Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Church in the modern world

Almost 43 years ago, the council fathers, gathered in Rome for the Second Vatican Council published the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the modern world (Gaudium et Spes, literatlly translated as 'The joys and the hopes'). One of the last documents to be published before the conclusion of the Council, it outlines the pastoral plan of how the Church should move ahead, reflecting the joys that are to be recognized and celebrated and the hopes of God's people.

Since the conclusion of the Vatican Council, we have continued to struggle in various ways as we try to implement the wisdom that was discussed, gleaned and hoped for during that four-year period (the Council began in 1962 and ended in 1965). Perhaps the struggle that we have faced is not so different from that which many individuals face when we dream of the person we want to be, the person that God has in mind for us. Even if we have a good idea about who we want to be, developing the traits of that person are not always easy. There are always bumps and grinds along the way. There are often twists and turns in the road that were never anticipated, but from which we learn some valuable lessons.

In the past forty-some years, our world has evolved as well, at an ever-increasing pace. We sometimes struggle to keep up to all the changes. Technological advances and the tools at our disposal are one thing, but finding the words to speak to today's generations about the joys and hopes of today can sometimes be a much more difficult task.

Although society in general seems to be ignoring the voice of the Church in some situations, all in the name of multi-cultural inclusion, there are still many who look to the Church for guidance, and we must be willing and able to provide the inspiration; otherwise we run the serious risk of being branded as 'lukewarm'.

In just two weeks time, the 49th International Eucharistic Congress will take place in Quebec City. His Eminence, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec City recently voiced his own joys and hopes about the Congress. It is his fervent dream that the Congress would "draw the attention of the Catholic and secular media, so that people will realize that the Church is very much involved at the heart of the world bringing hope, love and strength to people committed to peace."

Let's all make some space in our lives for sharing good news with our world.

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