Church is tough.  We are like a big dysfunctional family regularly squabbling and bickering about bizarre things.  Sometimes we try to divorce each other or run away from home. But, we can’t, really.  The Christian church family is the only family that can heal us and give us true freedom. In the Catholic branch, there’s true Eucharistic Love.

No matter what, like it or not, we’re in this together.  And no one can really separate herself from her roots; we can’t really forget who we are and where we belong. No one can really leave his family.

In this family, our connection is Christ. Christ is the heart that keeps beating and keeps the energy flowing.  Christ keeps us moving and building and creating.

“shadows” by Julia Walsh, FSPA

All the diversity is essential for the body to function.  Let’s love and cherish it. We can’t persist; we can’t exist without being different. God designed us this way on purpose.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.    -1 Corinthians 12: 4-7

I love being Catholic because we’re a wide Church with a very deep spirituality.  (At least that’s the way I understand Ecclesiology.)  There’s a wide range of what makes one Catholic. Despite our diversity, we still unite in Christ through the same sacraments, the same traditions and basically the same liturgies.

In this family, we don’t know all our relatives because we’re all so busy doing different work.  It’s a little understandable.  We are permitted to be different because we need to be.  Part of the diversity of spirit means that we have different opinions about what our priorities should be.  The challenge- and the frustration- is when we seem to lack appreciation for the others’ efforts in building the kingdom of God. We can’t all be working hard at every need.  So why do those who are passionate about one issue get frustrated if others aren’t working at it with them?

Personally, I have discerned that I am called to collaborate with peacemakers who are working for non-violent Gospel systemic change in the issues of poverty, war, torture, immigration, environmentalism and food. I depend on those who are working hard with the issues of health care, education, death penalty, abortion, contraception and equality to keep working hard in my name.

No one can do everything. But we must all do something, right? Perhaps the most important thing we can do in these divided times is support each other.  Truly we can never say thank you enough.

There’s struggle and pain in our divided, yet united, beautiful diverse body.  When we criticize each other, we so easily feel as if no one has noticed all the hard work we have been trying to do.  I’ve noticed and I say thank you!

Thank you dear bishops for working hard to keep us grounded in the traditions and doctrines that you value.

Thank you dear pro-life activists for working hard for our freedoms to say no to things that are wrong and deathly.

Thank you, dear sisters and brothers who are working hard to build equality and justice in our church.

Thank you, dear friends who are putting their bodies on the line to end war, torture and violence.

Thank you, dear sisters, for creatively raising consciousness and advocating tirelessly for legislation to help the poor and vulnerable.

Thank you, dear elders who have dedicated your entire lives to the service of the church and poor.

Thank you, everyone for all you do to build the kingdom of God!

Coming to a Sunday near you, we can celebrate the gratitude.  While we commune, look and listen for the resurrections and alleluias. You’re invited to a wild family reunion.

  1. Here’s a few more of my thoughts, that I thought were pretty good but didn’t make the final edit:

    Let’s gather at an enormous family picnic and celebrate our diversity. It may be tricky, but we must remember that this challenging diversity is a true gift. We couldn’t do this “thy kingdom come” stuff without each other. With great love, trust and gratitude we can grant others the freedom they need to be faithful to their journey with God. We might as well play some games and love each other while we’re at it.

    It’s time for a good family reunion, dear church. Christ is calling us to be better. I am not sure if our dysfunction is helping others feel like they belong. I am not sure if we are helping others feel welcome and included. If others see us enjoying ourselves and taking good care of each other, then they might want to stay with us or join us.

    At this church family reunion there shall be a great Eucharistic feast. The menu will be eclectic, but endless. We might need to wear name-tags and play some mixer games to get to know each other again. It will be hard work, but it’s worth it. While we try this, I think that we need to remember that it will work better if we listen lovingly instead of trying to be convincing.

    In the end, we might all be glad that everyone is there. After all in the body of Christ we can be diverse and united. With communion and celebration maybe we’ll stop being a dysfunctional family and that will be awesome. Maybe with Love we’ll instead be the wacky, wonderful, beautiful blessed witness the world needs us to be. I hope so and pray so. And I believe it can be, indeed.

    (Ha, I just felt like they were pretty important and still needed to be put out there. I think I just broke some blogger rules though, by adding the second half of my essay into my comments section. Oh well!)

  2. Hi Julia,
    What a great image…time for a great family reunion, complete only with the diversity of gifts and perspectives that embody the diversity in the human family…so may it be!
    Peace and all Good to you, and to our kin.

  3. I’m awed at your positive, gutsy invitation! The church may yet be a church of the young, bold, loving and forgiving! Inside or outside the walls.