving scandal, your sin is that you’re taking it. If the priests’ sin is that they are committing spiritual murder, yours is that you are committing spiritual suicide. You use their sin to excuse yourself from living your religion. You stop going to church, you stop praying, you stop confession and communion. You say, “Well, if they can act like that, then why should I be good?” You use their sin to give yourself permission to sin. That’s spiritual suicide.

Teens will say "I don't get anything out of it." Guess what - you're there to give (thanks) not to get. "They built a new building and that was ridiculous," says another. Well, attend the church council meetings and make your points known. It's like criticizing politicians and then staying home on election day. Criticizing is easy...

I don't know why people change churches, the joke goes. What difference does it make which one you stay home from?

By the way, there is only one Church.

What eternal Truth will you be seeking today?

Merry Christmas.

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