I am a Catholic, but …

I read “I’m a Catholic but …” in CathNews NZ on Tuesday 6th August, and pondered upon it as I stacked the firewood.

I walked over a carpet of camellia flowers – some pink, some brown, some crackly, some squishy. They need to be collected and put on the compost to be transformed, and later, to transform.

I thought, I am a Catholic but … there is a time for even the most beautiful things to die off and become transformed.

Spiders, weevils, woodlice, cockroaches all scuttle and scurry as I lift chunks of wood. They will find new homes best suited to them.

I thought, I am a Catholic but … sometimes we need to ‘rehome’ ideas, people, practices as they become displaced or irrelevant to current needs.

The tuis feasting and singing above me in the camellia will only be there for a short time. Then they will move on to another source of nectar. To stay put would be a death sentence.

I thought, I am a Catholic but … rituals, doctrines and practices need to reflect the seasons of our lives – spiritual, physical, intellectual, social, economical.

The wheelbarrow I use to transprt the wood is fit for purpose. The tyre is pumped; the joints greased; the barrow emptied of detritus – no extra baggage.

I thought, I am a Catholic but … we all need regular maintenance, cleansing, purging even. Every individual, and the Catholic Church, need to continually and prayerfully ask, “Am I a fit vessel to reveal God’s love?”

Stacking the firewood is not just about satisfying the needs of the present moment (clearing the driveway) but also looking to the future (drying the wood for next winter).

I thought, I am a Catholic but … rigidity and inflexibility and an unwillingness to hear and consider the needs of the present moment and of tomorrow may well be self-destructive.

If I thought only of the needs of the firew0od, the trees would never have been felled. They would still be growing strong in forests, generating oxygen, seeking the sun. But the trees are found and felled for the greater good, the Common Good.

I thought, I am a Catholic but … inward-looking, self-serving, power-hungry bureaucrats do not reflect God’s unconditional, covenantal love.

I look at the stacked wood and am in awe. All these varieties, different ages, shapes and textures, side by side (except for the occasional tumble when I ignore the laws of physics!).

I thought, I am a Catholic but … I wish that we could explore our differences; cherish our unique identities; be open to changes in our world and in our relationships; deal pragmatically with collapse; and all enable the other to become what we are invited to be.


News category: Analysis and Comment.

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