I believe one could properly say that to have a Catholic Vision is to have a Eucharistic vision. Receiving the Eucharist makes us the Body of Christ. When we are the Body of Christ, we see the world as an expression of God’s love, we understand and believe that the dawn will follow nightfall, we see others as brothers and sisters, and we recognize the goodness of others. Being a Eucharistic people means that we accept the love God has freely given us and that we fearlessly go out into the world bring about the kingdom of God through the use of our charisms.
I’ll never forget the moment that I understood what it was to be a person of the Eucharist. I was a tenth-grader, and my fourth hour class was British Literature. The class was split by our lunch period, so we’d attend half of our class then walk across the school to the cafeteria to eat lunch, then return to our class. My teacher was a kind man, but he was annoyed by his class being split by lunch, and often teased or chastised people for returning late from lunch.
One day at lunch my friend was having a hard time, and she needed someone to listen to her and to show her that she was lovable and valuable. I wanted very much to return to class on time, to follow the rules, but I knew in that moment that sitting with my friend was more important than returning to class on time. Later, as I reflected on my decision to say and listen to my friend, I saw clearly how my friend and I were living the Eucharist in the way we were broken and shared with each other in relationship.
Ironically, or maybe not, in the way that God orders life, I was introduced to John Donne in that same class, and one of his poems exemplifies Eucharistic living.
No Man is an Island
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
MEDITATION XVII Devotions upon Emergent Occasions John Donne. Public Domain.
Being a people with Catholic vision means that we have a responsibility to live in the world, to embrace the people we find in our homes, our workplaces, and in our greater community. This Catholic vision helps us to order ourselves in relationship with others, with our Church and with God.
What are the practical implications of believing ourselves to be the living Body of Christ when we are talking about buildings and ministries, programs and mass times? How can we keep ourselves in the space of sharing that allows us to be Christ broken and shared with each other? What ways are our parish communities interconnected already? What are our points of common connection and mission? How can we ensure that in our processes, we are not attempting to be “islands unto ourselves” either as individuals, or as parish or cluster communities?
Live Loved, Lisa