It takes a genuine faith to BE the example rather than looking for another to set the example. If WE are the EXAMPLE, then like leaven in bread, any parish will rise because of our positive and genuine presence. Priests are human too. They need to see that there are parishioners who exude the genuine love of the Gospel and who are willing to cooperate with the good works of the parish without being "holier" or "proud" or whiners who complain all the time.
Priests need this encouragement: just read St. Paul's writings where he speaks of how he is encouraged by the example set by a given community...and he was a SAINT! We must first seek to BE the parish we want to be in. It may take awhile but others will begin to understand and join you in being a positive and joyful presence. Only the terminally grumpy will continue in their whining. So let us BE the Good Parish in a humble and joyful way, not talking the walk but walking the walk and others will gladly join us. As St. Paul reminds us repeatedly:
- If we make a mistake we must admit it.
- If we see a need, we must seek quietly to help meet it with no fanfare for ourselves.
- If another makes a mistake do not grouse nor nitpick the person, quietly set it right.
- Comment only on the positives of the parish; pray about the negatives without saying a word to another and thus avoid spreading the sin of gossip and detraction.
- Thank your priest and those who volunteer in your parish frequently.
We must encourage and support our priests who carry the heavy burden for us. It will help to create good parishes where ever we are. As Pope John Paul II reminded us:
We need a docile heart in order to build an exemplary Christian community. We need a spirit that is strong in the faith in order to proclaim the love of God that conquers sin and saves in Christ Who died and is risen. (1920 - 2005AD)
That's me away then.