Chapter 3 – John 17

In our chapter we learn about Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.  Together they present to us one faith, leading to a knowledge of God, the reason for our hope, and both source and goal of our mission in the world.  This is a lesson I especially appreciate.  I grew up with a love for Jesus and Scripture but eventually, having experienced a variety of protestant traditions, it was the unity of faith and teaching authority that drew me into the Church.  I found it a great gift and answer to one of my favorite passages, John 17.  Which just happened to be what our Holy Father taught about at his general audience yesterday!

An excerpt from the Vatican News Service summary:  “…By this priestly prayer Jesus establishes the Church, “which is nothing other than the community of disciples who, through their faith in Christ as the One sent by the Father, receive His unity and are involved in Jesus’ mission to save the world by leading it to a knowledge of God”.  Benedict XVI invited the faithful to read and meditate upon Jesus priestly prayer, and to pray to God themselves, asking Him “to help us enter fully into the plan He has for each of us. Let us ask Him to consecrate us to Himself, that we may belong to Him and show increasing love for others, both near and far. Let us ask Him to help us open our prayers to the world, not limiting them to requests for help in our own problems, but remembering our fellow man before the Lord and learning the beauty of interceding for others. Let us ask Him for the gift of visible unity among all those who believe in Christ, … that we may be ready to respond to anyone who asks us about the reasons for our hope”.”

Have you ever thought of the teaching authority of the church as a gift ?  (Laurie Edwards)

About Fanning The Flame

FTF is a 125th Anniversary Journey of Faith of the Diocese of Belleville through the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
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2 Responses to Chapter 3 – John 17

  1. wth3 says:

    The call for Christian unity seems to be repeatedly mistaken for uniformity. Getting bogged down in political realities, diminishes the beauty of Christ’s teaching, which, in turn, is reflected in Church teaching. One only has to read and reflect on the Theology of the Body and the Church’s position on artificial contraception to see the disconnect people make in rejecting this wonderful endorsement of the sacredness of life.
    Bernadin’s quilt of all life issues is most powerful for me and I resent the bastardization of our faith in the secular, political realm. While we are called to engage culture in all its flawed humanity, we are also called to elevate the discussion. Can’t we be unified about that?

  2. Thank you for making the important distinction that unity isn’t the same as uniformity. Then, in your reference to political realities I saw a key distinction about it being not the political realities that diminish the beauty of Christ’s teaching, but getting “bogged down” in them, that hinders us from seeing the teachings in their fullness and beauty.

    What “bogs” us down? I propose that at least one thing is the lens and standard of measure we use. Do we use the lens of the teachings of Christ, reflected in the Church, to look at the nature of the human person and political realities (and I use the word “political” in the broad understanding of how we engage/order society in a just way) and use those same teachings as a measure/guide for direction and elevated discussion? Or, do we use the lens of the political realities, and the cultural influences that have created these realities, as our lens and measure through which we try to interpret (distinct from applying) the teachings of our faith.

    Most likely for anyone of us it isn’t one or the other since our world view is constantly being shaped and influenced by what we are exposed to. Also the apparent urgency of our responses often doesn’t build in time for prayerful study/reflection/prayer (after all, we are expected to have “opinions” about most everything on a moment’s notice, whether we are informed or not). Furthermore, even with the most sincere intention of using our faith as the starting point, we are on a journey of conversion, and that lens is (hopefully) being constantly refined even as we are being transformed.

    Maybe the times when we seem “bogged down” are times we really need to slow ourselves and be careful not to spin our wheels and instead listen anew to what the teachings of the Church have to say. Perhaps by taking this year long journey of (re)discovery together we are on the verge of something beautiful that we can allow to transform us, that in turn will unite us in a communion that is definitely different from uniformity!

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