In Couples For Christ (CFC) we freely enter community life to belong. This word ‘belong’ can infer a sense of ownership (as in ‘belonging to’) or membership (as in ‘belonging with’ or ‘belonging in’). For my family, we are CFC because there is a place for us in both the Church of the Home and in the Church of the Poor.
And CFC ‘s mission is to build both churches. But what kind of person ‘builds’? A tenant would not be expected to build. Neither is a house guest. A contractor will build, as instructed and if paid. The owner or co-owners are ultimately the builders.
Usually, anyone else building without permit could be held as a trespasser. Jesus took exception to his disciples who cited unapproved church builders as trespassers 1 . He teaches us that those who help build, but were not yet part of the group, share in the hope of someday belonging in the group 2.
In CFC, we belong to the Church of the Home. This is a church of personal, marital, familial and social renewal. In this Church, we promote good order in Christian marriage and Christian family life, and we uphold Christian governance and Christian stewardship over personal and family pursuits. We build this Church of the Home by adding to its number, strengthening the membership and rising in defence of the authentic Christian family.
In CFC, we also belong to the Church of the Poor. This is the community of Christian believers who give concrete definition to sins of men because they suffer directly from it. The poor ‘remind the Church that sin is what kills human beings. They know the kind of death sin causes and what the methods of killings are. They know what it means to confront sin and what the consequences of the confrontation are’ 3. As Church, we are united under the kingship of Christ. And so, we suffer together, as one. But sufferings vary according to circumstance that befall us individually, and collectively. We are affected in so far as we are directly impoverished or victimised - or are neighbours to those experiencing same. Through TV, the internet, and cheaper airfares, the world has become a smaller place. We build this Church of the Poor by effecting social change, activating charity, remaining in solidarity with the poor, and bringing Christ’s transforming love into impossible circumstances.
The Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor are not segregated, autonomous establishments. Families do experience real poverty – not just financial - as they go through life stages. And the poor belong to families deprived of homes that offer environmental and economic security. The Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor permeate each other in both sinfulness and holiness. ‘The basic sin of the Church is to participate in the sin of the world and to make this sin possible and effective’ 3. Holiness, however comes from Catholic fidelity to the way of the cross4 , the life and mission of the Servant of Yahweh5 , and the obedience of the Son6. The Church of the Home need spiritual healing and ongoing family renewal. The Church of the Poor desire no less than urgent and permanent ‘resurrection’ from their perpetual living with hardship, suffering and death. In Couples For Christ, there is vision and mission to address both.
Church building means mission. In Couples for Christ, we are called to strengthen the community in preparation for migrating the entire Church of the Home to the social fringes where the Church of the
Poor (and the Powerless) resides ‘so that there, at the feet of the crucified God, it may cultivate Christian hope and develop effective (Holy Spirit) activity’7.
Care to reflect and ponder on the following questions for further discussion....
1. As a CFC member, how does my belonging in the Church of the Home permeate into my belonging to the Church of the Poor?
2. What signals me to make Church building a priority? Do we, as a couple, embrace CFC readiness for mission? Why or Why not yet?
3. Where are the fringes in which the Church of the Poor and the powerless resides for me and for my CFC Chapter?
4. How is the Holy Spirit leading our community today to be builders of both the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor?
1 Luke 9:49-50
2 Matthew 15:21-28
3 Sobrino, J, 1985, The True Church and the Poor, USA Oregon, p 108
4 Matthew 16:24-26
5 Isaiah 49, 50
6 Hebrews 5:8-9
7 Sobrino, J, 1985, The True Church and the Poor, USA Oregon, p 98
By Oliver Molina
9 April 2015