Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rooted Faith

I’ve been reading a lot about ‘authentic discipleship’ over the last couple of years, because our Church in the United States seems to be experiencing a ‘crisis in discipleship’.  This past week one sentence in particular seemed to speak to our life together as families of faith our parishes:

“Serious faith is rooted faith, rooted in principles and beliefs that are bigger than the believer and expressed in healthy, mature commitment.”  (From 'Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples')

I wonder how well we are doing at living this kind of ‘rooted’ faith?

Faith ‘rooted in principles and beliefs bigger than the believer…’  That’s something that’s core to our lives as Catholic Christians.  To be Catholic is to accept that each person is not their own measure of right and wrong:  from our moral choices to the ways we practice the faith and worship the Lord, to be Catholic is to accept that our personal practice of the faith is to be informed and bounded and guided by the Tradition of the Church and the teaching of the Magisterium (our bishops, Councils, and the Holy Father).  But – do we live that in practice?  Our participation in the Creed at each Mass is a perfect example:  the Creed is ‘given’ to us by the Church as a former of our faith.  But, when we choose to change the words of the Creed to fit our own personal understandings or perspectives, in essence we set ourselves ‘above’ and ‘beyond’ the wisdom of the Church.  That’s not a faith ‘rooted in principles that are bigger than myself’ – that’s putting myself as the ultimate judge of faith.

Brothers and sisters, it is a pretty short distance to travel logically from ‘I don’t think those are the right words, so I’ll say different ones’ to ‘I don’t think the Church’s teaching about marriage, priesthood, or the Sacraments is quite right’ and that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from ‘this parish isn’t meeting my needs anymore so I’m going to go find another one.’  None of that is a rooted faith – that way of thinking isn’t committed to anything other than my own, personal viewpoint on the world.  And that kind of subjectivism is eventually deadly to faith.

Friends – how rooted is your faith, and what is it rooted in? 

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