Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Spiritual Family (2008 version)

From the Letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans (12:4-18):
For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ; and every one members one of another: And having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used accoreding to the rule of faith; or ministry, in ministering; or he that teacheth, in doctrine; he that exhorteth, in exhorting; he that giventh, with simplicity; he that ruleth, with carefulness; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleving to that which is good, loving one another with the charity of brotherhood: with honour preventing one another. In carefulness not slothful. In spirit fervent. Serving the Lord. Rejoicing in hoppe. Patient in tribulation. Instant in prayer. Communicating to the necessities of the saints. Pursuing hospitality. Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice: weep with them that weep. Being of one mind one towards another. Not minding high things, but consenting to the humble. Be not wise in your own conciets. To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men.

How do we interpret this? One interpretation that comes to my mind is that of the Catholic Church herself. This part of the letter of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans encourages charity and love for one another as if all were brothers and sisters. I do not mean brothers and sisters in the biological sense, I mean brothers and sisters in the spiritual sense. All of us who gather at Mass on Sunday gather as a family to offer our time to God, who is our creator and therefore the father of all. All of us as a spirutal family have a role to play in the parishes that we attend.

The priest, who is our spiritual father is there to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and offer to us Holy Communion, the Body of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet this is not his only task, for he has many. He also carries the burden of being the mediator between us and Jesus Christ hearing our confessions and to forgive us our sins (in other words, we confess to Christ through him). He also carries the burden of teaching his many spiritual children the laws of the Church along with history and apologetics. He helps to confirm us in the faith by preparing us for it (preferably when we are young but those of us who are just entering the church can be conditionally re-confirmed or conditionally re-baptized). Because the priest has the gift of being able to control, if not, surpress his own emotions he also does the honor of carrying out the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Because a priest himself cannot marry, for he is married to the Church, he has chosen the greater good in providing this sacrament to others who are not called to the religious life yet that of a married life to provide for the Church new members and therefore it is his duty to rest assure that the couple discerning marrige is asking for the sacrament for the right reasons. Just like a very defensive father, he wants to make sure that the young man that his daughter is dating will be able to take care of and look after his daughter and most importantly be the right one for his daughter. The priest also has the responsibility of visiting sick members of the spirutal family, giving them Holy Communion and giving them the sacrament of Extreme Unction in cases where they are at the point of death. He is a father that takes care of his family but a much bigger one yet carries responsibilities that are paramount for the soul. The father of an actual biological family has the same tasks but in a more material way. If your children were sick you would give them medicine, if your children were hungry you would give them food, if your children were out of control or had a problem to talk to you about, you would instruct and counsel them. That is what a priest does when he hears confessions and gives absolution, Extreme Unction and Holy Communion.

Mothers and sisters (the religious order) are those who assist the priests in the teaching of children and praying for souls. They perform the task of a home schooling mother who spends the day at home teaching her children and bringing them up in the Catholic Faith, but again this task is spiritual. Their role is important in a parish because while they teach the children, the priest can tend to his other duties and therefore would not be overwhelmed.

The members of the congregation are brothers and sisters to each other. From one brother and sister to another, they can assist each other by carpooling to Mass on Sunday, giving charitably to those brothers and sisters in need, consuling the sorrowful and depressed, rejoicing with those who have found good fortune, contributing to the welfare of the Church and encouraging others to become part of our spiritual family. We also pray for the souls in purgatory and for all others inside and outside our spiritual family alike. Some of us decide to join the religious life, marry, or remain single to serve God in which ever way, depending on what kind of grace he has given us.

As for those outside of our spiritual family, we have a mission to bring them to the true fold and make them into spiritual brothers and sisters. This mission was given to the Church not just to the religious alone, but to ALL members of the Chruch Militant. We must teach them that the Church is the ONE Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. ONE!!! Not many as the Novus Ordo Church teaches. Simple things such as inviting them along to Mass and teaching them the fruits of True Catholicism can get them interested and with much prayer and grace, which God alone can grant, they may convert to the Church and become one with our spiritual family.

As for me, the Website Editor, my purpose in this Chapel is to contribute to it by presenting to you the announcements and other important matters with the hope that those who are unable to come to our Chapel can still feel at one with our Spiritual family. Personally, since I have become Sedevacantist, I feel departed from my biological family for my brother and my mother are opposed to Sedevacantism. Never in my life have I ever felt this far from them but as long as I have the Church as my spiritual family, it is a family that I can never lose. As long as I remain true to the laws and teachings of the Church, my spiritual family will always be there.

Let us all as members of the one spiritual family remain charitable and kind to one another including to those who are outside of our spiritual family. This is an act of charity which is encouraged by the Church not just in the liturgical season of Advent but because it is the Catholic thing to do. During the season of Advent, we all find the overwhelming charity in our hearts to give to others but it doesn't end with Christmas, it is something that takes place all year round. Providing food for your neighbor, clothing the naked, giving to the poor and sheltering the homeless. These acts of charity are also acts of love for our fellow man as Christ loved us. The season of Advent is here, and for that reason I write this post to encourage those who are able to welcome your fellow brothers and sisters, who have no where to go, no family members with whom to celebrate Christmas and no one there to wish them merry, to dine with you on Christmas day and help them if they are in need. Material gifts only give temporary joy, but providing them with a special meal on one of the most important days in the liturgical year gives greater joy to those in need and grants upon you God's grace for your charitable acts. Even if you, yourself, are alone you can offer this act of charity to others by welcoming them to dine with you. Acts of charity and love are not only one of the purposes of the Spiritual family but the greatest gifts that the Spiritual family can offer to those who are lost and found.

The Website Editor of Our Lady of Lourdes.

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