My parish is watching a short video series from Bishop Barron, entitled “Why the Church Matters.” While watching the first video, I was reminded of my own journey into the Church, nearly two decades ago. Let me tell you a bit of that story.
When I was in high school and college, I basically lived only for myself…in any number of ways. Then, when I was 21 years old, I began entering into an existential crisis. Who was I? Why wasn’t I fulfilled and happy?
Quite suddenly, I began to experience the call that Bishop Barron mentioned: being called out of the world. Initially, I rejected it and fought it because I knew that would mean I had to change, and I didn’t want to change. After more experiences, I began to understand that it was God, Himself, who was calling me to change; and who was offering me a deeper, more abiding fulfillment than I ever had known. I had not chosen Him. Rather, He had chosen me to become a part of this People He has been forming for nearly 5000 years. It was amazing for me to think and understand that I was becoming part of something far bigger and more powerful in history than anything I could do or be on my own. I was called out of myself and into a reality (the Church) that is all about making a gift of self to others.
I love the analogy of the Church as a body. Think of your own body. If one of your systems isn’t working properly, the whole body suffers. If even one of your cells is malfunctioning, it will lead to cancer. Likewise, in our Church, if a diocese or a parish or the education system isn’t ordered fully toward Jesus and proclaiming the Gospel, then the whole Church will suffer. In a parish, if even one parishioner isn’t functioning as Jesus intends, then our whole parish body suffers. That’s the reason we need great evangelization efforts and means of faith formation that function well. That’s the reason that we need people (every member of the Body) to learn to make a gift of themselves for the good of others.
I hope that my own efforts have helped in that, even just a little bit. I love being a part of the Body of Christ!