HERE at St Mary’s we welcomed three of our secondary teachers into the Catholic faith during the Easter vigil ceremony.
They had been travelling with a team of locals for some time, reliving their own Christian background, listening to and sharing the faith commitment of others and gradually being introduced to Catholic practices and liturgies.
I sincerely hope these teachers feel as though they were eventually plunged into a catholic community while adopting a common identity with all Christians and, not into an atmosphere of cultural division and small identity.
Catholicism must be “all embracing” as the original meaning of the word implies.
Remembering we have a common identity, as the body of Christ, is “the key to tearing down cultural divisions and working toward reconciliation”.
Common identity doesn’t mean a watering down of Gospel values and the compromising of a Tradition held in your community for thousands of years and based on the presence of Spirit.
However, it does mean recognising our propensity to work out of a dualistic mind which “divides reality into binary opposites and does most of its thinking inside a limited frame”.
A common identity belief enables the process of liberating us from suspicion of others because of their religious and cultural differences.
I haven’t enquired of them, but perhaps our three teachers experienced what some name as the ‘second conversion’.
This entails a sincere person to realise that life isn’t as we hoped it might be; as years pass by it becomes apparent that chaos or businesses are increasing, that our endeavours to fix things up doesn’t appear to have positive results and there is a realisation we still need to be in control, that pride is often the basis of our daily living.
‘Second conversion’ is a graced moment or time when I become aware that my strivings, anxiety and fears are the very areas of life that the Gospel or Good News has the power to heal.
A conversion which allows one to let go of self-reliance and all its weaknesses.
It’s what we celebrate at Easter, humanity’s invitation to hand over and place our trust and future into the love and mercy of a self-giving God.
Jesus the Christ has shown us the way.
History records as Christians we have been and continue to be caught in an attitude of separateness, an identity small and boundaried.
Conversion transforms the ego, allows us to realise that we are all one in God, that ‘letting go’ teaches us Life.
I thank our three new Catholics and the people who continue to walk with then on the journey of faith for reminding me once again to wonder, question, and above all to be grateful for the gift and joy of faith.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church