Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi nui atawhai.
“It is what we do routinely, not what we do rarely, that delineates the character of a person.” — Joan D. Chittister.
In this Lenten season, we, as Catholics, usually commit to consciously doing (or not doing) something that we don’t do routinely. Do others notice? Should others notice? What if they ask why we are doing / not doing this or that?
Joy Cowley’s recent column, entitled ‘Making Meaning’, asks us to consider the questions and statements of others about why we are Catholic. How might we respond to these? Here are some of her suggestions:
I don’t believe in God.
Response: That’s good. It means your mind and heart are open to what that word really means. God is not a name. God is an indicator pointing to a presence that is everywhere and in everything yet cannot be named.
We know that presence in many ways: as creator, life, growth, abundance, light, beauty, love, transformer. For me, the presence that gets called God is all there is.
We become aware that we are like drops of water in the ocean of this presence.
What do I believe?
Response: Quite simply, that we come from a greater reality, we return to that greater reality, and our little time here in life school is for the growth of the soul.
For me, religion provides maps for the spiritual journey. Those maps can be very useful when I feel a bit lonely or lost. They make me aware that I’m a child of God.
Why are there so many different Christian churches?
Response: Because we are like children. In this country we have a good education system, but we can all remember a time when we insisted, “My school is better than your school.”
As we grow, we step over the fences we have built. We are good neighbours to other houses in the Christian village. I walk with Christ Jesus in the Catholic church. I also find his presence in other churches, in a mosque, a temple, a synagogue, in nature, in other people and especially in young children.
Why did you become a Catholic?
Response: That’s a simple question to answer. It was about coming home.
As we continue in this Lenten season, may we all reflect on the central ‘why’ of our faith and may this become more visible to others in all that we routinely do.
“At its simplest, Lent is a season where you commit to a deeper holiness and more vibrant discipleship.” — George Sinclair