By JENNIFER BURGIN
"Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life — for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us— "
As I flipped through The Liturgy of the Hours, looking for the proper readings for Morning Prayer, I stumbled across the words to an old hymn which brought back memories of my Protestant years:
Your heralds brought glad tidings
To greatest and to least;
They told all men to hasten
To share the great King's feast;
And this was all their teaching
In every deed and word,
To all alike proclaiming:
One Church, one Faith, one Lord.
I played the violin in a local Baptist Church throughout high school and during summers of college. It was a fun period, during those awkward teenage years, where I hung out with fellow orchestra dorks and shared laughter together. Nothing more fun than getting the giggles during a boring sermon. The orchestra sat behind the preacher, so he couldn't see us snickering....
Before Wednesday night practices, I will never forget one gifted violinist walking around the sanctuary playing the Motel 6 theme song. (Click here for the tune.) I'd go home in the evening with that song repeating over and over in my head. At Christmas time we'd rehearse for hours preparing for the annual Singing Christmas Tree. One year the gifted violinist and I played a duet in front of the church congregation. It was an arrangement of "Joy to the World." I still have a VHS tape of that performance. Wow, I can't believe it's been over 20 years ago.
Today, we celebrate the feast day of Saint John, the apostle and evangelist. This is the same John who Jesus chose to care for Mary after his death. John, as well as the other apostles, took to heart the idea of One Church, One Faith, and One Lord.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul writes: Since in God's wisdom the world did not come to know him through "wisdom," it pleased God to save those who believe through the absurdity of the preaching of the gospel.
How can the preaching of the gospel be absurd? Saint Paul's comment is very interesting; he's got it so right though. Preaching the gospel is quite radical and something the Jews and Gentiles were not accustom to. Even today, a person may not know who God or Jesus Christ is. In this instance, preaching is a necessity. Otherwise, someone ignorant of God will never learn to appreciate His tremendous grace and love. We want all of our fellow men and women to reach heaven someday.
As a new lay member of the Dominican family, I am called to "preach" the good news of the gospel. I'm not an ordained minister. Some people may think it "absurd" for a Catholic woman to even attempt to preach; however, I think writing this blog post is a form of preaching in itself. Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, was an uneducated woman who joined the Dominicans as a lay member (called the Mantellate). By the power of the Holy Spirit, she gained incredible wisdom and knowledge. She passed along that knowledge in the form of letters to Popes and noblemen, influencing the politics of the times. Naturally, lay persons and clergymen alike gravitated toward her happy and peaceful disposition. In many respects, Saint Catherine preached about One Church made manifest by Christ crucified; One Faith which pours forth tremendous grace and healing; and One Lord who loves us unconditionally.
As Catholic Christians today, how can we evangelize the concept of One Church, One Faith, and One Lord ? Firstly, we must remember we are all one body in Christ. This one body, the Church, is strongest when all members remain unified. We pray for one another, care for one another, and love one another. Secondly, as Catholic Christians we share one faith. This one faith allows us to recognize the blessings in our lives as well as bless others we encounter on a daily basis. Faith in Christ gives us the strength to better handle adversity. Finally, we are called to worship One Lord. This involves not focusing so much on worldly pleasures and possessions but focusing on living a holy and good life so we will make it to heaven some day.
We are all called to be disciples just like Saint John and Saint Paul. In the New Year, let us accept the challenge to follow the Lord in thought, word and deed. Preach the good news to others. Allow Christ to transform our minds and hearts!
Through many days of darkness,
Through many scenes of strife,
The faithful few fought bravely
To guard the Christian life;
Their gospel of redemption,
Sin pardoned, man restored,
Was all in this enfolded;
One Church, one Faith, one Lord.
Saint John the Apostle, Pray for Us!
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. She is a Lay Dominican associated with St. Albert the Great Dominican Priory in Irving, TX. Please follow her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality