Ancillary Thoughts While Working
This a.m., I have been working on the next ten weeks of The Borromeo Project so that the voracious participants in Woodward do not go on a rampage and drive up to Alva and serve up a massive beatdown. (By the by, I wouldn't recommend any of the WW participants to come up and serve a savage beatdown to yours truly as that will truly slow down the process what with my convelesing and all.) The first ten weeks focused upon Sacrosanctum Concilium (Document on the Liturgy) and Inter Mirifica (Document on Social Communication); this ten weeks focuses upon Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church), Orientalis Ecclesiarum (Document on the Eastern Catholic Churches), Unitatis Redintegratio (Document on ecumenism), and Christus Dominus (Document on the Pastoral Office of the Bishops). It was while I was reading LG today that I had an interesting thought come up. At least it was interesting to me.
In LG #7, the Council Fathers go into great length in discussing Christ as the Head of the Church. That in itself is not all that unexpected given St. Paul's comments through his letters. This emphasis caught my attention because in the previous paragraph (LG #7.3), the Council Fathers assert that among the gifts the Holy Spirit pours out upon the Church, primacy "belongs to the grace of the Apostles to whose authority the Spirit himself subjects even those who are endowed with charism." As first flush, it looks contradictory. If those entrusted with apostolic authority are called to direct even those who have received charisms from the Holy Spirit, then aren't they the Head of the Church?
This is rather a good instance of paradox in our faith. While Christ is the head of the Church, he invites and calls men to share in this same headship, so that the hierarchy who have received this participation in the headship of Christ are not leaders in spite of Christ but rather because of Christ. Ultimately the gifts come from Christ through the Holy Spirit, from top to bottom. Without Christ's headship, we couldn't properly speak of the mission and charism of the Church.
I suspect the reason for LG's insistance on the headship of Christ stems from a simple source. Because we can see and regularly interact with the Pope and the Bishops, it's easy to let our obedience and love of the Church stop there. If Christ isn't our Lord, I would suggest that the Pope won't be able to lead you as is the intention of Christ. So, by making this issue more salient, the Council Fathers are calling us to renew our dedication to Christ and by means of this make us more perfect members of the Body of Christ, the Church.
Here's a little lesson. Take a favorite thing of yours. Then ask yourself "Is Christ is the Lord of this or do I tell Christ to buzz off when it comes to these matters?" I had to do that with my eating and I think it is helping me put much of my life, in this small regard, into proper perspective.