Small Communities

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19

And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13

As Catholics, our Lord our God has given us our marching orders. They were given to us over 2,000 years ago. There have been many over the centuries that have taken those marching orders and placed their lives on the line in order that they may be fulfilled.

I find it interesting that 12 apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit, changed the world and gave each and every living being – to this day- the opportunity for salvation. Yet in a span of about 50 years we have decimated what took almost 2,000 years of blood, sweat and tears to build.

Let us look at some US statistics (these statistics are the latest from the Center for Applied

Research in the Apostolate – a Georgetown University affiliated research center):

Total Priests:

1965 = 58, 632   2016 = 37,197    A 36% decline.

Graduate Level Seminarians:

1965 = 8,325       2016 = 3,520     A 58%  decline

Parishes Without a Resident Priest

1965 = 549           2016 = 3,499     An increase of 500+%

Mass attendance in 2016:

22%

I can list many more, but I think you get the picture. It is an unmitigated disaster!

We can go on and blame the Vatican, our Bishops and Priests, our schools, our culture and on and on it goes. Frankly I am sick of the blame game. I believe it is rather simple. The blame and the personal responsibility falls on all of us. Each and every one of us. Not one of us should be spared or go blameless. We Catholics, as a group, as a Nation of believers, are responsible for our own demise. We failed miserably to keep our houses clean. Everything else that negatively affects as a faith is simply kicking us when we are down. Those that want to see us fail are going for our jugular while we are vulnerable and many of us are caught helpless not knowing what to do or knowing what needs to be done lack the spiritual resources that are required. My urging to you, my fellow Catholics is to start all over and go back to basics.

Just as the apostles started with a small group of 12, we need to start with a small ‘group of one’. Start with yourself and work outwards. Start small at first. Say a morning prayer and a night prayer. Throw a few ‘Grace Before Meals’ in the mix. START GOING BACK TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY! (Yes I am YELLING!). Start reading scripture every week. Work your way up to daily readings. When you feel comfortable, GO TO CONFESSION! (Yes…I am YELLING again). Slowly work your way up to saying the Holy Rosary every Sunday and work your way to a daily Holy Rosary. Get creative with your prayer life. Start reading some Catholic spiritual books or related media. Start getting informed about your faith via all the catholic social media resources available to us. Like an athlete in training, start with the simple, the light, the least demanding, and slowly work your way up to the greater, more demanding and challenging goals.

Once you have immersed yourself into your faith, I urge you to take the next step – form your own small Catholic community. Start with your own family or find another person (or several) who shares the same Catholic faith as you and is wishing to grow in the Catholic  faith. Help each other to grow, learn and live the faith. Challenge each other and be each other’s support.

Once you have reached a comfortable level, I urge you to take a new risk. Break the group up and each member of this original group will go on to start another small community. Just as the Apostles spread out among the world and created other faith communities, I urge you to spread and create new small communities in your own neighborhoods. Continue to network with former members and support each other. Be there for each other for when a member starts to struggle and may be in need of help.

If each member were to form even one other small community of several, over time this group will spread exponentially as each member moves on to form another small community. I truly believe that the close intimate interaction among the group members will result in deeper, life-time lasting spiritual lives. Eventually the many small communities will start to overlap one another and matrix into a large fluid, interactive community of many moving parts, living and breathing from one single source – Our Lord our God Jesus Christ.

That is my vision. It worked once before. It will work again.

His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:23

 

God Bless.

Luciano Corbo

Copyright 2017, Luciano Corbo

Luciano Corbo

Luciano Corbo

Luciano Corbo holds a Master of Arts - Integrated Studies from Athabasca University. His major interests are Culture, Work, Organizations and Leadership, within a context of Catholic Social Teaching Principles. He writes from Canada.

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