Friday, July 13, 2012
THE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL ASPECTS OF THE CHURCH AND HER WORSHIP ARE BOTH NECESSARY BUT IN THE PROPER ORDER AND DEGREE AND THE "OUT" MINISTRY, THE 3-D OF BEING CHURCH
Our life in Christ as Catholics is meant to have three very powerful aspects. The first is the vertical aspect. God comes to us in Christ Jesus but mediated in the human nature of the one Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus directs us to God the Father through Jesus' ministry to us as One Divine Being, with two natures, human and divine. Already in this divine scheme of things, we see the vertical and the second aspect of God's saving activity, the horizontal, at work in God's relationship to us, especially in the "abasement" of His son, our our relationship to God in our "elevation" to God through Christ.
Through the Church, God continues this activity of the horizontal and vertical aspect of our salvation individually and collectively through the Mass, other official prayers of the Church and in our own private devotions. The transcendence of God is very important for us to understand and experience. Without that transcendence we can become a congregation closed in on ourselves and no different than any other service club, country club or civic organization.
The third aspect of our celebration of Mass and life in the Holy Spirit is our service dimension, going out from ourselves at Mass to the world where most of the laity live, work and play bringing the love of Christ to all venues of one's life and serving the needs of family and the broader community, especially those most in need, and not just materially in need, but spiritually in need also.
But with that said, the horizontal aspect of being Catholic should never be neglected. By that I mean our relationships with each other as Catholics. The starting point is what we have in common as Catholics, our same beliefs, morals and obedience to the teachings of the Church and the living Magisterium of the Church in all things pertaining only to the faith and morals of the Church as well as the Church’s canon law.
We should accept it all, even that which is not “infallibly defined” since picking and choosing what we will believe as Catholics disrupts the horizontal unity we should have with one another. But if a profound vertical relationship with our transcendent God through a strong personal faith and accompanying good works is missing, the horizontal aspect of our relationship to each other is simply dross.
So as with so much in the Catholic Church, it isn’t either/or but both/and.
In the Diocese of Arlington, Virgina, catechists who are called by the Church to serve the Church's ministry of "teaching" the faith are being asked to make an oath of fidelity to the faith and moral teachings of the Church--the one aspect of the horizontal aspect of being Church that is absolutely necessary, without which we become a flock in disunity. And yet some don't get that, those who are into fierce individualism and verticality absent of the horizontal that is so important in Jesus' ministry to us:
READ THE WASHINGTON POST STORY BY PRESSING HERE!