Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 20, 1999
Collins' call to action
Faith must move from faith into action, archbishop tells charismatics
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
There is more to Catholic faith than to praise and worship the Lord, says the archbishop of Edmonton.
Speaking to more than 300 people at a charismatic prayer breakfast Dec. 11, Archbishop Thomas Collins said although praise and worship are an essential dimension of Catholic faith, they also must be accompanied by service and action. "That's our mission, to go out and serve."
Collins said the head (to study the faith and preach), the heart (to praise and worship), and the hands (to act), must all be connected to carry out our Christian mission.
"Remember what we do in the Holy Eucharist - we come, but we go. We are not meant to stay in prayer and adoration. We are meant to go and to serve, to wash feet (like Jesus did). That's the meaning of the Holy Eucharist," Collins said at the breakfast.
"So the head and the heart must be connected to the hands to serve, to wash feet."
Collins spoke for more than an hour at the monthly breakfast, held at Chateau Louis Hotel by Catholic Renewal Services.
The archbishop called praise and worship "a strong and beautiful dimension of our faith."
But he warned that if the heart is disconnected from the head, "it (the heart) will rebel and we will have passionate, devout, exuberant acts of affection and religion which are disconnected from Catholic faith, with strange ideas unconnected to the teachings of the Church, all kinds of apparitions and visions and things like this which are not discerned."
That, he said, "is like getting into a powerful car, great wheels, step on the gas and discovering as we are racing forward at 500 km an hour that there is no steering wheel."
Jesus' early disciples knew who Jesus was, they loved him passionately and they went out, healed the sick and cared for the needy. They did the will of God and that's what Christians are called to do, Collins said.
"In our lives as individual Christians and in our lives in gathering together in praise and worship of the Lord we need always to have that third dimension, that final moving over. For there is no value to gathering together to praise our blessed Lord, . . . if then we just simply don't do anything, do not act to serve those who are in need."
Collins called on Catholics to study their faith, the sacred Scriptures, the living faith of the Church and to "worship our Lord with wild and passionate devotion, giving our hearts to him."
But then we must move outward.
He said Mother Teresa had a "good mix" because after going to Mass to praise the Lord she spent the rest of the time on the streets helping the poor.
The great message of Catholic Action has three dimensions: see, judge and act, the archbishop noted.
"See with the mind of God and see what is the need. Judge this with a passion of loving devotion to the Lord.
"And then, act somewhere, perhaps in spectacular ways but more often in quiet ways, simply reaching out to a person in need or visiting a person who is sick or smiling to a person who is sad or writing a letter to somebody who is alone."
Each Christian has a "sacred vocation to be Christ in this world for others," the archbishop said, urging people to see their kitchens, workbenches and offices as "altars where you offer love." God is in all of those places.
Collins also urged his audience to seek out those who have been called to serve the Church as priests, brothers and sisters.