Yesterday, I asked my students to write a few sentences about who they are. Then I asked them to condense it to one word describing exactly who they are as a person. I am trying to get to know them better before I dive into the faith arena.
I asked them to discuss with their neighbor if one word can fully describe a person. The great majority said no. They told me that there are so many more facets of a person. Another rather insightful student said, if you define a person with one word, it makes that person one dimensional, almost putting them in a box. Once they are in that box it is easy to hate them. We also discussed how one word could also add to a person’s innerdialogue whether that maybe positive or negative it could change their life.
Coming to the consensus that one word can not describe a person. I asked them to write down a word that comes to mind when they hear, “The Catholic Church”. I explained to them that it is fine that they feel how they feel right now because each of them have experienced Church and religion from different places, and situations. Then I explained nor should the Catholic Church be limited to one word, placing it in a box, making it one dimensional. I completely respect where each student comes from and their reasoning. I asked that they open their minds to the new ideas I will teach them about the Catholic Church. It has been around for 2,000 years, no institution has lasted this long. There have been people, situations, and downfalls, that should have brought the church to her knees but because the church is guided by the Holy Spirit, and started by Jesus Christ, “the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18.
We too should recognize where we are in our faith journey and open our minds to different facets of the church. No matter how good or bad, the more we learn, the more we can understand. No one should be limited to one word especially the work of God, we as humans, as well as the church, are the work of God’s hands in the world today.