The Vicar of Christ Speaks

INTRODUCTION: In this "Lay Person's Guide to the Pope's Encyclicals" we catch a synopsis of the Holy Father's wisdom adroitly capsulized by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas, Ph.D. In his Papal Exhortation "Christifideles Laici", the Holy Father exhorts the laity to faithfulness. It is appropriate we follow-up November's pertinent document from the Holy See on Instructions to the Laity and Priests on abuses, by reinforcing the Pope's teachings with this Apostolic Exhortation imparted ten years ago. Now ten years later, after the "ten year period of grace" Our Blessed Mother spoke of to Father Don Stefano Gobbi back in 1988, we revisit this important letter from the supreme pontiff and, through the expert analysis of Dr. Bagiackas his holiness' words will be clearer and more simple to understand and most meaningful in these times when there are so many who, rather than pulling together for God's Will, are pulling apart within the laity. The eminent prelate from New York John Cardinal O'Connor has said of Dr. Bagiackas' work: "These summations will draw the reader closer to knowing God and will encourage broader readership of the writings of this remarkable Pope." BELOW: the twelfth installment of Christifideles Laici: Part two of Chapter Four

A Lay Person's Guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Laity

by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas

To read the entire Apostolic Letter click on Christifideles Laici

twelfth installment:

CHAPTER FOUR: 17. The Role of the Sick and Suffering

     The sick and suffering, by bearing their burden in the joy of Christ, are a powerful witness to the Gospel. Health care workers also have a part to play in encouraging the sick and suffering, helping them draw close to the suffering of Christ in their pain. The world today censors talk of suffering, as though it had no positive value. Yet, the Gospel is listened to more closely when preached by suffers and by those who care for them, such as Mother Theresa. The pope recommends that readers meditate on his letter, Salvific Doloris, which discusses suffering in detail.

18. The Basic States of Life

      The three basic vocations in the Church can be viewed in a "sacramental" way—as signs to the Church and world. The lay state in general, because it strives to redeem and sanctify the temporal world, can be viewed as a sign of the ositive value of the things of life in the world. The clerical state, along this "sacramental" line of thinking, officially represents the continuing sacramental presence of Christ in the world. Those who live under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in religious life are a sign of the Church’s goal of living for heaven and not for the goods of this world (its "eschatological" character).

Next week: Chapter Five: Formation of the Laity



Daily CATHOLIC          March 23, 1998