What Needs to Change in the Church? You and I
It’s a Mess
Chaos. Pain. Evil. Our world is a bit of a mess. Our own personal brokenness is burden enough, without facing the heartbreaking corruption in the Church. How can we trust our shepherds when so many have failed us? How can we bring ourselves to participate in the life of the Church? How do we live our faith with authenticity and joy?
Some might say we can’t. It’s not worth even staying. The betrayal is too much, and the scars run too deep.
“Will you also go away?” (John 6:67)
You may remember the story. People were walking away in droves. Jesus turned to his apostles and asked this question: “Will you also go away (Jn. 6:67)?” The circumstances may differ with the crisis we face today, but can our response really be any different from what St. Peter said?
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God (Jn. 6:68-69).”
Jesus and his Church hold the words of eternal life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He left us His Church. Through His Church, He invites to abundant life. Despite the failings of its individual members and leaders, Catholicism is true. Catholicism holds the path to authentic happiness, freedom, and fulfillment through being faithful to Christ and His teachings.
Even amid the scandal and failures of leaders and other members of the Church, I hold to Christ’s promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail (see Matthew 16:18). It is absolutely heartbreaking and gut wrenching to face the continued betrayal, unapologetic scandal, and such a lack of fatherly care within the Church. But this is Christ’s Church, and we know He will never forsake us.
I cling to the truth, beauty, and goodness of every aspect of our Faith. And I stand by the Church today. No matter what.
But what do we do? Things cannot stay as they are.
Many are looking to punishment, structural changes, and better procedures. While these types of action and changes are most likely needed, perhaps what is really needed is far more fundamental.
The Church needs authentic Catholicism.
In the Catholic Church, we find the fullness of Christ, present and active in so many ways. The will of God must be discerned and lived at every level of the Church. Only through this faithfulness can true healing and progress be made. New reporting procedures and systems of accountability are needed, but true change must happen at our core.
And that starts with us.
Mother Teresa was once asked what needed to change in the Church. Her response?
“You and I.”
She is exactly right. How do we change the Church? We live authentic Catholicism. We must live it boldly and unapologetically. We must build our relationship with Jesus and His Church. We must build character and virtue in our own lives, in our homes, in our parish communities, and throughout the whole Church. We must live lives of humility, forgiveness, prudence, temperance, mercy, joy, and hope.
What happens when someone fully embraces and lives Catholicism? We have amazing and beautiful examples in Saint Mother Teresa and Pope Saint John Paul II.
Imagine the impact we could have on the Church and the world if we each did even just a small piece of what these great saints did?
We would change the Church. We would change the world.