Completed Catholic?

23 Apr

This is where I work. Some would say this is where I live. Whatever, here is where I struggle to discern what I should and should not blog about. Here is where I most often pray and get ideas (inspiration?) to send along to you, my dear family and friends.

You have probably heard the term “Completed Jew” which refers, from the Christian perspective, to a Jewish person who has accepted Christ as the Messiah, Son of God and Savior.

But when are Christians complete? How are they completed? More specifically, are you a Completed Catholic?

I asked a brother deacon to define a “Completed Catholic.” He, a committed evangelist, said that a completed Catholic would be one who has fully accepted Jesus Christ.

Ah, yes, with emphasis on fully accepted!

Pope John Paul II urged us to begin a “new evangelization” by helping all those Catholics in the pew to become fully converted, so in tune with Christ that they will want to tell others about their peace, joy and strength in the Lord.

As I am not yet quite complete, I have been able to recognize, in every parish in which I have preached, a large number of Catholics who are not complete. They are just done. They are done with first communion and confirmation, done with baptismal prep, done with marriage preparation — and done, too often, with regular worship at Mass.

So, what to do? In a word, refocus.

I don’t want to gore any sacred cows, but we Catholics have to broaden our understanding of Catholic Evangelization. It embodies the basic focus of Protestant and Evangelical evangelization.

 But we do have a bit more to talk about, explain and celebrate:

  • Our faith is rooted in the Resurrection of Christ, in the first Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper or Last Supper; it is rooted in the foundation of the Church on the Apostles and the succession of mission and authority through the laying on of hands.
  • We have authority in our Church — Pope and Bishops who carry on the work of the apostles, the mission of Christ.
  • We have the Sacraments — through which we are initiated into the Church and nourished and strengthened all life long. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is foundational to our faith. Through the Mass, we hear God speaking to us in real-time; we stand beneath the Cross of Christ, witness his death and our salvation. Through the Mass, we also witness his resurrection and ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  • We have Tradition — from which we have Scripture, the very Word of God. We have, as the Body of Christ, an intimate experience of God spanning more than 20 centuries.
  • We have a close relationship with the saints — all saints, canonized and otherwise. We believe in the “communion of saints.” We share God’s life, light and love now —  though imperfectly. In heaven, it will all be perfect.

I wonder  how much we adhere to our faith and how often we thank God for the gift of our Church.

Am I, are you, a Completed Catholic? In what ways are we merely “done?”

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