Q1: LIFE Visions (Choose Life)
[This is the last Session that deals with LIFE visions. Please make sure you have discussed the previous topic.]
TOPIC 4: THE CHURCH VISION
1. The Church is…
- Not just Institution (the papacy and the Magisterium who is the official teaching authority of the Church composed of the college of bishops)
- but it is also a Mystical Body of Christ (the Body of Christ that includes all of us)
- Herald (spreading the Good News about Jesus)
- Servant (catering to the poor, making it the “largest charitable organization in the planet, bringing relief and comfort to those in need.” (Source: Welcome to the Catholic Church)
- Mother – one who cares for us, pushes us for our own good, loves us and always wants the best for us. (If we remember this image of the Church, it will dispel negative thoughts on the Church being close-minded, out to make life difficult for us, and stop us from being critical. Since the world attacks and puts down the Church, we may be influenced to believe their accusations are true, when the Church, the pope and bishops only want the best for us.)
2. In the Philippines, we call ourselves the Church of the Poor.
- Most of its members are poor (the least, the last and the lost).
- Poor refers not only to material poverty but those who are psychologically poor and those far from Christ.
- The Church is meant to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
3. The Church is called to bring people to Christ.
- Its vision is salvation of everyone.
- Its vision is to bring about the fulfillment of God’s dream (the kingdom of God).
- It is meant to serve the Kingdom of God. (“As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Jn 20,21) How?
- By proclaiming Jesus
- By being a witness and countersign/contrast in the world today.
4. Every member of the Church is called to holiness.
- Priests, religious and lay persons are called to be whole-y. (whole)
- Priests and religious (nuns, brothers in congregations) aren’t meant to be holier than lay persons. Everyone is called to be like Christ (holy).
- The way to holiness is through bonding with Christ (prayer, worship, reading the Bible).
- Holiness is evident in a person’s life through acts of charity, kindness, patience, etc.
5. The Church is marked by its being one, holy, catholic and apostolic.
- ONE – The Church is united (different nations, different times, different cultures, all under Christ)
- HOLY – The Church is whole in Christ. To be holy is to be filled with God. What makes the Church holy is God. What makes the Church unholy is our sinfulness.
- CATHOLIC – The Church is open to all: young and old, women and men, sinners and saints.
- APOSTOLIC – The Church is missionary in nature. Its mission defines it. It exists because of its mission.
6. Since the Church is sent by Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Church is MISSIONARY by its very nature.
- Everyone, from the pope to the bishops, to the religious to the laity, are equally called to be missionary and have that “missionary ZEAL” (excitement to proclaim Christ) and live it out wherever they are (in their own respective context).
- The term we use in community is evangelistic. This means to be a witness of Christ in thought, word and deed. Everything about you should be a sign of Christ and inspire others to want to come to Christ. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Mt. 28)
- While all are called to be evangelizers, CFC-FFL takes it to heart by identifying ourselves as an evangelistic community.
- All members of the Church are to evangelize both those in the Church (called lukewarm Christians of KBL Catholics – only in church for Kasal, Binyag at Libing) and those outside the Church (non-believers).
- To be a true witness/evangelizer, one must be spiritual (prayer and study of the Bible and Church teachings), persevering and moral (a good witness by doing the good).
7. Our community, CFC-FFL is called to be faithful to the Church and its vision by doing our share of the work through different ministries and through parish involvement.
Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) and Ad Gentes (Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity).
youtube videos for a greater appreciation of the Catholic Church today:
What is the mission of the Roman Catholic Church today?
How is the Philippine Church contributing to the vision of the Roman Catholic Church?
How active are you in your parish as a member of CFCFFL? How are you contributing to evangelization in your parish, especially based on this year’s theme?
What do you think the Spirit is leading you to offer to the local Church that you belong to?