Today’s video was produced by Mauricio Artieda, Catholic-Link’s director, and looks to drive home the true identity of the Catholic Church as being founded by Christ.
It is one of the most viewed videos about the Church on YouTube (the Spanish version). I think it can be useful for the apostolate as a tool to defend and proclaim the Church’s authentic identity in the face of the numerous attacks and accusations that it receives incessantly.
As you watch, think about the words of our Creed. We truly are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
A Deeper Look
For so many people, Catholics and non-Catholics, the Church has become, as Ratzinger says in his Introduction to Christianity, “the main obstacle of belief.” “They can no longer see,” he continues, “anything but the human struggle for power, the petty spectacle of those who, with their claim to administer official Christianity, seem to stand most in the way of the true spirit of Christianity.”
Wouldn’t it be easier to simply remove this obstacle? Perhaps, direct our attention and efforts towards something more politically correct, something more comfortable? Shouldn’t we at least soften our voices a tad when we reach that part in the Creed?
Doing so, I believe, we not only betray our Church but Christ as well. The two cannot be separated. In reality, I do not understand why so many believe that Christ can live and work in a person’s heart; yet they deny that he can do so in a historically and structured way through a concrete Church. How can I deny Christ’s work in a Church that embraces sinners and at the same time believes that he works in my own life, perhaps the greatest sinner of all?
The idea of separating oneself in isolation so as to live out the pure “Gospel way” is conceivably well-intentioned. Nevertheless, it is a delusion and extremely pernicious. How could such an idea ever find approval from the man who dedicated his life and his death to loving sinners and calling them to conversion? Christ saves and loves with his presence, not his absence.
The salvation that he offers is both a personal and social one. Each one is called to accept him in his heart and allow his or her life to be transformed by him. Yet this gift of grace is not to be stashed away egoistically. It is given to be shared. It is both a responsibility and a compelling mystery: how is it that man can truly collaborate in the salvation of others?
This is precisely the call and invitation that Christ makes to his disciples. He gives them the power to forgive sins and to be ministers of his reconciliation. This invitation is a historical one that was made to a group of unqualified men, sinners all of them. And it continues to be passed down and be actualized throughout the generations up until our day.
Why obey and put your trust in such a weak group of people? Isn’t it obvious that all institutions turn corrupt?
I do so because I have no doubt that God truly does work in the lives of sinners and through the lives of sinners, bringing about remarkable events. This is what I see in my own life and in those around me. If God can use me, if he can truly transform my heart and work in those around me, in spite of my sins and weakness, how am I going to refuse to believe the same of those whom He has chosen to accompany me in my path, especially those designated as leaders?
Recognize the Church
We must learn to recognize the Church as something much more than just another institution, another voice spouting out another creed, another salesman trying to sell us another product that’s going to “change our lives”. She is indeed our Mother, desperate to nurture and provide us with the authentic food of life and happiness. She, like our Mother Mary, desires nothing more than to point us to Christ and, by his grace, effectively lead us to him. For this sole purpose, Christ founded her: to proclaim and spread among all peoples the Kingdom of God.
Lastly, this awareness must lead us to concrete action. We are all called to welcome Christ’s salvation in our lives and collaborate in the salvation of others, each one according to their identity and mission. We must go out into the world to proclaim the Good News of Christ, as Catholics, as members of the Church. We must explain and give testimony of Christ’s authentic and real presence in the Church by our holiness and self-sacrifice. The economic contribution on Sunday isn’t enough! All that you do must be marked by a radical love of Christ and his Church!
– The video brings to light the fundamental truth behind our belief and belonging to the Church: Christ founded it. In the Catholic Church, we discover Christ in his fullness. Faithfulness to Christ necessarily implies faithfulness to his Church.
– Abstaining from any spirit of condemnation, we must recognize and be thankful for the fact that there are indeed tangible signs that confirm Christ’s words: “the gates of hell shall not prevail”. Its endurance throughout the tides of history reveals a truly supernatural underpinning, without which it would quickly collapse under the weight of the folly of its members and the ferocity of the attacks launched at it.
– Our message to the world must be effectively positive: conscious of its member’s deficiencies, we must not cease to proclaim the Church as the bearer of the Good News, the means of salvation, and the communicator of the fruits of salvation.
– This positive approach goes for our relationship with other denominations. Clear about the disagreements and arguments behind our positions, we must focus on the positive of the Truth and the riches of our Faith, not on scathing the others.
– Rather than more critics, the Church needs saints. The saints are those who suffer more than any the depravities of their day. They, in fact, tend to be the first and the boldest in their calls for reformation and penitence as well as the quickest in recognizing their own need for these things. All this, however, emerges from a heart throbbing with love for Christ and his Church. Theirs is a heart that willingly suffers the longing for sanctity and purity to such degree that they see no other path but to consecrate their entire being to service and sacrifice.