Wednesday 8 May 2013

The fifth dimension.

The fifth and last dimension of Christian attitude which Karol Wojtyla speaks about in his book Sources of Renewal is 'the attitude of building up the Church as community'.
This dimension of Christian attitude is one which has been somewhat forgotten in our era. For instance, many parishes are today much more expressions of the 'institutional Church' than 'communities of faith and life'. Again, the emphasis is often placed on 'jobs or functions to be performed' than on discernment of charisms.
The attitude of building up the Church as a community is not concerned with building up structures, but is to do with that attitude without which the structures of the Church would be "suspended in the void". In his book, Karol Wojtyla speaks about a "multiplicity for unity". Later as Pope, in the Letter Tertio Milennio Ineunte, he would speak about the "spirituality of communion". The depth of Christian attitude goes far beyond any form of conformity or sameness in the Church, to nurture and embrace the variety of gifts and missions within the Church, in which every member contributes to the union through the spirit of communion.
To a certain degree the local Church today is 'managed' by control rather than by a sense of complementarity and of unity in Christ. The interior dynamic of the new evangelisation will, in time, correct this. So, in Pope John Paul II's last Encyclical Letter he showed how the Church is built upon the Eucharist. It is upon the Eucharist, rather than upon human notions of community, that your Christian life and mine are derived and formed; the real focus for the project of our lives is Christ and His mission. In this focus there is an inexhaustible richness.
There is no counterpart in secular asceticism to this dimension of Christian attitude; just looking at World Youth Days you can see that! The secular ascetic, in contrast with Christian attitude, seeks conformity and promotes unfettered ambition. These two contradictory forces are another reason why secular culture is dying. Self-destruction is written into secularism; youthfulness is written into the Church.

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