The longer I am Catholic, and the further I dive into my Catholic faith, the more I find deep rest, great comfort and a true path to order my steps.
In the years since I was first confirmed at the age of 22, I have learned not only to appreciate, but also to count on the blueprint that Mama Church provides for me as I attempt to make my way to sainthood. Over and over, the Church’s teachings have provided a roadmap for me to follow when throughout all sorts of life stages and struggles.
There is no way to measure the impact the Church’s teachings on vocation, married life, domestic church building, and natural family planning have had on my life. I have learned to place great trust in the wisdom of the Church because the teachings, although sometimes hard to understand, have always ultimately been transformative.
Perhaps equally as transformative, has been Catholic Social Teaching. I realized early on in my adulthood, that the world is a complicated place. It is full of wonder and beauty, but it is also full of tragedy.
Because I have always been a lover of people, I have always run head first into all of it--the wonder, the beauty, and the tragedy. Thankfully just as the Church helped to order the steps of my vocation--it has given me a roadmap for moving through this complicated world. The Church has taken my love of God’s crowning creation--His people--and given me an avenue by which to stand with them and for them.
The United States Council of Catholic Bishops says, “The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.” Whether it be the dignity of the human person, the defense of the poor and vulnerable, the sanctity of marriage--or a host of other prevalent issues we face--the Church is there to guide, instruct and help us respond generously, charitably and faithfully.
One of the aspects of Catholic Social teaching which has impacted my life the most is the idea of solidarity.
The USCCB writes,
“We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.”
This teaching of solidarity has drastically changed who I seek to love and to protect.
It has demolished any hope of thinking that my existence is about how to best create a life of ease for only myself and my family. It has pushed me to embrace the fact that what afflicts one part of the Body of Christ, afflicts us all. It has required me to learn that I cannot be content with merely peacekeeping, which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would call the type of peace “devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; [which] prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” No, the wisdom of the Church challenges me to be what Jesus taught, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God, (Mt 5:9).” I must actively seek justice and peace--even when it is scary or uncomfortable.
I continue to be inspired and challenged by who and what my Church is calling me to be out in the world. I continue to be grateful for the path the Church has marked for me.
For a brief description of Catholic Social Teaching, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm
Photo: Rebecca Zaal via Pexel