The Great Commission
Since the beginning days of Christianity, courageous leaders have led people to Christ. Christ called on the Apostles to share His teachings with the world. In the Great Commission, He called them to this very task.
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." -Matthew 28:19-20
Their mission was set. The Lord commanded them to share the Gospel. He commanded them to go and baptize the nations. They were given the task of teaching His message and making disciples. That was not simply something that He wanted the first century Church fathers to carry out. That same command is just as true today as it was 2000 years ago. It applies to all of us. Some choose to devote their life to this mission, and they represent the leaders of the Church.
Some Give It All
The Great Commission challenges us to share our faith with the world. There are men and women who feel called to do more. These men and women give up virtually everything to live a life devoted to God. They become our priests, nuns, and other religious leaders. They take vows of chastity and poverty. Their lives are no longer their own. Their lives belong to Christ.
The leaders of our Church go through rigorous training. Years in the seminary ensure that they have the training, knowledge, and skills needed to be leaders of the Church. They serve in various positions, and they are groomed to grow to greater positions. As they grow in faith, their position within the Church continues to elevate.
The Structure of the Church
Seminarians become priests. Priests become bishops. Bishops can become the next Pope. Bishops can also serve as Archbishops (in charge of an Archdiocese) and Cardinals (advisors to the Pope). Attempting to figure out the hierarchy of the Church can be dizzying. In such a large organization, there will undoubtedly be a number of layers.
In the end, there is one thing that matters; we must trust that God has chosen our leaders for a reason. They are all men devoted to their faith and to the Catholic Church. They are dedicated to living out the Great Commission in their daily lives. It takes a special person to choose a life of chastity and poverty. Without them, the Church would not function as it does today. Few organizations would survive without someone standing up to take the lead. These brave few were willing to give up the luxuries of this world to lead us to a better life. May God bless them for that.
We Must Follow
Our leaders were willing to give up everything. The task before them is great. We have but one mission: to follow our leaders. They might not always get it right, but we must follow. We may not agree with everything they say, but we must follow. At times, they may even fail us, but we must follow. In the end, they are human, just like you and me. They are going to make mistakes. When they succeed, we can share in their successes. When they fail, we need to be there to life them up. We need our leaders, and they need us.