Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Mission of the Church; Salvation

I am finding more and more Catholics quoting Catholic Church doctrine. Great, right? Maybe, maybe not. The problem, or at least the potential problem is that many times, Catholic doctrine is used to support a "personal" position. This can be dangerous.

Now, I am not suggesting that one not quote Catholic doctrine. I do it all the time, and will do it again here in just a bit. But who knows, maybe I have been guilty in the past of doing exactly what I am going to point out as inappropriate  Writing this blog challenges me to be a better Catholic, so much of what I write is just that, God's challenge to me to do better. If someone else is helped along the way, then Glory to God!

What is dangerous, is to take a position, especially a secular one, and then try to "find" Catholic doctrine that meets your position. This is the reverse of what a Catholic should be doing. And since the satanic operates in a way that I will call a "mirror" image of God, that is to say in a way that may look like or be similar to but actually produces the inverted or reverse outcome willed by God, one should be on guard against such "traps and snares".

A Catholic should be availing his or herself of the teachings of the Church and strive to properly form his or her conscience, using those doctrines and the other necessary tools for proper discernment towards the mission of the Church.

Ah, the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is the salvation of souls. Period. While there may be many means to this end, the "means" must not become the primary focus.

For instance, while we are all called to "feed the hungry", one may respond to this calling more fully through missionary work to the poor. While this can be of itself a good thing and certainly compassionate, if it is accomplished void of consideration for the souls of the poor, it is void of true "merit" and distinctly apart from the mission of the Church.

Even more dangerous today is to try to manipulate Church teaching around a political candidate or party. Ha! Folly indeed! I've got no beef with measuring a politician or party against Church doctrines in order to show the distinct differences between them or to persuade others to help in reforming candidates and parties, but don't try to tell me you've found the perfect politician or party out there that you feel so inclined to vehemently defend.

Also on that note, if you're engaging in conversations that are mean and nasty, that degrade to personal attacks and such and especially in the name of the Catholic Church or Church teaching, then perhaps you should consider stepping back and discerning whose agent you are being in all of this.

Apart from God, even something that looks good can bring about evil. It all started in a garden one day.

The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men": "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age." - Catechism 849

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