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Monday, 25 May 2015

Understanding Parish or Community Life

What I call community is not the same as what is known in America as parish life. It seems that the word "community" is misused constantly is parish when the mission statements. Mission statements did not exist in pre-Vatican II "communities".  Why mission statements became popular had to do parishes accepting business models for worship and relationships instead of family models. Yes, many mission statements use the word "family" but one cannot create a family atmosphere with a business model.

Community comes from people getting involved in each other's lives. When I was home schooling, the little group of home schooling moms created a little community. We saw each other weekly outside of Mass time, did things together with the children and shared talents and resources.

Community means men meeting in Bible studies, joining Men of St. Joseph or other fathers' groups, and even having men's Adoration groups. Sierra club is another community building group, which I know of personally, as my dad was president for years.

But, unless the members of families actually meet during the week outside of Church, socializing and praying with each other, there will be no community.

Community needs to start small and grow because people are becoming friends in the Lord, each one having a personal relationship with Christ and working on personal holiness at home.

Why there are so few real communities has to do with the fact that meeting together does not seem to be a priority in some areas.

As I have written so many times, imagine a diocese with only a handful of churches, few opportunities for receiving the sacraments, and almost complete marginalization of Catholics in the marketplace. This is coming.

For years on this blog, I have written about podding and creating small groups close by in your neighbourhoods for support when things get tough. Many Catholics will be, and already are, not accepted by their own families regarding Catholic doctrine. Communities are necessary to sustain such "lone wolves" who have been kicked out of the family circle for being really Catholic.

Being involved personally, knowing your Catholic neighbors, having dinners, having barbeques with these Catholic remnant people, praying together as families as well as individuals, create community. Home schooling moms seem to be very good at creating Catholic mini-communities.

Parish life usually does not create real community, as this model did years ago, as too many Catholics may be understood as living lives of heterodoxy.

Some people with whom I have spoken think community will "just happen" when things get tough. I do not think so.

Some communities are being built, as in those people who have moved to the Clear Creek Abbey area in order to have the TLM as the center of a communal life. There is some community is Idaho and in Tennessee in TLM communities which have worked on relationships. There are a few charismatic communities in Michigan and in Indiana.

The great blockage to community life is the stubbornness which insists that communal life must be seen as the same as parish life. The old paradigm no longer works, as, in my last parish, the heterodox Catholics simply cannot live the same life as those who are obedient.

The model of community can no longer be the divisive families of many shades of belief, or the old parish model. One cannot have intimate relationships with those who are living in disobedient and refuse to repent. Doctrinal divisions in families or in parishes stop community building.

Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, had many things to say about division. Just look in Mark, Luke and Matthew, in the passages on the separation of the sheep and goats, and the turning of family members against other family members.

Mark, 13:12

And the brother shall betray his brother unto death, and the father his son; and children shall rise up against the parents, and shall work their death.

Luke 12:53

The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Matthew 25:31-46

31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.

32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

When I returned from Europe to the States, one thing which struck me, which I had not noticed before, was the fact that so many Catholics were idolizing their families.

Their families were more important that the Catholic communities, than Catholic teaching, than Catholic culture and practice. Their families took them away from activities or socializing with Catholics who could help them be stronger and holier.

Finally, I saw wives giving in to the pagan practices of their families and husbands to theirs instead of listening to the holy spouse God had given them.

Why has this happened? Why the deceit that one can bring one's family to God? Why the compromising on such a large scale?

The Kingdom of God is the Church. And the Church Militant is made up of those who fight for the truth of the Catholic Faith.

We may not share this vision, this grace with our siblings, or even parents.

In fact, I see husbands giving in to wives who want to spend too much on luxury items, going out, and so on, when these men know God is calling the family to more prayer and simplicity.

I see wives giving in to husbands on the issue of contraception.

I see husbands not wanting to confront the occult or new age practices they see their wives are doing.

I see wives not speaking to their husbands about pornography.

Husbands and wives are to bring each other to heaven. That is the main reason God brought them together.

If a family gets in the way of that process on purpose, by the strength of old sins, such as involvement in the occult, Freemasonry, lax Catholicism, the wife or husband must step in and help the other one break away from lives of sin.

How this is done takes prayer, patience, tact, but always the truth.

I have written about podding and building community before the really hard times hit. Some people have written or phoned me to say that they want to do this, for their own sake, the sake of the children and the spouse, but the other half of the couple does not.

If it is the man who wants to do so, the Catholic woman owes him obedience. If it is the woman who wants to grow deeper in holiness, she must pray, but never sin.

Family idolatry is rife. Our families do not save us, God does. Many saints had holy parents, but some did not.

The day St. Damien of Molokai told his father he wanted to be a priest, his father grew angry and said "no". The next morning, the father told him to get into the farm cart, said nothing else, drove the young man to the seminary, and dropped him off. The father never spoke with the saint again.

In my own family, one member, a father, never spoke to his daughter after she entered the convent. Never.

We need to make choices daily. Some need to break away from consumerist, materialistic families. Some need to break away from negative families. Some need to break away from families involved in the occult, or power, or abuse.

I cannot save those in my family who have fallen away. Only God can. I love them and pray for them daily. But, no family member will take me away from the path of holiness.

Can you say the same? Are you caught up in family idolatry? Would you die for Christ when your family may decide not to do so?

Some times the sin of the family is pride. 

We make choices daily, little choices, which lead to bigger ones.

May I add that persecution will come soon, and that we are going to have to choose between REAL communities or false ones.

from Maccabees....
Now I urge those who read this book not to be depressed by such calamities, but to recognize that these punishments were designed not to destroy but to discipline our people 2 Maccabees 6

Many younger Catholics understand we are headed for real persecution. Those who do not can read my previous posts on the stages of such persecution. We are in the beginning of the last stage.

But, many Catholics think that persecution is for punishing the wicked. Not so. Look at the quotation above from Maccabees. Persecution is for the good of the Church. For our good, individually and collectively.

No one who is honest can deny that evils entered the Church in the past sixty years or so. People, including leaders, became complacent, and worse, seriously full of sin. The case of contraception is merely one part of the evil-even today. There are many priests, and even bishops in England, who do not teach that Humanae Vitae is an infallible document.

And, in America, some seminaries are still, in 2013, accepting homosexuals as future priests and have homosexuals on the staff.  Also, the laity do not correct one another and ignore sin, which is not only hypocritical, as not abiding by one's baptismal promises, but encouraging evil. Many Catholics are not obedient, and get involve in New Age practices and false private revelations, all which are disobedient actions and are sinful. Many Catholics are not orthodox. This is unfaithfulness. This is sin.

So, the Church must be purified. The lavender mafia is only one aspect. The sins against children are only one aspect. The tacit agreement and support of abortion by Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians is only one aspect. Now, we have priests and bishops accepting ssm. The blasphemies against God and the sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion as well as abuses in the Liturgy add to the list.

As seen in Maccabees, God is faithful and will not let His People go to hell. He wants the salvation of those in His Church as well as outside the Church.

Persecution is for us, folks. If you cannot see this, you are ignoring the evil which is in the Church. The Maccabees started with themselves, fasting, praying, fighting and witnessed great miracles.

We shall need community to live and to worship freely.

We cannot expect miracles unless we pursue purity of heart. Pray, fast, reflect, think, act. Form real communities, not false ones which will NOT support you in times of persecution. Some of the enemies of the Faith sit next to you in your parish on Sunday.