Catholic Identity is Spirit-Led and Open to Newness
Catholic identity is a spirit generated, spirit animated, spirit filled way of being human in a world that is crying out for a positive way forward. We assert this belief in the Creed: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son … We believe that the Holy Spirit is an agent of newness, an agent of renewal, an agent of getting into our lives, often comfortable and happy lives, and spurring us to do new things, seeing new needs.
Why were the prophets and saints remembered for their work? Because they came and focused on something that was new, something that was a way of living the gospel, that challenged unjust structures. Why were founders of religious orders so successful? Because they really did take a new path to make our world a better place. Like Francis and Clare of Assisi who in their world of rigid social hierarchies, powerplay and constant warfare, stood in solidarity with the poor, with lepers, with those seeking peace. St Francis sought to broker peace with the Muslim leaders – unheard of things for their time. In all facets of Catholic life, in all facets of Catholic ministries, we are called to be open to the new. Because if we’re not open to the new, then we’re not open to the work of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to remember that the Spirit of God is not confined by Church structures but breathes where it will. Catholic organisations committed to the mission of ‘contributing to the emergence of a world where the healing, liberating and life-giving mercy of God is experienced’, are open to the Spirit – are Spirit led. We want our ministries to be inclusive, honouring the dignity of each person and to have a special regard for those who are poor, to be eucharistic and to nurture community and relationships. These are the tasks of a truly Catholic community within authentically Catholic ministries.
Reflection: How can you be Spirit-led in your ministry?
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we walk, live and work. We recognise their living culture and their unique role in the life of the areas in which Mercy Partners ministries are located. We pay tribute to all of those who have nurtured this country over many thousands of years, deriving spiritual and physical needs from the seas, forests, soil, rivers, lakes and streams. We join with our First Nations people in honouring this land as sacred. We welcome the Uluru Statement from the Heart and support an Indigenous voice to parliament, enshrined in the Australian Constitution.