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Laity in The Church - Our History - Our Identity

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In the past roughly 30 mins we have had 17 Guests (or what is commonly termed lurkers, I think) on Phatmass. http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/online/

 To get a grip on what it means to be called by God to a vocation in the Laity, married or single, it is a blessing to get to know our history from early Christianity to today.  We need to get a real grip on what it means to be called and vocated by God to the Laity.  Our history will tell us where we have come from; our own experience will tell us where we are now with a bit of reflection.  And that could be a foundation for seeing the road ahead for us, our future and our objective.  If not, then we can indeed put our hand in the Hand of The Man from Galilee (see video below) and walk with Him into the Unknown with Peace and Joy, trust and confidence.

Catholic Education Resources (see below) in tracing something of a history for us could not avoid, nor attempted to avoid, the rise of clericalism and why and how it came about along with the affect on the laity..........it is the trigger, the cause of the effect of clericalism and often lay consciousness today.  It is one of the saddest things to me that The Church has become distinctly compartmentalised when Jesus prayed so passionately the night before His arrest for unity.........

....."I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,21so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.m22And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,23I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me". http://www.usccb.org/bible/john/17 


Catholic Education Resourceshttps://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/the-laity-from-apostolic-times-through-the-middle-ages.html

This excerpt in one very short paragraph rather sums things up exceedingly well.  It presents the conflict that for many can still exist for us as laity and we are rather often thought of as a sort of lowest class, the second rate citizens, the default position,  in The Church today.  Rather we have a distinct and important office and role, contribution, vocation and call, in The Church.  Saint Pope John Paul II, quoting Pius XII, called us the frontline of The Church today Christifideles Laici :...... "Pius XII once stated: "The Faithful, more precisely the lay faithful, find themselves on the front lines of the Church's life; for them the Church is the animating principle for human society. Therefore, they in particular, ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the head of all, and of the Bishops in communion with him. These are the Church ..."[16]."


 Excerpt:  "In the Middle Ages the layman found his field of action reduced to worldly affairs, with the disappearance of the sense of the laity's active participation in the field proper to the Church, which had been so lively in the early centuries; the Church's mission came to be identified almost exclusively with the ministry of the clerics, and Christian perfection came to be considered as something proper to clerics and religious. The layman's possibilities were reduced to the practice of the common virtues in the exercise of his secular functions, which was generally presented in ascetic literature as an obstacle to the Christian life of perfection (Alvaro del Portillo, Faithful and Laity in the Church. Shannon, Ireland: Ecclesia Press, 1972, p. 17)."


Edited by BarbaraTherese

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