Role of the Laity Redux

A point worth pondering from over at Mere Comments. It's not directly about the role of the laity (since it's a reflection on the example given by an order of nuns) but strikes RC2 as related to our earlier discussion of the role of the laity:

"What impresses me most is that these good sisters, who have given their lives to the church, do not consider the church to be the arena for the use of their prodigious talents. They have not made the church into a career, or a hobby."

and later, this:

"It’s a fine distinction to make, but necessary. The Lord wants us to use our gifts, but He does not need our gifts, and He certainly does not want us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing Him a favor, “helping” Him. Yes, He will use us as instruments, but that is His mercy, not His need. When Simon helped Jesus carry the cross, he became the emblem of every true Christian. But the divine Son of God did not need Simon; in fact Jesus never said to any of His apostles, "Follow me—I need you, I need your help.” Simon was allowed to “help” Jesus carry the cross, and I believe that in that help he was saved: he thought he was helping Jesus ascend the mount of Calvary, but Jesus was at that moment raising Simon up from a valley far deeper and darker than any in the environs of Jerusalem."

Bingo. The Church is not a hobby or a place where we do God favors --and yet, all these years after Vatican II, whenever a discussion of the role of the laity comes up, it is usually in the context of contests of supposed "rights." (Not at all unlike the Weedlets' preoccupation with having exactly as many cookies as the other siblings.) It would be a blessed thing for the Church if everyone in it reflected more deeply on the role of the laity --a term which, again, is bandied about often, but not at all understood.