It’s a busy time in our home right now, with the upcoming wedding of our son and our soon-to-be-daughter-in-law! For the next few Mondays, I’m selecting a few of my favorite “mercifulmoments” and re-publishing them in case you missed them the first time around! I wrote and initially published this on mercifulmomentsblog May 23, 2016.
I have fond memories of watching black and white Mickey Mouse Club re-runs as a girl. I mainly followed the short serials such as Spin and Marty and The Hardy Boys, but there’s a short Jiminy Cricket film that I remember this morning called Encyclopedia. In it, Cricket sings of the wonders of these big books of knowledge and how they satisfy one’s curiosity.
Our parents proudly purchased a set of encyclopedias for the family in 1972 or 1973, almost around the same time that we got our first Zenith color television set. Those encyclopedias sat on a shelf below the TV and were well-used over the years for our homework assignments. We were taught to respect the books, to always return them to their rightful place on the shelf and to take good care of them. They also, however, became an integral part of proving one was right in a multitude of disagreements in our large family. While the thirst for knowledge was recognized in our home, so was proving that one was right at all costs. Running and grabbing the correct encyclopedia to prove a point was very common. It was almost a survival of the fittest at times…or quickest with the answers. And in someone proving himself or herself right, subsequently someone else was wrong or at least not as fast to defend their case.
I believe for a very long time this was pretty much the way I lived my Catholic Faith. Maybe I was, to coin a phrase, an Encyclopedia Catholic. I could list the Corporal Works of Mercy or with some prompting, even the Seven Deadly Sins, both helpful if playing a round of Catholic Trivia. But it was not until I started reading Scripture daily that I began to look at what it really means to encounter Christ, to love our neighbor, to show compassion or mercy. I dare say I never “owned” my Catholic faith until I began to grow in understanding of Jesus’ encounters with others in the Gospels.
The only drawback to “owning” one’s faith, however, is you never can sit back and do nothing again. From that first spiritual awakening, it becomes obvious that in order to encounter Christ, we must walk with others, we must work with others, and we must laugh and cry and be with others. We learn to realize that our actions have consequences and sometimes our words can inflict pain. The Catholic Christian, in his/her awareness of this, must strive to see each person as one of God’s beloved sons or daughters, with their own stories, their own “baggage,” their own sorrows and joys. If I fail to see Christ in you, I fail to see Christ at all and am only being an Encyclopedia Catholic. Today, LORD, help me to see the person of Christ in EVERYONE I encounter. And please help others to see Christ in me. Amen.