Revitalize the Church!

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SycamoreTreeSometime back His Holiness Pope Francis said: “It is time to revitalize the Church. The Church should return to the basics of Our Mission: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the revitalization of the Faith in our individual lives through the Mass, the Sacraments, especially prayer, Penance and the Holy Eucharist.”

Taking His Holiness at his word, I have a few questions: If ‘revitalize’ means ‘to give new life or vigor to’ does His Holiness mean to suggest that the life has left the Church? The Church no longer has the strength it possessed? Pope Francis suggested we, as individuals, should pray. I presume we, as individuals, have not been praying enough or we have been praying for the wrong things. Maybe we should be more specific in our prayers. What is it that Pope Francis means by ‘the revitalization of the Faith’? Put more life into our Faith? Believe in what we say we believe?

Our Lord has said: “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it will be opened unto you… Up until now you have asked nothing of Me.” A few short, sincere prayers get more attention than repeated, monotonous mumbling ever will. If you don’t believe me, ask your “significant other” over and over: “Are you OK? Are you OK? Then try the same question once softly, sincerely meaning it. I’ll bet you get an immediate and different response!

Next: Pope Francis suggested Penance and the Holy Eucharist; they naturally go hand-in-hand; and it follows that they presume assistance at Mass. The Baltimore Catechism #2, [Lesson 24, pg. 80] says: “The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross because the offering (consecrated bread and wine) and the priest are the same – Christ, our Blessed Lord; and the ends for which the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered are the same as those of the Sacrifice of the Cross.”…. The best manner of hearing Mass is to offer it to God with the priest for the same purpose for which it is said, to meditate on Christ’s sufferings and death, and to receive Holy Communion.

These seem to me to be ‘the basics of Our Mission.’ What more perfect way to put life and vitality into our Faith and into our Church? If we really believe in this Mission, it should become obvious to us as individuals that we will experience a new life of Faith; living, as St. Paul said: “I live now; not I, but Christ lives within me.” Let us pray that God gives us a new beginning – first in ourselves

The View from the Sycamore Tree is written by Guam Catholic Daniel Bradley, Sr. under the pen name Zacchaeus.