The Code of Canon Law (Can. #747 par. 1) states, “The Church, to which Christ the Lord has entrusted the deposit of faith so that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit it might protect the revealed truth reverently, examine it more closely, and proclaim and expound it faithfully, has the duty and innate right, independent of any human power whatsoever, to preach the gospel to all peoples, also using the means of social communication proper to it.” What this means for the Church is that preaching, teaching, and admonishing the flock are important ways of nurturing the Christian faith.
This duty, given to the Church by Jesus, is not to be applied arbitrarily but used judiciously in building peoples across the world to understand the saving power of God. The familiar story of Thomas doubting the visit of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection should apply to us. When Jesus appeared a week later and obliged Thomas to doubt no longer, he responded, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” What Jesus wanted from Thomas was a faith that was strong and unshakeable like the rock of Gibraltar. The connections of Christians to Jesus should be based on a strong faith without doubting the saving power of God toward for us. Faith is a key ingredient necessary for our spiritual growth.
For this reason, the Church is empowered by Jesus to preach and admonish the weak to stay strong. Doubtful members need to increase their hope that God is real. The creator of the world is not to be relegated to the background. Rather, we need to put God at the forefront of our lives by seeking inspiration from him. The Church, therefore, cannot coerce people into following regulations for their salvation, but it can persuade them to see the dangers of not doing so. In this way, faith teaches us to willingly cooperate with the Church in saving ourselves from the dangers that daily tempt us to neglect the spiritual and embrace the mundane.
We can learn from the early Church when they chose to live a communitarian life of sharing. “There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.” Does this sound very unusual to you? Yes, it does to me as well that individuals could ever do this. However, at that time it was an acceptable behavior for the welfare of the members. Today’s Church does not require you to dispose of your property to give the proceeds to it. What the Church does requires of you is support for missionary work across the world to assist in dispelling doubts and ignorance from the minds of men and women who are hopeless during dark clouds of oppression and victimization.
It is the duty of every member of the Church to support great missions of religious education within our communities and where there is a greater need. St. Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), the Polish founder of the Divine Mercy society, wrote down her daily encounters with Jesus in a dairy. Today we have the Divine Mercy devotion teaching faith lessons and encouraging total commitment to God’s unending love.
Paragraph 2 of Can. 747 states, “It belongs to the Church always and everywhere to announce moral principles, even about the social order and to render judgment concerning any human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls requires it.” The implications for the Church from this paragraph are demanding simply because modern values seem to conflict with the values of the gospel. Should the Church be silenced and allow societies to go without a moral voice? Despite your answer, remember, we need to respect the Church’s prophetic roles in teaching, educating and admonishing souls that doubt, err, or disbelieve what grace and mercy represent. Faith teaches us to believe in God’s plan for us. By listening to the Church’s guidance, we win despite the intrusions of modern society on our moral conscience. Keep praying!BACK TO LIST