I spend a lot of time, energy and money living the Christian life. Here's the concise reason why:
As I was growing in maturity toward adulthood, I found myself living like most. I looked forward to "free time" and weekends, and once those came, kept looking ahead to the "next big thing." When life circumstances went well, I was in a good mood. Bad equaled a bad mood. I followed rules and made choices to make others happy or to keep me out of trouble and my "squeaky clean" image intact. But I was a machine, I didn't think for myself, and seeking shortsighted pleasure dominated my life.
About my sophomore year of college, I met a group of people who turned life upside down. They lived with reason. They lived in the present moment. They weren't just constantly looking forward to something or looking with reverie on the past. They were happy NOW. They had knowledge of the Catholic Church, it's rules, but also the reasons why life is better following them. (I had MANY in my life prior to those moments in college who lived this way and I was being prepared for this moment. However, for some reason, in this time of college, I was given the eyes to see.)
In their company, life began to have color, taste, a different flavor. I saw beautiful things as "beautiful" for the first time in my life. I saw MYSELF as beautiful and a daughter who was loved despite her faults. I found myself more free in front of things that didn't go my way because I was confident that, above all else, I was being loved by Someone who was present in that group of friends, but not limited to that group of friends.
Mass took on a new meaning. School had meaning in the moment--not just as something to get through. I cared more about my family and friends. I wanted to read, hike, workout, serve. Everything changed.
It's true what we hear about the event of Christ being a present fact. It's true that there's something within all of our hearts longing for this meaning and freedom. By grace, those injected themselves into my life as I stayed with these lively Catholic Christians.
|St. John the Evangelist decorated for Easter 2012|
This journey isn't just for saints. It isn't for the good people. It isn't just for Catholics. It's for ALL of humanity to recognize the desire of their heart and find what satisfies without reducing to something lesser. Christ said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." We either investigate this claim, or we don't. But the choice is presented to us now.
I read this today in preparation for my weekly Communion and Liberation meeting and it expresses exactly what I know to be true about my own life:
"Seeing how confusion dominates everywhere around us, we ask ourselves why it does not reign in us. The reason has nothing to do with our being better or more intelligent or more coherent than others; this is not why we are not confused, but because we find ourselves continually before an irreducible Fact that constantly frees us from the general disorientation." --Message from Fr. Carron, President of Communion and Liberation, on a meeting of Movements with Pope Francis
I am blessed to have many people on this journey with me and I desire and invite many more to come and see with me. There's plenty of Love and grace to go around, if we have the courage to embrace it.