The purpose of the Church is to help us reach spiritual adulthood:
…until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. -Ephesians 4:13-14, NAB
In Ephesians 4:11-12, we learned of the various ministerial positions within the Church, and as Ephesians 4 continues, St. Paul tells us that the goal of the Church, and its ministers, is to help us mature in our faith.
A lack of spiritual maturity can leave us open to being led astray. If we do not understand the Church’s true teaching, we may incorrectly follow someone else. The more we know the Church’s view, the less likely we will be fooled.
We see it often: Catholics who do not support, and even go against, the views of the Church, politically or otherwise. We are quick to judge them for it, but instead, we should try to reach out to them, bring them back to the Church, and help them to develop to spiritual adulthood.
Every Catholic we meet will be at a different level of spiritual adulthood. In fact, as we see so often, many cannot even be called adults yet. It primarily depends on their understanding of Scripture, the Commandments, the moral teachings of the Church, and other doctrines that help form our faith. Our goal, then, should be to meet them where they are and try to help them reach the next level.
Our primary goal, though, should be to develop our own faith to the next level of spiritual maturity. It is difficult to help others when we are lacking ourselves. Before we can become the teacher, we have to be a student first. And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been Catholic, or if you were born Catholic; the only thing that matters is the time and effort you put into knowing and understanding the faith.
Spiritual maturity is essential for all Catholics. We cannot simply say that we are Catholic; we have to know what that really means. Do you know what it means?