You ever notice that people really like top ten lists or just list in general. I think it’s because we really don’t have to think a lot about a list, it’s pretty straight forward, you have a list, and it’s in order from lowest to highest. Someone has done the work for you; all you have to do is read it.
Some people I know wish the Catholic faith was that way, just give me a list of the really important teachings, the ones I must follow. But faith don’t work that way, faith is not a top ten list. The teachings of the Catholic Church are not arranged in order of importance or listed as must follow, should follow and only if you want to follow. God did not create a Church filled with maybe’s or you should’s, He, in His wisdom, created Church that when followed sets us free.
The key is we must follow, we must believe with all our heart mind and soul. Now I can already hear some of the comments being made, comments like “Oh, so we should just follow and not think for ourselves” or “So God made us all a bunch of sheep” or “Well some of the Catholic Church is manmade, and man has made mistakes in the past”. So let’s look at that.
No we should not follow and not think for ourselves, God, also in His wisdom, creates us with freewill and intellect. We are to use our freewill and intellect to learn and grow in our faith. God does not want people just to “fall in to line” we want us to choose to believe, to choose to love him, and to choose to be a Catholic. He wants us to choose freely. But on the flip side, God also does not want us to create our own catholic faith; he does not want us to pick and choose what to follow and what not to follow. Jesus established one Church here on earth, and placed one man in charge, Peter. When Jesus established the Church, he did not say “Now all of you, pick what you like and disregard what you don’t” no what he said to Peter was “What you hold here on earth will be held in heaven and what you lose here on earth will be lose in heaven”. Jesus also gave Peter the keys to heaven, a very symbolic symbol in His time. To have the keys meant that you had authority over the household. Peter has the authority over the Church, Jesus’ household.
So who are we to decide that Peter is wrong, that Peter made mistakes, how egocentric of us. Do we really think that we know more than God, because when we question the teachings of the Church, that is what we are doing, we are stating to God that we think he may have made a mistake. That maybe, just maybe Peter got it wrong, misunderstood the whole key thing.
Now once again I can hear the load cry of anger at me, yelling “But the Church has made mistakes, so what about that?” And yes I will agree that she has made mistakes throughout the years. We have just seen a big one in the scandal of the priesthood. Humanities fallen nature is part of the Church, because Jesus has left humans in charge. So yes, the human heart has failed us, we have seen sins of unspeakable nature take place inside the walls of our faith, we have seen wars started in the name of our faith and we have seen lives torn apart to defend our actions. All this is true, and all of it makes me sad and I am sure makes God weep for his Church. But none of that changes the fact that this is God’s one true Church, established by Jesus the Christ himself. None of the gives us the rights to pick and choose what we believe and what we do not, the fact that the Church has made mistakes in the past, and will continue to make them does not give us the authority to do as we see fit.
Do I understand all of her teachings? No I do not, but does that mean I do not believe in them? No it does not. What it means is that I must learn more, pray more and be obedient to Gods Church. Now am I always obedient, well I wish I could say yes, but that is not the case, I do stumble and fall, a lot, and I pray for strength and guidance, and I try my best to be faithful to Gods Church here on earth.
In a way I feel sad for the people who feel a need to change the Church to fit their needs. To me it shows insecurity in themselves and in God’s grace to work through them. Now I know that there are people out there who are doing it in the spirit of goodwill, wanting to help the Church see the errors of Her ways. And yes I know that in our history, sometimes the people have been right, and sometimes they have not. But in the end it comes down to trusting God. I choose to trust in God and his wisdom of establishing one Church here on earth. A Church, he choose to allow humans to run, a Church with one seat of power, the seat of Peter, whom the keys of the kingdom where given.
Yes I will continue to study and learn more, and yes I am sure that I will run across more teachings that I do not understand. But I will never assume that I know more than the Church that I know better than her. I will trust in God’s providence that He has the wisdom to lead the Church through the seat of Peter.
We need to let our ego go, and allow the grace of God to fill our hearts and Church. It is the ego of man (and to be politically correct and woman) that has created the failings of the Church and it is the ego of man (woman) that has filled our hearts with disdain for the authority of the Church.
The Human condition is both a blessing and a curse for the visible Church here on earth, and we must learn to open our hearts to Her, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and guide us. We must learn to trust in the Lord and his Church he has established here on earth.