Saturday, 23 June 2012

Corners in the Vineyard

I have from time to time encountered very ordinary people in parishes who manifest a quite unexpected depth of Christian living or perceptive insight into matters of faith. I expect that many parish priests also have experience of knowing these unexceptional "saints" of every day parish life. The evangelising impact of such people can be very profound, but its reach is to only the few who meet them. They fulfil a mission to their particular corner in the Lord's vineyard, and it is their influence in that small corner that is the measure of their efficacy and of the authenticity of their response to the vocation that they have particularly received from the Lord.

Bishop Mark Davies, and Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue before him, were allocated their own portions of the Lord's vineyard as diocesan bishops. It is certainly true that an individual bishop, as a member of the universal order of the successors of the Apostles, has a wider dimension to his mission in the Church. But that bishop also has a first mission towards their own corner of the vineyard.

Do we do them any favours by making them into champions of causes outside of their dioceses? Or do we actually make it more difficult for them to undertake the "unexceptional", though in reality exemplary, pastoral care of the diocese entrusted to them?

The measure of their ecclesial fruitfulness is not whether they are the darlings of (traditionalist) bloggers but rather how faithful they are to the work in their own corner of the vineyard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I respectfully suggest that their influence reaches well beyond their immediate contacts. By virtue of their being part of the Mystical Body their impact reaches us all.