Friday, August 24, 2012

Surprised, but not Really

In a time when we need to be working together, a direct insult comes flying in my face on the tv screen.  An insult to the Catholic faith that I hold so dear.  In the final moments of my Joyce Meyer episode on GEB network last night, she aired a clip from a woman who was giving praise for Meyer and her ministry work and more importantly how moved she felt at the womens conferences put on by Meyer's ministry.  She went on to say that unlike the Catholic church she was raised in, she got to go on to the alter with all her brokenness and be healed.  As a woman in the Catholic church she also felt she couldn't lead people in faith because she wasn't ordained or a priest.  She then proceeded to say that at the women's conference, it wasn't about 'religion' but LOVE and FEELINGS.  

Okay, my beef is not that she feels connected and feels healing from these conferences.  It may be a very great and moving experience.  To have that many women together, making changes, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts is amazing.  God bless these women!  My beef is that she is purely representing what I see as a generation of people who have a deep misunderstanding of the Catholic church.  A misunderstanding that is just running rampant in our society today and supported by our media and promoted in the evangelical world.  

This woman seems to be speaking specifically and only about the offering of the Mass.  Yes, only a priest can preside over mass and Holy Communion.  That's how Jesus designed it.  Now, if a lay Catholic feels called to hold a woman's conference and have alter calls and inspire women with her gift of communication and call to action…she is very much encouraged to do so.  Please do!  Women play such a vital role in the life of the church.  To complain that you cannot offer mass, is just silly.  There are so many ways that you can offer your gifts to the community and most of them are the same as the priest.  

If you seek understanding in the faith you will find out that the reason Catholics don't ordain women is because when Jesus laid the groundwork of the church, he picked men, his apostles, as his leaders when he certainly could've picked women.  There were plenty of women disciples who were part of the early church.  They didn't hold the role of priests but their role was equally important and vital to the passing on of the faith.  We believe that God does things on purpose.  We may not understand but we are not inn the position to change what God has put in place.
As far as altar calls, we Catholics do an altar call.  If that's what you want, it's called receiving communion.  Every week, daily if you wish, you are invited to the altar, in all your brokenness to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist.  You can't get much more personal than that.  Every time you receive this you are giving a giant "Yes" to Jesus himself and are uniting your weaknesses to him in the holy sacrifice.  

If you're looking for a spiritual high with all the ladies and seeking that only, as proof that you're forgiven and loved by God then you are seeking the Lord in a way that resembles the early part of a relationship, with all the butterflies and warm fuzzies.  In reality, that fades.  We know that.  Love and faith is about commitment, less about feelings and more about a firm foundation in the body of Christ.  

The meaning of religion is so distorted these days.  It's as if denomination and religion are interchangeable.  She knocked 'religion' as if having a belief system is bad.  Christ gave us his word in the bible.  His word is filled with direction and a philosophy that guides us home to Him.  To believe in this is to have religion.  Everything that we "second" rate christians do, or you may call us Catholics; everything we do can be found in the bible and the early fathers of the church could easily walk into Sunday mass and understand what's going on.  Jesus himself would get it.  We don't believe that we have a better way of doing things and so we haven't changed it in 2000 years because if this is what the apostles were moved by the Spirit to do, well then that's what we should do.  Jesus did say, "do this in memory of me".  What he was telling us to do had everything to do with sharing the gospel and receiving his flesh and blood.  He didn't say, "do this if you feel like it" or "go ahead, change it up if you want, whatever makes you feel good".  

There is no "Joe Catholic", it is the church Christ founded and handed on to his Apostles whom have passed it down to their successors through the centuries.  It wasn't a bunch of misguided religious zealots.  For 1500 years this is what Christianity was.  Until Luther came along and redid the bible according to his inspired ways and changed a few words to support his cause and now we've got some 38,000 protestant faiths, not counting all the non-denominationals, that think they've got the way to Christ.  If the Spirit is moving all these churches how come the spirit is confusing them so much with all kinds of different beliefs.

I am disappointed to have seen this on my uplifting late night program.  I know evangelicals don't like the Catholic church and I accept that.  I firmly believe that I'm not the only Catholic mom watching this at night.  Christians should be having a dialogue on faith in a hope for unity but promoting this division is not helping at all.

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