Where did my Church go?!

“Enter through those doors and come out different, allow yourself to be changed, to be better than the person that came in” 

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I can’t remember where this thought originated but this is a mantra I have always held, especially when I find the Catholic Mass a chore. (which to be real, can be on some occasions) Doors are magical. 

Shaun and I were just catching up last night, and he mentioned how he was doing a sharing on World Youth Day (WYD) tonight. Oh, that’s nice, I know his story, 3 takeaways..blah blah, I don’t need to be there, “WAIT, why aren’t we doing this in my community, in my parish?!”

I have spent a considerable amount of money, time and effort on this trip. I endured the torture of crowds. I’ve shared my reflection online. WHY DOES IT NOT FEEL ENOUGH?

This isn’t about how who is better community, or who has a better follow-up program. It made me reflect on my own myopia, reducing WYD to a mere ‘testimony-generator’, a self-healing program. I had promptly closed the lid on that box once I figured out the moral of the story. It started in July and ended in August. 

In 2011, I went to Madrid for WYD, and that resulted in this little seed: “You are called to do great things“. And so I did whatever I could. It wasn’t much of a flame, and occasionally I think it was negligible ):, but fires take a while to burn and become something substantial. It just needs fuel. A big black chunk of wood.

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With these events, the trend is this:

  1. We go there with our personal baggage, “help me Lord, I would give back but really.. I’m not that great a person to send” or “show me what you’ve got God, cause honestly I’m stuck”.
  2. Then, in a foreign land, we encounter more varieties of Catholics, more inspiring religious people trying to build his kingdom in some way.
  3. In the end, we feel a little comforted by our luxuries and go away with this sense that God has given and shown us so much more than our own little bubbles. Praise God.

Step 4: “Yes, I need to readjust my life when I’m back home” 

Quicker than you would like, the “good feeling’s gone” we are back in the same routine with a struggling prayer life. I know I am.

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God, as I know him, has always been the kind that always 1-up my bet. (what a gambler :O) He very graciously always meets me where I’m at, but there is always that little extra something, more than I might need to function day-to-day, it feels like a push, it feels like I should give back, wasn’t the theme ‘Blessed are the merciful’? It wasn’t simply about God being merciful to us. Like the many people Jesus healed, he blessed them and sent them on their way.

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Jn 8:11
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We talk so much about building a Church, One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, how can we come back, clear our emails, get back the rhythm of life and become the man who can’t be moved? How can we allow ourselves to be changed after exiting those doors?

Going back to the idea about fuel for a fire, what are the pieces of charcoal in our lives? Where are they? Are we even going out to get them? Where is my Church? I’ve always felt like the church was great at catching stray sheep but not the best at making sure they stay with the herd. It’s not just a shepherd and sheepdog thing.
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Minus the tangible hurts of how we might have gone to Poland with a certain group of friends over another, or the angst towards factors that made us FOMO and jealous of rainbows and sunsets that remind us of his presence. We are nonetheless still called to one fundamental mission all together.

A pilgrimage is not ‘summariz-able’ in a Facebook album or a Catholic news article to prove we were there (with any holiday, it really doesn’t make any sense if our experiences just stay in pictures and we develop a slight affiliation with the country, that was be a waste of money on an air ticket).

It is really only proven “we were there in that crowd of 2 million!” when it takes root, blooms and bears fruit in our lives, including the little we went with, and more. 

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When the light started out they don’t know what they heard
Strike the match, play it loud, giving love to the world
We’ll be raising our hands, shining up to the sky
‘Cause we got the fire, fire, fire

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