There is a great story that a dear brother shared with me called The Rabbi’s Gift. In this story, an order of monks is distraught because their order is dying. The Rabbi come for a visit and leaves them with one word of advice, “The only thing I can tell you,” said the Rabbi, “is that the Messiah is among you.” As these monks reflect on the story and start to wonder about who is the Messiah, they start to treat each other as if that one is the Messiah.
Soon the whole community around the monastery notices a change. The monks are nicer, have a bit more internal peace and they seem to be enjoying their vocation. Little by little the order starts to thrive and grow again.
Today, my dear friend reminded me of this story. It came as I prepared to head to the school that has caused me so much difficulty lately. To my surprise, as I focused on treating each one of these people who have worked so hard to end what I am working to build as though they were Christ, I saw a change. They seemed less sinister, less mean, less angry. And I felt less threatened, less angry, less depressed.
Seeing the Christ in each other is a huge part of what it means to be Christian. However, we are called not just to see the Christ in our friends and fellow Christians, but even in our enemies and those who want to do us harm. We are called to love them just as we would love Christ! That is what makes us different from the rest of the world. And that is what makes our form of Catholicism different.
We should love all human beings. It is our mission in life to bring the love of God to the world. And that means even to those we consider different than ourselves. The reality is that none of us are different. We are all Children of God. And once we begin to realize that, once we start looking for the Christ in each other, we begin to see that nothing else matters. Race, creed, sexual orientation/identity, gender identity/expression, social class, or any other classification should no longer separate us if we truly look for the Christ in everyone.
And that is what we strive to practice at Saint Francis. We are standing in Augusta, Georgia with our arms wide open ready to welcome everyone. Because we strive to see Christ in each and every person who we come in contact with. And not just on Sunday afternoon either, but every day of the week.
Won’t you join us this Sunday and experience a different way to be Catholic?