by Fr. Keith Branson, C.PP.S., Publications Editor
There’s a lot of change with a New Year. It’s an exciting time of new opportunities and adjustments. It used to be a time of getting used to writing a new number on our checks, but since they’re fewer, that will fade as a problem.
Seeing where we stand at the start of the new year, there’s some signs of the times to read as we celebrate our anniversary and look ahead. There is a lot of bias against organized religion in our culture. Church attendance is down, religions communities have a dearth of new members (even the new conservative ones), and religious awareness is decreasing dramatically. On the extreme, critics such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris trumpet that civilization would be better off if religion were eradicated.
There is also a longing in many hearts for an encounter with God, an encounter with Christ, that can’t be met elsewhere. They may see Church as judgmental and oppressive, but long for what faith alone can give. To say organized religion is a lost cause is similar to saying government is a lost cause, for any human institution is flawed by power seekers, and any group of people needs structure of some sort to be in relationship. The evil of human society is based on the basic evil in the human soul, so no human institution will ever be free of it.
Nothing can change what Christ did on the Cross, or what God is for the world. Human evil does not disprove God. To say the Church will disappear, or its mission fail is to say that God can fail. A god that could fail wouldn’t be God as we know Him.
This is one thing we can hold onto in 2015 with both hands: God’s Mission cannot fail. If God’s Mission cannot fail, we will not be orphaned; we won’t be left without work, a reason to be, or each other. Pope Francis has reassured us that charisms are a gift from God. If Precious Blood spirituality is a charism from God, it will not go away. As we begin a New Year, we need to hang on to this thought if there are going to be 200 more years of Precious Blood community.