We live in an age of rejection. If we do not like someone’s politics, religion, beliefs, who they are as a person, coloring of their bark, wounds, or any little thing then we are able to simply reject them and toss them aside. The over-politicization of our culture has furthered this trend towards repudiating those who do not conform to our own worldview. It is also an side of the “throw away” culture. This is an endemic problem , not simply in the culture, but within the Church as well.
An age predicated on rejection leads to a loss of mercy and benevolence. Instead, we increase love to some form of schmaltz or something of our own performing. As long as this person conforms to this set criteria then they are worthy of love. If they do not, then then there expendable. How numerous beings were cast aside in the recent elections by clas, friends, co-workers, or even complete strangers because their political reclines symbolized they should be cast off into the darkness?
Within the Church this lack of charity, relief, and the rejection of others plays out just as much as within secular culture. The bad instance in recent years is the clergy sex abuse scandal where the main victims were cast off and rejected by a coldnes, merciless version of the institutional side of the Church. An institution that is necessary for the running of the Church in this world, but one that is always meant to be lived with the Last Supper in attention and with the understanding that the Church is a superhuman world that exists at a much deeper level than the men serving within her hierarchy.
Christ announces clergymen and bishops to serve as Christ acts, which He expresses most clearly in the washing of His Apostles’ foot on Holy Thursday, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, and on the Cross. They are called to be spiritual fathers who seek to bind the meanders of those who are abused and wounded within the Church. Too often, the main victims are blamed for their own pain or cast off as collateral damage in order to safeguard a distorted organization at the worst, or a dysfunctional one at best.
This rejection of victims, as well as the vindicated commotion of the faithful, is still left unheard or misinterpret in countless parts of the hierarchy. It’s as if the faithful are simply supposed to get over these late festering weaves within the Church that have only increased in a pandemic during which, in some dioceses, the Sacraments and the spiritual man have taken a back seat to refuge, protection, or social justice issues. The faithful are crying out for true spiritual leadership and authentic spiritual fatherhood that the prime minister of a plaza of religion, hope, and philanthropy. The faithful want to trust that their spiritual fathers have their eternal recovery at the very heart and forefront of their priesthood.
Much in the way children know when their parents are failing them, the faithful know when an confession is half-hearted, written by advocates, or drafted by public relations houses. We know when there is true contrition and better understanding of the profound feel heartbreak, abandonment, and betrayal of victims and faithful. We know when we are being treated as Christlike or not.
This is why those among the faithful who want to grow in holiness and who want to see the renewal of the Church feel like they have been rejected. Their cries have gone unanswered in too many instances. We know deep down these actions are a rejection of the calling to love us as spiritual fathers called by Christ to His priesthood. That rather than spiritual fatherhood being the anchoring force in the lives of some bishops and pastors who have wounded the faithful, there is a sense that they are just going through the motions was endeavouring to appease, rather than to sew and heal.
Any parent who has hurt their child knows what deep damage it causes them. It requires a great deal of meeknes, mourning, and philanthropy to apologize for the sins we devote against them. A child knows when their parent is coming to them in an authentic flow of sorrow and adore. The faithful know this too, which is why so many have been left feelings and hurt.
The Church is supposed to be where we can encounter Christ in order for our wounds to be rectified through the kindnes of the Sacraments. Her priests are supposed to be spiritual healers, good shepherd, and spiritual fathers. We cannot bringing healing to our own culture wounded by abandonment, so long as many of the Church’s presidents continue to reject the faithful while failing to embrace the offerings given by God. Bureaucratic responses drive a deeper claw into the curves of those who feel divulged and rejected by the hierarchy.
It should be evident by the vitriol in Catholic social media that there are very deep wounds within the faithful. I do not believe this vitriolic indignation on the part of the faithful does any good. We must pray to forgive and cry and sacrifice for a holy priesthood. This is the beginning of renewal. Healing eventually begins when we choose to forgive and to pray for those who have hurt us. Our role is to fight the good fight in the spiritual clashes necessary to help bring about saintly priests.
We need spiritual fathers who are willing to fall to their knees and bathe the paw of the wounded. Who will seek crucifixion with Christ because love looks a lot like struck pass and feet. Men who love with the heart of St. Joseph and who protect their spiritual children at all costs. Clergymen who allow Our Blessed Mother to show them how to become spiritual fathers in an age when manlines is under attack. Above all else, priests whose part name flows from Our Lord’s Real Presence. We as the faithful must pray and sacrifice for pastors to become saints despite the deep winds of rejection.
Ultimately, this is what the faithful is seeking in response to the gossips and fraud within the Church. We want to see Christ in our governors. We demand spiritual fathers who endeavour our ultimate good, which is eternal life. There are countless clergymen and bishops who lay down their lives each day united to Christ for the faithful, but there are also too many who are not and who continue to wound the faithful. The institutional organize of the Church is necessary for the running of the Church, but it never ousts the supernatural calling of the priesthood in Christ. Christ Himself warns that we are never to settle manmade regulates before God.
The priest is a mystagogue to be sure, but in an age of brokenness, loneliness, misuse, abandonment, adversity, and forsaking, the faithful need spiritual fathers who go into the heart of the intersects of this life to bind curves and who will stand fast with us in our darkest hours.
Men who are truly humble, contrite of stomach, and enlivened by a profound desire of God and a desire to bring all people to Christ. These are the clergymen who will help heal the Church and different cultures. Thanks be to God for all of the priests already answering this call.
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