A recent connection with a new friend in Ireland opened my eyes to a pain I did not know existed– the pain of the irrelevancy of The Catholic Church to its faithful flock in a land where Christianity was brought – by Saint Patrick – to liberate the lost. In the early years, the Church quickly took on a political role that has been maintained since; its time is spent on its own politics and those of the land it serves rather than the spiritual nurturing of its sheep as the hands and feet of Jesus, what Christians are called to be.
The heartbreak I witnessed is that those who could serve with the greatest energy, in feeling that their needs and those of their neighbors have been ignored, are turning their backs on the Church. They are fed up. They are leaving.
There remain small grass root efforts in individual churches that tirelessly work to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the poor, visit the widow and orphan, and more – like training the homeless and helping them to re-integrate into society.
The heartbreak to me is, as well, that those who are leaving cannot see the value in working with those small efforts that are actually being what the Church is called to be. That they cannot see that the more the “little” people band together and rise up from within in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus, the greater the impact on the world, and the more the hierarchy of the Church will have no choice but to listen and serve as called. They cannot see that rising above their own pain, working within that place Jesus established in Saint Peter, and being the Body of Christ, is how we become like Him, our ultimate goal.
A stable church that finds its strength in the foundation of its body – the sheep – is necessary in today’s fast moving world to keep the face of Jesus and His message of love in front of all people so that all will come to know Him.