Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Measure Twice, Cut Once

One of the issues in the autocephalous Catholic movement that can be troublesome is constant change. True, a large benefit of our movement is that we can be nimble. As we feel called to a particular lifestyle or charism we can adopt and adapt it at will. This is advantageous as compared to larger, more mainstream groups. The rule of St. Francis, for example, was proposed in 1209 but took until 1223 to receive official written approval.

The downside of this, however, is that things can start and stop at someone's whim. This can give the impression that things are unstable. I will admit that I have been susceptible to these rapid changes in the past. Something sounds effective or good, so why not do it? I'm offering this advice so you can learn from my mistakes. The problem is, however, when it affects the faithful. Too often we have seen examples of religious orders or parishes which have started only to stop abruptly at the decision of the priest. In some cases they begin again anew later, only to stop yet again. The same is true when we pick jurisdictions to join, only to leave them shortly thereafter. The key to building is consistency and a steady pace. Something may not take fruit immediately but it needs time to build awareness and trust. That does not mean that we can never try anything new. Or that our efforts won't be frustrated and we need to re-chart the course. But we have to think very carefully about doing it rapidly or without some type of plan. Beginning the parish of St. Patrick, then starting St. Romulus, then starting St. Agatha only allows our detractors to say "see--they don't know what they're doing." And that benefits no one.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish." Luke 14:28

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