Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

27 November 2011


"In Christianity, there can be no room for purely private religion: Christ is the Savior of the world, and, as members of His Body and sharers in His prophetic, priestly, and royal munera, we cannot separate our love for Him from our commitment to the building up of the Church and the extension of His Kingdom.  To the extent that religion becomes a purely private affair, it loses its very soul." 
Pope Benedict XVI, "Responses to the Questions Posed by the Bishops," Christ Our Hope (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2008), p. 31.

Munera is the plural of munus, the Latin word for "gift," "service," or "office."  The title of this article hints at the derivation of the word "remuneration" from munera--offerings that one receives by virtue of his office or responsibility.

His Holiness reminds us that all baptized persons (not just the bishops, whom he is specifically addressing in this talk) share in the three-fold action of Christ the Prophet, Priest, and King.  Insofar as one has been immersed into Jesus, the Mystery of Faith, he or she is oriented to (1) the proclamation of the Gospel, (2) the discharge of liturgical offering, and (3) the care of those in need.  These are a type of Trinity: "you can't have one without the Other[s]."  It isn't just a nice idea that a baptized person may take or leave: it is an orientation, which surpasses mere altruism and cheerful words as human persons transcend the non-rational beasts.  And yet, this orientation presupposes altruism and cheerful words, when appropriate.  Sometimes, alas, the Word that needs to be spoken is far from cheerful--though it is never meant to discourage.

Marked for Christ-Life, we the baptized are hard-wired to exhort and evangelize as prophets, to sanctify and purify as priests, to direct and cultivate as shepherds.  We can't uninstall this call as if it were software; it is firmware that must be doctrinally, liturgically, morally, and prayerfully connected to the Source of Truth and Charity in order to receive constant updating, to which we must give consent by our moment-to-moment availability to God.  The applications for this spiritual data include: family, work, social groups, school...

Under the grace of God, you and I must prevent the above ideas from disintegrating into mere rhetoric.

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