By: Christine, Maryland
When I was a child, my mother taught me this very important rule of safety, the very same rule her own mother taught her to observe when walking home from school. It is an effective means by which one can avoid much unnecessary inconvenience. Nowhere in my life had I perfected the practice of this rule better than when leaving Mass!
Walk straight, pay attention to no one, and be home quick. I had it down.
Like good cradle Catholics, my husband and I dutifully attended Sunday Mass, enrolled our four children in Religious Ed., and made certain they received all applicable Sacraments. Beyond that, I did little to develop my faith or to interact with any of my fellow parishioners. I had the vertical part of the cross (my relationship with God) down pretty well, or so I thought. The horizontal part of the cross, my relationship with those around me? Well, I offered the sign of peace at every Mass. Wasn’t that enough?
Beyond that bare minimum, I would not venture. I stayed firmly within the boundaries of my Sunday pew, leaving that safari into the unknown territory of fellowship and missionary discipleship to far more confident souls. But it just wasn’t enough for God. Within the depths of my soul, I felt Christ quietly calling me to know Him better.
I remember hearing the invitation for Discovering Christ. Curiosity and the assurance of an easy escape, if necessary, drew me in (not to mention the lure of a free meal that this tired mommy would not have to prepare herself!) Thus started a wonderful adventure… Yes, a safari of sorts, but it was I who was being pursued… by a loving God.
The thought-provoking video series and the ensuing conversations became a highlight of my week. The fellow travelers at my table had all started from different points in their faith journeys, and the questions and insights that each brought contributed to the deeper understanding which we all were gaining of who Christ is and who we are to Him. At some point, I was lit up by the Holy Spirit, and I haven’t looked back.
Leaving Mass now, there is no walking straight, paying attention to no one, or heading home too quickly. I relish my newfound friends and belonging to a community of faith. Through the horizontal arms of the cross, I am now forever connected with those around me, not just here, but wherever I go, carrying the love of Christ readily to others.